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    • #33585
      Jen Cueva
      Keymaster

      It’s important to not only check in on our physical health but also our mental health.

      So, how are y’all doing mentally? Have you found yourself feeling more anxious, depressed, or confused lately? Do you have an important medical or personal event coming up? Are you struggling as you await Spring’s arrival?

      We all have days when things are a bit tougher than usual, that’s OK. You are not alone. How can we support your mental health this week?

    • #33587
      Jen Cueva
      Keymaster

      @dawnt, with your recent struggles with depression, we are here for you. Share as much or as little as you want. You are not alone.

      I’m sending you extra gentle hugs and love, along with positive thoughts and prayers.

    • #33592
      Dawn
      Participant

      Hi @jenc, thanks for thinking of me. I have been struggling some for awhile with my depression. I’m keeping myself ‘on track’ as far as going to work, going to the farm, extra appointments with my therapist, enjoying my boys (2 dogs).

      I was getting things worked out some, but early in February my ‘recently ex’ sister in law committed suicide. It was totally unexpected, and so sad. It also triggered some things from my childhood/20s, and it really threw me. I’m slowly doing better, and know that she is at peace now, but it’s still something that I think about every day. My extra therapy appointments are helping, and I know a big part of it is just time.

      My apologies if this is difficult for anyone to read. I appreciate you checking in, Jen, and your ongoing support.

      • #33603
        Colleen Steele
        Keymaster

        @dawnt a tragedy has hit close to home and so it’s understandable that you are emotionally effected by it. My opinion of you Dawn is that you wear your heart on your sleeve and seeing your brother hurting is hurting you deeply.

        The fact there you are here, on the forums is a sign that you are a fighter both physically and mentally.

        We are here for you through laughter, tears, anger, you name it.

        Know that I am truly sorry for your loss and will keep you and your family in my prayers.

    • #33598
      Jen Cueva
      Keymaster

      Hi @dawnt, you were doing so well managing your depression. But, I can’t begin to imagine how difficult this tragedy has been for you and your brother. I’m grateful that you are keeping busy and increasing your time with your therapist. That and sharing with others our struggles are tough but needed for support.

      You are not alone in this, Dawn. You are loved and cared for here. I’m sending you extra gentle hugs, extra love, and prayers from sunny San Diego.

      Take care of yourself and allow others to comfort and support you during this difficult time.

    • #33864
      Randolph Reynolds
      Participant

      I have expressed my issues with mental health on the Forums before so this is an update.

      Recently there have been many things that cause my anxiety to spike.  Now that my wife is back leading a near normal life after the pelvic issue I no longer have to do the same household chores as before.  That is good in some respects because it tired me out quite a bit yet it leaves me more time to ruminate.

      I probably developed the habit of worrying long ago when I was exposed to my mother’s anxieties.  At least that is my theory.  What I didn’t know until about a dozen years ago was I have anxiety disorder.  I look at that as a ‘tag’ that some psychiatrist laid on me.  Some theologian labels anxiety as a sin.

      Yet the day-to-day routine to manage my PHA and deal with other demands is beginning to take its toll.  My feelings are getting out of control.  Everyday I encounter some degree of depression early on and then some event pops up that triggers my anxiety.  Some thing as simple as having my INR checked becomes a bothersome issue. Or having to do something social that challenges my mobility with the oxygen tanks will cause undue anxiety.  My thoughts remind me to trust God but it hasn’t brought me the peace I crave.  These things I cannot do but live through.  The enjoyment I get usually comes through close friends and missing those opportunities is a let down.

      So in summary my emotions are dominating my life and I feel helpless to do anything about it.  I keep moving on expecting my attitude will improve.  That’s it except for one note:  I get angry and particularly about the leadership in this country abandoning its leadership roll in the Ukrainian war with Russia. Give me a fighter and my emotions would take a back seat to the thrill of victory.

       

      • #33870
        Colleen Steele
        Keymaster

        @ripple76 I have never heard it said that anxiety is a sin. If that is true than I will be going straight to H-E-Double L because I’ve struggled with anxiety for most of my life. Like you, I suspect the much of my mother’s anxiety rubbed off on me.

        I wish I had something powerful to say that might help you through your emotional battle. I know you care deeply about what is going on in the world and especially our country, but have you tried limiting how much news you follow every day? I know you enjoy writing. Have you tried keeping a journal?

        One more question – have you discussed depression and your frustrations with your doctor? Perhaps he can put you in touch with a therapist? You might be able to see one through telehealth so you don’t have to go into a clinic.


        @jenc
        has daily devotionals/meditations that she finds calming. Maybe she can suggest some to you?

        I hope if anything, you find it helpful being able to speak your mind here. We might not have advice that will work for you but at least you know we truly listen and do not judge. We care about you.

      • #33873
        Jen Cueva
        Keymaster

        Hi @ripple76, your update makes me cringe for you and those who think anxiety is a sin. You’re not alone in this battle; it’s a vicious cycle and will continue to worsen if we don’t find ways to deal with anxiety and depression.

