Health is a balancing act, especially when you have something intrinsically unbalanced. Like mental illness. And, especially when you know you are doing your best to be healthy and still doing a pretty crappy job of it.
Although, because it is a mental illness, figuring out medications and therapy, self-help, developing better supportive habits, all of that can be more difficult, more complicated than something physical. I know about this because I have physical crap, too. Diabetes, arthritis since my mid-20s and superior oblique myokymia, a weird vision disorder.
I watch what I eat as carefully as possible, given my financial constraints. Good, clean food is not cheap. Affording better protein is a constant challenge. I do my best, and I am still not on insulin, but I worry about it. I need to lose weight. I am fat. I am obese. I am huge. I am walking as much as I can, but I know it is not enough. I need to find some way to afford a membership at the Y, or something. I need someone to come along with their fat-be-gone wand and make it all go away.
Exercising as much as I can is good for my arthritis as well. Movement keeps my joints juiced up. When I am stiff and creaky I walk, even if it is icky outside and this place is small, I can make the circuit from the living room to the bedroom. It is boring, but I move things around to make it more interesting. Sometimes I cannot find things later, but that is part of the charm. I take pain meds, lots of over-the-counter stuff because it is pretty cheap and I do not have to be monitored by my doctor and deal with those icky co-pays.
The myokymia is a brain thing, too, completely unrelated to the bad brain chemistry that supports my depression. There is a long chronicle of my experiences with that disorder, which I first noticed in the early 80s, and modified with surgery about eight years ago. It was not cured, but it did get fixed enough so that the result was a less obstructive vision thing. It is worth mentioning only because it took decades to get diagnosed, never had any support about it and it is in the past, something about which I am proud because I stuck with searching for help until I found it. Now that I am writing about it, I am really proud of that whole process. Good girl, J.
Woven through a person's life is all things physical and mental and no one escapes this life without some wonderful combinations, as if life were not complicated enough already.
It is interesting, only to me I guess, that I am hoping to mess with my hippocampus lately. I am doing well in my work, but it is not enough. My relationships are stellar, but it is not enough. I am being properly medicated, at least I think I am, although maybe all of this struggling means that I need more or better happy drugs.
Anyway, I have been working on this stuff for months and months now, months of struggle, months of just plain trying to get over myself and how sad and lonely I am, moments of serious despair. The only thing helping is that I have not had any harmful thoughts. If you have mental illness, you know exactly what this is like. If you do not have mental illness, you cannot understand. This is absolutely different from the hopelessness caused by any kind, type, manner of physical pain and despair. Absolutely.
I am a grown up person, an adult, old enough to know better, do better and get over myself. My brain will not cooperate and all of the eating well, exercising and surgeries combined will not make a difference unless I find another way to manage my depression, PTSD and, although this seems minor and it probably is, my nearly crippling shyness.
I do what I have to do. I have meaningful work that makes much of my successful functioning possible. The people with whom I work, both my clients and the staff are the best.
I have a lovely daughter and son-in-law, two brilliant grandsons and all of them love me like crazy (not a Freudian slip).
I have a small cadre of excellent friends. There are two that I can depend on without hesitation or reservation.
I have a life that is safer than I have ever, ever, ever experienced. More than I ever imagined.
Most people do not have all of these things. Many people do not have any of the blessings I have. I am aware. I honor. I care.
I am not handling this, or doing well enough on my own. I learned today that I need more frequent therapy. Fuck. I want to be healthier and I am willing to do whatever it takes, but, seriously, fuck.
Even though we did not discuss this, I need to find a better doctor, the basic kind, what the heck are they called. Primary care. Yeah.
You know, the time when we need to be the best health care consumer can be the time when we are least able to do that well. Like when we have mental illness. Like when there is this delicious alchemy of the physical and mental and spiritual. I know mind/body does not really exist, that we are the entirety of every aspect of what we are, you know, the whole shebang. Bang. Bang. Bang.
Oh, gosh, I have done this before, at a time when I had fewer personal resources, but lots more money. I am more experienced, smarter these days. I have made progress beyond my wildest dreams. I can reclaim my healthy life. Like epilepsy or diabetes or whatever, mental illness does not just get cured. It does not disappear. It can only be treated. For some of us, it is a life-long struggle. You can just never let your guard down. Well, you do, but ignoring things never helps and maybe that is what I have been doing.
I am not looking forward to more sessions. I do not want to talk about any of this crap. I do not want to, but I will. I will show up. I will do the work.
Maybe it is the holidays coming, or that it is so dark so early now. Maybe I am feeling so sad and crappy because I have SAD. Whatever. Damn.
Interestingly, I am not depressed about this amping-up of my depressive symptoms. Maybe it is because there is no point to it, or maybe it is because better health means more to me now that I have this new life. I am not feeling crippled or despairing. I might even be feeling some relief that I am no longer struggling alone with this. Whatever. Fuck.