The Spiral Down…

I wish I didn’t feel the need for this post but I have tried writing 6 others in order to avoid this one yet those are all not coming together. Shocking right? 😉
One month ago, my medication was changed to see if a change would help my extreme anxiety. It has and for that I am grateful.
The trouble is that on the last stuff, my mood was good, my concentration was decent for some part of each day and I was coping well all except for the anxiety.
NOW I am far less anxious but my mood is tanking. It scares the crap put of me to be honest!!! My ability to concentrate is disappearing with each passing day, my mood is sinking like a huge rock in a little pond and my very sweet, very careful with his words (SMART) husband  has pointed out that I have been slowly falling downhill since stopping the old medication and for the past week I have been absolutely miserable. I think there are stronger ways to explain how I’ve been feeling but I try not to swear online. 😉
I just want to run away and avoid every person alive. I feel as though a little unknown cabin in the woods would be great right about now. NO contact with anyone at all. It’s just too bad that I can’t go there without bringing myself. I’d like to escape myself too!
So why do I write this? Why do I share this depressing blog post when you all know that I am not one for doing that?
I share it because I promised to be honest and I learned something really important about times like this in a class last year. The knowledge is hopefully helping me now and I hope one day it will help you too.

Picture depression like a funnel cloud. Big at the top and gradually spinning downwards until it hits the ground and chaos begins.
It’s still scary when you are at the top and circling around but it gets scarier and more dangerous the further down you go. By the time you hit the bottom, it’s pretty much too late to stop the devastation and it becomes an emergency. You can’t prevent damage at the bottom but if you can get out of its way BEFORE it gets there? You are okay. Shaken, still afraid and probably anxious about it all but you are safe and that is really all that matters.

I am always circling the top of that funnel. Maybe one day I won’t but right now I am dealing with a lot and my skills to stay healthy and well are in the training stages. I have to stay very aware of where I am at and make sure I am not sinking downwards.
Well… right now I am sinking downwards. I need to go in to high gear now to figure out what to do to stop it. This is what we all need to do. We can’t just allow the spiral pattern to keep going, we have to actively take evasive measures. The further down we allow this spiral to go, the worse it is and the harder it is to get out. I know this first hand. I’ve lived at the bottom for years. That suicidal, completely depressed, horribly oppressive bottom. It’s as hard as all heck to get out of it but you can. If I can? ANYONE can. Trust me on that. Please listen. I mean it. You CAN get out.

So once again… why write this blog today? Share my silly mental funnel picture and let everyone know I am not doing well? I am doing it because I have learned what I need to do to get back up from here and I feel that is worth sharing.

  1. Be honest with yourself. Admitting you are feeling sad, irritable, anxious etc. is a good start. Put a name to your feelings.
  2. Let others know you are struggling. It will help them to understand that your actions and reactions are depression based and not caused by them.
  3. Seek professional help. Your psychiatrist should be your first call if you have one. A therapist, a family doctor, a crisis line… just make the call and let them know you are approaching a crisis. Don’t accept a long wait list. If they try to do that to you? Go to emergency. Yes, this is an emergency. Your life is at risk no less serious in nature than any other medical emergency. Perhaps not as immediate in nature as a heart attack but no less life altering if not treated.
  4. Put everything and everyone on to the back burner. I know you will all likely say that this is impossible. I get it. I have a husband, a house, 3 kids, friends, my husband’s family, work, this blog, a support group that I run, and other responsibilities up my ying-yang. So trust me, I get it BUT when you are spiraling downwards? YOU need to be #1. Seriously #1. Everyone and everything else will need to be patient and they will be far more understanding if you’ve already done #2 and been honest with them.They will be even more patient if they see you reaching out for help.

What does it mean to take care of yourself? Silly question right? NOPE! Until a year ago, I thought I knew but I was wrong. Here is what I learned.
Make a schedule and stick to it. Don’t go overboard but have a general set flow to your days. You need to plan meals, sleep, relaxation and self-care.
Do puzzles, read a cheerful book, take a bath, get a manicure, listen to happy music, draw, paint, knit, write, blow bubbles, cook or bake, garden, take a walk, make a collage… there are a million options. I am sure you can find a few you like. Most importantly? Just take care of yourself!

I will end this here for now. I have  a craft day with a friend today, therapy on Wednesday (I am writing this on Monday) and a call in to my psychiatrist. I am also being open and honest with you all here. #1,2,3 and 4 all taken care of. 🙂 I’ll let you know how it all goes. I hope you’ll do the same.

14 responses to “The Spiral Down…

  1. While I’m sad to hear you aren’t doing well, I’m so happy you are taking all the right steps to help yourself. And this post will surely help others, and maybe even save a few lives. Bravo!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hello Heather,
    Another powerful blog that captures my current terror. I feel as though I’m hanging on to health and wellness by my fingernails. So, I have had to clean house! Out went the current sort of maybe boyfriend-ish guy that I’ve been distracting myself with. Out went the crappy food that I’ve been medicating myself with. And back into the forefront are those things that you mentioned that keep me well: routine, good food, good friends, daily showers, going to meetings and spiritual fellowship. Why do I feel that lying in bed with chips and chocolate waiting for text messages will make me happier than my life of wellness? I lose track of how to be a good parent to myself, but it’s coming back more and more quickly. Love you Heather.

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    • Thank you so much for your openness Sue. You are truly a dedicated woman to your wellness. How many times you fall is not a measure of your character, it is how many times you get back up. I think you are awesome. Keep trying my friend!

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  3. So glad you realized it is ok to share the down moments too. In fact, I think sometimes they can be the most important ones to share! And in a funny way, for most of us, I think rather than finding them depressing, we find them comforting because we know and understand what you are saying and it makes us all realize we are more normal than we usually feel. So thanks for sharing this. I hope you are feeling support and that you are gaining ground again 🙂

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  4. Great post! Like kmaramarie, I think it helps to share, because as you said, it acknowledges those feelings, instead of letting them roil around inside. I hope you continue to feel better, and I will try to follow your steps, too! (I usually am ok with 1 and 4, but not 2 or 3.)

    I usually don’t know how depressed I’ve been until I’m on the way back up the spiral of the funnel cloud. Then I look back and think, “Wow, is that what was happening? How did I not see that?” lol

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  5. Heather…your description of depression is so accurate. Thanks for writing even though you felt so low yourself. It was a great and amazing post. I hope you are feeling better? I’m off now to put some self care ideas together. Sorry this is so late, I am way behind on peoples blogs and I have all of your posts waiting for me to read! xoxo Carol anne

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