Monday, January 2, 2017

DEAR SON

Dear Son,

I know you are going through hell right now. You probably feel like this hell is your own fault or what you deserve but, I can assure you, neither assumption is true.

You probably won't believe this, but I experienced the same feelings in my past. "No, that isn't possible," you might say. "No one could live through this without at least thinking about committing suicide."

But, who says I didn't at least think about doing myself in? You can't and no one else can either. No one knows what was on my mind in those horrible, dark times. Heck, I can't even tell you for sure whether death thoughts went through my mind way back in 1990.

I must admit I was in a different situation, but I'm about 99% sure I felt the same despair!

"How was the situation different?" you may ask. For one thing, I was 30 years old -- roughly two years older than you are now. I was also the mother of a young child -- a 3-year-old son, to be precise. If I thought about suicide, I decided against it because of that child. That child was, of course, You!

I know you didn't ask for my advice and you may not even want it. But, I'm going to put it out there -- just in case.

I know you're not a religious person and you may not believe in God at all, but let me ask you this -- do you honestly think that Fate or Mother Nature or the Universe would allow you to come into this Life without having a pretty good reason? I mean, do you believe anybody or anything would create you and put you on the Earth just to be miserable?

Well, in Greek or Roman mythology, Fate might do that or worse; but I don't believe in Greek mythology and the Romans just modelled their beliefs along the same lines.

The point I'm trying to make is this: No matter if you DO anything with your life or not, you are still serving some purpose. Granted, it might not be anything more than providing carbon dioxide for plants for the time being, but there is a reason you are here. I refuse to believe that God or the Universe or Mother Nature sent you to me and your father just to be mean to you.

I know you lost a job. I know you lost other jobs before that. Like I told you, I lost ten jobs in ten years. Actually, I lost ten jobs within 6-1/2 years!! That's right, I lost ten jobs between October 1983 and March 1990. Now, subtract the four years that were devoted to two of those and you might understand my utter depression that finally made me file for disability benefits!

But, there are many other things I know about you. You are extremely smart; you have common sense; you are sensitive to the feelings of other adults; you have a good, caring heart; you can write better than most other people I know; and you are absolutely the BEST person (that I know of) at managing money!

Those qualities make up a very rare personality and were not given to you so that you could put yourself down, want to die, or to feel like you deserve to die.

If nothing else makes you feel better, think about the one job you quit  in order to take another job. Granted, the new job didn't work out but do you know how extremely rare it is for a person to be offered two jobs within the same month? I mean, two jobs within 30 days of each other is rare enough but you were offered two jobs within the same calendar month! There has to be a reason for that other than luck or fate.

Personally, I think you should take some time off from your job hunting. Take at least two months to get yourself some psychological help and hopefully take some medicine -- for six weeks or more -- so you can feel better about your Self. You are not useless or undeserving if you pause for a while, I promise. For that matter, you are worthy of love without working another single day in your entire life!!

Monday, August 24, 2015

Awesome Website(s)

     I just found an awesome website called Dealing With Depression. It gives several links to other sites with helpful advice. Please check it out and follow some of the links under "Depression self-help tips and tools."
       The Back From the Bluez link is especially helpful, in my opinion. It gives you "Modules" to follow, encouraging you to take one step at a time and it comes complete with worksheets
     Please, please, follow the top link today! 

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Hello, again.

Hello, everybody. Long time, no see. It's been three months since I wrote a post. Well, there is a post for April 2015, but most of that was already written. I'm rather surprised to see that I wrote a full post in March, complete with a link! However, March was the last time I wrote anything.
       
What does a writer do when she's too depressed to write? For me, the answer is practically nothing. I haven't written in a journal. I haven't bathed more than once a month. I haven't cleaned more than once in the last three months. All of my dishes are Dirty and, except for that one cleaning spell, I only wash what I need for a particular meal.

I could go on, but I think I'm already going into the "feeling sorry for myself" stage and that doesn't do either one of us any good.

Now, there were some good days. There were even three days in a row that I was in a good mood. These days were due to a friend who let me help her take care of her horses on the first day. I cleaned most of the next day and did a bit more on the third day! But, depression definitely ruled my emotions more often than not.

