Friday, July 18, 2014

I'm Back! (Pardon the Pun.)

So I've been dwelling in the heart of the Vortex for the past five days now. I hurt my back last weekend, doing nothing in particular. I began to have back spasms on Saturday and Sunday, and by Monday I was in bed.


I've been here all week, feeling sorry for myself and slowly sinking into the Vortex. I had been doing so well too - making progress in school and daily life; but that's fallen apart. I don't want to do anything - even if I physically could.

I'm so angry with myself. I'm out of shape, and now I'm paying the price for it. But there's nothing I can do about that until I get better.

I don't want to sink any further into the Vortex, so what can I do to make things better? Let's see, what am I not doing that I could do to improve my mental outlook?

Physically, it goes back to that list, doesn't it. I can do the following (taken from the original post):
  1. Obviously, take medication (if any) as prescribed by your doctor; and don't deviate from it without your doctor's permission.
  2. Take any supplements your doctor has recommended. For example, my GP has me taking Calcium w/vitamin D and a multi-vitamin; and my psychiatrist has added 2 - 3 fish oil capsules per day. I also temporarily take iron supplements, as I'm slightly anemic.
  3. Get 7.5 - 8 hours sleep each night; and go to bed and wake up at the same time each day.
  4. Drink about 2 liters of water per day - more if you are exercising hard, are on medication, and / or you are spending a lot of time in hot weather or dry climates.
  5. Exercise 4 - 5 times per week employing the fitness triad: aerobic (e.g., walking, running, swimming, biking), strength training (e.g., free weights), and flexibility training (e.g., yoga, stretching). (Obviously again, check with your physician before starting any exercise program.) Aerobic exercise in particular releases feel-good endorphins in your brain, strength training builds body confidence and strength, and flexibility helps prevent injury and reduces stress.
  6. Eat properly. It has been my personal experience that the following serve me best mentally {and physically}:
  • Eat (5) portioned mini-meals per day, approximately every 2 - 3 hours. 
  • Each meal should contain (1) lean protein portion, (1) complex carbohydrate portion, and at least one vegetable portionSome example of portions: protein is the size of a deck of cards; a carb, the size of a light bulb or tennis ball; and a slice of cheese is the size of a domino. 
  • Eat at least (5) vegetables and eat (4) fruits per day.
  • Limit simple sugar (white bread, white rice,white pasta, bottled juice from store, table sugar, etc.)
  • Limit butter and saturated fats. This is old news, I know; but it is true. Olive oil, olive oil, olive oil is good for the brain. Use it, damn it!
  • Do not drink diet sodas and avoid sugar substitute. {The latter is my idea - I just don't trust 'em.}
  • Limit caffeine and don't have caffeine after 2 or 3 PM. {As a chemical addict, this is the hardest of all for me!} Note that I didn't say eliminate, just limit. This is especially important for those suffering from anxiety.
  • Do not drink alcohol - obvious for an alcoholic / drug addict, but critical too for someone with depression and anxiety - especially when on medication. 
  • See http://www.choosemyplate.gov/http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/coping-with-anxiety/AN01589, and http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/food-and-mood/my00716 for some more examples of proper eating.
So, I can't do #5...yet. But I can improve my food - I've been comfort-eating all week. 

Okay, so mentally what can I do?

  • Study material from class - especially what I missed this week
  • Positive affirmations
  • Read over the "I Did It", "Lift Me Up!", and "Things I Love about Me"  pages from my Life Is Crafted planner pages
  • Pray / meditate
  • Chat with a friend
  • Journal / blog (Done!)
  • Draw / color (Yes, I said, "color" - something we did for CBT in the hospital.)
  • Thought stopping / replacement - when I start feeling sorry for myself, stop myself, and think about something that is going well or something positive
  • Quality TV programs
  • Read uplifting, inspirational, and educational books / articles
Alright, I have a plan of action now. But, can I muster up the initiative to do this? Well, do I want to feel good, or not?!

Okay, let's see how this goes.