4 to 6 of sertraline

4 to 6 weeks of self-improvement

Day 32

While I was driving home from work, stuck in insane traffic, I realized something: man, we waste some time every once in a while.

I don’t mean like playing Warcraft wasting time (and I have some friends who would argue that that is the exact opposite of wasting time), I mean like being inefficient with our time. Sometimes we have work to do, but we end up spending a few hours in front of the television, sometimes we have to poop, and other times we spend an hour in traffic to go 14 miles.

I don’t want to suggest that we all get smartphones, staying connected to everything at all points of the day, I’m just saying that every once in a while we should be mindful of what we are doing.

I don’t have enough spare time to sit around listening to music. I just don’t. But pretty much every Tuesday and Thursday (I get out of work later on those days, and I can’t avoid the traffic, as there’s one way to get home from work) I have about an hour to listen to music. So I put a mixed CD in, or I listen to the radio, and I try my best to remember that I’m not in traffic, listening to a CD; instead, I’m listening to a CD, and I just happen to be in traffic. It’s a slight but important distinction.

  • physical self: 10 minutes of cardio and 15 push-ups
  • mental self: problem-solved an alternative business model for a musician friend (“Give it all away” was my hopefully-good-advice)
  • emotional self: noticed that I have jealousy issues, and that they’re probably rooted in some sort of attention-seeking disorder
  • spiritual self: neglected. But really, can you neglect your spiritual self if you interact with humans? Hmmm.
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Day 31

Depression is a very real thing. I need to reiterate that. And the only thing that is common among people suffering from clinical depression, depression, seasonal affective disorder, and generalized anxiety is that each case is extremely unique. I have two friends that are clinicians (one therapist and one psychiatrist), and four friends that are currently on medication for it.

And they all agree: while it seems to be a wide-spread issue, each case presents its own problems. One of my friends’ triggers is sappy love stories (either in television, movies, or commercials). He has to be extremely mindful of his emotions during any sort of representation of sappy love that he sees. His therapist prescribed sertraline as a counter-balance to his clinical depression, and it has helped him stay mindful throughout the day. When those triggers arise, he usually breathes and notices the emotional state that he’s in, hoping to talk himself down.

He’s been taking the medication for three months now, and he feels that every day, he approaches that feeling of manageability that most people would like to feel.

My therapist said to me that I have symptoms of depression, ADHD, generalized anxiety, and possibly a “mild case of bipolar disorder.” (His exact words)

The relief that I originally felt when diagnosed soon turned to anger and resentment, followed closely by intense introspection. I think that it’s a natural response. If I were to ask people all across the country how they felt day to day, I think many of the people would experience these same symptoms. That’s not to say that it’s not real, or that my case is rare, or that my case is less real than others. It’s just my constant ruminations on something that I think that we all feel: emotions and the human condition.

You see it with the Occupy Together movement: no there is no label, no concise list of grievances with those in charge (either elected or otherwise). Instead, it’s a list of symptoms that people have noticed: corporate greed, preferential treatment of the rich, and the consistent relegation of humans to cogs in a machine, able to be quantified and wrapped up in a tidy little bow.

I am more than my therapist describes, just as you are more than anyone says. You have the capacity for so much love, anger, care, depression, sadness, and joy that sometimes it’s pretty scary.

Wherever you are in your life, be it coping with emotions that are running rampant, a melancholy outlook on life, or manic happiness, there are people out there who can help. Talk talk talk. Open up to one another. Find therapists who are affordable, search for forums dedicated to helping people like you. We are the 99%, and that’s a good number. There are a lot of humans out there, some of us have been there, some of us will be there, but I would argue that there are more people who care than there are people who don’t.

Humanity can be such a wonderful thing.

  • physical self: 12 minutes of cardio (I’m trying to get to 20 in the morning)
  • mental self: I read a lot about the Occupy movement, and you should to. Start here (Occupy Together)
  • emotional self: I wrote some notes about my objectification of symptoms (it’s not the thing that instigates emotion, it is my response to those things)
  • spiritual self: 10 minutes of Zen breathing exercises and meditation.

Day 30

Is this some sort of milestone? I’m not sure… I don’t feel any different necessarily. I just feel more resolved I guess.

Something did happen today, though. I noticed that someone found this site by googling “Day 19 sertraline.” This got me thinking about how glad I am to be off that stuff.

But it also made me stop and think about what I was doing here. Sure, maybe there’s some sort of pat-myself-on-the-back thing here, and maybe I need that a little bit. It’s good to sit here and think, “wow; I’ve been trying to be a better person for a whole month.” But we don’t live in bubbles, you know? We are all interrelated, and I want this place to be a site that can possibly help someone who’s struggling. Or just to reinforce positive ideologies maybe…

But how does one do that? That’s going to be my goal today, as I reflect on 30 days of self-improvement. How can I improve this blog’s stated goal of reaching out? How can I be an example to others? What kind of information should I share? etc etc etc etc

Happy Humpday, everybody. Hopefully your descent into the weekend bliss is enjoyable.

  • physical self: 10 minutes of cardio (I think I’m going to have to increase this soon)
  • mental self: I finished reading a book on distributed networks, and then I spent 30 glorious minutes discussing with a cohort the real-world applications of that theory
  • emotional self: was able to notice uncontrolled anger. I actually noticed it and prevented it from making an outward manifestation!
  • spiritual self: 10 minutes of mediation

Day 29

So I had a friend post this morning on Facebook about how excited he was for Thanksgiving. He said that it’s a good idea to talk about what we have instead of what we don’t.

