Tag Archives: music

Recovering from Good Stuff

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Cinderella shoe cakeI had the opportunity to help throw a bridal shower for a friend this week. I’m paying for it, but it was worth it. There’s some more good news in that regards, but I’ll get to that later.

I had plenty of time to plan. I don’t do complicated. I also had a partner in planning who did all of the things well that I’m not very good at. If I were to be a party planner the rest of my life, I would want her for my partner. It was that much fun. She even talked me into helping her icing the cupcakes with one of those fancy icing bags. I’m better at invites and games and that sort of thing.

I have to carefully allot my time during the week, but the past three weeks have been a lot better. My doctor upped my Risperidone and it’s helped a ton! I’ve been sleepy all the time, which I think is passing as I get used to it, but I’ve been awake a lot more. I’ve had less nightmares and everything else. It’s made life so much more bearable and I’ve also been more able to count my blessings without getting as depressed. My therapist said she could tell a difference, and my friends have been remarking on it, too.

Thus, I felt I had the courage (and ability) to help throw the shower. It was also at our place. I didn’t clean much beforehand as it’s already clean here, but it could have been better, yet I survived. My “have to clean everything perfectly” anxieties were thus lessened in that area. (Our front rooms are usually clean, my room is usually messy…a lot like growing up.)

So, while we were getting ready yesterday, my mind still halted occasionally but it wasn’t bad. I could tell I was headed towards bad anxiety just a couple of times, and after either eating or taking a break I was okay again. It was such a relief! One of the things that’s difficult to explain to people about anxiety disorders is that the “usual” methods of calming oneself don’t always work. We feel “stuck” in the anxiety with very little that helps lower it.

But….not this time. Some loud music someone played briefly on their phone almost got me while everyone was talking. I was leading the game so leaving for a break would have been awkward.

I fell right asleep last night. I did, unfortunately, have a lot of nightmares last night, but they could have been worse. I still felt like I had some control of the dreams. I ended up shaky with my “insides shaking” but I had no limbs flapping. For as much as I did yesterday, that’s quite a feat. Also, I couldn’t get out of bed today until after 1pm. Considering that at times after something so large I could have been wiped out for a few days, that’s also something. I’m fully hoping to get to go for a walk later. I could really use it.

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Neither tremor nor tremolo!

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hymn-lgToday has been a good day. Last week I started getting more tired again and having racing thoughts and needing yet more time at home alone and more sleep etc. (it’s all relative….some versus more). But it was frustrating, as things will be. So at my doctor’s appointment on Tuesday, he upped my dose of Respirdall, and it seemed to help almost immediately. I still can’t go just anywhere I want to whenever I want to (it’s a l.o.n.g way from that), but the blessing was that it’s better again.

So I rested yesterday (Saturday) and last night, in the hopes of making church today. And I did! I woke up around 8:30am. And I was fine. No nightmares, hardly any racing thoughts. And it was a really good day.

Best part?

For years I have avoided, whenever possible, sharing a hymn book with someone at church and holding it with them (me with one hand, them with one of their hands, for those not familiar) because my hands shake and I’m pretty sure it’s more inconvenient for them to try to read it with my hand shaking, thus shaking the whole book. If my hand is shaking enough, I’ll just hand it to them. Anywhere in between and I feel awkward.

Today in Relief Society (women’s meeting) the woman next to me offered (as usual) to hold one side of the book, and….my hand wasn’t shaking! First time in years! Maybe this Respirdall is helping more than I realized. My hands were shaking this morning while I was doing dishes, but that they can “settle down” is giving me hope.

Things to do when you’re alone on Christmas Eve…

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Unlike a lot of people with mental illnesses, I do usually have somewhere to go for Christmas and other holidays. I do get a little stressed, wondering if I’ll find a way there etc., but things usually work out.

This year, though, I got the flu. So tonight, instead of moping about how I missed my family’s festivities last night in California, I decided to put my sense of humor and other things I’ve learned over the years for just this type of thing. I may still be a bit discouraged, but overall I’m having fun with this.

