Saturday, October 24, 2009

climbing back on the horse

It's no secret to me - or anyone who's been following my blog - that I've been having a really tough time lately. My mother keeps telling me, don't despair. Chronic illness is certainly difficult enough to deal with all on its own, but add in the unemployment and sometimes (often) it is just too much to cope with.

My Depression and Anxiety issues have gone from lurking on the horizon to ominously looming over my daily life. I can squeeze out a few hours here and there throughout the week when I feel okay, or even happy, but sure enough the gloom comes back. Like dark, sticky cotton candy.

It seems like each week brings more difficulty to deal with. DF found out that the last day of his seasonal job is October 31; after that, he'll once again be unemployed with no new prospects. (At least this time, there was notice.) A few weeks ago, I quit one of my part-time jobs after it became very clear that the increased Anxiety was not worth the measly paycheck. And as I posted last week, there was the massive failure of my recent medication trial. Everything just keeps piling up. 

In the midst of all this upheaval and getting used to a new work schedule, I've let some components of my treatment lapse. I haven't had a massage in several months; I had been going weekly. I've pretty much stopped keeping my headache diary. Last week I even skipped my Nia dance class because I still had the citalopram in my system. I've given myself permission to stop keeping my headache diary, as right now it's causing more stress in my life. I plan to start keeping it again either when I start another med or the beginning of the new year (whichever comes first). I have a follow-up appointment at the end of March with my headache doc, so even if I don't restart my diary until January, I'll have three months of records to show him.

Massage is a different story. I know it helps me to feel better by releasing the tension in my neck and shoulders, even if it doesn't directly help my Migraines. It's silly, really, that I haven't just called and scheduled an appointment, but in the murk of daily life it's easy to avoid making phone calls.

So, my goal for this week is to make that call and restart my weekly massages. I'm focusing on not being hard on myself for ignoring this part of my treatment plan. It's difficult to continually put so much energy into an intensive treatment regimen that seems to offer little return. But every little bit does help, and incrementally I hope I'll improve.

A big part of being able to cope with chronic illness is setting small, achievable goals and recognizing when I achieve them. I know this, but I'm writing it here to remind myself. This week's small goal is scheduling a massage appointment. Hopefully I'll start to overcome this inertia, this feeling of wallowing, by taking that first baby step. Then I can look at my other goals (adding a weekly tai chi class, for example) and start working toward those.

And maybe, just maybe, the regular massages will start to chip away at my stress.


Be well,
MJ

5 comments:

Leslie said...

MJ,
I have to say, I really feel you on this. I've become increasingly depressed, albeit for some reasons different than you, but I totally get the feeling of being overwhelmed, like everything is crashing down at once. I also agree with the goal setting piece. For me, getting out of my pajamas and leaving the house is a big feat. I'm sorry to hear about the medication issues. I hope you are able to find something that works. And please know that I am always here if you want to talk, vent, whatever. Thinking good thoughts for you...
Leslie

julie said...

my dear..
i will continue to keep you and my bro in my prayers..
i know you can beat this, and there is a bright, blessed future in store for both of you.
There is healing to be had, and I will claim you receive it soon!

"Cast all your anxiety on him, because he cares for you.
. . . . And after you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, support, strengthen, and establish you." (1 Peter 5: 7-10)
ily.
jewels.

Oona said...

I have decided to use the comment, not to think about my current issues, but to give you some encouragement in yours. I don't know you but I am thinking about you, hoping you can gather the stress to make an appointment for a massage, take a bath, listen to a relaxation tape, do something for yourself. Good Luck. You can do it!


-Oona

My Life Works Today! said...

You hit on the biggest obstacles I face with lupus - the constant revisions and picking myself up off the ground. We can know so much about living with illness - especially when those of us have lived with it for over a decade - yet feel like complete amateurs when life gets messy.

Sending you encouragement, a smile and a note to let you know that I am convinced you will get where you need to be - even if it is one little step at a time.

Annie said...

MJ,

You totally just hit on everything I've been feeling lately.

Maybe I should book myself a massage and see if it helps.

Thanks for the pick me up idea <3

Annie