Thursday, February 25, 2016

Relearning Happiness

I've realized in the last few weeks how small changes can have really big impacts.  I changed positions at work, eliminating some of the stress involved with my job, and I feel like a whole new person.  I have to remind myself after I get in the car and head home that I don't need to worry about the phone ringing with problems I'll need to solve.  When I see employees approaching my heartbeat quickens momentarily until I realize that they aren't going to need to adjust schedules, covers shifts, hire someone to replace them, or work late.  I look forward to parts of my work day instead of dreading getting out of bed in the morning.  Such a small change has made a drastic change in my overall mood.  It has bled over into the rest of my life.  I have more patience and time to spend with my kids and wife.  The time we spend is better because I am in a much better mood.  Going to therapy and making adjustments to my medication both had slow moving effects on how I felt.  I could tell things were getting better but it was happening in half time.  Taking the leap and making a move that I felt good about but knew had some uncertainty in it made the biggest difference of all.  And it happened much more quickly than I expected.  Because of the speed with which it happened I was a little caught off guard.  A had to remind myself that it was OK for me to feel this way.  It was more than OK, it's great.  This should be the norm, not a fleeting moment.  I fell much more like my old self again, able to take joy in the parts of my life I had lost hope for.  Sure I'm not working my dream job, but there are parts of it that I really do enjoy and find little bits of passion in.  Parts of it that I had lost sight of and were hard to find when I was scared just to walk through the door and felt suffocated by the anxiety of facing each day.  In turn I'm finding passion in life again as well.  I'm emerging from this cocoon I had wrapped myself in to protect myself from the world around me.  I don't need every second of free time to recover from the trauma I was feeling from other parts of my life.  I never lost sight of how much I loved my wife, but I'm appreciating it  now more than ever.  Appreciating her and the wonderful person she is.  I'm noticing the little things the kids do that make me laugh and smile, not just the things that drive me over the edge.  I'm enjoying watching them grow and develop their personalities.  I'm slowly getting back into the routine of taking care of myself so I can be there to watch that happen.  And as I learn what it's like to be happy without working so hard at it I am finding it easier to get past the more difficult parts.  I can keep a more positive outlook and remind myself that the moments of turmoil pass and I will soon be content again.  In the grand scheme, the change I made was not all that big, but the things it has set in motion have the possibility to be huge.  I fell hopeful about life again.  Hopeful about getting a degree and setting my life off in the direction I want.  Excited about helping others and making connections in the diabetes community again.  In love with my family and the life we are creating.  A short time ago I was dreading what lay around the next corner, today I can't wait to turn that corner.  Everyday has the potential to be a good day and I am determined to embrace each one!

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Broken Record

It has been a long time since I wrote something here.  Like, a really long time.  Months.  I had intentions of posting quite a few times but either life got in the way, I didn't make the time, or I just didn't feel like I had anything worth posting.  I felt like every time I posted something it was the same thing.  I'm in a rough patch.  I'm burned out.  I'm struggling to take care of my diabetes the way I know I should.  So I just stopped posting.  I tried doing a few DCDE and DSMA chats but I just couldn't get into it.  At most I would stick around for a few questions and then just close the window.  Truth be told diabetes was pretty far from my mind.  As much as I didn't want to admit it I was fighting a tough bout of depression and had been for months.  But it wasn't until it started to effect my home life and then my work life that I started to take it seriously.  I needed to beat this, but I couldn't do it alone.  So I bit the bullet and went back into counseling.

I'm glad to say that I'm feeling much better now.  A few slight changes in medications have my mood moving in the right direction.  My A1C is headed back in the right direction and almost back below 7.  It's been a struggle but I have learned a lot over the past few months.  Although I consider myself and advocate for mental health, I have not been comfortable talking about my own.  I was good at talking about it, as long as it wasn't with people who really knew me.  I know that talking to a professional is a great way to stay on track and perfectly acceptable.  It doesn't mean I'm weak.  It doesn't mean I'm crazy.  It means I'm making my health a priority.  People around me knew I had something going on, but they didn't really know what.  I was afraid of what they would think if I knew.  But bit by bit I learned that I could talk about it.  Sometimes I made those moves myself and sometimes I was made to.  I had to talk to my boss about it to make sure my job was safe.  I had to learn to let the people close to me know I was hurting.  I had to admit that, at times, I thought of killing myself because I didn't want to continue to deal with the pain I was in.  But it was all for the better.  I'm slowly getting better at talking about what is going on in my life.  I am getting better and accepting help.  Slowly but surely I am making positive changes in my life.  Which brings me to the changes I want to make here...

Through all of this I was still writing many days.  I just couldn't bring myself to share it.  I didn't know where to go with it.  I considered posting it here but I didn't know if I wanted this blog to go down that route.  This was supposed to be about diabetes, not depression.  And I know there are a few people that know me away from this blog that read it and I didn't know how I felt about letting them into that part of my life.  I even considered starting a separate blog just to post about depression or anything and everything.  Then it hit me.  Mental health is a HUGE part of diabetes.  Not that I didn't already know that, but I needed a reminder.  There is no reason for me not to talk about that here.  I can't call myself an advocate if I'm not willing to talk about it.  And one of the reasons I started this blog was because I thought if just one or two people got a 'me too' moment out of it then I was doing something worthwhile.  I know that I'm not the only one going through this.  So I am hoping to start posting more frequently again.  It won't all be about diabetes.  Chances are a lot of it won't be.  And it probably won't be all about mental health either, but there will definitely be a fair dose of that.

So that's what's been going on around here.  Hopefully I'll see you around.  And if you relate to any of this stuff, hang in there, it will pass.

P.S. I'm also considering moving things over to a new site for a fresh start.  So stay tuned for that.