Monday, May 30, 2011


30 May 2011
Be it ever so slowly, I am spiraling down.  Having this happen at least once or twice a year (if not most months), I know that I better get in gear and do something about it before I can’t.  I always have the thoughts of my depression “before medication” to keep me wanting to try to get on top of my depression before it gets on top of me.  I know what I need to do – but right now it seems somewhat hopeless, and also, I have no desire to do those things.  Thank goodness my medication keeps me from extreme lows, and hitting bottom.  Therefore I have the knowledge that I CAN get on top of this if I will but try, even though  I don’t feel that way.  (I have learned that I have to rely on knowledge rather than feelings when dealing with depression.)
I am doing some things right.  I am forcing myself to do some walking, and some exercises.  I am doing it more because of my diabetes, but I know it helps with the depression.  Each time I move my legs, and it hurts, I remember to look up and see something pretty.  I still hate walking, but it has to be done.
I wish I could say I’m trying to eat right, but since I crave sugar CONSTANTLY, I find that I am eating more sweets than I should.  And certainly, when I’m depressed, cutting out sweets seems impossible.  Oh, that’s right.  I remember my coping strategy (which is hard to do when you are depressed – good thing I write these things down when I feel ok so I can remember what my coping strategies are).  Tomorrow morning I will start keeping a record of everything I eat, and allow myself to eat anything I want, as much as I want, unless it has sugar.  For some reason, this strategy helps deal with this problem.  (When I say that I crave sugar, I mean that eating something with sugar in it is in the back of my mind at all times.)
Reading is a “mixed bag” coping strategy.  Escapism through reading is my emotional outlet.  A psychiatrist, a long time ago, couldn’t understand why I didn’t have suicidal thoughts.  I explained my beliefs to him about the afterlife and the trouble I would be in there, and also explained that instead, I did “get away” fantasizing, but mostly I read to escape.  Reading isn’t bad – and it helps.  But it can get excessive.  I try to find “uplifting” literature – but oftentimes that doesn’t help.  When it does, it helps a lot because I’ve usually found new thoughts – and new thoughts always helps fight depression.  For just plain escapism, give me a non-exciting, mindless humorous mystery.  Since I just checked three of those out of the library - you can tell where I am, not to mention I laid in bed reading one of them until 11:00 this morning.   To counteract this, I will do two things.  One, I am making myself read the conference talks.  Hope it helps.  Two, I graduate from mindless mysteries to thoughtful histories.  That can also help.  And in the bargain, I have a new subject to think about.  That helps a lot.  When I was younger, I would register for a new class, and that would help a lot.  I even went so far, in my course of depression, to return to school.  That helped a lot.  I majored in psychology.  You know, it’s those that need it that major in it.  HAH!!   ??
Another thing I can do is adopt a new hobby.  Huh?  At this stage in life.  I think I’ve tried most things I can stand to do – or afford to do.  I recently went on a clothes shopping spree.  That helped for a day or two, but the novelty wore off quickly. I have tried the “shopping” cure in my life.  It didn’t take long to realize that with me, the shopping had to escalate to combat depression. 
 I am working on my family history and my blogs, and that helps.  I’m trying to take more interest in yard work, but am having a hard time in all this rain.  Rain?  Maybe this weather isn’t helping.  And neither is my health.
Perhaps resurrecting an old hobby would help.  I’m trying to get Von to take me on a trip to southern Utah.  One look at an old Anasazi ruin usually lifts me a few notches.
 In the handwork hobby region, I just finished a plastic canvas needlepoint doll house that I started when my girls were little.  That was absorbing, and also useless, but it was therapeutic .  Pulling the yarn through all those holes according to the color required is very relaxing and absorbing.  Actually, putting anything in order helps my depression.  Do I detect a “bit” of obsessive compulsive behavior here?  I remember when I had more energy, that an intense cleaning of my whole house in one day usually gave me a lift.  Now, I don’t have the energy for such coping strategies.
I do have about 200 diaper pads to serge that will go to third world countries.  At least that will make me feel useful.  Service always helps me.  It reminds me how good I have it.  Of course, that can backfire.  If I have it so good, why do I feel so down.  But service usually takes your mind off yourself, and if ever there was a selfish disease – it is depression.
Changing my schedule is another coping strategy for me.  Hamm.  Since I don’t have a schedule, that will be a little difficult.   Maybe I can change it by not going to church today.  Of course, church is the last place I want to go when I am feeling depressed, but one of the best places to go.  Even as I write this, I know that going will, at minimum, convince me that I’m not over the brink.  And, probably, it will, as usual, provide some spiritual uplift.  Spiritual uplift is hard to feel when depression takes hold, but I find that miracles happen, and quite often, when I need them. So instead of not going to church, I am going to go, AND wear my blouse inconspicuously backwards.  At least it gives me something different to think about.
I find myself going to my own blog to see what is suggested for combating depression.  It’s funny how depression interferes with memory.  I can ‘t even remember WHAT I’m supposed to do to reduce the depression.  Oh, lower my expectations.  Not this time.  My expectations are in a black hole as it is.  But perhaps writing this will help.  Journaling can be a coping strategy.  I think it is helping.
Tomorrow I am going to a party for a grandchild.  That should help.  Animals and small children usually help my perspective.  Maybe I need to go over and hug my grand dog – or play with that sneaky cat that keeps coming in our yard from the neighbor’s place.
I think at church today I will try to make a list of things I am truly grateful for, simple small things, not the standard of church, family, etc.  I am grateful for the house I live in, and all the bookshelves I have downstairs, and the blue wall in my dining room.  Oh, and I love that new (old) book I discovered.  That was a tender mercy.  Also, I have some beautiful new painted eggs.  I will look at them again.  That will help.  With my mother’s legacy, I framed an old tapestry that means a lot to me.  I need to go in and look at that again.   I will go out to Brietta’s grave and with Kanda's permission, polish the stone.  That gives me some perspective.  It makes me grateful for all my other grands.  I like the color of the new bedspread in my master bedroom.  It’s cheerful.  I could go on and on, and should, but I will save it for church.  Maybe you will get a page from my gratitude journal next.  Gratitude, if I can somehow muster it, means my depression is not too far gone, and that I have a chance of preventing intense spiraling.  Gratitude is usually my main coping strategy.  IT IS HARD to be grateful when you feel depressed, but if I concentrate, it might just be the first step out of all of this, or was the first step writing this?   Probably.  CJC

