Depression

One of the first symptoms people with chronic illnesses often get is Depression. Depression is common. More common than most people know. It’s not always a constant sense of hopelessness nor that deep despair. If it is then you have major depression or clinical depression and what I write might not help without medical care as well.

Blue Sky Day and Balloons at Southern Hills Hospital

Sometimes I don’t even recognize that I am in a depression, until I am fully in one. Some signs that I need to be more aware of for me are moodiness, an over or under reaction to situations, sleeping too much and not feeling rested or not sleeping much at all, and finally not feeling the joy of living. If you know me that should be a big indicator that all is not well in My Crazy Life.

Some of the types of depression:

  1. Major Depressive Disorder (MDD)
  2. Persistent Depressive Disorder or Dysthymia
  3. Bipolar Disorder
  4. Postpartum Depression
  5. Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD)
  6. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)
  7. Atypical Depression
  8. Bipolar Depression

If you have depression like me… It comes and goes. I think it’s Persistent Depressive Disorder or Atypical Depression, though technically I have been diagnosed with Clinical Depression. Mine is manageable most of the time. When it’s not I take anti-depressants. Many people get depression from situations or it might be a chemical imbalance in your brain.

I can generally work my way out a depression cycle by keeping busy. Meditation and Relaxation are effective tools that work for me in my continued wellness. In the past when I have not been able to get the fog to lift, I have sought medical attention and asked for medication. Well, the first time my PCP told me to take it.

Though I didn’t want to… He said, “Now Rita, if you came to me with a sinus infection and I told you that medication would make you better. Would you take it?” I nodded. “Well, I am telling you to take this and it will make you feel better.

So, I did. You know what the fog that I had been living in, lifted. I didn’t realize until that moment how much depression affected my view of the world. Colors were more vibrant without the depression to cover them up. I guess what I am saying is do whatever you have to… To put the color back into your life. That is why I love blue sky days.

It’s not always easy digging myself from the abyss, but it can be done. With a little bit of help at times (sometimes a kick in the pants) and mindfulness, I am able to get myself out of depression. Now I see the blue skies… I enjoy hearing the sounds of nature… I enjoy living… I make myself get up daily. I meditate, eat breakfast and do something I enjoy. I get out of the house when I can. That’s not always easy with dizziness. I go on trips and I love my life. Sometimes, it’s a lot of work, but it’s worth it.

I hope you have a blue sky day and are spin free.

Love, Peace and Light! Rita

Fremont Street

Have you been on Fremont Street? I remember cruising down Fremont street when I was a kid to gawk at casinos like The Golden Nugget and Four Queens. Today it’s closed to traffic and is host to one of a kind experiences. Bright lights, music, performers, nearly naked people add to the ambiance.

I snapped this as we waited to cross 4th Street. The overhead screen, plays light shows throughout the evening. When the free shows begin they play the concert overhead as well as on one of the stages.

Friday night we went to see The Wallflowers. A friend got us VIP passes so, we were closer to the stage.

This stage is right outside The D‘S doors. Four Queens is the bright, shiny one on the other side of the stage.

 Before The Wallflowers, there were dancers on the stage. Like the one in this picture.

At 100 feet Longbar at The D deserves a mention. The bartenders are fabulous. If you play your drinks are comped, but don’t forget to tip the bartenders, they work very hard to serve you.

I love Fremont Street, but rarely go, because my husband hates going downtown or to the strip, so I enjoy it when we make it there.

If you come to Vegas in the summertime checkout The Fremont Street Experience. Maybe one of your favorite bands will be playing. Besides The Wallflowers, I saw Melissa Etheridge and several others for free. You just have to endure the summer heat.

I love living in Vegas. There is so much to do and see.

I hope you’re spin free!

Love, Peace and Light! Rita

It’s Time to Shine

Peacock Freehanded by me from Let’s Make Art tutorial.

Stop feeling sorry for yourself. It’s time for you to get up and do something for you! What makes you happy, gives you satisfaction?

It’s time to live your life, instead of watching it pass you by. You don’t have to leave your house to feel satisfied. I painted that peacock from the comfort of my own home.

Start slowly, then build up to something big… Regain your confidence and then spread your tail feathers and shine.

I never could have imagined traveling to Ireland. It was harder to imagine myself taking an overseas flight by myself. Yet I did. I had to after losing my passport.

