Pandemic Weeks 16/17

As per my usual lately, I’m focusing on writing about my mental health. I’m using these weekly/biweekly posts to keep track of how I’m feeling and how I’m progressing so I can look back and remember the journey.

I have officially found a psychotherapist from the consultation I had and have now had 2 sessions since I last wrote. I have made the choice that my mental health is worth it and I want the coping strategies to help with both the numbing depression and crippling anxiety I’ve been experiencing. Doing this however is an out of pocket expense.  I don’t have benefits or insurance through my job (so even if I wasn’t currently laid off because of Covid, it still wouldn’t be covered) and psychotherapy is not something that’s covered under the provincial health care.  But I want to enjoy life again and get back to doing things that I find pleasurable. So I’ve reworked the budget to make this fit in.  We’re starting with weekly sessions but as I learn coping mechanisms she said we can space them out to every 2-4 weeks down the line.

The therapy techniques my therapist uses is CBT and now she wants to include some DBT stuff too… I’m loving the techniques so far and excited to to learn more as I go on. She was impressed with things I’ve put in place before even seeing her. I joked with her that I’ve been living with anxiety and depression since I was a teenager so I’ve learned ways to deal and I really call myself a functioning individual with hard mental health issues because I really do a great job of putting on a good face and holding a job and buying a house and having friends and hobbies.. so it gives the appearance of living well. But then I crack when I get home after functioning and need to recharge myself with alone time because it’s so exhausting. Most people are quite shocked and surprised that I deal with mental health issues because of the front I put on.

We’re focusing on the basics for these first few sessions. Sleep/food/movement – and keeping consistent with them so they’re habit and easier to remember to do when I’m having an extra rough day. I know some things to do and that I feel better when I do them, but heck, when I’m having a hard time, it’s not always easy to remember or have the energy to force myself to do them. 

Sleep – Something we focused on this week she called Sleep Hygiene. All about setting up a night routine to help facilitate sleep. When I remember, my current night routine is to take my magnesium, my Bliss sleep spray, my D3 and body scan meditation. With the meditation, I previously would put on a podcast of a guided body scan meditation when my anxiety was high to help quiet the mental static and racing thoughts.  She suggested I do it every night to keep the habit in place and not just high anxiety nights – because of course I wasn’t always remembering to do it when I’m in that moment.  I had a really cool realization after doing it 2 weeks straight.  There was a night that I didn’t have the energy to even roll over to the other side of the bed to put the podcast on because I was feeling so low I didn’t even want to move.  So I decided to guide myself through the meditation instead and say the words in my head.  WOW!  It felt even more effective. It totally squashed the thoughts racing through my head because there was no room for them when I was choosing the words to put there instead. I’ve done that a few more times and I’m definitely going to keep this in my pocket as something to do and a nice change in the rotation.  She said I’m off to a good start with what I’m doing but has ideas for me to incorporate to help further.  

Food – the stress of the last few weeks has caused me to eat like once a day and I’ve lost 10lbs in the last 2 weeks because I’m not eating. Sure, I could use to lose weight but not in this unhealthy way from stress. So I’ve been pushing myself to have at least a little snack during the day and have some unsweetened applesauce cups and granola bars around so it’s at least a little something. I have gotten a little better today and actually ate 3 meals for the first time in probably a month. 

Movement – I’m still working towards this one.  I’ve fallen away from those nightly walks I was taking and I need to get back to that for sure.  But that will take me getting to a point that I have the energy to even get dressed.  Which means getting proper sleep that lets me wake actually feeling rested and eating so I have that energy and not feel weak from not eating.  Also that will involve getting dressed.  It’s hard to find that motivation to get out of the comfy pjs when I don’t feel like there’s a “reason” to while I’m off work and not going to clix tournaments.  

She helped walk through the the first bit of starting into CBT and DBT and I can’t wait to learn more.  I’m super happy with my decision to finally pull the trigger with starting therapy and make me and my mental health a priority in my life so I can live a happier and more fulfilled life.  For right now this is what I need and maybe down the line, after I’ve learned coping techniques and better able to work through my extreme emotions, maybe I’ll switch away from this type of work through immediate hard feelings therapy to a more supportive talk therapy or something that focuses more on past issues – but what I’m currently doing is definitely where I’m currently needing the assistance. 

If you’re interested learning more about CBT, I found an amazing one that really talks through it all and touches on the other types of therapies available too at the end, including the DBT.  You can check it out here

Off I go to work on some of the worksheets she gave me. 

Until next time, xoxo