April 28, 2013

A Long Awaited Update

I have deliberately held off posting anything due to my problems with anxiety and depression.  I wanted the medication and therapy I am going through to take more effect before I posted anything.

I am on my third medication since late January and it is working.  On April 7th I posted that I was feeling wonderful and I was feeling considerably better than I had for two months.  I am taking Lexapro and like many anti-depressants it takes almost 6 weeks for it fully to  be absorbed by your brain and take effect.  

I am making progress each day and have chosen to go to a behavioral sciences facility where I meet with a med specialist who constantly monitors the medications I am taking and making sure that I am receiving the correct dosage and that I am not having any problems with the medications.  I cannot express how secure it makes me feel to meet with someone every two weeks (and someone I can call in between) to make sure that I am not having any problems.  The person is an expert on these types of meds and I totally trust her.  I trust her because I see things getting better.

I have also taken another major step and that is to acknowledge that I need to see a therapist twice a month for two months and then probably once a month thereafter.  The sudden fright that I had in January has triggered so much that I recognize that just taking medication is not enough.  The two work together.  

My husband's health insurance covers all but 10% of the medications and the therapy.  I can honestly say that I would use a credit card and pay as much as it took to get better if it was necessary.

One thing that is coming up is the fact that I never had anxiety or depression when I was working full time.  So, is the answer to find a full time job or perhaps the answer is to find some volunteer job to fill my time.  I am in no hurry to make a decision and I am going to rely on my therapist to help me with what is best for me.  I can say this, I never, never, never want to go through what I went through in January, February and March.  

So what else has been going on?  Since my fright in January was triggered by our dog Molly barking loudly at someone at our front door (truly a dog thing), I decided that I had to take her through obedience training.  Molly had not been the same since we put our black lab to sleep in early January.  Poor old Griffey was like a mother to Molly so someone, meaning me, has to take the lead of being Molly's leader.  I am the person that has to be the pack leader to Molly.  Obedience training takes up a lot of my time.  I spend many afternoons on long walks with Molly with her sitting, heeling, watching me, staying, coming when called by name and so  on. She has a long way to go, but she is losing some of the timidness that she had displayed and will let strangers even pet her.  She used to hide behind me.

As for barking at people at the door, I had to go out and buy a second crate for her and it is kept in our living room.  Part of her obedience training is inviting people over to the house, putting Molly in the crate and then letting the people in the door.  You need to greet the people as if you hadn't seen them in 20 years - you know - over the top.   This communicates to the dog that this "stranger" is really a friendly person.  Of course all of this is told to the individuals before hand.  Then when Molly is relaxed in her kennel, she is allowed to come out and no one is to pay much attention to her or make eye contact with her and eventually she will lay down and feel secure and go to sleep.

The other benefit of the second kennel is that when I am watching my now 2 month old son in the mornings, I can quickly put Ryan in his crib which is located in the bedroom next to the living room, kennel Molly and then let the person in.  I can then pick up Ryan and if Molly feels comfortable I can let her out of her kennel or not.  

Now, some people will think that crating or kenneling a dog is inhumane, but it isn't.  Dogs are den animals.  In fact, Molly sleeps all night in a kennel near our bedroom and she also is kenneled when I am gone for home up to 4 hours at a time.  She sleeps and feels secure.  All I have to say to her in a happy voice is, "Molly, kennel up" and she runs into her kennel.  

Molly goes for a 1 1/4 mile run in the mornings with my husband, 2 mile walks with me in the afternoon and another 1 mile walk in the evening which is key to a balanced dog - basic needs of food, water and exercise; rules, boundaries and limitations - discipline and affection.  Too many people treat a dog as if it was their child - I have done this in the past to a dog we owned years ago and that was a big mistake.

I will probably take Molly through a second obedience class because it keeps me accountable and it also helps to socialize her more.  

Lastly, we have decided that the time has come to buy a vinyl privacy fence.  The picket fence that I painted a few years ago has several rotting boards and is also needing painted again.  Also, we want a privacy fence so people that walk down the sidewalk next to our property can't tease our dog and even more importantly to create a safe environment for our grandson as he grows older.  We will install it ourselves but it still costs a lot of money.  My husband has set aside money for home improvements, so this is one of those times I am very grateful for him doing this.  Add to the fact that our front porch floor needs to be replaced, that we have to install a sump pump in our basement (last week we had water in it again), we will be eating frugally and be glad for the money we set aside.  Now, if the furnace and air conditioner can just hold out for one more year.  Fingers are crossed!!!!

From this post I want you to know that if you are suffering from depression and/or anxiety don't feel ashamed.  If I had diabetes, I would be on insulin.  It doesn't matter if it is physical or mental, hurting is still hurting and you need to feel better so you can enjoy your life.  

Second.  Owning a dog is a big commitment and can cost money.  From purchasing a good quality dog food, to vet bills, toys, crates and obedience classes.  But that is my choice to do this and please note, that we only own the number of pets that we can afford.

Lastly, do whatever it takes to set aside a small sum of money each paycheck towards any home or car repairs.  Don't rely on credit cards but make the necessary cutbacks to save the money for that rainy day that we always know will come.

My camera is not working, but when I get a chance I will post a retro apron I made for myself.  I love it.


~Carla~ said...

It sounds like things are getting better for you.. :) Glad to hear the meds are helping your anxiety & depression. Keep at it!

Juhli said...

I am glad you have found the combination of medication and therapy that is working for you. It is great that you are willing to post about this. Also, your observations and actions about training and dealing with a dog like Molly are very helpful.

Precious said...

I am so glad that you found the help you needed.

Sounds like your dog is doing well also. Yeah!

Anonymous said...

So glad to hear your update and that the meds and therapy are working and mostly covered by your insurance. What a relief! I don't have a dog to walk but I need to incorporate more exercise into my routine, that's for sure. Take care!


jennifer said...

I was happy to read this latest post. I've been praying for you. I have had a similar experience. Medication and a some therapy worked for me. I suggest that your anxiety/depression is not cause by not working full time but rather menopause. That was basically my problem. I am fifty six and my last period was March 2011. I still have hot flashes and am still on anti-depressants. It can be a pretty rough journey. But, you are on the right track.