Blog Withdrawal

I’ve been going through withdrawal lately (always thought it was spelled “withdrawl” until spell check corrected me). I’m not talking the chemical kind of withdraw’a’l, I’m referring to the emotional and intellectual kind. The blog withdrawal kind. I need a fix.

I try to write but my words seem perfunctory. I blather on, spitting words on the screen like a wet-mouthed close-talker. See, here I go again. I feel like I’ve lost my edge. I want it back, if I ever really had it.

I began this blog to talk about my experiences with depression, hence the sub-title “Then, til Now”. While I suspect one never beats depression, nor is ‘cured’ of it, I do think we adapt and it becomes part of who we are. Anyway I digress.

Read more here: http://wp.me/p8mDx0-tj

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Some thoughts…

As if it hasn’t been said enough “Time flies while you’re having fun”, or something like that. And time has flown.

I believe it’s a function of aging, that time flies. I read somewhere that the perception of time passing faster as we age is due to the lack of originality in our lives. And by originality I mean that there are seldom any new experiences in our lives as time goes on. As a rule we continue to do the same things month over month and year after year and so our perception of time flattens, it compresses and it becomes more difficult to differentiate one year over another. Time becomes all the same and in doing so it ‘flies’.

So, this theory being correct it would only stand to reason that one way to slow time down would be to do different things, to have new experiences, to make each week, month, and year different. Not a new theory but important nonetheless.

Now I don’t profess to have all the answers but it’s clear I have opinions, lots of them. Perhaps too many.

Life has been generally good to me over the last number of months. Being that it’s so long since I’ve updated this site I may repeat myself in what I say here so I will apologize in advance.

My health, both emotional and physical, has been good. Aside from the usual colds and one episode with the flu I am doing well. I have gone back on the meds  with my Doctor’s blessing and only at a half dose (10 mg Citalopram). I feel much better. Prior to that (about Dec.) I was once again back-sliding and feeling depressed. I had little motivation, was easily angered and frustrated, my emotions were all over the place and I just plain felt emotionally shitty.

I’ve tried to explain it away saying it was the weather or some other such excuse but the facts and history just don’t support that. I just have to accept it and resolve myself to the possibility that I may have to use meds to support my habit, that of feeling well.

The positive in the whole thing is that after my Doctor’s visit he suggested I start off with a lower dosage than before. This was a newer Doctor mind you, an international Doctor in training in my clinic, but he was/is very interested in my health and his suggestion had merit. As such I gave it a shot and haven’t really looked back.

This was done in concert with a new counselor as well. I began seeing her just before my first appointment with the Doctor and as time has gone on I’ve appreciated her more and more.

Her name is Elly. I decided to try her instead of going back for a 3rd time with Gloria. Elly is going for her Masters in Counselling and is doing her practicum in that clinic. So far I like her a lot, she is open and approachable, has fresh ideas and a perception that is refreshing.

She is a proponent of Art Therapy and has offered me the option of trying it. Art therapy sounded/sounds strange and while I am generally resistant to change I thought I owed it to myself to try something different. It was different for sure and some aspects of it were not comfortable for me. As an example she asked me to draw something, anything, on a paper covered table. All manner of pencils, felt pens, crayons, and paint were available to me, in all colours, so the options of media were essentially unlimited. It was all up to me as to what I chose to draw, and how to draw it. Once complete she asked how I ‘felt’ about the drawing, both in topic and substance.

The next session she again asked me if I wished to draw and this time she suggested I draw a Mandala. She gave me a 10″ circle of paper to draw on and again I could choose any media. In this context I must clarify that what she was asking me to draw was not a Mandala by it’s true definition. There was no religious significance to the drawing, more what she was asking was for me to draw a free form design on the circle of paper. Again, once the drawing was complete we chatted about the how and why of the sketch, and how I felt.

Part II

Because I seem to be long winded, and due to the fact my welcome wore out at Bagel’s and Brew (not really) I’ve had to complete this post the next day. I started writing Monday morning and here we are Tuesday, same coffee shop but different table, completing the saga.

At any rate my drawing experience was/is very interesting with it reinforcing some things I probably already knew about myself. In my first sketches, particularly the Mandala format I strived to be organized, symmetrical, accurate and somewhat precise. When I created a new drawing being more carefree, unorganized, non-symmetrical, in a word MESSY, I felt more free, more relaxed. In short it felt good.