Some of you may want to know what has caused this "gloomy" three months, but I only know part of the answer:
  1. I know part of it was physical ailments because I had several bouts of toothaches that finally ended when I had two teeth pulled on May 1st. I had Sinusitis, Bronchitis and, most recently an ear infection.
  2. Part of my problem is financial. My husband and I owe a lot more than we earn.
  3. I am out of one of my anti-depression medicines and the doctor I was using is no longer covered by my insurance. I thought I'd be all right because it was spring time. Now, I think I need to find another doctor to prescribe it.
Now, you know as much as I do. It probably doesn't help you to know this stuff, but maybe it helped me by sharing it.

All right, I guess that's enough about my problems. It did help to write this out, at least a little bit.

Does anyone have suggestions for what I can do about my current state? Do you know where I can find more help? Please e-mail me at  t.j.pinkston.2007@gmail.com  if you want to share anything.
      

Monday, April 6, 2015

BE KIND TO YOURSELF

          I used to think I was one of a rare breed that judged her Self much more harshly than others. What other people thought of me was 10,000 times more important than what I thought of my Self. I believed that the majority of the population were well-balanced individuals who had good Self- esteem and put themselves in the same category of decent human being as they put their friends, family and/or other people in. Some people were even supposed to be “Self-centered,” putting themselves ahead of everyone else.
          However, I came to the startling revelation that there are thousands of people like me. Individuals who put their Self and desires last while everyone else rates above them are much more common than I thought. Heck, this “rare breed” may actually be the most ordinary breed of all.             

          Let me tell you other people who put your Self on the “bottom rung” some ways I found to fight this feeling of inferiority.

Part One

          Be at least a little “Self-centered” and put your “Self” first -- or at least second. You may notice that I separate “Self” as a word. That’s because your “Self” is your Spirit or Soul. It is your center, your inner holy place, your church or temple. Unless you are some sort of crazed lunatic, you don’t go around tearing down other holy places. So, why do you tear down your own??       
          Consider your soul as the center of the universe. Just remember that everyone else has their own “center,” too. Treat your “Self” with the same respect and dignity that you give to any other person. Base your Self-worth on what you believe is right! When you slip up -- and everybody does -- give yourself another chance and then another and another. After all, nobody is perfect.


Part Two

        Treat yourself like a child. Unless you are a true perfectionist and think everyone around you has to be perfect, you probably treat a child with much more compassion, understanding and forgiveness than you do anyone else. For instance, instead of getting angry with yourself for spilling something, say, “Oh, that was just an accident.”
 
        When you’re tempted to berate yourself for not sticking to your diet or for not getting your house spotless or for not exercising for the prescribed amount of time, stop and think, “What would I say to a kid?” Your answer would probably be something along the line of “You tried.”


        Just how far you go into treating yourself like a child is up to you; but no spanking or face slapping, no name-calling, no sitting in the corner and no going to bed without your supper! After all, we want to be kind to our Self, not mean. I went out and bought a package of those little metallic stars and made charts to put them on. Why? Because my biggest kick as a young child was to see a star beside my name on the wall or if the teacher drew a star by my grade on a paper. You can even make some of the things you enjoyed doing as a child into rewards -- go to a park and swing, run through the sprinkler(s), color or draw, or do something else to make your inner child happy!



Part Three

        Don’t be stingy with your rewards! No punishments are allowed.   Believe me when I say "the carrot" works much better than "the stick." A few years ago, I was trying to lose a bunch of weight. I debated on whether to count my highest weight of all time or my highest weight registered on my chosen "weight loss" site. The first one would mean I had lost five pounds, but the second would only be three. I struggled with that for quite some time because I had already bought myself a prize! Finally, I decided, “Why not reward myself for every three pounds I lose?” After all, the mantras of this site are, “Slow and steady wins the race,” and “One pound or one inch at a time.”

        Therefore, my third suggestion is to reward yourself often. This doesn't have to cost any money at all. You can give yourself a star or a smiley face for every daily goal you meet. Even if you walked only five minutes instead of your intended 20, give yourself a reward because you were active for at least those five minutes! If you make an honest attempt to complete at least half of your goals for a day, reward yourself with 15 minutes of “alone time” or listening to music or another enjoyable activity. You can play a game, color a picture, take a bubble bath or find some other way to reward yourself.


        For your weight, don't be afraid to do something special for every single pound or every inch if you want to. Even if your scale went the wrong way or stayed in the same spot, ask yourself, “Did I do my exercise?” Or, “Did I record all of my food?” If you answer “Yes” to either question, give yourself a prize anyway!


        Of course, you can spend money if you have it. How much you spend is up to you, but don't go overboard. Chris Downie, author of The Spark, suggests saving a dollar for accomplishing your daily goals. If you are trying to lose weight, you might squirrel-away $1 for every pound you lose. What happens if you don't have that amount of money? Think of something else! You can always chose one of the free suggestions elsewhere in this series. Never let the lack of money stand in the way of rewarding your Self.



