My therapist got right to the point. “What do you hope to achieve from our sessions together?” Fortunately, I had a head start on thinking about what I wanted, since it was also on the new patient questionnaire.
“I want to be more calm and logical when bad things happen. If the ex-husband tries to make me angry or confuse me, I want to control my reaction, especially when I am around the kids.”
What I did not mention is what was already in my questionnaire – that I have frequent anxiety attacks and am exhibiting signs of depression: Sleeping too much and too little, feeling restless, withdrawn, hopeless, discouraged, fatigue, loss of motivation and having a general sense of foreboding wash over me all the time. My general feeling is that everything felt doomed.
After a few weeks of being in this funk, I realized it wasn’t normal. I am aware that everyone has their own struggles and can handle different amounts. I was starting to have trouble handling the amount of crap I was dealt. I don’t think my life is horrible, but it doesn’t mean I don’t feel challenged by situations or disappointed in my perceived success or failures.
The therapist asked me how I slept. My answer was easy! “Hey – when I go to sleep, I am a deep sleeper. I sleep very well!” She asked how many hours a night I sleep. I was a little embarrassed to share my sporadic sleeping habits with her because I sleep anywhere from 1.5 to 12 hours at a time. My work schedule is regular, my weekly tasks are regular but my sleep habits are all over the place.
I guess the first step to improving my mental health is to regulate my sleep, otherwise known as resetting my Circadian sleep rhythm. The second step is to get on a regular exercise schedule so I have an outlet for my pain. The endorphins released by the pituitary gland along with a regular sleep schedule can really help my mental health.
Yeah, that’s probably true. I am not disciplined about going to sleep at a consistent time. After the kids all finally go to sleep, I revel in the time I am left with to clean up the kitchen, make home lunches for everyone, tidy the living room, fold laundry, work on my finances (i.e. balance the good ol’ checking acct) and best of all… BE ALONE. The questions stop, the responsibilities are mundane tasks that I can do while … watching NETFLIX! I don’t mind the chores when I can watch Netflix in the background. I also go to the store after the kids go to sleep. No lines at the check out! I truly treasure the middle of the night when no one is awake.
But… sometimes… okay a lot of the time… I lose track of time and suddenly it’s 3:00 am and I need to wake up in a few hours to start the day again.
I agree with the therapist. I’ll try to abide by a bedtime and go running three times a week. Ummm.. I ate a big dinner so I can’t go running. Can I start tomorrow? Or after the weekend? Or next weekend? Sigh…