That feeling was one that I was, and am, trying to replicate. I asked Elly if perhaps that was a state that I could develop through writing or photography. If I could bring my artistic and feeling side (less structured and rigid) more to the forefront by focussing on my artistic side, more right brained activities. She wasn’t sure but suggested I try by using my photography in an ‘out of the box’ fashion, taking photos in ways and of things that I normally might not. In fact she suggested this just before we went to Hawaii. I’ve tried and would have to say it’s not as easy to accomplish as I thought it might.

Some of the appropriate photos, and any drawings I completed while there were brought to my next session where we discussed my goal and any progress I made. Again, this was more difficult than I first thought.

So to be blunt one of the purposes of going to counselling was to get the stick out of my ass. This wasn’t necessarily the original reason, nor the only reason, but in talking with here I’ve come to realize that it was one of my personality traits that I desired to change. In effect I want to loosen up and have more fun, be more relaxed about things on a day to day basis.

This has been a long and likely boring post however it has also been done as an effort to begin writing again. I have been journalling fairly consistently but that method has become repetitive it was time to mix it up. Elly has suggested if I do journal that rather than the wordiness of it that I should use only descriptor words about how I feel at the time, no structured sentences. I would still like to sketch and may incorporate that as well.

So, ‘nuf said, Too much perhaps. See you on the flip side.

Time Flies, To Where No One Knows

Boy does time fly. Is that a result of too many demands or not enough emphasis put to using the available time wisely? It appears I’ve not succeeded in determining that fundamental question.

While it may sound like another rant is imminent I plan for that to not be the case. Unfortunately frustration sometimes gets the better of me, and travelling, camping, keeping 2 blogs going, developing a website, and doing genealogical research during the summer vacation period, has shown to be a challenge. And this doesn’t include any yard or housework. Ok, so it is a bit of a rant…..

However things are winding down now and I’m optimistic we will again see some semblance of order and a return to some routines, of which posting will again become one.

The last month(s) or so I’ve also not been feeling as chipper as I was prior to that, my fear is a return to the dreaded ‘depression’. I’m giving it that name although I’m still not convinced that’s what it is. I’ve been off my depression meds now for a while so there may be a connection there.

It could just be that I’m an emotionally intense person, suffering from highs that are a bit higher and lows a bit lower than the average bear. If you want to read more on emotional intensity go here. Connected with that are other Borderline Personality Disorders (BPD), not sure I want to go there though.

And there’s the possibility it could also just be I’m a cranky SOB, or some other maladjusted personality quality. And before we go too far I do believe it’s a medical/psychological issue, not a spiritual one, so while I appreciate everyone’s concern let’s just leave it at that.

Whatever the cause it wreaks havoc on my moods and while (for the most part) I’m able to keep my bitchiness to myself it does leak out occasionally and generally toward someone close to me. Read that primarily as ‘wife’.

Bless her heart she says she doesn’t see it but I think she’s just being nice. It’s great to have loving family isn’t it?

On a positive note though I’m visiting my daughter and family, again….. . It almost seems like a second home sometimes.

20130912-093724.jpg

I’m not doing much daycare of my grandson this time but rather have come to Kelowna to see more distant family that I haven’t seen for a while, if ever. I may have been a baby or toddler on our last visit and I don’t remember. They may remember, and that’s one of the things I hope to find out.

I’ve become acquainted (or reacquainted) with a number of my kin, such as Great Aunts, 2nd or 3rd cousins twice removed (whatever that means) and others that while not directly related were at one time part of my families lives. The genealogy bug has bitten and that is also one of those time flyers that’s attached to the web page and other blogs. Genealogy research soaks up tons of time let me tell you, or it can if you let it. In my case it’s feast or famine it seems, hard at it or not at all.

So as I said, “Time Flies”. If you ever figure out where it goes please let me know.

Then…til Now

willow buds, new growth

“Then…til Now”, replaced “Depression – Where Am I From? …. Where Am I Going?” as the current tagline for the blog. In addition you may have noticed a change in theme from ‘Parament’ to ‘Misty Lake’.

I’m not clear at this point whether there’s any benefit to these blog changes or not but I felt that some change was in order, almost like a new beginning (to the blog). From a timing perspective it ties into me being ‘med free’, so from this point I won’t be on any medication for depression.

That in itself is a bit of a milestone for me and time will tell if it was the correct decision or not, however I do feel better and I want to move on, on to a more normal life (whatever normal is). My early retirement last year has freed me from the stress and the anxiousness of a job I neither enjoyed nor felt particularly attuned to. The industry, and my company, is going through a time of change and those changes were something I had little interest in accommodating, certainly not after already putting in 38 years and beating my head against the wall for the last 5.

