Some Days I Just Feel “BLAH”!

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For about a year now, when people have asked how I’m doing, I’ve been able to tell them, “I’ve never felt better!” That’s the honest truth. I don’t think I have EVER felt this “alive” emotionally. I am actually feeling and experiencing life instead of just going through the motions like I did for so many years.

When my therapist has asked me why I think this is the case, my answer has been, “steady work hours.” Once my boss finally had me working 20-25 hours a week for a consistent amount of time…about 5-6 months…I really felt my mood elevate and I became more engaged with life and the things going on around me. The medication helped, but that had not changed during those previous six months. The only thing that changed was that I finally had a steady work schedule at a level I could handle.

My boss even asked me around Christmas if I was okay with the number of hours I was getting. He had seen the difference in my overall demeanor. I thanked him for asking and said that they were perfect. So, for the most part, that’s where they have been since then. That’s one year of steady work hours…except for Christmas which always means a temporary increase in hours. During that time, my mood elevated to such a level for an extended period of time that I was able to discontinue one of my medications.

At the beginning of July, I cut my vacation a couple of days short because we had three or four staff put in their two weeks’ notice and I knew we would be short handed at Customer Service. Since I’ve been back, I’ve been working 30+ hours per week. Last week, I was at just over 31 hours. I am REALLY starting to feel the effects…more mentally, than physically.

By some miracle I ended up with a three-day weekend…that NEVER happens in retail unless you request it! I kept up a pretty good pace on Friday as I ran errands for Lafayette Transitional Housing Center as well as for myself. Saturday I cleaned a bit and took the obligatory day-off nap.

Sunday was a whole different story! It turned into a sleep-a-thon. I have not slept as much as I did in well over a year. I BARELY did one load of laundry and forced myself to vacuum just the living room area. Other than that, if I wasn’t blankly staring at the computer screen I was stretched out on the couch with my eyes closed. For most people, this would be fine…for someone with depression; it is a HUGE sign of what COULD come if it goes unchecked like it did so many times in the past.

I’ll admit; it has me in a mild worried mode. I’ve not been very successful at fighting off the depression in the past, but I’ve also never been this far removed from feeling depressed. That gives me some confidence that I’ll be able to keep it at bay. I just have to remain very conscious of it over the next several weeks.

Today on my lunch break, I made myself come up with specific, tangible things I could do to fight off the depression.

  • Since I know my tendency is to isolate, I have to remain committed to my Tuesday morning breakfast with the First Baptist Breakfast Babes.
  • I have to get myself out of the apartment on my days off.
  • I have to keep a cleaning schedule of more than just needed laundry.
  • I have to get myself to sit outside on my patio for at least 10 minutes a day.

Now, as we head into Move-In Days for the freshmen at Purdue University, I’m scheduled 40 hours per week. I only have the schedule for the next two weeks, but I’m sure the week of Move-In will be more of the same. While I’m worried about the depression, I’m really more optimistic that I can hold the depression at bay if I stick to what I listed above…primarily, I cannot let myself isolate!

It’s alright to feel ‘blah’ from time to time…it’s only natural. It’s when that takes over and becomes how I feel most days that there needs to be some change in behavior to get back to feeling ‘good’ and ‘great.’

So, wish me well in this coming month of extra work hours. The next few posts may become more like a public journal than purposely educational. You’ll just have to bear with me until I can get back to more focused writing.

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Life Just Isn’t Fair

About a month ago, I shared with you about being a possible bone marrow donor. This would be for a 25 year old young lady with a form of leukemia. I named her “Texas” because that is where the office that contacted me is located. I thought she was also located in Texas but it turns out that might not be the case.

When a person submits a blood sample or a swab test, they are able to pull two markers in the initial testing. In rough terms this would be similar to identifying a person’s blood type, only much more complicated because it is closer to trying to match DNA. With these two basic markers, they are able to scan the database of more than 11 million potential donors.

Since I was a match on those first two markers, I was contacted to see if I was still interested in being a potential donor. Of course I was definitely interested and consented to further testing of my blood that they had frozen and stored. This testing would identify additional markers to see if I truly am a match for “Texas.”

