February 28, 2013

I'm a Grandma

Sorry for not posting in a while but last week I had an extremely adverse reaction to my anti-depressant - now I'm weaned off it and on a newer better less side effect medication.  Everything came together and I was feeling so good and then we got the call yesterday that our grandson had been born,.

I'm over the moon in love with this little guy and life is so wonderful now.  I will post this weekend and begin posting regularly but I wanted you to know that I'm back on track, the new medications have me feeling great and I love being a grandma.  

Oh and I have been sewing up a storm.  

February 16, 2013

Sewing - I forgot how much I enjoyed it.

My journey towards feeling better is finding ways to deal with the "icky" side effects of the anti-depressant.  Since I have been through this before, I know that these side effects will subside as my body adjusts to receiving the medication.  In the meantime, it is important for me to find things to do that bring me joy and keep the acute anxiety at bay.

As a side note, the side effects of acute anxiety and panic attacks are worse than the anxiety I was feeling when I chose to go on an anti-depressant.  So, why go through this?  Because I was uncomfortable living with the minor anxiety situations that I would blow out of proportion and find unable to move on.  I know that I have to walk through the fire before I feel the sunshine and it will be worth it.  

In the past week I have often thought about how a person would be able to deal with the side effects if they were alone and had no support system.  Thankfully if I need to reach out to someone on the telephone during the day, I can do that.  

In the midst of all of this I have been sewing.  The college girls that were living with us moved out in December and are back to living on campus.  So the room that used to be their room has once again been turned into a den.  This was our oldest son's bedroom when he was living with us.  The large closet in the room has been housing all of our coats and outerwear since we don't have a separate closet in our entryway for this purpose.  When the girls moved in my husband installed a metal bar in the basement to house all of our outerwear.  We have liked this arrangement so I decided to leave the coats in the basement and use this large closet for something that only a seamstress would enjoy.  

This is my sewing dream:  an entire closet dedicated to fabric, patterns and sewing notions.  I have been working on this this week as there is nothing better than re-directing anxiety into something useful.  It is a work in progress as I am not going to go out and buy a bunch of plastic bins until I know I need them.  I already had my fabric stored in plastic drawers and such and I am still using them.  

My sewing machine is set up on a typewriter table that has wheels on it and I can push it against a wall when not in use and then pull it away from the wall when I am ready to sew.  I had my husband and sons move the love seat from the living room into the den (had too much furniture in the living room anyway) and we have an old large entertainment center that we moved from the basement into that room.  I have a t.v. to watch or listen to while sewing, which can be nice company.  On that entertainment center there are several shelves (it stands about 5 1/2 feet high).  I have some fabric bins and am putting them on these shelves to put items into for storage.  I like these as you can't see through them, but there is room on the front to slide in a label to note what is in the bin.  

This room is located on the southwest corner of our house and it gets lots of sunshine in the afternoon which is a big plus.  

This week I have been concentrating on making flannel receiving blankets for my grand baby.  I purchased 1 1/2 length yards of fabric (44/45 inches in width).  This ends up making a nice square.  I have been sewing two pieces together, turning them inside out and top stitching a decorative stitch around the edge.  If you go and purchase a receiving blanket at a store, you will be greatly disappointed in the quality and size.  The size that I am making these will be plenty big to swaddle a baby.  

I have also been making burp clothes out of remnants of flannel that I have found on sale at a fabric store.  These are the bone shaped size burp cloths.

I will post pictures later of the room and the burp cloths and receiving blankets.

February 15, 2013

Taking it One Day at a Time

Yes, I know that these posts on mental health issues have nothing to do with Living on One Income or does it?  

I am into day 4 of being weaned on an anti-depressant and I have had the "joy" (tongue in cheek) of experiencing the side effects of anxiety and panic attacks.  I know it will get better as my body adjusts just as it did 2 years ago when I was on an anti-depressant for a year.  

So, frugally speaking, my anti-depressant falls into the $4.00 category at Wal-mart. I am seeing my general practitioner which is covered by my husband's health insurance and our insurance will cover the majority of it.  That's great for the budget.

However, this afternoon I made a decision that I needed to see a counselor.  Too much has gone on in my life and I think I have just been stuffing it down.  This is a big step for me as I am one of those kind of people that feels they can deal with and handle anything.  I am the nurturer, the caregiver, the one that wants to help people but forgets about herself.  

Does this sound familiar?  

I have filled out an appointment request form to meet with a local female psychologist who specializes in women's issues.  The cost is $175 for the first initial consult and $120 per 50 minute session.  How am I going to pay for this?  Well, this falls into the necessity category.  This is as important to me as food and water.  I need to do this.  My husband agrees.  I am sure that after the initial consult I will end up meeting with her once a month.  Bills have been paid off so instead of setting aside more money for home projects, I will be using some to pay for counseling.   But if we didn't have the money, I would use a credit card as this is definitely a necessity.