As I’ve indicated in previous posts I believe my depression was more a reactive depression, or situational depression, than the psychological depression I first thought it was. Those circumstances are now behind me (at least for now) so I want to look ahead, not back. ‘Nuf said.

So my forthcoming posts here will hopefully be of a more positive note, and much like the photo below I will be displaying buds of new growth. I’d like you to stick around to see.

willow buds, new growth
Willow buds

Recalibation Required

winter, snow, gray, trees

I’m in a quandary, but then you that know me will say “so what else is new?” I believe a re-calibration is required, ‘How’ is the question, the  ‘why’ not so much.

I won’t belabor the point so I’ll cut to the chase.

I’ve been thinking quite a bit about this blog lately, in fact I talked about it a little in a previous post called Moving Forward, and a number of others. I guess the bottom line, where the rubber hits the road, is that I no longer believe I am suffering from depression. Whether I’m kidding myself who’s to say. This is my story and I’m sticking to it.

Perhaps I am deluding myself, maybe this is somewhat symptomatic of the illness where one feels healed  and so takes on their previous life without medication only to find they are not as ‘well’ as they thought. I suspect a relapse may be a result, quick or otherwise.

Or, maybe, people such as myself think they are fine but their partner or those close to them indicate that the diagnosis is still valid, they are still exhibiting outward signs of the mental illness. I asked, this doesn’t seem to be the case with me.

In fact I asked me wife that very question this morning.

“Have you seen any changes in me lately, some indications that my moods or personality has changed?’

She pondered the question for a moment and then replied,

“No, I don’t thinks so. If I’ve seen any changes is you it’s been only since you’ve retired.”

Well, that supports my perception of the situation as well.

What brought that question up was a deep conversation I had with a friend a few nights ago. He, Dan, has been diagnosed with depression for more than 4 years, and has been on at least 2 different medications. After taking pills for the first year or so he determined he felt better, and as such he wanted to distance himself from the meds. To stop taking them seemed to be the logical solution. Whether he tapered off or went cold turkey I’m not sure, fact is he quit. (Interesting topic for a conversation isn’t it, not sports, not women, but depression meds. Such is my life)

Shortly after that his wife asked him specifically if he was still taking his meds. He was surprised, and answered No, he had stopped some time before. She replied that she thought so, there were changes in him that led her to think that.

Hmm, I thought, I wonder if similar changes have been seen in me? Thus the question to my wife, and in this case No, she hasn’t seen a noticeable change or regression in me.

Back to the topic at hand, is a re-calibration required? I was going to say ‘should I rethink my blog’ but that horse is already out of the barn. So what kind of changes, if any, should I undertake, or do I leave things well enough alone?

Should I even continue to blog, period? Should I continue to write but choose another topic(s), and alter the Theme, Name and/or tagline? How about starting a new blog, with a different frame of reference or mindset behind it?

Maybe a photography blog, perhaps just a blog where I can write and continue with thoughts that hold little interest to the general populace. You know, kinda like it is now LOL.

But enough of the self-important, self-indulgent prattle, I think a change is in order and it’s only a matter of  How, or what.

These are the questions I am struggling with. Is a re-calibration required, and assuming Yes, then in what direction?

I’d be pleased to hear any input from followers.

Moving Forward

Forward, what does it mean? Moving forward? Paying it forward? Likely there are many more forward ‘adverbs’. ( I think it’s an adverb. While english is my mother tongue ‘English’ is not always my strong suit). In fact ‘Forward’ is this weeks Weekly Photo Challenge topic.

I’ve been thinking alot lately about what Forward means for me, and to me.

I’ve felt somewhat stuck in a slump the last few days and whether it’s the weather or just my cyclical moods I cannot say. I do know I’ve been reducing my meds and of course that’s the first thing I think of when my mood changes.  As well I sometimes think the doldrums are contributed to by feeling housebound, but after all whose fault is that? It’s not like I’m tied to my chair, get off yur arse and git outside, like my Dad used to say (not really, but sounded cute).

I’ve found it more challenging to write lately too, whether it’s in my journal or on one of my blogs, and that’s not good. I kick started things off today though by reading some blogs written by others and that gave me enough inspiration to do some journaling. That in turn led to finishing off the Weekly Photo Challenge post, and that led me here…..

