Tag Archives: exercise

Trying to get fit

10 Feb


Teasing things apart

4 Feb

I have 4 officially diagnosed mental illnesses all across the board with a variety of symptoms.  Sometimes it’s hard to tell where something starts or ends and where I began, especially since I’ve been living with them for as long as I can remember.  Today in my body fitness class we did fitness testing and as I predicted I did terrible, well in reality I did horrible and just predicted terrible.  I couldn’t even finish the 3 minute step test, I couldn’t breathe and was getting dizzy.  My body fat percent was over 40, my BMI was over 30, My flexibility, sit ups, and push ups were all in the very poor category for my age and gender.  On the plus side I can only go up from here.  I know my medication causes problems with my metabolism and my lack of activity doesn’t help, but it’s another thing I wonder how “physical healthy” can I be with all these mental illnesses and on psych meds.  When I went to see my psychiatrist on last Thursday he made it clear even with the weight gain and a family history of heart disease we couldn’t change my meds.  Also when I think about my limited sexual experience and sexual desire, how much is related to mental illness, side effects from meds, and just how I am naturally.  I fear I will never know since all three have been and will be with me all my life.

The Power of Words and New Year’s Intentions

1 Jan

I just read my New Year’s post from last year.  I was trying to see if I documented any of my New Year’s Intentions.  I call them intentions instead of resolutions because they are things I intend on accomplishing in the year.  No that last years blog was a wrap up of 2014 and now I feel the need for a wrap up of 2015, but later.  Seriously though, read that 2014 post.

I’ve had a hard time expressing my feelings since I can remember.  It always seemed unsafe and a disadvantage.  I thought if people knew I loved and cared about them, they would use this information to manipulate or guilt me.  I thought it would give them the power.  My thinking has done some refreshing this last year and around Christmas time I decided I’d like to verbally tell a few people that I loved them.  I had written it in cards and the people knew, it was more something I wanted to do for myself.  Christmas I was unable to, had plans a few times but was too anxious.  Tonight I told my sister and 20 somethings friend that I loved them and I actually used the words “I love you.”  It was sort of freeing.  I put a lot of stock in words, sincerity, and being genuine.

On to New Year’s Intentions as I was writing them this afternoon along with the looming thought of saying those three little words I was surprised.  I really could only think of three: 1. Travel somewhere international 2. Travel to New York 3. Transfer to a 4 year university.  Nothing on my mind about self care and mental health or even surviving which have so often been the themes of new year’s intentions.  It’s almost like a normal person wrote them!

Last years were: 1. Work on personal hygiene. 2.  Take and pass 3 classes. 3. Go for at least 3 dates within a 3 month time period. 4. Go on at least a 5 minute walk everyday.  For the most part I have improved drastically in personal hygiene, yeah I still have some to work on but it’s amazing to brush my teeth and not have to remind myself it’s something I have to do.  I passed all 3 of my spring classes without having to withdraw, same for the 2 fall classes I took.  I had a girlfriend for the month of January and part of February so that changed the dating scene.  I have been going on walks with my sister pretty consistently since summer, I’m trying to get where I’m okay going for walks alone, but not there yet.

2015 was better than 2014, that prior post was correct in predicting that.  More to come in a soon to be released Year in Review.

Accomplishments 5.30

30 May
  • Lead a group at 20 something’s where I came out about my mental illnesses.
  • My cholesterol is lower, even though I’ve gained weight.
  • I finally feel like we’re addressing some long over due subjects in counseling.
  • I’m working on not attending social events, that are just not me.
  • I’ve gotten 2 out of my 3 grades for the Spring semester and I am proud of them.
  • Went through the entire semester without being hospitalized.
  • I think I am becoming a better communicator.
  • I’ve been doing DBT for almost 4 months now.
  • My case manager, the therapist, and my psychiatrist all think I’m doing much better.
  • I haven’t had a med change in 7 months and will not see my psychiatrist for 6 months.
  • I’ve expanded to 2 restaurants that I will go to eat by myself at.
  • Working on reaching out for help when I need it, and recognizing when I need it.
  • I’ve been going on more walks with my sister.
  • I’m trying to not let my fear destroy relationships.