The sad part of this situation is that mental health is not covered as much as physical health on health insurance policies.  I would rather have appendicitis than this.  I don't want to go into a discussion about "Obamacare" here, as this has been true for years.  20 years ago ago I suffered from post partum depression after the birth of our youngest son.  I was unemployed at the time also.  My husband's health care insurance covered $25 of the $150 sessions with a psychiatrist who was monitoring me.  We had barely enough money to buy groceries so we paid for the bi-weekly sessions with a credit card.  It was a necessity as it is extremely difficult to handle life when you are crying from morning to evening.  It only took a couple of weeks on medication and I felt great.  Meeting with the psychiatrist helped in monitoring the meds and talking about any issues.  

So, I'll get down from my soap box.  I know that although the side effects that I am experiencing will subside in time, it is necessary to go beyond drug therapy to counseling.  And in the end dealing with issues now will mean a happier healthier me.  

February 12, 2013

Just when you think it's safe to go back into the water . . .

Depression rears it's ugly head.

Yep - started to recognize the signs over the weekend but was in denial.  Then I decided that just to be safe I should meet with my doctor to discuss how I was feeling.  I met with him for about 30 minutes and both of us agreed that an anti-depressant was needed.  Since I had been through this before I was able to get to the doctor sooner than I had the first time around.  This means that I won't have to suffer as long as I did the first time.  Start on the meds sooner, get relief sooner.

What a bummer.  I have been weaned off an anti-depressant for about a year now and I honestly thought I would be able to manage my mental health and well being without some added help.  But, that's okay and I now understand that.  

I'm not embarrassed by this  Actually I think that we need to be more open about this just as we would be open if we were suffering from a physical illness such as arthritis and diabetes.  

I did not have this problem until I entered my 50's, which is bringing me closer to menopause.  I was diagnosed with hypo-thyroidism 3 years ago and have found that I need to have my blood checked every few months to make sure that my thyroid medicine doesn't need to be increased.  In fact my doctor told me that he wouldn't be surprised if that is part of my problem right now.  I have learned that I am my own best judge on knowing my body.

One of the first symptoms of depression for me is the inability to let things go, to take one isolated incident and make it into something grander to the point that I keep playing that incident over and over in my mind and can't stop.   I become totally obsessed - OCD.  Usually it is something that makes me afraid to the point of being paralyzed with fear - totally irrational fear.  In a few weeks this is something that I will look back on and be completely puzzled by how I could have possibly felt this way.  But for now, it is real.   While anyone else would say oh well and move on, I can't.  Normally this is not a problem, but with the sun not shining for a long time, it being cold and having to be inside more, I was already feeling a little blue.  

A perfect storm was forming.

As I go through this illness, I find that there are certain times of the day that are harder than others. The mornings are wonderful for me and it is during those times that I can't believe that I feel the way I feel later in the day.  I almost feel "normal."  It is the mid afternoon that is hard for me.  Recognizing that, I try to schedule my mall walks and working out around those times.  If I don't feel like leaving the house, I spend time sewing or crafting which is something I like to do.  I am being careful about what I eat as I don't have much of an appetite so I am making sure that I am eating lots of protein and fruits and vegetables when I do feel like eating.

When I feel overwhelmed and anxious, feel like I will never get out of this hole, I sit down and take a deep breath.  I make a phone call to a dear relative or friend just to hear a voice of encouragement.  I have been taping some really good sermons from the t.v. to listen to when I am discouraged.  I recognize the things that I need to do to help move me along.  

The medication will kick in and I will start to feel wonderful again.  It is just a matter of time.  The best part of this situation is that I have a well stocked freezer and pantry so if I don't feel like grocery shopping, I don't have to.  It pays to be prepared.   

So I am on the mend and I will be posting again.  In the midst of all of this I have been sewing and making receiving blankets for my grand baby who is due to be born in a few weeks.  I find great relaxation in sewing and with what I am going through now, this baby may end up with a lot of hand sewn items from grandma.  

I love posting on this blog and for me not to post for a while, was a sign that some of you noticed and commented on.  You are some pretty smart people!

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand” (Isaiah 41:10).

February 08, 2013

New Post Coming - - -

I received a few e-mails wondering if I am fine as I haven't posted for a while.  Actually, I thought it had only been a week when I realized that it had been a lot longer than that.  I will be back up to "posting" speed this weekend.  Life got busy and I am back. . . . hint, hint - getting ready for my first grand baby.