So, I am cautiously optimistic that my psychiatrist has figured out the proper medication and dosage to control my depression, or rather, keep my depression from controlling me. And I think that I have figured out (relearned, more like) that self-care and routine help me immensely in my daily battles. For example: eating well. It’s such a simple thing, really, but for someone with depression, it can be damn near impossible. It’s something that I would imagine many people don’t even consider in their everyday lives – they can just do it without thinking.
I’ve managed to start and keep myself on track since July 30. This entails, for me, being essentially militant with what I consume. I keep track using the MyFitnessPal app. Logging what I eat helps me stay within my daily calorie goals, and this in turn is helping with weight loss. I’ve read disputing information on how long it acutally takes to form a habit, but in my case, this is a habit that is currently firmly in place.
I haven’t been working out yet, and though I know it will help me as well to reach my goals, I told my psychiatrist that I felt like it was too much all at once to attempt. You see, I am very all or nothing. Moderation, by definition, seems so simple. For me, it’s incredibly difficult. So honestly, I felt a sense of pride when I recognized that if I attempted to do ALL THE THINGS all at once, like a strict diet (i.e., not consuming all the bottles of wine and pizzas) plus a training plan, I was most likely setting myself up for failure. My psyciatrist smiled as I explained this to her, and agreed that my approach was wise and very self-aware.
However, I am still unfortunately plagued with insomnia. I’ve been having the best of intentions to get out of bed early, when my wife leaves for work, in order to exercise prior to starting my own workday (from home). This has yet to occur because I’m always zombified and desperate for more sleep. There are three dogs that sleep in the bedroom at night, and it becomes a cacophony of raucous snoring, panting, and licking.
I have never been a person to fall asleep with a tv on, because my brain focuses on the sounds rather than tuning out and relaxing. The snoring etc. is worse, because not only does my brain focus on it, it fully engages and is just waiting for the next loud snuffle. This in turn triggers frustrated adrenaline, causing my mind to race.
I wish I could say this is always the dogs’ fault, but it isn’t. They say it takes the average person 7 minutes to fall asleep. I WISH. Even if the dogs aren’t conducting the worst symphony ever, my mind will not shut off. My head just feels full. My psychiatrist prescribed a benzodiazepine, and my primary care physician prescribed a seratonin antagonist & reuptake inhibitor… neither of which seem to work. Benedryl, Advil PM, melatonin – no success. I bought Valerian root but have yet to try it.
Sleep is so important to overall health, especially for someone with depression, therefore it’s just so incredibly frustrating to not be able to fall asleep. My psychiatrist recommended I look into an online program called SHUTi, so I did and it’s like $150. I’m considering it, because it would be great to not take medications that don’t work anyway, but the cost is weighing on me. I’m coming to grips with the fact that my health is worth the cost, but… yeah. Maybe next payday.
Something else that is interesting – when my wife leaves for work in the morning and I manage to drift back to sleep, I seem to have the most bizarre, vivid dreams. I researched this a bit and found that vivid dreams actually tire one out, because it is not considered a restful portion of sleep. To add to this, depressed people dream more intensely and for longer periods because the brain is having to deal with an overload of arousals caused by excessive worrying.
I know what I need to do: I need to begin forcing myself out of bed early. This will keep me from having unrestful sleep full of bizarre dreams that confuse me, and in turn will tire me out earlier in the evening, prompting a reasonable bedtime. As it is with all things, this is easier said than done. Wish me luck, reader, and please send sleepy vibes my way.