Regular Workouts

Regular Workouts

Just like everything else in my life, things only work for me if I do it on a regular basis. I need patterns to get things done. For example, I get up and do the same activities every morning. I run errands around the same time every day. I keep my doctor appointments around the same time. The same is true for working out.

I started a workout routine last week. I workout at least 3 days a week. Eventually, I want to get to 5 days a week. I try to start my workout, usually Zumba videos, shortly after my husband goes to work. I also go to the gym once or twice a week with my husband. I have to make sure that this becomes a regular activity, otherwise the workouts will not stick. I have to find some way to workout while I’m traveling. Even if it’s as simple as taking a walk.

Cleaning Schedule

Cleaning Schedule

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 Can’t Get Started

I Can’t Get Started

The past few days, I’ve been having a very hard time getting my day started. My muscles and joints feel like they’re too tired to move. This starts from the moment I wake up until the moment I fall asleep. I have no clue how to fix this. I did decide that I would try taking a day off of working out, which means no Zumba or gym workout today. I’ve spent a good amount of time today stretching my muscles, hoping that it would help, but there’s been no change so far.

I am so tired today that I actually took a nap for about 45 minutes. I slept fine last night, but for some reason, I couldn’t keep my eyes open. So far, today has not been at all productive. After I finish writing this, I am going to start cleaning my house. A clean house always makes me feel better; maybe it will help me.

I usually write when I wake up in the morning, but I haven’t had it in me to do that. I think I need to push myself to stick to my routine. When I wake up I should feed the dog, check my email, write about what’s on my mind, and then start any tasks written on my to-do list. I will try that again starting tomorrow.

 

Routines Help

Routines Help

Life has been pretty busy the past couple weeks. Between many doctor appointments, family obligations, trying to stay on top of bills, completing the Total and Permanent Disability paperwork, and completing the patient drug assistance program, I feel like I’m on overload. There’s too much to do, I don’t feel like I have any time to myself. It was suggested to me that I take a day to myself, a day when I don’t run any errands, fix any problems, or go to any appointments. It sounds really nice, but now I’m just trying to figure out when that day will be. There’s always something to do, such as cleaning, laundry, grocery shopping, or other errands. I really want to try it, a day off sounds just like what I could use.

I’ve just been staying very busy, but I haven’t been keeping to my normal routine. I think that’s what has been screwing me up. Routines have always been beneficial for me; not keeping to my normal routines has its consequences. I’ve been trying to schedule flight plans for me and my husband, but I get overwhelmed every time I do the research. Everything that I’ve been trying to do lately has been more difficult to complete, and I think it’s because I’m not keeping to my normal routine. I guess I need to get back to my routine, after I find a way to take a day to myself.

Insomnia…

Insomnia…

I’ve probably mentioned before that I’m an insomniac. However, the Clozapine I take at night helps me fall asleep with 20 minutes, I just don’t stay asleep. I wake up at least twice every night. It would be nice to sleep through the night, but I don’t know if that will ever happen. My mind is always running extremely fast. It goes from one thought, to the next, and so on. I never catch a break; I never get a moment of peace from my own brain. This happens when I’m manic, depressed, and even when I’m not experiencing an episode.

There are many aspects in life that affect my ability to sleep. These aspects include keeping a routine, medications, my anxiety level, and my honesty. Keeping a routine is important, but it’s something that I’m not very good at. I almost never go to bed at the same time every night. I pretty much go to sleep whenever I feel like it, so that isn’t very helpful. Several of my medications, including Lithium and Tegretol XR, can cause insomnia in patients. I’m sure this worsens my ability to sleep. My anxiety level is high quite often. Even when it’s not high, I deal with anxiety on a regular basis, especially when I’m outside of my home. For me, it’s important to remain honesty. I have a hard time living with myself if I’m not honest. I truly believe that honesty is the best policy; it’s important that when we interact with others, you should treat them the way you want to be treated.

There are many reasons why I could struggle with insomnia. I wonder if this is something I’ll have to deal with for the rest of my life. When I was a young child, I would fall asleep anywhere. Now, I have to force myself to fall asleep. And to make matters even worse, I tend to have nightmares when I finally do fall asleep. My husband says that he can tell when I’m having a bad dream because I talk very loudly in my sleep and I’m constantly tossing and turning. When I wake up, I don’t always remember my dream/nightmare, but I do remember feeling terrified. I wonder if there’s anything I can do to help get rid of these nightmares.

I Did Well… For A While – My Life: Part 5

I Did Well… For A While – My Life: Part 5

After working at the rehab for 9 months, I decided I wanted to move forward with my life. I applied for many jobs in Phoenix. I got a job as a receptionist for a legal compliance and ethics e-learning company. I found an apartment in Phoenix and moved there with a guy I was dating from the rehab, but that relationship didn’t last. I don’t know when our relationship ended, but I think we lived together for about a year. I adopted a dog and named him Cash (after Johnny Cash). He was awfully energetic and liked to chew on everything. I learned how to train him, and he started to behave properly. Cash came with me to AA camping events, which was a blast. At some point, I found a great AA club where I would go to the same meeting every day at 6pm. I don’t like change, so moving was scary. I like to keep a regular schedule. I made a lot of friends at the meeting, but I would only go to that one meeting every day. One of the guys I met was Brandon, who became my best friend. He had the same sarcastic attitude that I have and we got along wonderfully.