On a roll

5 Nov

The last couple days have provided some struggles but I worked though them.  Yesterday morning I woke to an unpleasant dream and had to concentrate and purposely try not to let that start off my day wrong.  I did okay though I struggled with boredom and loneliness.  Towards the end of the evening I could feel my mood dropping even more so I texted my sister and we took the dog for a walk.  When I got home 20 something’s friend had text me and I went over there for awhile which helped with the loneliness feelings and I even got a bit of homework done.  I ended up not being able to sleep that night but I resisted from taking a Valium and just tossed and turned for awhile.  When my alarm went off to go to Pride Days events for extra credit assignments I decided to stay home instead.  I didn’t beat myself up for it and that’s surprising.  Today I did some blogging, went to lunch with my mom, read some, and thought about my childhood trying to piece things together or make a general timeline.  Usually days where I do a lot of thinking tend to get me in a downward spiral or just upset, today wasn’t like that.  If things seemed to be getting to much, I’d just change my focus and do something else.  I have class in the am and then 5 days off before going back to school on my birthday.

Accomplishments 7.1

1 Jul

I was trying to think about whether to call this an “accomplishments” post or a “how far I have come” post.  I decided on accomplishments because I normally do them in shorter bullet form and I just did a long post on Pride.

  • In the last 2 weeks I have been invited to 6 different social events with a variety of people and this is not including the normal 20 something’s group night and gay movie night.
  • I initiated 3 other social events, that have already happened.
  • I was reminded of my inner strength and just recently having/making friends.
  • I handled disappointment with a social situation well, making 3 other attempts to alter it and succeeding.
  • I went/was out of my comfort zone pretty much all weekend for pride.
  • Despite having a real hard day Monday (not yesterday) I didn’t cancel social plans.
  • In a vulnerable state I still reached out to have dinner with high school friend, and it was successful.
  • I’ve been doing my homework from the therapist, adding in a journal events that reinforce that people like me and I am starting to believe it more.
  • I’ve realized what’s important to me and when having little energy due to the depression I concentrate/save my energy for these people that are worth it.
  • I earned my 25,000 steps in one day badge while in sf. I’ve been averaging 2,500 steps so that’s a big accomplishment.
  • I’m planning on having some friends over for the 4th of July and those invited are a mix.  Normally I hang out with all gay friends, just people from high school, just my sister’s friends, or just the neighbors and I invited a mix of most people I consider friends.  Also I may have my dad there which is a big thing after his comments a couple weeks ago.

Psychiatrist Update and Skiing

4 Jan

On Thursday I had an appointment with my Psychiatrist, we decided not to do anything with my medication currently.  I think I am recovering from the depressive episode but it is difficult to tell because of the unusual psychosis and short hypomanic/manic episode.  In January, I will extending the transitioning with moving out to family friends house, by spending some nights there.  Because of this big life change, I do not want to mess with medication and shoot myself in the foot so to say.  Also spring semester starts January 20th.  My current plan is to start reducing the Effexor in 37.5mg increments in February, that is tentative and if experiencing stress I will hold off.  I will need to write my psychiatrist for him to write the prescription for the 37.5mg medication as I only have 75mg capsules that can not be split.

Yesterday I went snow skiing with high school friend’s husband and had an awesome time.  I grew up in the Sierra Mountains and snow skied most of my childhood.  I did a little snowboarding in my teenage years but hadn’t really been boarding or skiing in at least 5 years.  I don’t have the body of a 10 year old anymore so it is easy for me to pick up speed which frightens me.  I spent most the day on the bunny hill, or in other terms the easiest lift where most people learn.  It was great!  I had a lot of fun and a good workout, but sore today.  We are having record high temperatures here on the west coast so it was warm and sunny all day with some people skiing or snowboarding in shorts and tank tops.

