It’s now day six of my medical leave. The first week is coming to an end. It’s been odd…I don’t think it’s hit me in my body yet that I’m doing something different. In a lot of ways, this is just like any other week off. A week of vacation, of trying to focus on reading and walking, on spending time with the kids and my wife. In my head I know it’s very different, but in some ways it just feels the same.
I had planned to look into a partial hospitalization program offered by Lehigh Valley Hospital, but I’m putting that on the back-burner right now. I don’t feel like I’m at rock-bottom right now, and I think that’s designed for people at that point. I have a feeling that if I called and explained the situation, the answer I’d get is something like, “Boy, this would have been a good program for you a few months ago, but right now you’re not really our intended client.” I’m struggling with that decision, because the decision to not go is something that I think my therapist agrees with, and I want to please him. On the other hand, the decision to go is something that some friends and family members agree with, and I want to please them. It’s hard to remember that pleasing people isn’t the most important thing to do right now. And what’s more, both my therapist and my friends and family just want me to be better…they care much more about that than about whether I do it the way they envisioned. So whatever, this is the decision I’ve made. And while I’m glad it’s there, in case I do feel I need it sometime in the next few months, I can focus my energies elsewhere for now. At first, that decision made me feel very guilty. What am I going to do with my time if I don’t go to the hospital?
It’s taken all week, but I’m starting to feel like I’m in a rhythm. I’ve indeed found some things to focus on, some activities and habits to work on.
- My therapist has suggested looking into mindfulness. He’s going to give me some resources on that next session. I’ve also realized that I have some experience with different tools for mindfulness…I’ve just lost track of them over the years. I’m going to make a list of them, and share them with my therapist next week.
- My new spiritual director has helped me to get in touch with the voice I have that tells me “nothing matters at all.” I’ve tried an interesting journaling style where I write with both hands. Weird, but oddly meaningful.
- I attended a support group sponsored by the Depression & Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA). This was the first support group I’ve ever attended…it wasn’t quite what I expected, but I think I’ll give it another try. There are also two support groups sponsored by the Lehigh Valley chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)…I’ll be trying them as well. Perhaps one of these will be a good fit.
- I’ve found a few apps for my phone, to use to track my mood, as well as a few other things. I’m going to try each of them for a week or so. The one I’m using right now is “DBSA Wellness Tracker” from the DBSA. I don’t really like recording this stuff, but I’m going to give it a try right now, when I have no good excuse not to! It might end up being helpful.
- I have done pretty well at getting back on the wagon of 12,000 steps a day. My new Fitbit Charge 2 is a great help with that.
- I am also doing well, so far, at either journaling or blogging every day.
I’ve got some other ideas on what to do in coming weeks, but it feels like this is a decent start.