Me at the Calgary Airport ready to head home,

My fear of having an attack was overshadowed by my fear of getting lost. I had everything laid out to ensure that didn’t happen. Overcoming my fear wasn’t easy, but I did it. You can too!

Just take baby steps. Do one thing you enjoy. I remember making the call to join The Y-City Writers. It was hard to get up my courage. Fortunately, there was a meeting that night, so I didn’t have time to chicken out.

This is how I reintroduced myself to living my life. I wrote stories and decided I wanted to improve my craft… I made myself leave the safety of my home and re-entered the world of the living. I never looked back.

It’s okay to take someone along for the ride to your re-entry. Life is better with a partner. If you don’t have a friend, you might need to do what I did with the Y-City Writers, but I made friends then. Valuable friendships that I will carry for the rest of my life.

I want that for you. All the things I do carry me through the bad days. Let your good days guide you.

I hope you are spin free!

Love, Peace and Light! Rita

Be Happy

Being happy comes from within. Relying on outside influences is superficial. Sure you feel happy for the moment, but you need to feel that contentment all the time, especially if you have a chronic disease. That is not to say you won’t feel other emotions, it just means that for the most part you are happy and content.

Happiness Comes from Within

I just read an article on 10 Simple Steps to a Happier You. The author has some valid points that might help you.

Happiness doesn’t come easy to me. It’s something that I have to work on consistently. Depression and a natural predisposition toward grumpiness (Thanks, Dad!) means I have to acknowledge that I am not those emotions and work on not reacting to whatever caused them.

1. Mindfulness- I need to be diligent in recognizing negative thoughts and reactions. I acknowledge and then let them go.

2. Meditation- This time in my day is strictly for me. It gives me a chance to be closer to myself, the universe and God. There are many good guided meditations on YouTube. Here is a ten minute meditation that I like. There are shorter and longer ones depending on how much time you have and how long you pay attention. I have to admit that my thoughts break in all the time. I acknowledge them and then let them go.

3. Develop a mantra that you can recite when stress becomes too much. I say the Serenity Prayer. You can read it here. I say the shortened version, sometimes I repeat… “Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change.” over and over.

Those three things allow me to get closer to happiness and to loving myself. That is the true key to being happy.

4. Love/Like yourself – become the person you want to be. Find things you enjoy doing that fulfill you and make you happy to be alive.

I realize that you may not have the job you want, but be happy that you have one. Try to find joy in whatever you do.

For instance my least favorite thing to do is housework, but I love the end result.

The hardest days for me is when I can barely drag myself from bed. Whether pain or vertigo or fatigue is the cause… I feel useless during these times. I need to remind myself that it is just temporary and that tomorrow is another day.

I know I’ve written on this subject before, but I was reminded today that it’s important to remember!

I hope you are spin free!

Love, Peace and Light! Rita

Be Flexible

When you live with a chronic illness, you can still enjoy your life. But you must be flexible. Also, it helps if your family and friends are flexible too. Although I make plans, there is always a possibility that I will not be able to make it. I know that and I am okay with that.

Occasionally, I make bad choices. I went to the Saw Escape Room two days after having a full blown vertigo attack. I was still in the hangover stage of the attack. Meaning my balance was more off then normal, lights bothered me more and the brain fog was off the charts. You can’t see it, but I relied heavily on my cane to keep me upright throughout this experience. In hindsight, I should have cancelled, because I was no help to our group. A friend bought it for me for my birthday, so I went. Knowing my friend, she would have rescheduled, but I felt like I had to go.

Other times, though I may rely on my cane, I am just off a bit. General feelings of dizziness or balance problems, so I am able to carry on. In Ireland, I was off a bit most of the time, but managed to carry on. This is what I mean by so-so days. If someone is by my side, I can enjoy myself without too much worry.

When I have good days like this day, I am able to attend a free outdoor concert in hundred degree weather. Even though I couldn’t feel my toes by the end of the concert. LOL! I know when I overdo things I may regret it the next day. Fibromyalgia will invariably hit, if not Meniere’s or something else.

This is the day after the concert. I went to a football game with Ralph. My glasses and smile hide the pain and dizziness I experienced. Did I mention that people with invisible disabilities are good at pretending to be healthy? We are. Unless I can’t get out of bed or you can see/or are looking at my eyes, you’ll never know I don’t feel well without me telling you. Typically, Ralph knows when I am having issues.

