As we all now, Halloween is tonight, and I have a lot of anxiety because of that. I don’t think there are kids that trick or treat on my street, but I will keep the lights out on my house. My husband works tonight, so it will be just me and my dog until about 9pm. I just hope my dog doesn’t bark all night. I’ll probably put his Thundershirt on him to help keep him calm. I can’t remember how other Halloween nights have been, so this all feels like new to me.
At 5pm, I get to see my granddaughter all dressed up.That gives me something to look forward to today. I think that it will help me get through the day today and minimize my anxiety attacks. I will let you know tomorrow how well I handle Halloween night. Hopefully, I can keep the anxiety and panic attacks to a minimum.
Any time that I’m home, my TV is turned on. I’m usually not watching what is actually on TV, it’s just background noise. There are so many commercials on TV that promote prescription drugs to help depression. I do believe in prescription medications, but I don’t like that some individuals, with no mental health experience, now tries to relate to what we go through with our diagnoses.
There’s a difference between sympathy and empathy. I don’t want anyone’s pity, but it would be nice to have others trying to understand. In my experience, only those that deal with the same things that I deal with, can understand how I feel. I don’t think it’s possible to truly understand what a person goes through unless you go through it as well. My family members do their best to understand what I deal with, and I greatly appreciate that because they do it without pitying me.
I normally am not the person that reaches out to others, not to friends or family. So, I’ve decided that it is something I need to work on. I have friends that reach out to me, and I only sometimes respond to them. It’s important to be the one who reaches out first because I want my friends to know that I care about them. I feel the same way about reaching out to my family.
Even a simple text message let people know you are thinking about them. Sometimes, just a text message can ignite a conversation. It would be great to talk to friends and family, but it is sometimes extremely hard for me to send a text message. I’m going to write it on my to-do list; if it’s on my list, it will get done.
Yesterday, I cleaned the house. I try to do it once a week, but lately it’s been every 2 or 3 weeks, probably because of my depression. My cleaning routine starts by organizing and dusting everything, then cleaning the kitchen, then the bathrooms, then vacuuming, and finally mopping. I’ve tried to split up the tasks over a couple of days, but for some reason I feel as if it all needs to be done in one day. It takes about 4 to 5 hours to clean the whole house. Most of the problem is dog hair, which is everywhere.
I feel better when the house is clean and organized. I spend so much of my time in my house, I think it should be clean. I just wish the cleanliness would last longer. Between the dog hair and normal living, the shiny cleanliness only lasts a day or two.
I’ve never been diagnosed with OCD and I don’t think that it’s something I have. Although, maybe I should mention it to my psychiatrist, I’ve never said anything about it to him before. I just like things organized. I have 2 drawers for filing documents; everything is arranged in alphabetical order. My clothes are arranged by type (tank top, t-shirt, etc) and by color. My spice cabinet is organized by name and by size of the bottle. I pretty much do this with everything, my books, DVDs, medicine cabinet, almost every cabinet, and the closets. I don’t see anything wrong with having each hanger one finger width apart. Each tank top has to be on the same exact type of hanger, and same goes for t-shirts, long-sleeve shirts, etc. Sometimes I must have things that organized, but other times I do okay knowing when things aren’t perfectly organized how I want them. I think of my organizational skills as a positive. Whenever something needs to be found, I know exactly where to find it.
Group therapy is not something I like very much, but I am getting some of it from the depression support group I started going to. It’s great to get feedback from others who are going through the same type of situations. Having people understand what you’re dealing with is a nice change of pace. Trying to explain yourself to people can be exhausting.
As long as I am comfortable with the people in the group, then I would feel fine opening up to the other group members, but it takes quite a while for me to become comfortable with new people. I’m trying very hard with the new group I attend on Thursday nights. I’ve been there 3 times now and I plan to keep going, except for next week (my anniversary).
