Depression & Anxiety

If I Wasn’t On My Medication…

When depression has its nasty claws embedded deep into my very soul, it sucks the life right out of me. It leaves me not willing, or able, to enjoy anything, and it won’t let me do what I want.

I have a few hobbies that I really enjoy – knitting, spinning yarn, reading and some new recent hobbies (calligraphy/hand lettering, going to the driving range, and fishing) that I have picked up since my last bout of depression and anxiety.  When I am not in the midst of my illness, I am able to really enjoy life!

I recently heard from a friend of someone, a teenager, who said that he suffers with depression and doesn’t want to be on medication because being depressed helps him to see things as they really are, and to see that most people are pretty  delusional, especially in their thoughts or understanding of depression.  I haven’t had any conversations with this young man, but it makes me sad and angry to hear this.  THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH TAKING MEDICATION FOR DEPRESSION (OR ANXIETY)!  Mental illness is just that – an illness. And just like other illnesses that require medication to help, taking medication for a mental illness is done so that it helps people to live life in a normal way.  Depression is a chemical imbalance in the brain; all the cylinders aren’t firing properly.  Medication helps balance the chemicals.

If I’m not on my medication, I am not at my best. I have no desire to do anything, I want to sleep all the time, I find no humour in anything, life sucks; I’m just existing.  For me, and countless other sufferers, taking medication helps us to live and enjoy life.

I have been really having so much fun learning new hobbies – things I never thought I would enjoy – primarily the golf and fishing. I now get to experience these with my husband, son, and friends – and I have so much fun! I’ve also been really enjoying learning to do calligraphy/hand lettering for the past week or so (and while I’m not the best at this yet, I’m already seeing improvement). It’s been something I’ve wanted to do for a long time – and now I’m doing it.

I would be missing out on all of these great things (and more) if I wasn’t on my medication. I’m very thankful for it.  If you think medication might help you, please talk to your doctor; and honestly consider it.  You might find out just how thankful you are for it as well.


A Little R&R

I’m like most people – I enjoy having vacation. That’s what I’ve been doing the past four days. I still have three and a half more days before going back to work.  I’ve been enjoying this time because I’ve been able to get a lot of R&R in; something I need to do.

We’ve been to the beach (Monday was a holiday so my husband didn’t have to work), I learned how to fish (and caught 5 – though 2 squirmed off the hook before I could land them), I’ve been to the driving range with my husband and a couple of our friends, and I’ve been able to do a lot of knitting – one of my favourite hobbies.

I’ve never been fishing before and now that I know how, it’s something our family can do together sometime.   I also enjoy going to the driving range because this is something my husband really enjoys, and this allows me to spend time with him doing something he loves.  I’ve also been improving, though I’m nowhere near ready to hit the golf course, so that’s an added bonus.  I did lose a day, though. I woke up on Tuesday with a migraine and dealt with that all day.  So that day was pretty much a write off.  I did manage to catch up on some sleep though, so that was nice.

As I said, I still have a few more days left of vacation.  My husband is working today; tomorrow he is going to the golf course (a weekly thing) with a couple of his buddies, and then he works tomorrow afternoon/evening as well.  On Saturday we have a friend coming to stay with us for the weekend, and I go back to work on Monday.

Even though I’m getting to relax and rest, I do feel guilty that we aren’t going more places (like we did my last vacation) and doing stuff.  I know my husband was wanting to go to Cape Breton for a couple of days, but he said that this vacation is for me to rest and relax.  I definitely appreciate it, but he’s missing out on doing things he likes to do on vacation (He’s been working, but he can take some time off).  Maybe we can do a something on Saturday by taking our friend somewhere he hasn’t been, and maybe do something after church on Sunday.

I am definitely thankful for this vacation. It’s certainly helped with my mental health! And I am most definitely thankful to my husband for allowing me this time.

I still have a couple of vacation days left after this (due to there being a holiday this week and two of the days would have been my normal days off), so maybe I can take them in the fall and we can go somewhere he’d like to go then.

