Walking Towards Depression

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I recently sold this oil pastel drawing shown above, but I wanted to share it because it is one of my favorite pieces I have done recently. If you can’t tell, the image is of a person and a little dog walking through a rainbow world (which represent happiness and life), but ahead of them lies the darkness of depression and they either don’t see it coming, or are impelled to continue walking, perhaps against their own will.

As someone who struggles with bipolar type 2 and chronic severe depressive episodes, this is clearly a personal feeling conjured into a visual image. I thought I would share though, because I bet some of you can relate to it too.

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Back Doctor and Pain Management Clinic Rant – Why So Insensitive?

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This is going to be a bit of a rant. Yesterday I received a letter from the orthopedic doctor and pain management clinic I was seeing for my upper back/neck pain. That letter turned my mood sour quickly. It said that I had been non-compliant with physical therapy and the spinal injections they had ordered, so they were kicking me out of the practice.

Why did it tick me off? Because the way they expressed it is totally not what we had discussed in person. First of all, I was not “non-compliant” with physical therapy. I tried it for several weeks and it WORSENED the pain rather than helping. It also caused widespread fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome flares throughout my body. This wasn’t the first time I had tried physical therapy, so I had been worried from the start, but they had promised they would accommodate my conditions, which they didn’t actually seem to do.

When I called the physical therapy office to explain that it was worsening my back pain and my fibromyalgia/cfs symptoms, they seemed understanding at the time. I was also having issues driving myself to therapy because when my back pain flares up, I can barely turn my head because of the neck pain. I asked the physical therapy office if I should perhaps try again in the summer when my husband could drive me, but the lady said that if the sessions were causing me that many problems, trying it again in the summer didn’t make much sense.

As for the spinal shots, the main reason I was fearful about going through with them is because they would not offer any kind of sedation. You see, I had been told how important it is for spinal injections that you be absolutely still during the process or you could cause damage to the spine. As an autistic person with severe sensory issues and intense over-sensitivity to any kind of sensory input (including pain), this worried me. I also have severe anxiety and that can sometimes make me shake and tremble involuntarily.

I had researched the shots and noticed that many other places offer sedation. I even talked to a few other people who had undergone the shots and had been sedated. I was not trying to be a pain or a drama queen, I was simply being cautious. Affording the shots was also a major issue at the time (since they required full payment up front), which I had explained to them.

In the end, I’m not upset that they were unable to further help me, I had already kind of figured that out. However, I am upset at the accusatory tone of the letter they sent me and the obvious insensitivity and lack of understanding for people who suffer from chronic pain/chronic illness and people who happen to have autism or other sensory processing difficulties. By the way, I will be sending them a letter back stating much of what I just said here. Hopefully they will learn something.

 

Psychiatrist Visit Update: I Hate Feeling Vulnerable!

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I figured I would do a short follow up post about my psychiatrist visit a couple days ago. It went ok I guess. Instead of switching me off the Prozac, he decided to try upping it one more time to see if that would do the trick, but promised me that if that didn’t make me feel better we would try something new next time. He did mention Wellbutrin as a possibility, which I have never taken. If anyone has experience with that drug, please let me know your thoughts on it!

The first few minutes of our visit, we talked about Netflix and the shows I have been binge watching recently (Black Mirror, Atypical, Stranger Things, American Horror Story). Then he asked how therapy was going, and I felt like at that time I needed to admit how bad my depression had gotten and that my therapist was actually worried about how low I was feeling.

My psychiatrist asked me why I didn’t bring that up immediately when our session started and he kind of jumped to the conclusion that I was trying to be “a good patient and not complain”, but I had to explain to him that his assumption was wrong. I wasn’t trying to make things easier for him, it is just simply hard for me to talk to anyone in person about how bad I really feel when at my lowest. It makes me feel vulnerable and exposed, and I hate that.

I know that last sentence may seem weird, considering the fact that I am so open and bluntly honest in my blog writing about how low and horrible I feel sometimes, but it is just easier for some reason to write that all out to a blank page and post it to the ether of the internet. Being in front of a living, breathing human, it is so much harder to peel the layers away and let my real self be seen.

Meditating with a Crystal Healing Grid

As you guys might know if you have read my blog for long, I have an interest in spirituality and new age stuff. Recently I discovered “crystal healing grids”, which are a simple tool for meditation and other metaphysical purposes. I decided to try them out, so I bought this raven/crow (I’m not positive which one it is supposed to be) themed one.

The official name of this grid pattern is “See Past the Darkness”, which I thought worked well with my issues overcoming my own kind of darkness (depression). It came in a little kit with the grid, the crystals, and instructions (although I tend to disregard instructions and do things my own way). In case you are into gemstones, the crystals used are amethyst (in the center), with clear quartz and Snowflake Obsidian alternating around the edges. These happen to be three of my favorite crystals, which is a bonus. I think it makes a pretty little decoration too:

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To be honest, I don’t know if meditating with stuff like this genuinely helps my depression or not, but I think that having something to concentrate on that represents positive thoughts and energy certainly can’t hurt!

If you guys are interested in trying out one of these grids for yourself, Ebay is where I have found them most easily, usually be just typing “healing crystal grid” into the search bar. You can find complete kits like the one I got, or just pick up a grid and use your own stones (or whatever else you wish to use). Happy hunting!