What to do when you’re by yourself for Christmas Eve and Christmas, my personal version:

I could do laundry in the middle of the night! I probably won’t, but I could.
I already opened all my presents. Ha.
I can pretend I’m in France and stay up past midnight, waiting for the baby Jesus.
I can play the piano in the middle of the night. Even if I do a terrible job, no one will care.
I could work on hitting a high ‘C’ in the middle of the night. I’m afraid my neighbors would hear this one. Scratch that.
I can watch Doctor Who, in the middle of the night, with no headphones on.
(Come to think of it, it’s already past midnight in France, but that’s beside the point…)
I can clean my room in the middle of the night. (Getting over this flu! Woohoo!)
I can turn on all the lights in the whole place, just because I want to. Except my roommate’s rooms, of course.
Come to think of it, I can finally finish putting up the decorations that have been sitting out.
I can throw out my Christmas trash in the dumpsters, and they won’t be full already.
I can loudly quote the movie Elf, just for fun, all I want. (I’m kind of wishing for revolving doors, but I’m not sure that’s such a wise post-flu activity anyway.)
Once again, I can scour Netflix for Christmas movies that I haven’t seen yet. And last but not least:
I can remember all the reason why I love the people in my life who drive me crazy, and use the alone time to read and meditate on being a better person myself.

Okay, so one more. I can think about all the reasons my kids are having a good Christmas this year, and how they’re such amazing kids, and how they wish for me to get better. I will see them again. Also, I told them that I will start WWIII if they don’t Skype or call tomorrow, because that’s the type of mother with a flu I am. But I won’t really start WWIII.

And while I’ve been making this list, I keep thinking, “I think I should go back to bed…..” But hey, if I wake up in the middle of the night….

Crowd-o-phobia?

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“I pledge my commitment to the Blog for Mental Health 2014 Project. I will blog about mental health topics not only for myself, but for others. By displaying this badge, I show my pride, dedication, and acceptance for mental health. I use this to promote mental health education in the struggle to erase stigma.”  

I don’t recall ever having had any signs of claustrophobia until my son was a toddler and wanted me to follow him through one of those large mazes of brightly-colored plastic tunnels at a large indoor play place we visited with friends. It really was an amazing place, like McDonald’s Play Places, but cleaner and about 20 times larger. When did those tunnels suddenly look uninviting to me? Seems like I still enjoyed them as a teenager, when having a little sister gave me the excuse to still crawl through them. And when my psychiatrist would ask me about crowds, I don’t recall thinking they were that bad, either. That was something my much older parents were bothered by, not me. Also, the five years I spent driving in L.A. traffic, I thought I did pretty well. It wasn’t like I enjoyed it, but who did?

So, my puzzlement at my issues with crowded rooms that seems to have come about in just the past few years about equals how I felt about my onset of the fear of pretty plastic climbing tubes. Maybe the brain chemical that deals with crowded rooms just ran out. Hopefully it’s only on vacation. I figure the claustrophobia came on with pregnancy hormones, or just with age.

Do tight tunnels and crowds have anything to do with each other? All that I can think of is that the crowds at Disneyland move. They go somewhere. You keep heading where you’re supposed to, and you’ll probably get there, even if it’s behind a long line. Tonight’s crowd was at a pleasant place: my Bishop’s house. “Sister Bishop” had planned a great evening of music for ward members, where anyone who wanted to could perform. Every number was uplifting or humorous or both. I wish I had a recording of it.

The beginning didn’t start out so well for me, though. We got there and the room was already almost full. People kept coming, though, so they kept squishing together and adding chairs and more and more people. We were sitting at the front, because a friend and I were going to perform a duet, and they put more chairs between us and the piano.crowd toys

Someone else who was going to sing had left her seat, and someone explained that she had claustrophobia and had moved to the kitchen. A big ray of hope came down on me: There’s room in the kitchen? (I thought it was already full of people, too.) I can move? I won’t have to suddenly pretend I need to use the bathroom, where I can stay until I need to sing? I’d been sitting there, miserable, feeling like every added chair and every added person was weighing down on me. No one else seemed bothered by it. And why was I suddenly so worried about what people thought: meaning, what they’d think if I went to another (more empty) room? I didn’t want to worry my duet partner that I was bailing out on her: that seems like a pretty rational and genuine concern.

So, I had to thank the fellow singer/claustrophobia sufferer/braver person than I who just moved to the other room. I followed soon after.

Something I’ve gotten a lot is this: “You have anxiety issues? I never would have guessed. You get up in front of the congregation every week and lead the music. I couldn’t do that.”  “You sing in front of people all the time, how do you do that?”

My current theory: music has always been my way of relaxing. Also, when I sing, it’s something I’ve prepared and practiced. Even if it’s at the spur of the moment, I’ve done it my whole life. I did have a hard time at first tonight. When I went into the kitchen I realized that my anxiety was up, and I was shaking, and I’m glad I didn’t have to sing right away. I put my head down and breathed, and the first few singers’ numbers really helped me to calm down. Also, when we sang, I had a nervous “tremolo” in my voice that I don’t usually have. One of those things that I noticed, but others probably didn’t.