Fall Semester 2018

This should be my last year of college. But I’m honestly not quite sure where I want to end up, so I don’t know what I’ll do at the end of the year. At least I don’t have to worry about that *quite* yet. I do have some options, but I’ll figure it out later.

I am taking another fifteen credits this semester. Summer semester was a giant fail, and I will never, ever do that again. Ugh. I am anxious to get back into a normal semester routine. I’ve had my books for quite a while (I rented most of them but had to buy a few that came with DVDs/codes).

I only have my favorite teacher for one class this semester, and it’s just an online class, so I’m a little bummed about that. I have one class on campus this semester, American Sign Language, which is two hours a day, twice a week. That is very manageable, especially with the Northern Minnesota winter fast approaching.

I’m also taking another sign language class, Introduction to Deaf Culture, which is all online, so I’m assuming there will be a little bit less sign language, although I have all of the online programs they require. I’m also taking two child development classes for my degrees, which, after looking at the textbooks, seem like repeats of the same material that was covered the past two semesters but oh well.

As for planning, well, I’m not doing quite as much as I did last time. I skimmed through the textbooks this time, and am waiting to order a new planner for 2019, but until then, I will use my current inkWELL Press Planner – both dated and undated.  (The undated version is not my favorite – I do like that it doesn’t have coils, but I don’t like that the cover keeps falling off. Hopefully, they will update that for the new collection that goes live September 5).

Fall Semester 2018 _ College Coffee Kids MN _ American Sign Language, Child Development, ASL

Progress?

College Coffee Kids MN, Mental Health, Depression, Anxiety

I hate waiting. And that’s what you have to do when you start a new medication. Wait. Wait for side effects. Wait for some little sign that maybe, just maybe, this one will be the last one. The one that finally works.

I read somewhere (can’t remember where) that the point of treating depression is to get into remission. Remission means you are back to the way you were before the depression.

See, that’s a problem for me. I don’t remember a time when I wasn’t anxious or depressed. But the new doctor I saw this a few days ago said that because I don’t have a point of reference, I have to decide what “normal” feels like for me.

Basically, I just want to be able to keep up with my kids, get regular exercise, and feel like I have a purpose.

Between the DBT and Group, individual therapy, medication, and things I’m doing on my own (like journaling every single day – and I haven’t missed one since I started on my 32nd birthday {May 25}), I hope to make progress. That’s all I can do – work hard and hope.

College Coffee Kids MN, Mental Health, Depression, Anxiety

Estée Janssens

Catching Up

Since my last post (which was a really long time ago, wow), I turned 32, My kids started summer break, I met a guy, Summer Session started (math is no joke), and my grandma passed away.

Drawing is from the Pigment app. I just colored it.

Last Tuesday, I had the first appointment with a new therapist. There were countless questions and the hour didn’t seem long enough. In the end, he wasn’t sure if I was a good enough candidate for DBT. I found out that I am, and I scheduled appointments through the beginning of August. Next week, we will do more paperwork and assessments, and set up group therapy appointments.

In the session, I was given three more diagnoses, which he added were provisional upon further testing. I am not going to discuss them just yet, as I want to get more information first. I will say I was surprised at one of them.

I suppose I should get back to working on my homework. I only have two days to get an entire chapter’s worth of work done.

Therapy

It’s Mental Health Month (well, it’s almost over…) and I did something I have been putting off. I do this a lot, just hoping that the problem/task/situation will just go away. Pro tip: it doesn’t.

I went back to the clinic where I had therapy last year. I stopped because I felt like it wasn’t working. I felt more anxious about the actual appointment than I did about my issues at the time.

But now I realize I need a little more help. I talked with a patient care coordinator and we discussed some options, since I was reluctant to get back into “regular” therapy. I decided to go with DBT (Dialectical Behavior Therapy) and to see a psychiatrist to make sure the medications I am on are the right fit.

To be honest, I am nervous about going back to therapy, even if it will be a little different than before. I feel like I’m whining about trivial things when I see a therapist. Like I shouldn’t be worrying about this crap because there are more important things in the world.

I did some research today (I figured this was safe to google, unlike some of my other symptoms…) and I feel a little better about the DBT. I’ve also been looking up what to talk about in therapy, since the last time I went, I just felt like I was repeating the same few things week after week.

Another thing I found while I was googling was something called a Perceived Stress Scale. So I answered the questions (ten total) and my score was 33 out of 40. That’s…not good. I’m really hoping that after a few months of therapy I will see that score go down.

Therapy, DBT, Dialectical Behavior Therapy, #MentalHealthMonth, #CollegeCoffeeKidsMN

Observer

As a person with anxiety, I don’t like talking to people. I don’t like being in groups (which is sometimes manadatory in college classes). I just generally don’t like people. Because of this, I spend most of the time, when I’m in public places, just watching. As I’m watching, I remind myself not to judge people. The mom, who has three screaming kids at Target, who all want toys/candy/a laptop, and I realize that could be me. That HAS been me (which is why I do most of my shopping when I don’t have my kids.) I see the old couple who still hold hands. I know that this isn’t in my future. And I’m okay with that.

Living with my anxiety, knowing what I know now, I like being alone. I like standing on the sidelines, just watching, not participating. As a child, I longed to feel like I belonged – to feel needed. But now, I’m okay with just being an observer. #MentalHealthMonth, anxiety

Observe

#MentalHealthMonth

May is Mental Health Month. For most of my life, I knew something was wrong. I just didn’t have anyone to tell who would take me seriously. I’ve always been depressed, anxious and “anti-social” (which I now know to mean “introverted”).

Last year, around this time, I finally fought help. I saw a therapist for most of the spring and summer, but it got to the point where thinking about going to these sessions was causing me more anxiety than it was helping.

I discontinued therapy and was put on medication. It helped at first – I was finally able to get out of the house without a sense of dread, I was exercising, taking my kids to places by myself wasn’t the fear-inducing experience it had always been. So my doctor and I decided to increase the dosage to see if it helped more. It didn’t. I went backwards. Way back. I wouldn’t even answer the phone when my mom called.

I went back to the doctor and tried a different med. This one was awesome! My kids all got the flu (and I did too), and instead of freaking out about it, I just powered through. After a few months though, I felt like it had stopped working. The dosage was increased. Again, it was like I went backwards.

I went back to the first med I was on. Totally different experience this time. Raised the dosage. A few steps back, but still manageable. My doctor added another med, and this is where I am currently. I go back next week to discuss things with my doctor.

In a few weeks, I start the summer semester of college. I am taking math and psychology. Along with homework and studying, summer is the time of year when my anxiety gets worse. The kids want to be outside, at the park or the lake all day, every day. But I feel that summer might be different, because of the meds, and ways I have learned to manage my anxiety. It’s not depression so much anymore, just anxiety.

I’m hoping to post more in the coming weeks, especially since May is my birth month, and turning 32 is coming up fast.

#MentalHealthMonth, Depression, Anxiety