Monday, March 9, 2015

Step Five - USE YOUR HANDS

     It may sound ridiculous, but I believe working with your hands is extremely important! Please read the article and watch the video at http://www.everydayhealth.com/health-report/major-depression-resource-center/sanjay-gupta-using-your-hands-to-heal-your-head.aspx for more information.
     At one time, I loved to draw and do paint-by-number pictures and I'd color pictures, usually with coloring pencils. I was much happier then and now I'm beginning to realize why. The couple in the video above say that 60% of your brain is dedicated to your hands!
     Somewhere along the years, I became more interested in computers and, most recently, playing games on my cell phone. I still like to make house plans (on graph paper), but even that "artistic endeavor" tends to go into my Sims 3 game more often than not. Now, I want to make friends with the younger part of me and start doing some of my older hobbies. 
     I'm not ever going to be famous for any of the things I can do with my hands, except hopefully writing, but why would I want to be a well known artist when I am anxious around crowds?
     The thing is, our hands are unique. No other animal has hands like ours. A chimp or gorilla would be the closest, but I don't think you can teach either one of them how to knit or sew. We can learn to do amazing things with our hands!
     There are millions of things you can choose from -- knitting or crochet, gardening, sewing, woodworking, paint artistically, paint your walls, build a birdhouse or dollhouse, color a picture, draw, fix your car or something else around the house, just to name a few. I suggest trying several things! Find two, three or more things you like to do.
     Those of you with ADD or ADHD probably have trouble with "small motor skills"; but don't worry. Just don't reach for the scissors or the million piece jigsaw puzzle. Try planting a garden, painting a wall, building furniture, or think of something else you want to try. Even painting graffiti will work to some degree but I don't want you to be arrested. Ask around about places that allow "tagging" and/or ask people if they know anyone that might want a mural painted.
     Personally, I want to learn how to knit or crochet and/or how to make pottery. One is for small motor skills and the other, not so much. I also want to rent a garden spot and raise a vegetable garden -- this year -- for the first time in 40 (?) years! If I add one, two, or all of these to painting, drawing and/or coloring, these activities will greatly increase my happiness and most likely help me socialize with less fear or anxiety. I bet I'd have a lot less trouble with twisting my hair or other "nervous habits" as well!
     How about it? What do you want to do with your hands?

   

Friday, February 20, 2015

Step Four - TAKE YOUR MEDICINE(S)

     For better or worse, I didn't write anything for this at an earlier date. It might be because I do not always remember my own medicines! It might be because I knew what I was going to suggest here. At any rate, give yourself three weeks or more to develop a routine where you will take your pills MOST of the time!
     My suggestions for remembering your pills are below. Practice each one for at least a week before attempting the next one. Many of you will need to use more than one option like I do. Be sure to journal what works best for you.

GOAL # 1
     Organize your pills!

     I remember my pills better if I have them in a pill sorter. I need the daily reminder and the ability to quickly determine if I already took them. Some people may do better by turning the bottle(s) upside-down or moving a bottle from one place to another. Which you choose is up to you, but remember to follow one for at least a week before trying anything else. If you choose a sorter, they come in many different varieties, some of which are very inexpensive or may be free from your pharmacy! Be sure to refill the sorter when needed if you choose this one.

GOAL # 2
     Write down the day and time(s) you took your pill(s)!

     All you need is some paper and something to write with or you might want to record on your cell phone. Be sure to record the different times if you take pills more than once per day. Attempt to not obsess over making a handwritten list neat. However, this wouldn't work for me for that very reason!

GOAL # 3
     Set one or more alarms!

     I use this in conjunction with my pill sorter. I often don't take my pills exactly when the reminder goes off, but it does help me with the time of day! I only take one set and I usually swallow them in the mornings. But, if I forget until after noon, I will reset the alarm for after noon for the next few days. I usually miss at least one day per week and I go back to the morning reminder the next day.

     The worst problem here is that you can have too many alarms! Sometimes, you can make so many alarms that you start ignoring most or all of them. On top of that, most clocks only have one or two presets per day and most cell phones have limits of 4-8. Be sure to check your preferred alarm system for its limits. If you use your cell phone, give your "Take Pills!" alarm(s) a unique sound so that you don't confuse it with something else! If you find yourself ignoring many of your reminders, delete some of them. I suppose setting too many reminders is another obsession of mine, but I'm probably not totally alone there.