Part of the moving forward concept was where to go with this blog. The original purpose of this blog was to write about how I felt while I was dealing with this illness called Depression, and generally speaking I feel much better now. In fact there’s some question in my mind whether the diagnosis was completely correct. Should I continue to write? I do have other blogs, perhaps I should just let this one die a natural death and move to one of the others? So many questions.

Those that follow this blog will have seen that the theme of this blog has changed, that’s one way to move forward. In fact this change was more an ‘oops’ that a conscious move to mix things up. I’m not sure whether I’ll put it back or pick another theme. But I digress.

Perhaps the best way to begin moving forward is to get off my butt and get some fresh air. Somehow the great outdoors always invigorates me. So here’s me…..moving forward….moving…..forward.

Til next time..

Today is the Day, Was the Day, I’m Upside Down

I feel upside down sometimes, need change
I feel upside down sometimes, need change

Something weird happened to my post yesterday. Somehow another blogpost, a reblog from another blogger got attached to this post and it all got mucked up. Things got all upside down.

Here’s the original post….

Today, the other day really, is/was the day to re-connect with Gloria after an absence of, what, a year?

Gloria, is/was, my counselor. She helped me with a number of things, not the least of which was my depressive moods. That is perhaps a polite way of saying I was going through a depression.

I say ‘was’ because I think or hope, and pray, I am through it, at least the worst part of it. That being said my previous post would lead me to question that.

Bottom line is I was a little disappointed by the reunion. If you ever read this Gloria I’ll apologize in advance, it’s likely more my issue than yours and first off I probably shouldn’t be apologizing for my feelings anyway. Just seemed to be the polite thing to do.

My experience in our last session is likely clouded by my interpretation of interpersonal relations, those being of a somewhat coloured point of view which may or not be accurate. I need to temper my perceptions with the realities of life. Not everyone is intrigued with what I have to say, or have said, I had just hoped what I had said and done in past sessions would have been recalled with a little less effort and prompting on my part. Again, maybe I should apologize, this isn’t really the venue for critiquing after the fact, I was a full participant and could have spoken up to lay out my concerns at any time. I didn’t, my bad, ‘nuf said.

At any rate…….

My car is in the Honda hospital this afternoon and I thought I’d take the opportunity and alone time to have a beer while I waited (not at the garage) and do some blogging. Being that I go most places with some type of electronic device capable of posting that would be pretty easy, you’d think.

I arrived without incident at the pub, a short walk from the shop, and sat down to do my business. It just didn’t come, the words never arrived. And they never came with me, I was alone with my thoughts and without the ability to articulate them. No words, no post.

I did have my journal with me as well, and that’s something that doesn’t occur that frequently. This day it did. Perhaps paper writing would fit the bill.

A few words created with pen to paper must’ve started the creative juices flowing because I was able to put down some thoughts in my morning/afternoon pages but not the words I had trapped inside me. Many of those are still there, waiting to be broken free and see the light of day. But some did make it to paper and the inspiration to post as well came through.

So here I am, no epiphanies, but some thoughts nonetheless. As the previous post “What’s Wrong With Me?” impled, original post here, I am in a bit of a funk. Words are not free flowing, perhaps disjointed, but the words are here regardless.

Today was the day, it IS the day. I plan to enjoy it regardless.

Happy Valentine’s Day

I Bumped Into Gloria, I Came Away Healed

I bumped into Gloria today. Well, I didn’t really ‘bump’ into her, but you know what I mean. I saw her, in Safeway.

At first sighting I didn’t recognize her. I was approaching the Starbucks counter to order my grande Americano, and chatting with my daughters friend, when I glanced toward the door and saw this lady that seemed somehow familiar. Now in hindsight I’m almost embarrassed to admit that but it has been about a year, or close to it, and in my defense I think she changed her hair colour, so that may have thrown me off. Funny I didn’t know her right off the bat because my previous relationship with her was a significant chapter in my life.

I started ‘seeing’ her maybe 2 or more years ago now. I am married but we met with my wife’s consent, she’s understanding that way.

Now, before you get the wrong idea I had best explain.