In other news, I just told both my parents this morning that the 20 something’s group I go to on Thursday nights is an LGBT group.  The news went over surprisingly uneventful.  I mean I know it couldn’t have come to a shock to them, I’ve been in a lesbian relationship before and have had only one other heterosexual relationship that they knew about.  I’m 31 years old so sort of a red flag.  The next step will try to decrease the frequency of my dad’s comments towards homosexual people, including his “jokes.”  He also mentioned that of course he’d like to see me settle down with a good man that would take care of me, but he loves me no matter what.  My moms comment was just about Eleanor Roosevelt being a Lesbian.  No questions, a 5 minute conversation.  We will see if more develops.

So all in all I am doing really well right now.

30MIAC: Day 3 Results

6 Oct

MIA challenge

So here are the round up people who participated in responding to my third prompt on the 30 Days of Mental Illness Awareness Challenge. If you participated and I haven’t added your post here, please pingback to the main challenge page with prompts or tag your post 30MIAC.

Day 3: What treatment or coping skills are most effective for you?

From All That I Am, All That I Ever Was which includes a mix of coping skills and treatment methods including but not limited to: Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, distraction, writing letters to younger self and more!

From Remember to Breathe which includes cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), medication and awareness.

And my answers which include DBT skills, structure, medication and more.

From Battling the Demons Within which includes medication and the struggle not to use maladaptive coping skills.

From OCD For Real which includes topics such as medication, exercise, talking about it and exposure and response prevention.

From Pride in Madness which includes maladaptive coping skills and positive comping skills.

From A Life of Madness who is participating in the creative way of pictures this post talks about medication, therapy, and yoga.

From Bluh Bluh Psychosis which talks about how medication is helpful for them but hospitalization was not and was rather traumatic. (not uncommon with people who have been hospitalized)

From Second Chances which talks about running, therapy, acceptance, taking it easy on herself and friends and family as the most effective in helping her deal with her mental illnesses.

From Crazy Gurl who talks about the best thing that is working for her right now is talking to her therapist.

From That’s Crazy who talks about anything that keep’s her calm and focus and mentions the importance of having multiple skills because one doesn’t always work for everything.

From Only See Your Good Side which talks about medication, not beating yourself up, and running.

From The Truth Behind the Tears which talks about being in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) at a young age which really only helper her PTSD like symptoms.  After turning 18 she started Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) which has been very helpful, she mostly uses distress tolerance and emotional regulation.

From Dangerously Tenacious who breaks it down into medication, counseling, and coping skills.

From Lost on a Street called Ethel, Sue talks about psychotherapy and EMDR in helping with PTSD symptoms along with some of the “treatment resistant” schizophrenia symptoms.  She also talks about medication, talk therapy, dream analysis, and mindfulness for traditional treatments.  Sue also talks about creativity and community and how they help her cope.

From Please hire me, my cat’s are hungry who  talks about it being vital to sleep and take medication at the same time each day.

From Voices of Glass who talks about limiting negativity, identifying stress and triggers, creating order and organization, having a realistic and objective self assessment, and being open and honest about his mental health.  And these are all coping skills he has developed over his lifetime, he chose to focus more on coping skills than treatment.

From Life and Times of the Soulless Princess who talks about how just being able to get things off her chest is a coping skills that really helps her feel better.

**Thanks to all who participated and continue to spread the word**

Also mylovelyborderlinepersonalitydisorder who has Bipolar and Borderline Personality Disorder and answered prompts 1-8 in a comprehensive post.

From Surviving by Living who groups her answers in posts that answer about 3 questions each.  The link to the responses to questions one through three are here.  Ameera mentions medication and reassurance along with that she

cope by forcing myself to focus on situations, asking myself how I’m really feeling, trying to label the particular emotion and then spend some time thinking about it. “

specifically for the conversion disorder.

May 15- I’m blogging for Mental Health: What works for me

15 May


This year’s information on Blog for Mental Health Day and the links can be found here: Your Mind Your Body, Mental Health Blog Day- Round Up

Mental health is a very individual thing, how one person experiences it is rarely the same as another.  People can have similar diagnosis but have a completely different way of expressing or presenting their symptoms.  People may have the same diagnosis and different treatment methods are used.  Even with those in relative good mental health use different strategies to stay healthy.  This post will be about my specific mental health issues and the treatment or strategies that have worked for me.  It’s my hope that maybe you will read something new and consider trying it yourself or passing on the information to a friend or family member or you think it may help.