One of the things I struggle with at support groups is sitting still while others speak. I don’t mind listening to others at all, but I do have a hard time sitting still, especially if I’m dealing with anxiety. I tend to rock back and forth or fidget with my fingers. I try my hardest not to do that, but I do think that other group members understand how hard it is to sit down for 2 hours. At this point, I have committed to going to this new group, hoping that something positive can come out of it.
One thing that is not often talked about is personal hygiene; however, it is something that can be a problem during depressive episodes. Sometimes, depression can get so bad that it is almost impossible to get out of bed or off the couch and take a shower. I admit that this is one of my struggles during the deeper parts of my depression. In fact, this was a problem just a couple of weeks ago. My mom was the one who helped me and got me to shower every day. She just kept talking to me about it, without any judgement. Once I was showering every day, it gave me the energy to complete other daily tasks.
Poor personal hygiene can frequently be a sign for a depressive episode. In my experience, I was unable to take care of myself. I also remember not being able to get up to feed the dog. Self neglect, or neglecting one’s daily tasks is not only a sign of depression, but it can also make the depression worse. It’s a vicious cycle, which can often make depression harder to get out of. I’m grateful that I have someone to lookout for me when I can’t lookout for myself. I hope that everyone has someone to help them through these difficult and embarrassing times.
I’ve thought about taking some form of martial arts or self-defense class for the past couple months. I think it may make me feel a little safer in my life. It used to make me feel safe when I studied martial arts 12 years ago. It would also help me get in shape and be healthy. The only problem is that I’m too scared to do it on my own. I don’t know what I’m going to do. I’ll probably think about it for approximately 3 months before doing something. I just want to feel empowered, I want to feel like I can take care of myself. I don’t want to be terrified for my life every time someone knocks on the door. I want to know that I can take my dog for a walk by myself and not feel threatened by others around me. I’m not sure if this will ever happen, but at least I know I’m thinking about it, which is the first step in the process.
I hate solicitation. It makes me uncomfortable and full of fear. My husband’s idea is to get a “No Solicitation” sign to put in the front yard, I think that’s a great idea. Normally, our dog scares people away (he’s an 88 pound Pitbull mix), but not this time. Our dog is a sweetheart, but his size and bark tends to frighten people. When I’m home alone, I freak out any time the doorbell rings or when the dog starts to bark. It’s extremely scary for me. Even when my husband is home, I still get nervous, just not as much. I used to keep a baseball bat by the door to make me feel more comfortable. Sometimes I carry a knife with me to help me feel secure.
Yesterday, some guy came by the house trying to sell Tupperware. I told the guy at the door that I didn’t have time, but he kept talking. I told him my husband would be home shortly (which was a lie), so the salesman said he’ll come back in a little bit when my husband gets home. I told him we don’t have time. He said he’ll try coming back next week. I told him I’m not interested, but he still wants to come by again. I have a hard time being direct with people in these types of situations, it feels like confrontation. I wish I could just tell solicitors that I don’t want whatever they are selling and not to come back.
My anxiety seems to be getting a little worse lately. I’ve been using more Valium than I normally do. I’m fearful of anything new, anything that I don’t know. For example, I haven’t gotten my hair cut in over a year because I don’t remember where I used to go. Anywhere I go would be new. Having someone behind me terrifies me no matter what they’re doing. I live close to a high school and an elementary school. At the end of the school day, there are always a few teenagers waiting for their rides by my front lawn. When that happens, I can’t go outside to get to my car. No matter what my plans are, I have to wait because I’m too afraid and anxious.
Crowds are a problem because people are all around and behind you. My husband makes it possible for me to do some things such as go to hockey games. I never lose sight of him, he stands behind me in lines so I feel safe, and holds my hand through the crowds. We have a system that works for us in any crowded situation, and he is wonderful about helping me. I’ve been pushing myself to do more such as going to a support group and going to stores I’ve never been to before. I just have to be careful not to overdo things.