I have said a prayer everyday that if I am not a match that “Texas” might still find some kind of treatment that would help her live a longer, healthier life. It’s been tough waiting and wondering if I am a match.

Well, the wait has ended. I was phoned today with an update. Unfortunately, it was not good news. Lisa from the National Marrow Registry phoned this morning.

“Texas” did not make it and passed away.

Lisa may as well have told me a family member passed away. I immediately began crying. It just wasn’t fair! Why did this young lady have to die?!

I sat with that information for a while as I drove to a doctor appointment and as I sat alone getting a treatment. It occurred to me that there might be multiple reasons for my crying. I really needed to sort this out. Was I crying because I was sad this young lady had died? Or, was I crying because I wasn’t given the opportunity to help someone is such a huge way?

To be honest, it was likely a combination of the two.

As an educator, I know I have had an impact on other’s lives but I haven’t been able to see the results with the vast majority of my students. Here, my impact could have been HUGE. How much bigger can it get than to give another a healthier life and more years on earth?! Not only that, I might have had the opportunity to know the positive results by communicating with “Texas,” even if it had been anonymously.

I’m ashamed to say that I felt a little robbed that that opportunity was taken from me by her death. I admit I had this selfish thinking. It’s important for me to know this about myself and to acknowledge it. I’m sure others have had similar feelings at times.

Along with my selfish thoughts does come a great sadness for “Texas” and her family. To lose someone so young really is not fair. I’m sure she had many hopes and dreams that were stripped away from her. I will continue my daily prayers for her family.

I am not certain if I was a match after all. I just know that her health did not allow for us to get to that stage. But, as Lisa pointed out, “Texas” might be saving someone else’s life because of her own. Because the extra testing will result in having more markers to compare with me, it is more likely that I could be a match for someone in the future.

If you are the praying kind, I ask that you lift “Texas” and her family up in your prayers.

And, please, consider registering as a potential donor or consider supporting the cause in some other fashion. Visit Be the Match’s website (http://bethematch.org/Support-the-Cause/) and learn about joining the registry, donating financially or donating cord blood of your soon-to-be-born baby.

RIP "Texas"

RIP “Texas”

Summer Trip

Since I returned from my trip to St. Louis for the EEWC – Christian Feminism Today Gathering and my annual family gathering in the mountains of Mora, New Mexico, I’ve struggled with my writing.  That is part of the side effects of depression.  I have to maintain a certain amount of ‘down’ time as well as get the right amount of sleep (8-9 hours per night).  If either of these are missing, my focus goes right out the window.  So, for now, you’ll have to settle for some photos I took on my trip.  Enjoy!

 

TX Cross

Tallest cross in US located 0utside of Groom, TX on Interstate 40. It is 19 stories or 190 feet tall.

Last Supper at the Cross outside Groom, TX

Last Supper at the Cross outside Groom, TX

NM stream

Alamanitos Creek along NM 518 between Mora and Taos NM

Old house in Mora, NM

interesting tree trunk

interesting tree trunk

Whatcha looking at?!

Cacti give such beautiful flowers

Bison were all fenced

Remnants of horse corral and outhouse

Remnants of horse corral and outhouse

Church

Vestry (sacristy) walls coming down from old church on private property outside of Mora, NM

Inside Church

Inside Church with bats on ceiling

Tattoo from 1999 picture, church today in background

Tattoo from 1999 picture, church today in background

field between camp and church

Family in Mora 2014

Family in Mora 2014

Sister, Dad and Goober

Sister, Dad and Goober

In Recovery Stage

be-back-soon-post-it

After attending the EEWC-Christian Feminism Today Gathering in St. Louis I spent a week camping in New Mexico.  I was correct to be concerned that when I returned, I would be scheduled more hours than usual.  After a 30 hour drive back home, I returned to a schedule with 40 hours, twice what I normally work.

Hopefully, I’ll have a post later this week.  If not, I’ll definitely be back next week with my regular two posts per week.

See you soon!