GOAL # 4
     Follow your "best" system for at least 3 weeks, if possible, before moving on to the next step!

     Sometimes we think one path is going to work great for us but a few weeks later something happens that messes us all up! If your reminders start being ignored or your pill sorter is never refilled when it needs it, you may need to try something else. You aren't alone there. Maybe you need to take a whole bottle with you when you travel. Maybe recording times works better than reminders for a week or two. Be flexible if needed, but make taking your "meds" part of your daily routine!


Sunday, January 25, 2015

Step Three, Part Two -- BE ACTIVE!

    Now, let me set something straight. My last post does not mean  you have to exercise for thirty minutes or more every single day. The average person probably does 30 minutes, three days a week or ninety minutes per week and that is a good goal!
     However, you might need to start with a lot less. Try being active for fifteen minutes. Can't do 15? How about ten? Can't do ten minutes? Move for five minutes. Can't even do five minutes? How about two-and-a-half?
     That's right. Start with as little as 2-1/2 minutes per day and work your way up! I'm going to give you some goals and mini-steps to help you build up a regular habit. Attempt each one for at least a week (three or more sessions), preferably more, and try the next goal when you are comfortable doing the previous steps. Keep that up until you are active as a regular part of your ROUTINE!

Goal # 1
     Find your comfort zone!

     If you are able to walk or do other exercises on your own, start with something simple! Walking, doing arm curls or using a stationary bike are the first things that come to my mind. Whatever it is, do it only until you are tired and/or winded!
      Now, take a break. Sit down and rest for a few minutes. Just breathe.
     Don't feel like you did enough? Did you exercise for at least two-and-a-half minutes (see above)? I bet you did!
     When you are rested, ask yourself; Can I do more without hurting tonight or tomorrow? Be honest with yourself because if you hurt, you are much less likely to come back tomorrow or even the next day!
     If your answer is "Yes", repeat the first part and rest again! You can attempt to do a third session, but only if you are 110% sure you will NOT hurt from it!
     Now, go home and/or go inside and repeat it all tomorrow or, at the very least, the day after tomorrow. Once you can "do" this "comfort zone" activity three or more times per week, move on to the next goal.

Goal # 2:    
     Increase one thing at a time!

     I don't know about you, but my biggest mistake with exercise is trying to do more frequency, more time and/or work harder all at once. In other words, I'm a perfectionist which I'm sure many of you can relate to. But, I'm here to tell you, It won't work!
     I'm going to pull out one of many parents' favorite sayings and tell you, Do as I say and not as I do.
     Work on one thing and only one thing at a time.

     Mini-step A: I would start with frequency! Continue to stay in your comfort zone with your simple activity, s-l-o-w-l-y increase to five or six days per week. You can take one or two days off, but if you take two, try not to take them together. I might take Sunday and Thursday off one week and then Tuesday and Saturday off another week. It doesn't matter what time you go or how long you're active. Just concentrate on moving more often!
     Mini-step B: When you are comfortable with being active five or six days per week, you can start increasing the amount of time you are active in a given "session". If you usually walk for five minutes per day, do eight or ten. Doing ten or fifteen minutes? Go for the next "rung of the ladder." If walking or pushing your own wheelchair is your choice of exercise, you can park further from the store, pharmacy or therapy place so that you have to increase the time. Do this until you are comfortable with it! Do NOT, under any circumstances, exercise to the point of exhaustion!
     Mini-step C: "Working harder" means pick up the pace! Increase your speed, OR the weight you lift OR the number of "reps" you do. Again, do NOT attempt all three at once. Add one item at a time but see if you can get your heart to beat at the optimum level during each session. Be sure to ask someone what your heart beat should be before attempting this so-called "mini-step." It's time to move OUT of your comfort zone!

Goal # 3:
     Fuel your "engine."

     This probably belongs at # 2 or perhaps even # 1 and I will most likely move it at a later date. Before you do ANY exercise, be sure you have calories to burn! Your vehicle won't go anywhere without fuel and you can't do very much either.
     Eat something with protein (not sugar!) in it before you exercise! Don't eat too much or you'll feel bloated, but don't go out on an empty -- or nearly empty -- stomach either.
     In addition, take a snack with you. My favorites are pre-packaged cheese crackers or peanut butter crackers. Why do both? Because even in the "comfort zone" stage, you might get dizzy or a headache may start because your sugar is falling and/or you're "running on empty".