General: If you are new to my blog, my current diagnosis are Schizoaffective Disorder- Bipolar Type and Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD).  I also struggle with symptoms of other disorders that I do not meet full criteria for; an example of this is Night terrors which are usually associated with PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.)

Medical treatment and strategies:

I currently take 4 psychotropic medications on a daily basis along with one as needed.  They are Lamictal which is a mood stabalizer, Desipramine which is an anti-depressant, Seroquel which is an anti-psychotic, and Prazosin which is actually a blood pressure medication but I use it to help with PTSD like symptoms.  I also take Valium, an anti-anxiety medication, as needed.  I’ve been on over 30 different medications throughout my life, I’m only 30 years old!  And even though I have found a pretty good mixture, I routinely need to alter the doses or sometimes change medications.  I mention medications first, because without them I do not think I could employ the other strategies that I use.  My Seroquel keeps me thinking clearly enough to make rational decisions and keeps my hallucinations down which helps with focus and stability in general.  Before I found the combination of Lamictal and Desipramine for my mood swings and symptoms that came with them I couldn’t function for long periods of time.  I would have no energy or motivation and just stay in bed all day when down.  When up, I wouldn’t eat or sleep everything seemed like a brilliant idea.  I recently started the Prazosin because of Night Terrors that were happening a couple times a week; they disrupted my sleep and scared my family.  The Valium is for if I get too wound up and usually taken to help me sleep or calm down when the hallucinations are particularly difficult.  My suggestion: Research and talk to your doctor to see if medication could help you.  If you don’t like the idea of being on medication or don’t like the side effects, you probably won’t stay on it.  Talk to your doctor, most are wiling to work with you to try different medications, lower doses, or explain potential benefits.

Lifestyle treatment and strategies:

Exercise:  I know most doctors are always telling people how beneficial exercise is and how it can help so many problems.  I’ve been told it for years, but because of the depression and lack of time- I just wrote it off as not an option for me.  I decided to do a Disney Half Marathon later this fall, so have began training in January.  As much as I hate to admit it, because I don’t like being wrong, my mood has been much better since.  I feel like I have more energy which is funny, because I though the exercise would zap my energy not give me more.  I feel better about my weight, I have lost some since beginning exercising.  I don’t do anything crazy, I go to the gym for 30 minutes twice a week and walk on a treadmill and then on the weekends I walk around the park with my sister usually for at least an hour.  That is my routine,  I also swim during the summertime. My suggestion:  Start out with something you like, if you don’t like riding a bike don’t do cycling, do walking, running, training, yoga…. something you like.  Start slow.  Get an exercise buddy, preferably a reliable one- it’s a great time to catch up with each other and you can support and motivate each other   I know when my sister isn’t able to exercise with me I find it difficult to do it on my own.  Be consistent, it’s easy to get out of routine after just skipping a couple days.

Sleep:  A lot of people talk about sleep hygiene and anyone who has gotten a bad nights sleep knows how it can effect your mood the next day.  Too much sleep can leave you groggy and lethargic, while too little makes you irritable and drag.  I try to go to sleep between 9-11 pm every night, I also try and get up between 7-10 am every day.  I usually do not use an alarm clock which helps me.  I need my room dark and cold, which hasn’t always been the case.  I sometimes take a warm bath before I go to bed but do not wash my hair because I don’t like going to bed with wet hair.  My suggestion:  Try to set a routine if you can so certain days you wake up around the same time and go to bed the same time.  If you need to wake up earlier than usual or plan on staying up later than usual, alter your bedtime or wake up time to change it to your average hours of sleep you get an evening.  Make your own bedtime ritual that works for you: a warm drink, bath, reading, writing out your day, checking your email, whatever helps you wind down.

