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Building a Support Network

A healthy support network is something that everyone needs in their lives.  This network should consist of people who love you, believe in you, and who are willing to let you lean on them occasionally.  It should consist mostly of positive people who are mentally healthy, and possibly people who realize they have issues and are actively seeking help and getting better. People who rely on you as their personal therapist, who are not actively trying to get better, and who are just all around negative people should be interacted with on a minimal basis.

Part of my problem up until this point in my life is that I clustered together with people with issues in my social network. My support came from people with severe depression, social anxiety, low self esteem, etc. This was not healthy, and over the last year or two I started realizing I couldn’t pull myself up when my support network kept pulling me back down into what I was trying to escape. Amy told me that this is very true and that it makes it much easier to help yourself get healthy if you surround yourself with healthy people. I still have a lot of my friends who have issues, but I am no longer their go-to person nor do I spend a lot of time with them on a regular basis.

Right now I am working on rebuilding my support system. This is hard, as I find it difficult to seek out mentally healthy people to be friends with. I feel like I am a person most healthy people would not want to deal with due to my own issues. However, the more I get to know healthy people the more I find that this is not the case. They seem to be very supportive, positive, and want to help encourage me to get better and it’s great! Naturally, you don’t want to overwhelm these people all the time with how you are feeling (that is what your therapist is for!) but talking with them occasionally about stuff is definitely helpful!

Currently, my Healthy Support Network includes:

My Therapist – Amy is wonderful! She has an amazing sense of humor and we click really well. The first therapist I had was very serious and I just don’t mesh well with serious people on an emotional level. I think this is proof that if you don’t connect with your therapist that it might be time to find a new one!

My Yoga Instructor – Though my Yoga instructor is very new to my life, so far she is awesome!  I had a private class with her Saturday so she could show me poses that would help lessen my anxiety and help with my breathing and she was so positive and supportive! She told me I was a very bright individual for going to seek help and for considering Yoga as a way to lessen anxiety and help with my mental health. Just like when Amy says I’m bright I felt a sharp pang of disbelief, but it’s definitely helping with my self esteem issues to hear multiple people who haven’t known me for years say it 🙂

My Work Friend – This person has been really eye opening, because she’s my first local mentally healthy friend. With the few times we have hung out outside of work and the card she sent me she has blown my mind on how caring someone can be without being emotionally connected from having similar mental health issues. The only people I’ve really connected with in my life have all suffered from depression and that’s what made me feel close to them. My work friend has had issues with depression, but only in stressful situations like the near death of her father, and is otherwise a mentally healthy person. Er… well.. she is a bit OCD, but that’s completely different then any of my problems, so I don’t count it 🙂

My Significant Other – Though my SO does deal with depression and low self esteem, he admits to this being an issue and is actively working to help himself get better. He does not rely on me to fix it, it is not the main topic of conversation every time we talk, and I think it helps us both stay encouraged seeing each other making progress and feeling better about ourselves.

My Sister – My sister has a few issues similar to mine. I know she has mild social anxiety and does suffer from occasional bouts with depression, just not on the same scale as I do. She is very independent and is doing what she wants to do with her life and right now is a very happy person. She is also great at listening and knows what to say to make me feel better or diffuse my social anxiety.

My Parents – Though originally my parents were suprised that I was seeking help for my mental health, they have been very supportive of it. As time has gone by and I’ve let them in to see how truely unhappy I am, they have grown more and more supportive of me switching jobs and doing what I need to to be happy. This has taken a lot of stress off of me, as I am very much someone who has a strong desire to make my parents proud.

My Online Friends – Though I don’t talk to them as much as I used to, the online friends I have had for a decade have all been very supportive. Not all of these friends are mentally healthy, but they are all very supportive. One of them in particular has found this blog via Twitter, and has sent me very positive texts when he notices a negative post.  Another has told me he refuses to talk about his problems anymore with me while I seek help, because he knows I get very emotionally invested in other people’s problems. They are all great in their own right, but I try not to over utilize them as I need to work on building a better real life support network.

As you can see, I need to make more local friends to add to my support network. I have several friends around it’s just the ones I currently have are the ones that still hold on to depression and other issues and are not actively seeking help so I can not count them as part of a healthy support network. I am working on making more friends, and have a couple of specific people I think it would be easy to become friends with. It’s just difficult for me to find a healthy route to become friends with someone. Friendships usually spring from someone having a really bad day and me listening, and then we are friends!  So this is a new experience o.o

I am very happy that my healthy support network is growing, and I can honestly say I can see the difference having healthy people in my life has had on me. It’s harder to find negatives in life when you are surrounded by people who are positive. It’s harder to not believe in yourself when the people around you keep reminding you that they believe in you. It’s hard to fear the world when you have people willing to help you meet it head on.