Wednesday, May 25, 2011


Most mental illnesses including depression, have some roots in our chemistry.  Reestablishing harmony in your brain chemistry will help in any state of mental. 
One of many current theories about chemical imbalance has to do with Neurotransmitters.   These are the chemicals that carry messages between the synapses in your brain, as far as I understand.  There are two that are often referred to – Serotonin and Dopamine (dopamine being a building block of norepinephrine).   The following is a somewhat simplified chart concerning these two neurotransmitters.
Associated with:              Fight (face) or Flight (flee or escape)
High Serotonin:          peace of mind, concentration, well-being, Personal security, relaxation,self-confidence, positive thoughts, spiraling up,  energy and enthusiasm, clear thinking
Low Serotonin:           mood decline or spiraling down, low energy and fatigue, confusion, feelings of guilt and unworthiness, aggression, violence, thoughts of suicide, dulled or slowed thinking,  feelings of isolation,
Serotonin Boosters:   positive thoughts,  gratitude, meditation, prayer, medication, healthy carbohydrate-rich foods,  relaxed exercise such as walking,  peaceful music, service to others,  decrease of sugar, caffeine,  movement,  whole grains,  veggies,  enjoying nature passively,  writing in a journal, gratitude journals,  high disclosure,  relaxed personal entertainment, confrontation avoidance,

Dopamine and( Part o)f Norepinephrine              
High Dopamine:          heightened ability to solve problems,  energy,  arousal, assertiveness, awareness and alertness,  body activity, speeding up of thoughts,  quick reactions,  willpower,  ncreased sex drive
Low Dopamine:          lethargy,  weakness, fear, sluggish thinking, weight gain, decreased sex drive,  memory loss,
Too Much Dopamines:  anxiety, paranoia, delusion, excessive nervous tension, fear, aggression,   sleep disturbance, social isolation, excessive energy,  inability to sit still,   isomnia,  elevated heart rate, disorientation, weight loss,
Dopamine Boosters:   Vigorous exercise,  protein foods,  competitive exercise,  exciting activities,  fish and sea food, caffeine,  planning projects,  activities,    lively music,  active  and group entertainment such as sports, taking risks,  medication

Wednesday, May 11, 2011


Fact:  Exercise decreases depression.
Fact:  I hate exercise.
Fact:  I find anyway I can to relieve the boredom of exercise.

Following are pictures I took while walking.  The pictures made me happy.


I think about my diabetes a lot. 
I think about the difference it has made in my life.  I think about the changes I have and should make because of it.  I think about what I want to eat, then about what I SHOULD eat.  I think about living not quite as long as I could have because I have this disease.  I think about the days I don’t feel well, and the glorious days when I do.  I think about the medicine I take to help keep it under control.  I think about the side effects – and the side effects of not taking the meds.  I worry about my feet getting a little numb – about my vision changing.  I think about my weight every morning, knowing that each pound that leaves will make me better – and each pound that comes, counteracts what leaves.  I think of preparing to see my doctor every three months, sometimes being grateful I just saw him so I don’t worry about test results as much; sometimes worrying about test results because I will be seeing him soon.  I think about my fingers, a lot, when they get sore from poking.  But the soreness compares little to the numbers, when they aren’t good.  And  when the numbers are good – Halleluiah!   I think about what the future might hold – especially when I see what it holds for others.  I become frightened ----- then finally turn it over to God after all that I can do.  My diabetes is just a part of me I have to accept and manage.
I think about what trying to manage diabetes has taught me.  It has taught me self-control and discipline.  It has helped me appreciate a body I once liked very little.  It has given me understanding for the pain others have to bare.  It has given me a sense of mortality, and because of that, a reality check on immortality.  It has helped me have faith – in myself – in God.  It has made me aware of life – the little and big things.  I treasure each new experience more than ever before the diabetes.  I have come to know myself better – and LIKE myself better.  I have come to know God better – and feel His love more. 
All this because of diabetes.
I think about my depression a lot – even more than I do diabetes.