        I, like Colleen, suggest limiting my news because it increases my anxiety quickly. We have so much going on in our daily lives then mix in the world news that is non-stop surrounding us.

        I’m happy to hear that your lovely wife is back to herself and doing more, allowing you time to rest. But like you, the idle time often makes my mind race, and anxiety kicks in if I am not busy. Talking with a therapist is an excellent idea. You can usually see them, and it’s covered and virtual, as Colleen mentions. I have spoken to a therapist for several years now and learned some new ways to cope and decrease anxiety for the most part. Some days, it will take over, and I start writing things down, like a brain dump. At one time, I was doing this at night before bed to sleep. I kept my journal on my nightstand and wrote down anything that popped into my mind. After doing this for several weeks, I did notice it helped at night.

        I also do a morning gratitude journal writing 3 things I am grateful for, and was adding a prayer list until my list is never-ending. My morning devotionals are also essential to set my mindset for the day. I’ve used several and can link a few below.

        Randy, I wish I had a better solution. I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers and want you to know that we are here with you and for you. Take care of yourself, my PHriend.


        @dawnt
        , I hope you don’t mind, but I wanted to see if you had any other ideas for Randy since you have been dealing with depression for years.

        Here is a devotional that my son-in-love uses and thought you might find helpful because it is geared toward men.

        This is one of mine, which focuses on women.

        And another devotional/prayer link that is helpful to me for anxiety, etc.

        Here is another site that you may find helpful that was saved in my bookmarks.

    • #33879
      Randolph Reynolds
      Participant

      Collen and Jen

      You heart felt comments are appreciated.  I have seen many therapists (psychologists) over time and I am very much improved over the way I was a dozen years ago.  Perhaps the current culprit is my aging process and the amount of down time I spend.  I do have a Palliative Care counselor that comes to visit about twice a month and I unload on her.

      Somedays I just get weary of dealing with my emotional state as evidenced in what I wrote. By default I manage to recognize the symptoms so I work on them.  I used to keep a gratitude list and stopped a few years back but its worth while doing them again.

      In some ways it is a choice.  Choose not be anxious and to look at all events as both experiences and opportunities to learn.  Years ago my daughter gave me a watercolor print of a mouse standing in front of a dragon.  The caption was “Face your fears.”

      Randy

    • #33880
      Jen Cueva
      Keymaster

      Hi, @ripple76; I’m happy to hear that you have a palliative care counselor to “unload” your worries and anxieties. I stopped my gratitude journal for a short period and noticed my mindset on those days went downhill fast. I hope that you find that starting that again will offer some relief.

      Recognizing when anxiety and depression are spiraling up is a huge accomplishment. Then we must learn ways to cope that work best for us. Working with the patients before PH, I did notice that many mental health struggles increased in many patients with age.

      My hubby, Manny, has PTSD from the Navy. I’ve watched his mental health decline some as he/we age. It’s sad, and often, healthcare providers won’t acknowledge that these struggles can progress with age.

      Thanks for that closing statement and reminder that we can choose to fight our fears. Take care, Randy, and please let us know how we can best support you. Post anytime here, and while we may not have the answer, we can offer love and support.

    • #33885
      Dawn
      Participant

      Hi @ripple76 & @jenc. I’ve never heard that anxiety is a sin, but I refuse to believe that our loving God would penalize us for feeling anxious or depressed, sad or any other feeling as we work to face what we must deal with in our lives. I hear you, Randy, on your emotions dominating your life recently. Between adjusting to the changes I see in what I can do physically, fighting the flare up of my depression these past few months, and the looming retirement of my long time therapist, I can go from ok to crying to anger to any other emotion in a very short span of time.

      A couple things I find helpful is just letting myself go through whatever I’m feeling. There is no right or wrong, we feel what we feel. Being able to unload with your palliative care person is great, but if things are feeling more unmanageable twice a month may not be enough. I don’t want to overstep at all, Randy, but it may be of help to reach out to your therapist if they are available or connect with a new therapist if your prior therapist isn’t available. Doesn’t have to be a long term thing, even just something to help you get back on solid emotional ground.  If there is something you enjoy doing, reading or sitting in the sun, painting, fishing, whatever it may be, make time for those things.  I like online puzzles, funny videos, sitting on my deck, cuddling with my two dogs, or just mindless things that I enjoy and that make me laugh. I also started years ago limiting my exposure to world issues/news that really triggered my emotions and depression.  I keep up with the news, but when it starts to feel like too much I cut way back on it until I’m feeling more able to read and see it all.

      I’ll be thinking of you Randy, wishing you the very best.

      • #33886
        Colleen Steele
        Keymaster

        @dawnt I know what you shared with @ripple76 comes from the heart of your experience. Thank you for reaching out to him.