Since Ireland, I have cancelled out on activities, because I felt awful. A movie with Ralph and a friend, I sent them on without me. A few other things that Ralph and I had planned, but nothing big. I usually rest well before activities. It helps tremendously if I rest before going places like concerts. I had to decline going to see Weird Al with my brother, though I had bought the tickets months ago. Fortunately, he and his wife enjoyed the show. So, no I don’t get to do everything I want, but I do a lot.

I live despite my chronic illnesses. They may set me back once in awhile, but not every time. If I am having a particularly good day then, I’ll do something with others or on my own. I don’t drive if I have any dizziness or brain fog, but I can on good days. Not being able to jump into a car and go has been the hardest part of having Meniere’s. Fortunately, there are rideshares like Uber and Lyft. So, I am not stuck if I am having a so-so day, which are more often than not.

I hope you are spin free.

Love, Peace and Light! Rita

Autoimmune or Not

This has been bothering me for some time… When I was first diagnosed with both Ménière’s and Lichen Sclerosis, they were considered autoimmune. Now though that may be one cause, there are other things that might cause them.

What is an autoimmune disease? It’s when your antibodies that are supposed to protect you from illnesses attacks your healthy cells.

Harvard defined it as, “The term Autoimmune Disease is used to describe conditions in which the body’s immune system – which is supposed to be defending the body against viruses, bacteria and other invaders – is thought to be involved in causing or perpetuating illness. It’s as if the body’s defense system has turned on its host.”

If it’s confusing to the medical community, no wonder it’s confusing to me. I see in the Ménière’s communities that people believe theirs is caused by head injuries, ear infections, exposure to loud noises and other things. Still others like me believe ours is autoimmune. Indeed if you have autoimmune diseases such as Lupus or MS, then it’s highly likely that your other conditions are autoimmune. My ANA tested positive, but I have no diagnosis of Lupus, because the doctor didn’t see skin involvement.

As my doctor at the time of all these symptoms/illness said, we’ll just treat one symptom at a time. I wish something would help consistently for some of my issues. Unfortunately, our bodies become immune to treatments. We need cures, not treatments.

I don’t worry about the distinction of what caused my issues, but I am puzzled!

I hope you are spin free!

Love, Peace and Light!

To Sleep or Not To Sleep?

That is the question with which I am dealing. Last night was a sleepless night. Though I do sleep some, I wake too often mostly by my own accord, occasionally because my old man cat demands my assistance to fill the whole in his food bowl.

Lazarus, 20 year old man cat!

Sleep eluded me much of the night. This morning I am super tired. I have a MRI this afternoon, so I can try for a bit more sleep.

On nights like last night, I mostly rest. Before my Apple Watch, I had a Fitbit that recorded my sleep patterns. It considered my resting, light sleep. I look at it as though I am trying not to awaken my husband.

Anyway it is six o’clock in the morning and I feel as though I need a nap! I am going to try for more, though my mind is fully awake. Thoughts race through my mind to prevent sleep.

I’ll try to clear it with some meditation. Hopefully, it will work in quieting my thoughts. If it puts me to sleep, that is the truest form of relaxation.

I hope you are spin free!

Love, Peace and Light! Rita

Tools to Live

Tools for Living

I saw this and knew I needed to write about this subject. If you need something to help you enjoy living then do it. The alternative is being unable to get out and enjoy yourself.

I use a cane when needed. I have a rollator walker in case. I haven’t needed it yet, but it’s there if I need it. I get wheelchair assistance in airports to get me to and from the gates, so I can travel. All so I can enjoy my life. I don’t want to observe the world through my friends and families eyes, while I stay in bed. I did that before and never again.

Prescription glasses with blue light filtering tint.

My glasses are tinted to filter blue light. Before I had yellow ones that fit over my glasses. Others have rose tints to prevent migraines. I carry earplugs, because noise can physically hurt my ears. And surprisingly Sea Bands help a bit with dizziness.

Blue Light Filtering Glasses. These fit over my glasses when I drove.

Rescue meds are a must to keep on you when away from home. I carry meclizine, inhaler and triptans just in case. Carrying Frova with me helped at Def Leppard when someone’s marijuana smoke triggered a migraine. This is a really expensive medication in the USA, but gets rid of my migraine, aura and dizziness within ten minutes of taking it, even at a loud concert.

