Just as I was growing confident that my depression was gone forever, I learned today that my new medication, a tricyclic antidepressant, which is working so well, is probably causing an abnormal EKG or electrocardiogram. Tomorrow, I will talk to my psychiatrist about the results of my EKG. I am at a crossroads.
If I have to stop my medication, I am not sure what I will do instead. My husband is worried.
Today, I learned that a former buddy of mine died. Her husband called me to let me know. She passed on March 1st, 2020, before the pandemic hit. Because it happened before the states instituted travel restrictions, her brothers and sisters were able to attend her celebration of life.
She was the sole guest at our wedding in 2018 and took photographs. We had not been able to secure a photographer for the wedding, so this was a big deal. I was extremely grateful that she drove for two and a half hours to come. I let her know my appreciation.
Today has been a hard day. On the bright side, my chiropractor said it was much easier to adjust my upper back today. For the last two weeks or so, it has not been as painful. That problem is getting much easier to bear.
Another night has passed. I am thinking of my buddy. She loved to fast and often wanted me to do it with her. I was not as keen on it. Lately, I have been fasting regularly and have thought of her every time. She will always be a part of me.
I imagine her in heaven, safely in the arms of Jesus. That may release my feelings for now.
I am grateful to be alive–a life I cannot take for granted.
Today is cooler than yesterday. I can go out anytime this morning and be comfortable.
I went out for my daily walk to the library and park. It was cool. I checked out another library book called Stress Less, Accomplish More by Emily Fletcher about meditation. What did I do soon after I came home? Meditation. That helped calm my feelings of mourning.
Like me, my friend was fascinated with nutrition. Her obituary noted this. She was only 63. An aggressive bacteria killed her, first taking her leg, then her life. How did she get it? I do not think anyone knows. Life can be fragile at times.
Idea for Medication
My first inclination regarding my medication is to use SAMe again. SAMe, which has helped me over the years, has the advantage of being over-the-counter. I do not believe it affects my heart. My doctor warned that it could harm the liver. Hopefully, he can determine my liver’s health from my recent labs and make an accurate assessment. SAMe has few side effects. If that is not a possibility, I do not know my next step. It is clear to me that I need some kind of chemical protection against depression. The important thing for me at this moment is not to obsess over my friend’s death. Instead, I could start something new that energizes me.
Before I Do Something New
Before considering something new, I want to revisit a project I have had since June 7th, 2020: my Top 5. I believe in finishing things. Today is day 39 of 100 days. I first talked about it in my blog post Number Our Days. Since June 7th, 2020, I have scored my JV Life Tracker checklist every day as part of my Top 5. I graphed my scores in Cronometer, and they look like this:
I gradually came to score between 150 and 200 points per day, representing a level of activity I find satisfying and keeping with my goals. Surely, there is more I could do in some areas, such as my blog promotion. However, I am pleased with my energy level and what I am accomplishing each day. Notice the record spurt on June 15th, which was followed by a down spill on the 16th. That is okay, but the sure-and-steady effort that followed is even better.
I plan to continue scoring JV Life Tracker even after my Top 5 project ends on September 14th, 2020. I may do another Top 5 with a slightly different selection of activities. We shall see. I have not committed to anything yet. My five Top 5 scores, so far, for the first 38 days are all 100%. I congratulate myself on doing that well. One of my Top 10 values is consistency; this project has been an exercise in developing that. (For more info about my Top 5, and a cute picture of my step-granddaughter, consult the following blog entry.)
What about trying new things? I believe it is essential to try new things. However, we can get enamored with novelty and break our consistency with our long-held goals. Strive for some sort of a balance. On Friday, I bought a new, top-of-the-line Android, a new thing for sure. I could spend many hours learning every nuance of what it does. I have spent some time at it, but I have not lost sight of projects I already had going. And for instance, I did not buy an iPhone. That would have been a novelty and could have become a project I am not prepared to handle right now.
What Can Go Wrong Pursuing Novelty
Why do I emphasize sticking with your goals? When mania strikes or anything like it, we flit about from one thing to another, thinking we are making progress. Nothing could be farther from the truth. When mania finally subsides or is forced to go down through drugs and hospitalization, we realize we have dug a pit for ourselves that now we have to dig out of. We could end up financially in debt; our cherished projects could have more dust from sitting on the shelves; we could have made a mess of our relationships. Or all three. Or even worse.
For these reasons, I have been more careful about chasing novelty lately. If, as a result, I get called a stick-in-the-mud, that is okay. I suspect many of you, my readers, should be cautious about taking on new things. Something important you already have going could give. I believe there are times to do something new. For instance, after using LifeForm for over 20 years, I found Cronometer. I am glad I did. LifeForm was obsolete and not even sold anymore.
People get in trouble with their marriages seeking novelty. I think that goes without saying. Be a stick-in-the-mud if you must and work things out with your existing spouse. I could say more about that, but there is no need.
How many people encounter Cronometer and then never really use it? They never learn what they can do with it because they have already moved on to the next new thing. I have now been using Cronometer since June 28th, 2017, and am still learning how to exploit its features. At this point, I do not plan to abandon it until there is something better–a lot better.
Getting Ready to Talk to My Psychiatrist
I am currently getting my laptop ready for a meeting with my psychiatrist. Since this session will probably determine what antidepressant I try next, a lot hangs in the balance. I am at the crossroads. I will soon receive an email from him that I can use to connect with Zoom. Outside, there is thunder and rain. We need rain as it has been dry for weeks. Fire danger in this area is severe.
I have completed my session with James, my psychiatrist. He agreed to try SAMe again! I said it is not quite as good as Imipramine, but it is okay. He said he could monitor the depression I might have and check my liver. Once I get off of Imipramine, he wants me to do another EKG to make sure my other drugs are not causing irregularities.
Lessons From the Happiness Trap
I hope that as I transition back to SAMe, that the ideas I have learned recently will help me. In particular, I am thinking of Russ Harris’s The Happiness Trap, which I have mentioned in several blog entries, starting with Day 634. Through his ACT program, Russ Harris taught me how to get going even when I do not feel like it. I sometimes am not in the mood, even when taking Imipramine, but Russ’s work has helped me get going. Once I am moving, I generally do feel like it. It makes me regard myself more highly if I have been able to motivate myself, even when it is hard. If these techniques work, I can overcome depression, even without the assistance of so much chemistry. My life will be a living lab to test these concepts. If you need something like this, consider this book.
If you would like to join me on this journey from the beginning, please start with Day One. If you wish to download a FREE copy of my ebook (with no need to enter your name or email), click on the book below.