It appears it’s been well over two years since my last original post. Since then, there have been a lot of good times along with some not-so-good times. Thankfully it was all those good times that originally took me away.
I learned in these recent years that it is a good “work”/life balance that keeps me emotionally stable and functioning well. Working too much or too little and I would find myself getting more depressed. But once I hit that “sweet” spot of about 25 hours, it gave me the right amount of time to volunteer and spend time with family and friends. I had reached a point of wellness with my depression.
During that time, I spent my volunteer time essentially doing intensive casework with two gentlemen with disabilities. Some days it seemed more like work than just something I enjoyed doing; that’s when going to work became my “down” time. For over a year, I “worked” with my two guys and “relaxed” at work. This was the most fulfilling my life had felt.
Slowly, though, I volunteered my way out of helping my guys. The first guy finally got set up with an official case worker that worked well with him. The second guy, after I did all the hard things for him, decided he wanted to do things on his own. It’s with mixed feelings that I admit that he hasn’t completely messed things up yet. Regardless of the reasons, I knew once my time with my guys lessened, I had to pick up something else or the depression was likely to come back with a vengeance.
I reached out to two difference agencies offering my time and skills. I had a meeting with one of them and we made a plan for what I would do. For whatever reason, that person just really didn’t want to be as aggressive as I did, and that fell through. The second agency just didn’t get back with me. Honestly, I think I intimidate some of the people at that second agency based on some past interactions. Either way, it was their loss…and ultimately mine since I was really counting on these opportunities and took it personal when they fell through.
Imagine a sink draining. At first it seems to drain very slowly; but as there is less and less water, it seems to drain extremely fast. That’s kind of what happened earlier this year. I was on a slow spiral down into a deeper depression and all of a sudden I found myself not leaving the house except for therapy and the grocery store.
Besides not volunteering, I started missing more work due to PMDD, Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder. Then I got diagnosed with Inflammatory Bowel Disease. So, less work + more stress = increased level of depression. By the end of July I found myself inpatient in a psychiatric unit for a week. When I didn’t see any improvement two months later, I checked myself into an Intensive Outpatient Program (three hours of group therapy, three days a week).
So that’s where I am now. Once IOP is complete (12 sessions), I do have some volunteer activities lined up to keep me busy for a bit. Before I know it, it will be Dec 18 and I’ll be having my hysterectomy to help with PMDD. I’ll share more on that next time.