Hard Year, Ending on a Good Note
What a year 2022 has been.
My mental health has been in a bad place the majority of the year.
A lot has changed in the past few months, and I have grown so much. I barely recognize myself (in a good way). I still have hard days (doesn’t everyone), but overall I have come to a new place.
The changes have occurred thanks to a handful of big things that have happened this year.
One, the ketamine treatments. I would not be where I am today without them. It took longer/more treatments than I would have liked to get to where I am, but it was worth it. Another change that happened is that my PA got me off of medications that weren’t necessary that were just causing side effects and were doing nothing to benefit me, and he put me on a new medication that has made a big difference. I no longer have a diagnosis of bipolar 2, so why take all of those medications? Oh yeah, the change in diagnosis was HUGE. I now have the diagnoses of major depressive disorder (which is usually pretty seasonal, instead of bipolar), generalized anxiety disorder, and PTSD. I have started working with an old counselor of mine and in just a few sessions, her perspective and counseling have made a HUGE difference in my life. I’m so grateful.
I also started a new job this year which was REALLY hard at first as I learned a whole new way of teaching, but now that I’m in my groove, I really love it. I am now teaching online at an online public school. They have high expectations, but they give us time and ability to meet those expectations. I don’t come home at the end of the day completely depleted of energy. I teach live classes all morning, one in the afternoon for 30 minutes, and the rest of the time is available to get my to do list completed. I don’t have to work after hours very often. It’s so different and a breath of fresh air.
Lastly and most important, I have sought out more intimacy with Jesus the for the first time in years. It has been a slow process, and it will continue to be a day by day journey, but I truly love being with Him again.
My word for 2022 was JOY. Most of my year wasn’t joyful, but I fought super hard all year to be able to experience it. I can say that at the end of the year, I have made it. Again joy doesn’t mean I’m happy all the time. But joy does mean that I have an inner happiness that I know is always there even when I’m having a rough day. It’s peace and hope. They all kind of stick together.
My depression is SO much better right now than it usually is this time of year. I am sticking to a 3 week window for my treatments which isn’t cheap, but it keeps me going. I know that once I’m out of the winter, I will be able to spread it out more. I still have some anxiety. It comes and goes, though, instead of sticking around 24/7, so it’s manageable. I find that if I stay busy, it’s not as bad. So I try to keep myself going.
Right now I try to keep the house somewhat clean despite all of us being home 24/7, doing something special and Christmasy each day, baking/cooking (last night was homemade buns for hamburgers and today will be Christmas cookies!), working on organizing some things, playing games with the family, etc. I either have Christmas music or worship music on most of the day! It’s super cold outside right now (for Texas), so I’m kind of sticking close to the house. I hope to start getting back to hiking/walking soon because it fills my cup!
New Year, Balanced Me
This year, I don’t have goals of losing weight or getting toned/fit. This year, my goals include becoming more and more balanced. This has been something that I have craved for my whole adult life and have struggled so much. Since I’m more mentally balanced, it’ll be easier to be more balanced in the rest of the areas of my life.
I have taken up yoga again which is so great for my anxiety. I have made the commitment to do a walk each day, even if it’s just 5 minutes. I have gotten back to Street Parking already (couldn’t stay away), but I’m either going to stay out of the group or not follow it. Seeing people wanting to constantly change their bodies can make me want to compare myself a lot. I’m sure it won’t always bother me, but for now I’m looking for balance in my movement and not for the purpose of changing my body. I want to just be healthy and feel good!
I’m attempting to eat healthy with balance. I am not going to worry about avoiding “treats” (also called “sometimes foods”) but also try to have what my body needs. It needs some protein, carbs, and fat with each meal. It needs veggies and fruits. But it also needs things that I love without the binging of them. I have noticed that when I allow myself to have them, I don’t binge. For example, I used to binge on Cheeto puffs, and I have some in my house right now and haven’t had many. I had a few days with a lot of desserts because we had so many Christmas celebrations, but I knew it was temporary.
Cleaning has already become more balanced instead of obsessive or a disaster. I am enjoying some “crunchy” things again while also not being obsessed and thinking my whole life has to be “crunchy.” I’m going to teach some facilitators here at camp how to make kombucha. I’m going to make some homemade granola at some point today because Robert loves it. But we also have paper plates to get through the next week or so without having a ton of dishes. I have been making homemade bread a little more these days. Sometimes I grind my own flour (I have tons of wheat berries). We use reusable Ziplock bags and store bought disposable ones. I use some “natural” products and some “unnatural.” Ultimately everything has chemicals anyway. I just prefer some “natural” products.
We are focusing on balance with our finances as well. We are working at doing better with saving. This has been a struggle our whole marriage, but we know it’s possible. We also want to live life, and we’re not about the Dave Ramsey life.
I try to listen to my body/mind and give it what it needs. Sometimes it needs a hard workout, and sometimes it needs a walk in the woods or yoga. Sometimes it needs a cookie, and sometimes it needs veggies and fruits. Sometimes it needs time with friends, and sometimes it needs to be alone. Sometimes it needs rest, and sometimes it needs to be moving and doing things. I find that staying somewhat busy with-in reason is the best for my anxiety.
I know that I still have a lot of growing to do. I know that I will probably slip back into black and white thinking here and there because it’s natural for my brain to do that.
Lastly, I am working on getting back into having people over and spending more time with friends and family. I want people to know that they are loved and that they are wanted. I want people to know that they have someone to rely on and count on. I want to be Jesus’ light for others and stop being so self-absorbed. I talked with my counselor about that, and she told me it’s normal when you’re in survival mode/living in trauma to be self-absorbed. But it’s time to look outside of myself and to be there for others.