Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Getting Help

It's been about three weeks since I got the diagnosis for Seasonal Affective Disorder and started taking medication for it.  There have been some bright points and some low points.  Figured that it was time for an update on how things are going.

The medication is taking the edge off.  I had a two week follow up with my doctor to see how things are going.  I told him the load is still there but it doesn't feel quite as heavy as it was before.  I have had some problems sleeping.  I wake up around 2:00 a.m. to go to the bathroom and then when I go back to bed I'm very restless.  I'm not totally awake but can't get comfortable, toss and turn a lot, and don't really feel rested.  Doc said that was a normal side-affect of the medication and for most people it gets better after the first few weeks.

Joe and I took off for a belated anniversary weekend about one week into taking the medication.  We were heading to Bend for the weekend and planned some hiking along the way.  The day we left was amazing weather.  Ridiculously beautiful and warm for January.  I treasure days like these during the winter.  We had decided to go to the Blue Pool for a hike on the way to Bend.  It's a very popular hike and one that we had never done.  We got there early enough that it wasn't busy heading to the Blue Pool.  We saw a few people but not many.  The trail goes along a river and the sun was shining through the trees on the water.  It was so beautiful.

It was a beautiful hike.  I'm sure if the sun had been hitting the water it would have been even more beautiful.  The reflection of the trees in the water made it look like a mirror.  I am hoping to do the hike again in the summer, probably during the week because the weekend is so busy, and see how it looks with the sun hitting the water.

We got back to the trail head and there was a group of people hanging out at their truck have an adult beverage.  Joe made some comment about that looking really good and suddenly they are grabbing one and offering it to him.  We spent some time hanging out with a very nice group of people.  That is one of the fun things about having adventures.  Sometimes you get to meet random people that are really fun.

When we finished yakking with the nice people in the parking lot we got ready to finish our drive to Bend.  But as we were going down the road Joe say a sign for Sahalie Falls and asked if I wanted to stop.  Why not?  We didn't have to be anywhere at any particular time.

We got out and checked out the falls and oh my goodness it was beautiful.  The sun was at the perfect spot in the sky so that there was rainbows.  We were checking it out and taking pictures when someone told us there were more falls just a little ways down the trail so we took off to check it out.  Every place we stopped we saw more rainbows.  We ended up with about a mile bonus hike and it was so worth it!
I had stopped to take this picture and the rainbow go SO bright!  
My favorite guy!!  💗
Then we headed back to the car and started to make our way to Bend.  The sky was so blue!  I love the views of the mountains we get on this drive.
Sunday morning we got up and headed out to do a hike at Smith Rock which is near Redmond.  There ended up being a lot of fog.  Which meant we didn't get the really awesome views that you can find on this hike.  But the fog had it's own kind of beauty.
View of Smith Rock from the parking lot.  😀
Once we got down to the river we could see it a little more...kind of.
At the top of Misery Ridge.  Isn't that a great view? 😉

I didn't go as close to the edge as Joe.  Happy I made it to the top.  
Monkey Face on the way down the other side.  
Proof that we saw some blue sky.

View of Smith Rock from the parking lot at the end of our hike.  
We ended up doing about 7.5 miles and got about 2,000 feet of elevation.  Kind of slow because some the downhills were hard for me.  I don't like heights and looking down at the trail and seeing all the down right there makes my stomach jittery.  Then add loose gravel that makes you slide on occasion and I am creeping along.  By the end I was so ready to be done and on flat ground again!  Could feel the out of proportion feelings start creeping in, the tears start welling up and the frustrations start.  Which then frustrated me even more because the day before I had such a good day and was feeling so much better. 

Monday we headed for home and had one more hike to do on the way.  Joe remembered a hike he had done when he was in high school so we decided to go check it out.  Salt Creek Falls was another beautiful hike.  It was technically closed for the winter season but there wasn't any snow so we went passed the gate and checked it out anyway. 

We didn't do the full hike in the forest since we weren't absolutely sure of the trails and didn't want to get on the wrong one and end up out and about in the woods all day.  Especially in an area that was closed for the season.  We got back to the car and headed for home. 

It was nice to get away and spend time with my hubby!! 

So doc had asked me to let him know if the sleep was getting better after another week.  If it was then we might up the dose of the meds to twice a day. 

I met with Jon to go over some new strength training exercises.  Once again I was reminded how much I appreciate my coach.  Before we got started with the new exercises we sat down to look at some of my workouts and talk.  Jon brainstormed ways to get me outside in the daylight, even if it was just for 10 or 15 minutes.  He said that if I came home and went for a quick walk then we could just shorten up whatever workout I was supposed to do after I got home.  He didn't want me to be overwhelmed with a walk and then a full workout.  I got a little overwhelmed with him caring about me getting outside and here come the tears.  I am so grateful to have a coach who gets that his athletes are a whole person, not just an athlete.  We have things come up, life happens, problems to overcome, jobs to do, winter blues to overcome.  All of these things factor into how we handle our workouts.  Sometimes the workouts aren't the most important thing.  In my case the workouts are probably one of the major reason the S.A.D. hasn't been much much worse. 

This last weekend I had a couple of days that were just hard.  Nothing major going on, no reason for things to be hard, but there I was being all teary over nothing again.  Not fun! 

I missed my swim Thursday morning because I had a bad night sleeping and just couldn't get myself moving at 4:30 a.m.  I was going to swim the next day instead but again, didn't get going in the morning.  Decided I would do it right after work but then some former students came by and the next thing I know I'm rushing home so we can head to Salem to see our daughter's concert.  I hate it when I flake on a workout because I'm tired.  I'm always tired so that isn't a good excuse. 

