On Monday morning, I met up with my support worker Seb at Jamaica Blue Cranbourne at Cranbourne Park Shopping Centre. Following on from what happened last Friday, I was willing to give Seb a chance to prove himself as my new support worker. I also decided to focus mostly on his strengths: He is kind, professional, non-judgemental, a good listener, open minded, funny, easy to talk to and easy to get along with. It also gives me a reason to get out of bed and get myself out of the house on a Monday morning which has always been a huge struggle for me.
While it’s going to take some time for me to open up to him about my personal issues and mental health problems, today’s session certainly flowed much better than when I first met him. I guess we’re both finding our feet. But I can tell that he is genuinely trying to make an effort to get to know me by asking me casual questions about my week and not staring at his phone the whole time. https://www.vetrorecruitment.co.uk/blog/2018/03/what-makes-a-great-support-worker
I mainly talked about my first appointment with Dr. Peralta and how I feel about transitioning from 100mg of Sertraline (Zoloft) to 10mg of Escitalopram (Lexapro). It’s a slow, daunting process for me but one that will hopefully help me feel better and be a more effective form of medication for treating my depression and anxiety symptoms. https://www.health.harvard.edu/diseases-and-conditions/how-to-taper-off-your-antidepressant
Obviously part of me is worried about the possible withdrawal symptoms and side effects that I may endure but at least I’m prepared and I’ve heard mostly positive things about this particular anti-depressant that I’m switching to. I just have to give myself a few weeks to adjust to my new medication and see if I’ve noticed any improvements or changes. https://www.nps.org.au/medical-info/medicine-finder/lexapro-tablets
I’m also hoping to use more of my NDIS funding towards services at Mentis Assist such as life skills, personal development, travelling, community programs and social outings. Whilst Seb may not directly help with treating my underlying mental health issues, at least he is someone who can provide social company and a listening ear as I need it. That’s better than nothing in my books. He can also make connections to other Mentis Assist staff higher up in order to provide me with that information and those services. Relationships build over time, not over night and so I just have to be patient as things slowly unfold for me. https://mentisassist.org.au/what-we-do/our-programs
I’ve never really been into the Melbourne Cup or horse racing in general even before it became more of an animal rights issue in the last few years. Personally, it’s just a sad excuse for people to dress up in expensive outfits, get wasted and blindly bet on horses. It’s also a greedy business for bookies wanting to profit and rake in millions of dollars. Big celebrities like Tom and Gai Waterhouse continue to flaunt how rich they are every year and it’s so disgusting!
I used to be of the opinion “What’s wrong with putting on a harmless bet?” until recently. I will never support this day and it’s a blessing that the hype of Halloween this year has masked a lot of the promotion around the horse racing carnivals. It’s good that more awareness is being raised each year about the treatment of racehorses that happens “behind the scenes” and that punters and bookies alike seem to ignore. FUCK THE CUP! https://www.peta.org.au/issues/melbourne-cup-8-things-you-need-to-know-about-horse-racing/
On Thursday night, I attended my third Sleep Intervention Group workshop held at La Trobe University Psychology Clinic in Bundoora. I was feeling particularly restless and moody today. Some of these could be attributed to the side effects from my new medication whilst others could be coming from my chronic sleep problems and mental health issues. Poor concentration, sudden mood changes, irritability and extreme fatigue are probably the most dominant symptoms I’ve been experiencing over the past few days. https://www.verywellmind.com/throwing-up-after-taking-an-antidepressant-1067352
But I’ve been doing my best to remain strong during this difficult period of transition and giving myself the self-care that I need to cope with it all. I still find driving down to the La Trobe University – Bundoora campus to be an absolute chore especially in the middle of peak hour traffic that tends to build up quickly along Banksia Street in Heidelberg. But I figure that I’m getting close to the end of this research study and I really don’t want to drop out now. http://otarc.blogs.latrobe.edu.au/sleep-help-for-adults-on-the-spectrum/
During tonight’s session, we learned about how to develop a new sleep routine which incorporates things like the ideal hours of sleep required per night, times you go to bed and wake up. The most important thing to remember is to allow it to be flexible and not rigid as this will invite more arousal and therefore further fuel unwanted anxiety about sleep. https://www.sleep.org/articles/get-sleep-schedule/
Lauren, Eric and Alexa also talked about the essential tips for good sleep hygiene which includes keeping the bedroom dark, cool and comfortable, avoid consuming any caffeine, alcohol and heavy meals before going to bed, not using any technology or devices with blue back lighting and opening up the curtains when you wake up in the morning. https://www.sleepfoundation.org/sleep-topics/sleep-hygiene
On Friday morning, things took a turn for the worse. The plans I had for the day essentially went out the window as my symptoms seemed to escalate. It began normally enough. I spent an hour or so just catching up on my recorded TV shows (Real Housewives of Dallas and Home & Away), ate some breakfast and took a shower. After that, I had zero motivation to leave the house and my brain was getting wound up over the recent Christmas party that I decided to organise at home in a few weeks time.
I just couldn’t seem to handle the amount of “not attending” responses on the event page even though realistically this was to be expected. December is a busy time for everyone and of course people are going to have other plans and commitments to attend to. I guess I just wished that I had a more positive response to it, that people would be excited to see me and therefore I would be more enthusiastic about organising it. Feeling let down and upset over a social event of mine going pear shaped was not a new thing for me and yet it still sucks.
Mum rang and asked if I wanted to meet her for coffee at Degani Cranbourne Park. It was around 11.30am and I decided to go as I needed ANY reason to leave the house and not spend my day being socially isolated and withdrawn. Momentarily, I found myself to be a bit more upbeat but it didn’t last long. Sitting in the cafe, I felt like a depressed mess with many worrying thoughts flooding my mind and it was really uncomfortable being around other people (I had no friends. Nothing is going right for me. I don’t know where my life is heading. I feel like shit. I feel hopeless). https://www.beyondblue.org.au/the-facts/depression/signs-and-symptoms
We tried moving to a different cafe The Coffee CLUB Cranbourne but it didn’t really help my symptoms much at all. It’s been a while since I’ve felt this severely depressed and perhaps the change of medication plus my chronic sleep problems and average diet could all be contributing to it. I also noticed that my appetite decreased as I didn’t “feel like” eating even half a slice of cake carrot that Mum ordered. Something was definitely up with me and now more than ever, I really have to look after myself. https://www.healthline.com/health/mdd/switching-antidepressants
“Weeping, kicking these words around too long. I had a feeling we were close to something bigger. Deep breath under a baseball cap. One way ticket to a heart attack… And it’s gonna be tough ’cause I got a few things to work through. And I’m all loved up in a world I can’t explain.” Amy Shark – All Loved Up (2018)
“Oh, something good better come out of this. I don’t even know how to exist…How do you keep it together like this. Never again, I’m a nervous wreck. Please don’t repeat anything that I said. I’m forced to see you. But deep down I love it. So far away, but I still see you coming, alright. Let it go, let it go. Hopefully we run into each other.” Amy Shark – Don’t Turn Around (2018)