A daily routine or structure:  I need a routine, I need to have things to do, reasons to get up out of bed, something that makes me feel fulfilled or accomplished.  Something to fill the time.  I do not have a consistent work schedule as some with mental illness do.  I take local classes at my community college because it forces me to get out of bed, learn something new, and interact with the world.  I also happen to do well academically so it also makes me feel good about myself.  I have weekly counseling sessions with my case manager.  I go to the gym, twice a week- usually Tuesday and Thursday evenings or late afternoons.  Thursday night I go to an LGBT group called 20 something’s.  My suggestions:  Find some activities you enjoy to put into your routine, whether it’s a monthly date night or girls night out, a hobby you like to do like book club meetings or taking an art class.  Have some consistency.  Include items that make you feel good, whether it’s a family dinner night, volunteering, going to church.

Allow some chill time:  Just as important as it is to have routine and structure, we all need some time to rest and relax as well.  I always have at least one weekday when I do not attend school.  I leave those days for chill time, sometimes that’s just lounging in my pajamas and reading all day, sometimes it’s going to lunch with a friend, sometimes I plan fun events during that time like a day trip to San Francisco.  What’s important to me, is that I often don’t plan ahead what specific thing I want to do during my chill time.  Some days I want to be on my own and recharge, others I want to have lunch with a friend and laugh. Since it’s my chill day I don’t want to plan each one to eat with a friend in case that’s not going to be relaxing to me that day.  My suggestions: For the most part, don’t plan your chill time’s ahead of time.  Do what you like to do, if you thinking going on a 5 mile bike ride is relaxing do it, if you’d rather take a nap do that- don’t let other’s tell you what is relaxing or enjoyable to you.

Specifics to me:

These are suggestions that are just specific to me and the symptoms they help.

  • Listening to music- helps elevate mood and remind me of happy memories attached to songs, distracts from voices.
  • Reading- distracts me and gives me new knowledge on things.  Whether educational and psychology books which I mostly read or humorous fiction.  It takes me out of my mind and current situation into another.
  • Blogging/journaling/writing in a diary- helps me vent and process what is going on with me, when blogging I get support and feedback.
  • Writing poetry/making art- it’s a creative way for me to express my feelings, it is like a release.
  • Going to weekly counseling sessions- it helps me to have someone to talk to who knows me well but it outside my situation.  I like that I can talk about whatever is going on from the trivial, humorous, trying, bad, good whatever times.
  • Learning new information related to my illnesses and mental health in general- I’m often reading self-help books, blogs on mental health, the latest research about treatment and more.  I feel it’s important to have a wealth of information, which could help me.
  • Going to class- I kind of mentioned this already but it keeps my cognitive skills up, forces me to do some interaction, gives me confidence, sets a routine.

My post last year on Stigma

Resource: How to protect your mental health and avoid a breakdown

18 Apr

Optimism- a positive attitude

Hopefulness- When we are able to reach our goals and have a sense of support and validation the future seems more hopeful.

Self-acceptance- Acceptance is about coming to terms with what we can’t change or control. Recognize the futility in holding onto negativity about people, places, and situations you can’t change.

Connectedness- We need intimate relationships in our life to get our emotional needs met. Practice being assertive and reaching out to others. Be yourself and be willing to open up and say what’s on your mind.

Gratitude- Focusing on what we appreciate is one of the most validated ways to improve our well-being. Gratitude softens the heart and fills us with greater compassion

Purpose and meaning- Having something beyond ourselves to turn to in times of need can be very reassuring. Explore how you can grow spirituality even if this isn’t an area you practice currently. Spirituality can be a specific practice that offers greater meaning and purpose.

Mastery- We need to have mastery over our environment and learn how to adapt and modify our circumstances to have emotional balance. Mastery comes from having the skills and competence necessary to progress and achieve what we need, as well as having the confidence and belief in our abilities. Mastery provides a sense of pride and success, and is a catalyst for further motivation to deal with life’s challenges.

Exercise- As long as you get your heart rate to a certain aerobic level you will reap the emotional benefits.

Mindfulness- It’s okay to worry for about 10 minutes but after this point it’s no longer much help. Find distractions to interrupt your ruminating. Practice being mindful or your thoughts and feelings to clue into your patterns of negative thinking

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