Part of the extra teary was being extra tired.  Which is not good when I'm already majorly tired on a good day.  So when I'm majorly tired with extra tired thrown on top it makes it harder to cope with things in general.  Joe worked on Saturday and I was supposed to do a 1.5 hour bike ride.  There was a group ride that morning but I had decided not to go.  I was weepy, grumpy and tired.  The weather looked crappy.  I just didn't feel like being around people. 

Then I got a text from one of my friends/teammates asking if I was going to be at the group ride.  I said I was on the fence.   Here's how the conversation went:

So I packed up my stuff and headed to Corvallis.  Evidently I am not a lame person.

I cried all the way to Corvallis, I have no idea why.

Then I cried all over Rebecca. lol

But I was there and I am thankful for friends that don't take no for answer.  I am also thankful for a ride outside.  We didn't get rained on the entire ride.  Tackled some solid hills and actually set a record for most elevation in one ride.  We had to stop and start a bunch of times going into and out of town so I got lots of practice clipping in and out and stopping and starting.  Managed to not fall down once so that was a win. 
When you don't have fenders you get some funny looking backsides.
Jon had a flat tire and was demonstrating how to change it fast. 😉
Kristin, me and Rebecca.  The ladies of the group ride.  😁
Getting outside and doing my workout with other people was a good thing.  I was still a little off but not so weepy and well....sad.  (Or S.A.D.) 

Sunday I had a hike and I was supposed to do some running and my coach wanted me take some times to run like I did when I was a kid.  Just go fast and do it for fun.  I had a bad attitude at the beginning of the hike.  I was tired, it was early and I didn't really want to be there.  Joe met me there when he got off work.  The plan was that he would go ahead of me and then come back to see me off and on as I did my hike.  We have done this lots of times but for some reason this particular morning I was grumpy about it.  If we couldn't hike or run together he should just go do his thing, I would do mine and see him when I got home.  He wasn't having any of that.  He basically ignored me and did his out and backs.  After I got up the first long hill there is a nice gradual down hill that last for a couple of miles.  It's a great place to really get moving fast.  Joe had come back to see me and had taken off again.  He was a ways ahead of me and I suddenly remembered what Jon had said about running like a kid. 

When I was a kid we used to race.  I'll race you to that tree.  Now I'll race you to the fence.  Now I'll race you to the end of the street.  Not long distances, just running to run and laughing about beating or getting beat by a friend or sibling. 

I decided to see if I could catch up with Joe and even pass him.  It was going to take some effort because he had gotten a ways down the road.  I did pass him and went on for a bit just enjoying the feeling of being FAST!  Even if it was just for a short distance.  I decided to keep doing this.  Joe would catch up and then pass me, I would wait a little bit and then take off after him.  I started slapping him in the butt as I went by.  This is because he always does that to me when we are doing track work or something.  If he passes me, I get a smack on the butt.  For whatever reason the whole thing, fast running, passing Joe and giving him pats on the rear, just made me smile.  I realized that I wasn't feeling grumpy or weepy anymore.  I was having fun. 

I wasn't worried about my pace or doing a particular set workout.  I was just goofing off and being silly.  It was really really fun to go fast.

I had hit the button on my Garmin to make each of my sprints a split so that I could look later to see how fast I was actually going.  (I was not supposed to be looking at my watch and worrying about anything, I was just supposed to do whatever and have fun.  Coaches instructions!) 

I had one split that was .13 long (not very far at all) but my average pace was 8:33.  That was so cool.  Then I had another one that was .38 long that had an average pace of 9:30.  I loved that because it was significantly longer and I kept the pace going.  Fun stuff.  Can't maintain that for long, and probably couldn't do it as easy on a flat road but it was sure a kick in the pants to be able to do it on that down hill. 

Being a silly runner who harassed her husband seemed to take the edge off of my bad mood. 

I took a bit of a nap when we got home (not long enough!) and then got ready to go see a play with my daughter.  This was the third night that I would be out and about way past my bedtime.  I was definitely reaching the max of what I could handle in my tired department.  I know this was not helping with the S.A.D. aspect as well. 

Last night I was able to get to bed at my more normal bedtime.  That helped a lot. 

Overall I think things are better.  But they are still a long way from being great, or even good.  I know I am doing everything I can to help myself feel better.  Controlling what I can and doing the best I can with the rest.  Not always easy. 

Another aspect that I struggle with is feeling guilty about feeling down.  I really have nothing to be down about.  Great husband, fabulous kids, a new job that is a kick in the pants, friends that love me, people that encourage me, lots of laughter and adventures.  I'm not sick, I don't have any broken bones, haven't lost a loved one, I am able to pay my bills, etc.  There are many, many people that I know and love that are legitimately going through some rough stuff.  I feel like a big whiny pansy.  Having a chemical imbalance in my brain does not sound like enough of a reason to be a sad sack. 

I think this probably is part of the reason that a lot of people don't share about struggles with depression.  There is a part of me that thinks I'm being unreasonable and shouldn't make a big deal about it since I really have nothing to complain about.  I know others who think the same way.  Double edged sword.  It seems like there should be something that is going on that is making me depressed that is a little more significant than it is dark and rainy outside.  That feels a bit silly really. 

The truth is that I am sad.  I am working on making it better. 

Exercise helps. 

Having people keeping an eye on me helps.

Taking the medication helps.

Using the happy lights help. 

Being able to acknowledge that I needed (and still need) help helps. 

I love this quote.  Just seems to capture what I'm doing right now. 

Making it work. 

One way or the other.

One day at a time. 

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