I think my life is definitely heading in the right direction, now it’s just up to me to get enough courage to steer it where  I want it to go 🙂

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Profit vs Progress – A Personal Struggle

The path to progress and profit

Image taken from an article on Good.Is titled Progress vs Profit

I am at a cross roads in my life. My current job pays the bills with extra to stash away in the bank, it has good benefits, and I am basically completely independent and can prioritize my day in any way as long as it benefits the company and stuff gets done.

However, my job does not make me happy. I do not feel like I am accomplishing anything, that I am giving back in any way, or that I am being challenged at all. There is no growth here, those above me on the food chain I often think are idiots or spineless, and a lot of my comments or suggestions fall on deaf ears. I take attitude from my users, tell my boss, and am told to “bite the bullet”. I ask for a reasonable raise, and I’m told that my boss has consulted the vendors that work for me and that they say that doesn’t seem reasonable. I do not hate my coworkers, but I enjoy the company of very few and have even fewer that I have a anything in common with. There is no creativity here. There is no self expression. It is a dull and lifeless place full of squabbling hens and cocky roosters.

I have decided I want nothing more to do with this “easy” life path to Profit, I want a fulfilling one that challenges me. I still want to Profit so I can pay my bills and feel financially secure, but I also want to feel like I’m on the path to Progress and doing something with myself and the world around me.  Not only does the squiggly line look like the harder path but it looks like there are way more chances for adventure on it. And my life, thus far, has been seriously lacking in any real adventures.

Growing up I always thought that money = freedom and debt = prison. I needed a lot of money to live a fulfilling life and to have a real sense of self-worth. I believed that up until I started writing this entry.  Money is a prison for me. The more I make, the more I need, and the less secure I feel. I keep saying that once I am making a certain amount of money a year, or have a certian amount in the bank, I will feel less stressed and more secure, but the closer I get to that goal the more anxiety I feel. The more money I have in the bank the worse I feel about buying anything at all. The bigger my financial cushion the more terrified I become of falling, failing, and losing it.

I feel better being able to mull over this internally and look forward to hearing Amy’s (and anyone else’s) thoughts on it. I don’t really know how I am going to get over my unhealthy relationship with money, but I’m ready for something to derail me from the Profit Path and get me started down the line with a little more Progress in it.

 

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Being Medicated

5mg once a day for the first 6 days, and then 10mg a day until gone.

I stared at the 10mg tablets sitting in the bottom of the orange medicine bottle.  They sat on my desk a midst various odds and ends, leaking an aura of temptation around the idea of feeling normal and level headed. However, the possibility of feeling better didn’t quite overcome the fork of doom tipped with thoughts of negative side effects that kept jabbing my brain.

Over the past few months my ability to focus on tasks had deteriorated quite quickly. My depression was taking a toll on my ability to want to do anything, be it work related or fun. I couldn’t finish a work project in one sitting, I couldn’t bring myself to focus on a craft project I was mid-way through at home, and forget about the laundry it simply wasn’t happening.

Focus. FocusFocusFO-cus. FOCUSDamn it all..

This led to an interesting problem. Not only was I not getting things done, I was getting increasingly stressed out by the fact I didn’t seem to have enough time to do anything at all. Hours rolled quickly by and just as I was mustering up the gumption to start something the work day would be over, or the SO would walk in the door from work, or it would be time for bed. The side effect of not having accomplished anything that I felt I should (evil, evil word) have was a very cranky, depressed,  severely moody and just plain miserable me. Which led to my SO being fairly miserable as well, being the one left alone to deal with the mood swings.

Eventually, I just didn’t care what the negative side effects were anymore.  I took my first 5mg of Escitalopram with reckless abandon, I didn’t care enough about anything anymore to have the right to care so much about what it could do to me. To my relief, over the next few days the rain in my head subsided, became a drizzle, and eventually stopped. Every once in a while it threatens to start again, but so far nothing worse than the drizzle has returned.

As my brain has began to dry out and get rid of the excess water and clouds, my focus has improved. I can sit here and write a blog entry, or I can focus on a project at work and finish it in the same sitting. So far this focus has came and went in spells, take for example the other morning at work where I accomplished quite a bit, but then that afternoon my brain failed to focus on anything at all. I’m hoping these short lived periods of focus quickly turn into something a little more solid.

As for the negative side effects, we’ll just say mine so far have been on the intimacy side of things, but they aren’t bad enough to throw the baby out with the bath water just yet.

Naturally, the end goal of therapy is to prepare me to deal with everything without the use of medication. I look forward to the day when I don’t need it, but, right now, just having the rain clouds gone and being able to sit and write a few words here and there is an amazing feeling.

 
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Posted by on July 18, 2012 in Mental Health

 

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