I was doing really well at this time in my life. I got a promotion at work, I was able to live on my own, make friends, and maintain my sobriety and my mental health. I took my medication and saw my doctors regularly. I was seeing the psychiatrist that was treating me while I was in rehab. Brandon asked me to workout with him. I told him no for months, and then I ultimately caved and decided to go with him. I was terrified because it was something new, but Brandon made me feel safe. After working out with him once, I was hooked. I loved it. We started working out together 5 days a week. It helped me get through my days at work. I would go to work, then workout with Brandon, and then go to my meeting (often with Brandon). I was happy with this new schedule; it was working well for me.

In the beginning, I wasn’t open about my mental health when it came to my AA meetings. My close friends knew, but that was all. Eventually, I ended up talking about my bipolar disorder in a meeting. I felt as if it wasn’t accepted. Several times, I was told that I didn’t have a mental health problem. It was just an issue to work on through step work. That was a problem for me. I didn’t feel accepted. My mental health was a huge part of my life. Even when I’m doing well, it’s still a large piece of my life. I was stable for years. That had never happened to me before.

My psychiatrist decided to wean me off my meds slowly because I had been stable for such a long period. It was possible that my mental health issues were drug related, so we thought it was worth a try to get off medication. I was down to two medications, and then she took me off the Seroquel. About 4 months later, I started to fall apart. I thought it would be a good idea to go to therapy again because I started to remember things that I hadn’t previously remembered. These memories triggered what was eventually diagnosed as PTSD. With the PTSD coming up and the med changes occurring, it was like the perfect storm. I started having hallucinations and was shaking uncontrollably. My psychiatrist put me on Abilify, but that made it worse. I barely slept for 3 weeks.

My job let me work from home, but after a little while, I couldn’t even manage that any more. I went on short-term disability, which then turned into long-term disability. There were times that I struggled to feed the dog. My mom came out to stay with me for a little while, but she couldn’t be there all the time. I decided to move back to Connecticut because I couldn’t be on my own anymore. I’m lucky that she was able and willing to let me and my dog move in with her. My long-term disability turned in to Social Security Disability.

I thought writing my story would help my memory, and it has; but it has also become difficult for me. There’s a lot that I struggle to remember, and a lot of other things I wish I didn’t remember. I think I’m going to take a break from writing my story for a little while.

Getting Sober And Starting A Life – My Life: Part 4

Getting Sober And Starting A Life – My Life: Part 4

I flew across the country at the end of April in 2004. On April 29th, 2004 I was admitted to a year-long in-patient rehab. I was excited to go until I got there. Once I arrived, my fears kicked in and I told my mom that I changed my mind about going to rehab. She ensured me that I could do it. I trusted her; I always trust my mom because she has never given me a reason not to.

Rehab was very tough. I couldn’t talk to my family for the first 6 weeks. Then I could only talk to them once a week on Sundays for 15 minutes. There was a strict schedule that had to be followed. On Sundays we had to clean our living areas and everything had to pass inspection. I think that may be why I am so obsessive about cleaning my house. We had to make dinner every night for our houses. This required making a menu, grocery list, and assigning specific tasks. I had a therapist and a psychiatrist that I saw weekly. They managed my medication so I never missed a dose.

We were required to go to AA meetings that were put on by the staff members. A couple times a week we were allowed to go to outside meetings that were supervised by staff members. We were also required to have a sponsor and do step work. In the beginning, it was tough. However, as time went on, it became normal. The step work brought up a lot of issues that I was able to work on. The hardest part for me was believing in a Higher Power. I’m Jewish by blood, but I was raised Catholic. I never believed in what I was taught in Sunday school and I never related to anything I heard in church. I don’t like the word God for many reasons. Overall, I just don’t believe in God. Some people may not like to hear that, but I’m just being honest. The great part about belief according to AA is that you just have to believe in a power greater than yourself. I can admit that. I know that I’m not the most powerful thing out there. I’m not sure what it is, but I know it’s not me. I do believe in science and Mother Nature, which then became my Higher Power.

Family was invited to visit every 3 months for workshops, which helped to work through some family problems. My mom came every time. My brother, sister, and aunt each came for one of the workshops as well as my graduation. I was so amazed at how much my family supported me; especially after all of the crap I put them through over the years. Once I completed the year-long program (which felt like forever), I worked at the rehab for 9 months helping others get sober.

I made some friends from the rehab, but most of those relationships faded off. I did date one of the guys that I met there, and we ended up living together for a while. The school teacher from the rehab became a close friend of mine and we spent time together after I left. His wife ended up being my sponsor when I lived on my own. I even became close with their family.