Def Leppard in Las Vegas

I refuse to stop living because I am embarrassed by carrying a cane or others think I don’t need it, because I don’t look disabled. Who cares what they think. Until they live with a debilitating disease they will never understand.

I hope you are spin free.

Love, Peace and Light! Rita

Journaling Helps

Pocket Journal

Why should you journal? Girls kept diaries when I was growing up. Mine weren’t that interesting. I only put facts in like… I went to school. A boy kissed me. Nothing of substance like the girls on television wrote. I wish that I had learned the benefits of journaling.

Whether you’re writing in an old fashioned journal or blogging, journals can be an effective tool for reflecting on your life. When I look at my old blogs I can tell when I was healthy emotionally. Even now I can see shifts in my mood through my posts. When I am mindful I can halt depression in its tracks just by recognizing the symptoms.

My blogs help me to see if I am meeting goals. No, I don’t write lists or make resolutions, but I am constantly working on my personal growth. My blogs help me recognize when I am slipping back into the person I used to be. The person I don’t want to be, the one I didn’t like much. Once I recognize this I can start practicing good habits like meditation, relaxation, and mindfulness. When I find myself reacting to a situation that everyone felt funny, except me. I should have been able to prevent my overreaction by reciting the Serenity Prayer to remind me that I can only change the way I reacted to the situation.

Journaling is a way to help me heal. When I write out my thoughts and feelings, it part of the process of getting rid of unpleasant feelings. This is a poem I wrote on a particularly down day. I am not retyping it here as it’s already posted on an old blog site. It was cathartic and I did feel better after putting the words down. I still feel the depression lingering, but it’s not as pervasive.

Photo Session by Erica Tabet

The Huffpost has a great article by Thai Nguyen that speaks of 10 Surprising Benefits You’ll Get From Keeping a journal. It may be helpful to you.

I have a friend that writes positive things about herself everyday to help boost her self-esteem. Keeping these in a journal gives her something positive to see on days she can’t find anything positive.

I almost forgot one of the most obvious things a journal makes possible… it chronicles your life. You can reminisce about good times by re-reading your past posts/entries.

As you can see there are benefits in journaling. Some not as obvious as the ones I can see. I hope this helps you decide that journaling is right for you.

I hope you are spin free!

Love, Peace and Light! Rita

Birthday Celebration &The Wallflowers

Excitement overcame me first thing yesterday morning when I realized the domain MyCrazyLife2go was up for grabs. I snagged it and began to set up my website!

I need a better logo!

I relaxed the rest of the afternoon until Ralph got home at 3:30. Time to support my hubby in his new hobby.

It took me awhile to to get it up and running, but it’s up. I need to tweak it here and there, but I am happy with it.

I rested on my recliner until Ralph got home. Time to support the hubby’s new hobby, scuba! It was his first time with a tank.

Scuba practice session 1

He enjoyed it though had trouble remembering not to breathe through his nose. In the end he got it.

No… I am not going to attempt scuba. I wasn’t able to snuba in Grand Cayman last year. Not sure if it was the oxygen as the expert said, but I kept getting nauseous or a panic thing. Me and another girl had the same problem.

We headed to McMullens Irish Pub for a friend’s birthday and dinner.

Birthday Girl on the left!

Ralph and I ate dinner and enjoyed the live band. Why is it in the USA, we get Irish music, but in Ireland we heard mostly American music? I guess everyone wants something different.

The one thing I had on my calendar to do for months… The Wallflowers. The Fremont Street Experience has free concerts all summer long. Check it out if you can brave the high temperatures.

Thanks Tina for the pass!

Oh my goodness. They were so good. I stood for two hours. You can watch it on The Ralph and Rita Show.

There is always consequences to having fun. Fibromyalgia is paying me back this morning. I think almost every muscle in my body is sore.

Thankful that yesterday was a good day. No dizziness or migraine. I was preemptive to take a sumatriptan in the morning when I saw the floaters. I think so much of my daily dizziness is due to silent migraines. The pool water caused me mild issues, but I am trying to desensitize to that movement. The only other symptoms I had yesterday was balance. For the life of me, I couldn’t walk straight and kept tipping like a drunk person. But I managed to stand for two hours with incident.

Fremont Street 3rd Street Stage VIP passes.

I am blessed to have good days.

I hope you are spin free!

Love, Peace and Light! Rita