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Ow... In A Good Way... I Think... - Body by Henson, brain by Seuss. [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
Kelly J. Cooper

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Ow... In A Good Way... I Think... [Mar. 23rd, 2009|05:13 am]
Kelly J. Cooper
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Ok, I just sort of burst through the other side of this depressive episode. I've had 2.5 good days so far, hoping it lasts for more than a little while given that the depressive episode lasted over a month. Closer to two months. Shit. Maybe 2.5 months. Damn.

Hmm. The shift up was weirdly abrupt given how gradual the slide down was... my brain almost hurts with all the positive juice flowing through it.

Anyway, notes to myself:

1. Having things to look forward to helps snap me out of the misery. Unfortunately, while I do look forward to seeing a friend, watching a particular TV show, or reading a new issue of a specific comic book, a BIG TRAVEL PLAN is the only thing that successfully and FULLY pulls me out of a slide right now. I may look forward to and enjoy lots of other things, but they don't stop or end the bad stuff thus just sort of temporarily side-track it. (Which may LOOK weird - because I'll be smiling & laughing & contributing & whatnot, but once I go back to being on my own, the misery flops back down and absolutely SMOTHERS me.)

2. If my backbrain is drifting toward suicidal thoughts, I need to give it SOMETHING ELSE to think about. Something for it to mull over that doesn't require the front of my brain to help it out. What worked this time was ethics. I started with Moral Clarity: A Guide for Grown-up Idealists by Susan Neiman, and it's a neat book, but was a little too narrative. The book that REALLY did the trick is The Ethics Toolkit: A Compendium of Ethical Concepts and Methods by Julian Baggini and Peter S. Fosl. The entries are short (1-3 pages long), well-written, and thought provoking.

The last book that worked really well was Founding Faith: Providence, Politics, and the Birth of Religious Freedom in America by Steven Waldman.

Both contain deep concepts broken down into understandable and easily digested chunks.

This seems to only be necessary when the depressive episode is REALLY BAD. Otherwise, it's just a helpful thinger.

3. Even if I can't work on projects (due to a lack of energy, motivation, brainspace, or whatever) I can plan them, brainstorm ideas, find the right tools, and sort things that go with each project (tools, materials, pictures I've drawn, miscellaneous bits). This way, if I have a brief moment of forward motion, I can just grab up a pile of stuff and DO SOMETHING with very little prep time (which easily saps my energy).

4. Helping other people, especially when they're stuck or frustrated, gives me a TREMENDOUS amount of positive feedback and is very uplifting. This weekend, I helped one friend clean for a couple hours & took a homeless friend to dinner.

5. Having a notebook has really been helping. I started using a medium-sized (6.5"x9.5") spiral bound notebook in January because it's big enough to write in easily, but small enough that I can stuff one into almost any bag. I write everything in this one - a little journaling, voicemail, emails, phone numbers, ideas, to do lists, etc. I would love to use a fancy, bound, blank page journal, but there's something in my head that says "your shit is too trivial for such a nice book" and I can't write in 'em. Just freaks me out.

I used to use a yellow legal pad with a spiral top for tracking work projects. While that's still useful for IT projects, it's just not doing the trick for all my other projects and part-time jobs. (In addition to the "personal" one, I have one for Garden Club, one for Circlet, and another for MYP.)

I really REALLY want a notebook that offers alternating blank and lined pages. I wish someone would make one. I want to be able to write or sketch on the blank pages.

6. Some people get a "psychological lift" from staying awake for 24 hours. I am one of them. Sometimes this leads me to stay up late, but then wimp out & try to grab a couple hours of sleep before doing something. THIS NEVER WORKS. No matter HOW MANY TIMES I DO THIS, IT WILL NEVER WORK. NEVER NEVER NEVER. Stop trying. JUST STOP. Commit to wakefulness or get yer ass in bed early. Before 2am is good for you. By 1am and you often wake up fairly easily around noon.

7. I hate voicemail. Not just when I'm depressed, all the time. It's just that much harder to handle when I'm depressed. Hate level is the same; difference is in deal-energy.