Wisdom Teeth Surgery Anxiety

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Not long ago I had an infected wisdom tooth, so unfortunately, the surgery I have been putting off to get my wisdom teeth out is now more of a necessity. I am scared shitless, and I’m not even sure why.

I keep telling myself it is a minor surgery. Outpatient even. I’ll go, get them out, come home, and likely crash for a few days. Then hopefully it will all be behind me. The teeth are impacted, which makes the surgery more complex, but I will be put out for the operation, so I’m not sure why I am so panic-stricken at the idea of having to do this.

To make matters worse, the first appointment I could make to get it done isn’t until the end of August, so I have an entire month to keep freaking myself out. I keep trying to distract myself or think positive thoughts, but I feel such a sense of dread that I just can’t shake, and it is making me spiral into a depression as well.

I did the typical Aspie thing, and tried to make myself feel better by finding as much information as I could about the procedure to lessen the anxiety, but it hasn’t helped much. I could quote you stats of all the risk factors (and ways to prevent them), draw you a diagram of the procedure, or explain step by step what will be done, but it isn’t helping me to let it go.

Maybe this is my OCD coming out in full force (an inability to NOT fixate on something I wish I wasn’t thinking about at all), or maybe it is just the anxiety of the unknown, since I have never had surgery of any kind before or been put out for any kind of operation…but I wish my brain would just shut the hell up about it! I’m sure my poor husband would find that a relief too since he has to deal with his basket case wife for the next month 😦

Helpful Tips for Fellow Depression & Chronic Pain Sufferers

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Hello everyone! Lately I have implemented a few things into my life that I do feel are helping my depression and chronic pain symptoms, at least to an extent. No, I am not cured, and I still have some really bad days, but I feel like these small changes have been for the better, so I wanted to share:

  • My psychiatrist has been trying to get me to take Omega-3 supplements for months now, and I finally decided to make sure I actually take them on a regular basis. I have been trying to take 2 supplement pills a day, one in the morning and one at night. It is supposed to be really good for depression and inflammation, so it is worth a try. I don’t like the taste or how huge the pills are to swallow, but I am making it work anyways.
  • I have read multiple places that people with fibromyalgia are almost always lacking in Magnesium when tested, so I started taking a daily supplement of that as well. I do think it has lessened the severity of the body aches and cramps I experience on a daily basis.  I also started taking a Vitamin C supplement in hopes it will help boost my immune system and prevent some of the chronic ear infections I have. I am trying to eat healthier, more natural foods too.
  • I have started practicing mediation on a regular basis again. I try to take at least a few minutes most days to meditate, focus on positivity, and allow the spiritual side of myself to shine. My husband and I have also been attending a once-a-week meditation group when we are able to. Having that time to connect with others on their own spiritual paths has been helpful. They all seem to be very open-minded and open-hearted individuals, which are the kind of people I would like to have in my life more.
  • Lately I have renewed my dedication to my own creative process and have felt inspired to create art again, something I have definitely been missing in my life. I simply feel better when I can create beautiful or unusual artwork, even if others don’t always understand it. Honestly, I create for ME. Yes, I sell my artwork and it fills my heart with joy to know that others appreciate and collect my efforts, but deep down, I create simply because I need to express myself.
  • Make it a priority to spend time with nature. Whether it is going to a park, hiking through the woods, sitting on a swing outside your own front door, or bringing plants, animals (pets), crystals, and other natural objects into your home, reconnecting with nature always seems to be healing and comforting for myself. Maybe it will be so for you as well.

Strangest Lucid Dream Ever

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I had the strangest lucid dream ever the other night. As many lucid dreams start, I was in the middle of a dream when I suddenly realized that I WAS dreaming, and at that point was able to take over and consciously guide the rest of the dream. At first I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do, but after thinking about all the cool stuff I had done in previous lucid dreams over the years (meeting Michael Jackson, swimming in outer space with whales, visiting a robot world, etc.), I decided to start off with just flying – probably my favorite dream activity!

I flew a bit above the earth for a while, enjoying the beauty of the nature, towns, and waterways that passed below me, and then decided to fly higher and see what I could find above me. For some reason, it was a struggle to get high enough, almost like I didn’t believe in myself enough to go higher, even though I knew it was a dream and I had all the power.

Finally I did get high enough to reach a higher plane of existence, which by the way was a very interesting place. If I remember right it was almost ancient Greek-like in structure, had more advanced beings that weren’t quite angels, but felt more advanced than humans. The most interesting part of this place was that I viewed a puppet show where my mother, one of her previous husbands, and others I had known in my life were the puppets being controlled by these other beings. It was super weird.

While on this higher plane, I was greatly tempted to delve beneath their sea, because I could remember past lucid dreams where I had been able to travel underwater without needing to breathe, but now I was suddenly afraid to try it again, even though I knew it was a dream and I knew nothing could truly hurt me. I knew I couldn’t drown, but I still struggled to overcome my own self doubt and my grasp of “reality”, similar to how I had struggled to believe I could fly higher earlier in the dream.

In the end, I knew that the only thing holding me back was my fear and need to believe in myself, but it was almost impossible to overcome those things. I know there is a real message of depth there, even for my waking life, but I’m still a little weirded out by the whole experience. Hopefully I don’t sound like a nutcase too lol.