A few years ago I had finally reached the end of my long emotional rope, particularly at work. I felt depressed, unappreciated, and generally unhappy, so I went to my doctor to seek advice. Well, he interviewed me, gave me a questionnaire to fill out at home, then sent me packing to the hospital for a number of tests. Once I had completed the questionaire and the test results had come back to his office we had a second visit. There was nothing conclusive he said, nothing really abnormal or standing out that could cause me to feel that way. He had thought thyroid perhaps, or some vitamin deficiency, but I was normal, or healthy even. He recommended exercise, and perhaps avail myself of the ability to seek counselling, perhaps through my works EFAP (employee and family assistance) program. I did, and it was through that system I met Gloria. She became my counselor/therapist.

Healing
Healing

So to make a long story short we met for some time, and for the life of me I can’t remember exactly how long, but she has helped me in a number of ways. In almost every session I came away with something to think about, and some of them I’m still thinking about. I miss our sessions.

Bumping into her in Safeway I will take as a sign, as a signal that I need to re-connect.

I’m a big believer in fate, in the thought that things happen for a reason, that there are circumstances that are presented to us and if we see them, if we recognize them for what they are, they can lead us down the right road. They can guide us toward making the ‘right’ decisions, perhaps to choosing one avenue over another, and that one/correct way will lead us to the light (and no, I’ve not been smoking crack).

My sign today was seeing Gloria. She makes me remember from whence I came, my path, and the healing I’ve done. I’m close to the end of my journey and I feel so much better. I still have a ways to go but the healing has begun.

Always Thought I’d Be Rich

When I thought up this title and posted it, as I often do first when struggling for a topic, it dawned on me this could end up being another ‘woe is me’ diatribe about those things that are less than optimal in my life. I quickly determined though that self recrimination was not what I wanted, I yearned for positivity.  I want to be done with negative, I think it’s evil.

Maybe this is how evil works, destroying everything in its path.
– Dexter (or his writers)

I seem to be on a Dexter theme here lately but I’m finding that some of his quotes and perceptions (the writer’s) are echoing my thoughts.  Again, the fact he’s as disturbed as he is, and does what he does, goes against my grain, but his comments (in my mind) seem to be perceptive in some areas.  And I’ll apologize now if the quotes were stolen from other authors, they should be the ones to get the appropriate credit.  ‘Nuf said about Dexter.

I’m not big on New Year’s resolutions.  For the most part I think they are a waste of time, at least for the bulk of the population.  If you are a strong person with conviction and drive they may work for you, but for the rest of us I think they can be more a negative than a positive, particularly if we fail in achieving those goals we set out.  That’s why my only real goal, and one I try to follow always, is to just be honest.  Honest, and real.

This honesty applies not only to my actions but my thoughts.  I strive to enjoy my life fully, and once again become a positive person.  I say ‘once again’ because I believe that I have declined in that regard over the last number of years.  Whether that was due to work, personal issues, emotional problems (depression), or whatever, the result was I slid into an angered and negative space.

I am striving to change that.  In that process I must maintain my honesty in what I am, in what I think, and only by doing that can I escape.  I have to accept before I can change.

False words are not only evil in themselves, but they infect the soul with evil.
– Socrates

Bottom line I have to accept myself.  I don’t wish I was rich, I am rich.  Rich in health and the love around me.  Rich in the things that matter.

Well Lit, Dark Place

I think I’m emotionally in a dark place lately, but at times it seems well lit, make sense?

A light in the dark
A light in the dark

It’s just that I feel emotionally alone, and that’s ok, that seems to be the dark place, and while I may not prefer it I do accept it in some fashion. It’s the fact that I seem to understand and accept the situation that makes it feel illuminated or lit.

And I don’t think it’s the ‘depression’, I believe it’s something more fundamental, something basic to my make-up or mental health.  I’m beginning to think it’s just the way I am.  Some of my first thoughts are that it’s Aspergers syndrome or some similar condition or disorder.  Some variation of Autism.  You can read about some of the characteristics here, on Wikipedia. Isn’t this curious, my self-diagnosis?

What precipitated this latest ah ha moment was a tv show called Dexter.  The show is about a man who witnessed the brutal slaying of his mother when he was a young child and the horrific situation made him emotionally disconnected as an adult.  Now I’ve never had those experiences but it’s the ongoing patter of his ‘inside voice’ that caused me to think.

We are somewhat alike. I have some of those same attributes, difficulty relating to others on an emotional level, emotionally disconnected, unable (or unwilling) to bond on a deeper emotional level.  Almost uncaring.  And yet I do feel deep sadness at times, and elated happiness. This is where I’d differ from my friend Dexter, that is where I can see how we are not so much alike.

Still, it makes me think, why am I the way I am?  Perhaps I need a stronger light to overpower the darkness.