(And plus, he made me a bit character in a story that he’s writing, but that’s beside the point)

What is the point is that I think he’s on to something there, especially from the viewpoint of someone who has problems shaking negativity from time to time. You see, that’s one of the things that’s utterly deplorable about depression: sometimes you can’t see the positive, no matter how hard you try.

But the goal is to keep trying. Maybe we can re-wire our brains to work for us, and I think having a positive outlook can potentially affect that. So here goes.

I’m thankful that I have a job in this economic climate. I’m thankful that I have my health. I’m thankful that my wife and son have their health. I’m thankful that there are people out there demonstrating against corporate greed. I’m thankful that we are living now. And so much more.

I’m feeling a bit better now. Interesting…

  • physical self: broke a sweat by 5:30am
  • mental self: started reading Starfish and the Spider, a book about distributed and networked business models. Fascinating stuff
  • emotional self: played with my son, mindfully acknowledging his unabashed joy at toy cars
  • spiritual self: see above

Day 28

This weekend’s blog posts were sparse and untimely. Hopefully that won’t happen again.

While Sunday was a good day overall, it was, again, particularly uncomfortable walking around a conference, representing my company, forcing the smile on my face. I would have liked to be cavalier about the whole thing, refusing to smile, but sometimes you can’t.

We all have that thing that pulls us out. It could be a smile from a stranger, it could be a note or email from a friend, it could even be a thing that we read/saw/played that was just, well, enjoyable.

For me, it’s talking about my job. For some reason, talking about the process of writing (from creation to publication) always makes me smile. Well, maybe not always, but most of the time. As much as I want this blog to be a reveal of what it’s like to go through some of this stuff in my head, the sheer fact that it’s written, sometimes links to that passion, that joy. But there is a reason why writing therapy is beginning to be used more and more in the world of depression-counseling. That sharing of ourselves, in any number of ways, reveals us, our true “us,” to others. Even if no one reads it, we read it.

You can’t write without reading what you are writing. There may be some way of doing it where you don’t necessarily over-analyze it, but we still internalize the external expression of our inner selves. And I wonder if that’s part of the reason why writing can work as a therapy.

So if you’re blue, or if you see too much grey, or if sometimes you just can’t shake the funk (and not the George Clinton type of funk), talk, write, draw, or film your way into an externalization of those feelings. Maybe it’s a little easier to deal with things after you’ve “vomited” them up on the page, so to speak. Or maybe someone reads/views/experiences it and that shared connection can help the clouds part.

Share.

  • physical self: 10 minutes of cardio
  • mental self: listened to some great talks on the process of writing and creation
  • emotional self: pretty much neglected today.
  • spiritual self: reflected on the wisdom in the Bible… Good stuff.

Day 27

Sorry for the late post.

I spent pretty much all of my Saturday at a conference, glad-handing and smiling at all of the people interested in publishing, writing, etc. It was pretty good, but at the end of the day, it felt like I was shot out of a cannon—I was spent.

When I got back home, there were certain things that I needed to do, but I just couldn’t. I wanted to fall through the couch as I collapsed, hopefully going all the way down to something sturdy that wouldn’t let me fall anymore.

Mostly I just wanted to turn my brain off.

I watched a rerun on television, and I slowly felt it all collapsing. My brain exhaled, and before I knew it, I was asleep.

That’s it. A day that went well and ended. Can’t complain. Hopefully tomorrow’s post will be more inspiring.

But I’m not holding my breath.

 

  • Physical self: 2 minutes of cardio. Yup. 2 whole minutes
  • Mental self: this is where I got my workout. I listened to some panel-discussions about being an entrepreneur and about the changing form of fiction
  • Emotional self: nope. No time.
  • Spiritual self: nope. No time.

Day 26

So this was one of those days where my list grew as the day got shorter. It’s inevitable that it happens like that occasionally, but it’s not something necessarily that I want to see happen again.

I wish I had something uber-positive to say about the whole experience, but I don’t.

Sometimes you have to plug away at the mundanity, just as you sometimes have to plug away at the joyful aspects of life.

I can’t quite shake the notion that the rise in depression, even self-diagnosed cases (or maybe especially self-diagnosed cases) is somehow linked to the rise in equating our social, cultural, and personal reality into something akin to cogs of a machine or pieces of green paper that are exchanged with others for services rederred.

Stay with me here.

More and more importance is being placed on our ability to make money, increase money, and turn ideas and hastily-made artifacts into money. Our time is freely given to our employers, and when we get home, we spend more of our time increasing the worth of the Big Six by watching content on one of their avenues of communication (if that statement means nothing to you, just know that most of the content that you enjoy, be it television programming, books, radio, or some other expression of creative content, comes from one of the Big Six companies out there).

We no longer live in an industrial society where we are expected to turn 60 or 80 hours of our weeks into widgets. Unfortunately or fortunately, we use more and more of that time how we see fit, sitting on our couches or hunched over computer terminals watching other lives play out.

Feeling rather scattered today. Too much consuming, not enough producing.

  • Physical self: 12 minutes of cardio
  • Mental self: Read some great articles online about the Occupy Together movements across the nation (if you think that news coverage is light, you might want to reconsider your expectations for what is news)
  • Emotional self: started to confront some of my emotions as internal aspects of my own being (as that makes more sense to me, hopefully I can communicate that to you)
  • Spiritual self: I prayed. To no one and everyone in particular. It felt like meditating.