At any rate taking time for yourself and getting some R&R is certainly beneficial to your mental health.  It’s far to easy to keep busy and focus on work or helping others and not take time for yourself.  The problem is, we end up burning out.  I’ve been there, and it’s not a fun place.

In closing, I encourage you to take some time for yourself, do the things you enjoy doing, have fun, try something new, rest, relax.  Your body and mind will thank you for it.




It’s What’s Been On My Mind Lately

Grief is something we have all experienced in some way or another. And if you haven’t, give it time and you will.  Maybe it’s the loss of a parent, a spouse, child, friend. Maybe it’s the loss of a job, the use of part of your body and that’s what you are or have been grieving over. It doesn’t matter what the situation, grief is grief. And it hurts like crazy.

I’ve experienced grief in many different forms. I think the most difficult have been the loss of both of my parents and my maternal grandmother.  I was at the bedside of all three of these important people in my life.  Each one was difficult.

When my grandmother died, I was 19 and alone with her in the hospital room. My mom and I had been taking shifts of staying by her side (throughout the time she had been staying at the hospital), because there were so few nurses and my grandmother didn’t really know where she was.  She also would try to get out of the bed and go look for my mom if no one was around.  One time my mom was out in the hall talking to one of the nurses and my grandmother had pulled the IV out of her arm, crawled down to the end of the bed (the side rails had been up), climbed over the end and made her way out to the hall. So, we decided that someone should be with her at all times. It just so happened that I was the one with her that evening.

While she took her final breaths, I held my grandmother’s hand, stroked her hair, and looked her in the eye with love.  I felt her hand being removed from mine as the nurse took it to feel for her pulse.  I laid my head in my arms at her bedside and wept and wept. She was gone.

My dad’s death was pretty hard to.  He was diagnosed with cancer of the esophagus in March 2008.  By the end of July, he was given just a matter of time to live. I made the choice to leave Korea a few weeks earlier than I was supposed to (despite having major difficulties with this whole process).  Thankfully, I was able to spend a week with my dad before he died.  This time I wasn’t alone as he passed.  My mom and my dad’s siblings and his two nieces, and my sister-in-law were there with me.

I’d say that my mom’s death had the greatest impact on me.  It’s still pretty recent, too.  I had quit my job to go take care of her. She had been diagnosed with terminal cancer and she was in the early stages of dementia.  I was rather close to my mom, especially after my dad died.

I had also made the decision (and then contacted my brother to see if he thought I should do this) to take her to the hospital (for the last time), because she was getting quite weak.  She was admitted to palliative care because of her situation, and she didn’t leave the hospital again until she passed away.  My older brother and I were with her. He was reading, I was sitting in a chair at her side, and witnessed her take her final breath.

I stayed very long hours, every day, with my mom. I was getting run down and having a hard time taking care of my own self.  I was riddled with guilt because I felt like I hadn’t taken good enough care of her – that I could have, and should have, done better. This is something that still bothers me from time to time.  She was getting better care in the hospital, but I still felt that there was more I could have done.

My mom passed away two weeks before Christmas in 2016. I went through so much grief at that time, more than I think I have felt for anyone else in the past (and that makes me feel guilty as well). I can’t even begin to describe how her death made me feel. Thankfully, I had great support from my husband (and others).  Even now, I find that little things I remember about my mom, or something she would like or would like to have done, can trigger great sadness and depression in me.

I’m learning to deal with my grief in a positive way. I’m learning to turn it over to the Lord, pray, find my comfort in Him. I know one day I’ll see these precious people again, but that isn’t always enough to comfort me. I think it’s important that I deal with my grief; to not bottle it up.  There’s nothing wrong with feeling the sadness, with being angry, or crying. What I need to remember is not to dwell there for long periods of time because then it’s much harder to get back to a “happy place.”  I’m learning to find healthy ways of dealing with my grief. It’s certainly not easy, but I need to do this for my mental health.

I know that until the day I die I will face grief again and again. But having the tools in place to help me get through those situations is the best thing I can do.  But it’s more than just having them – it’s using them. That is vital. If you don’t use the tools, how can you expect to overcome your hurt?

I don’t know if any of this makes sense, but it’s what’s been on my mind lately.