        We all have our own belief but like you, I truly don’t believe that God would condemn anyone for their emotional struggles. I will keep you and @ripple76 in my daily prayers.

    • #33895
      Jen Cueva
      Keymaster

      Thanks much, @dawnt, for sharing your valuable experiences with Randy. I know that your messages are heartfelt and close to home. Like you, I also can’t believe that anxiety is a sin because God knows how we all deal with things. Many bible verses teach about anxiety. While we are to give it to him or a higher power of our beliefs, he continues to be aware that many of us struggle with anxiety.

      I hope that you have a nice relaxing weekend. Will you be at the barn this weekend?

    • #33899
      Dawn
      Participant

      Thank you @colleensteele, for the prayers. Always appreciated, and things are doing better lately.  @jenc, yes I was at the farm yesterday. So ready for some warmer, dry weather to get the mud dried up!  We had sunshine, rain, sleet, snow flurries, all mixed together yesterday. Makes for an interesting day! A few minutes of rain or sleet or snow, then beautiful sunshine, then repeat that over and over!  The horses are dropping their winter coats big time, though, so spring and warmer weather is definitely on the way.  That too can make a boost in mood a bit easier to obtain.

      • #33915
        Colleen Steele
        Keymaster

        That’s funny @dawnt, we had the exact same weather here in WA yesterday. It was crazy! Mother nature couldn’t decide on her mood, or maybe she was just flipping through the options and waiting for a majority vote on what we all want right now. LOL!

    • #33902
      Jen Cueva
      Keymaster

      Aww, @dawnt, I’m happy to hear that you spent time at the farm with the horses. That weather sounds crazy for one day, LOL.

      Yes, the signs of spring can undoubtedly lift our spirits. I’m sending you a little sunshine to dry up some of that mud. Hang in there; it’s almost that time- hugs.


      @ripple76
      , thinking of you today and sending you hugs and prayers from San Diego.

    • #33925
      Dawn
      Participant

      @ripple76, just wanted to say I’ve been thinking about you. I hope things are getting even a bit better for you, and hoping things are going noticeably better.

    • #33932
      Jen Cueva
      Keymaster

      Thanks, @dawnt; I’m sure that @ripple76 appreciates your kind thoughts. How are you doing this week? How’s the weather doing? Has Spring arrived?

    • #33945
      Dawn
      Participant

      Hi @jenc. I’ve been slowly doing better. It’s a bit more than two months since my sister in law passed, and my extra therapy appointments have helped alot with dealing with that. Today was warm, sunny, beautiful with a couple short showers. The next few days are to be like today, but also a cold snap and possibly flurries – typical central Pennsylvania weather! Spring is definitely on the way, but not totally here yet.

    • #33952
      Jen Cueva
      Keymaster

      Hi @dawnt, I’m happy to hear that your extra therapy appointments have helped you when dealing with this tragedy. It doesn’t seem like it’s been two months already. How’s your brother doing?

      Yes, that beautiful sunny day helps lift us out of those winter funks that most continue to deal with. Hopefully, you’ll be posting how sunny and warm it is daily in PA before long. Until then, I’ll share when we have sunshine in San Diego.

      Are you and your siblings getting planning anything for Easter?

    • #33978
      Dawn
      Participant

      Hi @jenc.  My brother seems to be doing fairly well. He is pretty open about how he is feeling, and what he is struggling with, which is good. Talking about those things is better than letting them sit inside unexpressed.

      We are all going to my sister’s for Easter. We all have our assigned items to bring for the meal! I hope you and everyone on the forums have a wonderful holiday.

    • #33986
      Jen Cueva
      Keymaster

      Hi @dawnt, I’m happy to know that your brother is doing reasonably well after such a tragedy. Yes, talking about the struggles helps in so many ways. Many feel that they can’t open up to others to discuss complex topics like this. I’m grateful that he has you and others to talk about his feelings.

      Awesome, I hope that you and your siblings enjoyed a lovely relaxing Easter with plenty of yummy food. What did you make to take over? Do y’all usually have ham and the usual Easter fixings or something else?

      We enjoyed a lovely relaxing Easter, and Manny ended up doing a spicy shrimp boil after going to the Easter service.

    • #34023
      Dawn
      Participant

      Hi @jenc. We did have a very nice Easter.  We usually do ham, but my sister also wanted some turkey this year so we did that as well. I handled the ham, and made pickled eggs. My brother makes great baked corn, so he brought that. My sister handled the rest. Your spicy shrimp boil sounds great as well!

    • #34776
      Jen Cueva
      Keymaster

      I wanted to share my most recent column about mental health. This is a great place to share it with the mental health check-ins.

      I found myself in a “funk” and had to find ways to deal with these mental health setbacks. It’s primarily my uncontrolled anxiety.

      Check it out to read more, and let’s talk about it.

      Finding a Way to Address Mental Health Setbacks

      Have a relaxing weekend, y’all, and don’t forget to do something that makes you smile.

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