Saturday, June 22, 2013

Everybody but me--but that's okay

At the moment it seems like everybody in the world is:
1. Getting engaged
2. Getting married
3. Getting a job
4. Getting a house
5. Getting pregnant

....except me. Granted, I've already done the engaged and married thing, and I technically have a job (just not the one I have a degree for), I am a LONG way from numbers 4 and 5. At the moment me and Bob are just happy enough to be able to afford all our bills AND student loan payments without being in the red every month.

You might have read those first few sentences and taken it to mean that I'm unhappy, that I feel stagnant, that I want things to move forward, but rest assured--we are very happy without the responsibilities that come with home and child ownership. We don't have to cut the grass. We didn't have to replace the roof three weeks ago. We don't have to pay for daycare or formula or 56 boxes of Easy-Mac a week because the child is like me and won't eat anything else. All we have to worry about right now is ourselves.

And for me that's plenty. Job hunting is stressful, especially when you've been doing it for over three years. It's especially stressful when you have clinical depression, generalized anxiety disorder, and OCD. But guess what? A lot of other people have those things, too, especially here in the blogosphere. THAT'S WHY WE BLOG. We can tell anybody anything we want to while staying at home in our pajamas eating ice cream out of the carton with two-week-old mascara flakes scarring our corneas because we haven't removed our contacts in so long (haha, yeah right, like I wear mascara.)

In reality it's not that bad, at least not since I've started ingesting hideous doses of caffeine in order to stay awake. I feel a lot better--if a little hopped up--when I'm not sleeping 18 hours a day like I was two weeks ago. If I ccan get into the normal human routine of sleeping at night and staying awake during the day, instead of the reverse, I'll be a LOT happier.

But I will still have anxiety and depression and be prone to irrational thoughts. But there is a book I've been using that I love, and it's "The Relaxation & Stress Reduction Workbook." Sixth edition. By several people. It's available here. I've found it to be useful across the spectrum of anxiety disorders, and I've taken the liberty of typing up my own copies of some of their worksheets included in the book. I'll provide an explanation for them as needed. If you'd like a copy of them, I can email you the PDF or Word format. I don't know how to do all that fancy stuff on here yet.

*DISCLAIMER: I AM NOT A DOCTOR. These forms are not to be used as medical advice. They are reproductions from the book linked above and for private use only.*

This one, the stress-awareness diary, is pretty self-explanatory. You track your day and write down the time of an event, what happened, and the symptoms you experienced that made you view it as stressful (anger/fear, sorry, muscle tension, headache, stomachache, sweating, etc.) I altered it to make it two-a-page and more environmentally-friendly.

Number two is a record of tension. You're supposed to write down how you feel before your relaxation session, and how you feel after it, with your comments. There are a lot of methods to help you relax in the workbook and if this is a problem for you, I urge you to get the book and research the methods. But I included this form and a scale at the bottom for how you're feeling.

Finally, I reproduced the sheet on irrational thoughts. When you're depressed or anxious, it's easy to think that something small (like a broken crayon, missing ingredient in a recipe, or spilled milk) is the end of the world. When you're absolutely convinced something is an indisputable tragedy, use this sheet. It helps me spell out what I think, why I think that, and whether or not it's true (hint: it's not.)

Again, I'm not a doctor. But I do recommend the book. It's an interesting read and if you like making lists and you're introspective and you like learning about yourself, it's a great asset. Check it out of your library if you like. I love it.


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