OK, I've stayed up WAY TOO LATE... early... I'm gonna crash. I should probably just stay awake, but I don't really have any deadlines tomorrow, er today... y'know, Monday.
linkReply

Comments:
From: moria923
2009-03-23 09:22 am (UTC)
Yea! I'm so glad things are looking up for you! This was the first post I read today, and it made my morning. And you're so good at breaking down what does and doesn't work for you. . . you go girl!
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[User Picture]From: kjc
2009-03-23 10:09 am (UTC)
Hey, thanks!

And glad to have made your morning!
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[User Picture]From: kjc
2009-03-23 10:09 am (UTC)

Re: Yay!

First 2 weeks in May: Boston -> Lyon, France -> Barcelona, Spain -> Amsterdam, Netherlands -> Boston.

I shall be spending my 39th birthday in Spain!
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[User Picture]From: lillibet
2009-03-23 10:25 am (UTC)

Re: Yay!

Oh, awesome!

Want restaurant or sight-seeing recommendations for Barcelona and/or Amsterdam?

I've never been to Lyon and am TOTALLY jealous!

Very glad you're finding things that work and realizing what doesn't work.

And, just because the subject so much easier to ignore and ugly to look at, but shouldn't be, and because the following is totally obvious and you know it and I know that, but it still bears repeating: don't kill yourself. Please. It is not reality, it is a symptom.

If you ever need someone to call, because you're feeling like your regulars must be sick of hearing about this, I would be honored to receive a call from you any time, day or night, for any reason or no reason at all.
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[User Picture]From: dpolicar
2009-03-23 10:48 am (UTC)
Yay, positive juice!

Getting a clear sense of what works for you and what your baseline experience is is a great thing.

Is there stuff you can do while the chemistry is helping out to set up for the next dip? (eg; a collection of distracting books, setting up some regular charity/volunteer work, I dunno, whatever works for you)

You could draw lines with a ruler on alternating pages of a blank-page book, maybe?

Do you have any sense of how your eating habits affect your mood?

And, again, yay!
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[User Picture]From: kimberlogic
2009-03-23 10:49 am (UTC)
I'm so very glad that you're feeling a bit better - I'll send lots of good wishes for this to last.
Your trip is going to be amazing!

I was thinking of calling you - evenings or afternoons good?

I'm so glad that you've been talking about how you're feeling because however you are, you are important to me and I love knowing you in all your moods and passages. I love you, babe. If yer backbrain starts to slide again, please speak out (as you have been - again, thanks for that) because those suicidal thoughts are an awful symptom but just that - a symptom.

*hugs*

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[User Picture]From: tagryn
2009-03-23 10:53 am (UTC)
I really REALLY want a notebook that offers alternating blank and lined pages. I wish someone would make one. I want to be able to write or sketch on the blank pages.

possible solution:
http://www.kk.org/cooltools/archives/002665.php
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[User Picture]From: jbsegal
2009-03-23 01:04 pm (UTC)
I love my Circa gear and am happy to show it off to you sometime if you'd like.
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[User Picture]From: whitebird
2009-03-23 03:08 pm (UTC)
Those were what I was going to recommend as well.
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[User Picture]From: drwex
2009-03-23 01:51 pm (UTC)

This is really nice to read

have a blast with your travel, and I'll add my positive wishes to the pile of hopes for you.
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[User Picture]From: laurenpburka
2009-03-23 02:23 pm (UTC)
Welcome to spring.
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[User Picture]From: gem225
2009-03-23 03:08 pm (UTC)
I'm very glad to hear that you've burst through the depressive episode, my friend, and it's wonderful that you've figured out stuff that does and doesn't work (that's hard to do! I know!). Excellent! :-)

*hugs and love*
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[User Picture]From: whitebird
2009-03-23 03:09 pm (UTC)
I'm glad you're on the other side again.
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[User Picture]From: muffyjo
2009-03-23 03:52 pm (UTC)
Yes.
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[User Picture]From: wonderreader
2009-03-23 08:54 pm (UTC)

ow

glad you are having an upswing - hope it lasts - good for you that you can figure out some stuff that works - thinking about suicide is one thing - just don't DO it, please - the world would be a much darker place without you.
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