As my readers undoubtedly know, I suffer from mental illness and I am not shy about telling people about it in the hopes of making the discussion less taboo. The idea is to make mental illness discussion perfectly open and acceptable without any stigma whatsoever. Last night I had my twice-monthly peer recovery support meeting that is conducted by NAMI Delaware. I really appreciate having this peer recovery support group because the members are focused, supportive, and have a deep level of insight into mental illness. I find this meeting to be very helpful and I often come away with new strategies or insights of my own to which I can bring up with my therapist.
The meeting is remarkably well run over Zoom and adheres to a structure so that no one group member may dominate the discussion or morph the discussion into topics outside of mental illness. Since I know that I can be one of the types of people that can monopolize a discussion, I am always extra careful to make my introduction and what I am dealing with short and to the point. I do not want to be known as that member. Well, unintentionally, I did slightly dominate the conversation but it turned out to be useful. We discussed ways to be more effective self-advocates because I admitted to struggling even more with self-advocacy due to worsening depression. I guess my struggles drove a useful discussion for everybody.
It never occured to me to take 15 minutes prior to the meeting with my therapist to come up with a short list of topics I want to discuss with him, instead of relying on a relatively unreliable short term memory. So today, I will do just that. Furthermore, I never heard of a technique of charting my mood so I will do that as well. My mood has really cycled between up and down and several times during the day leaving me exhausted; sometimes so much that I am actually too tired to fall asleep. The discussion also morphed into recognizing that we cannot always find a root cause of our present moods and rather than trying to find a root cause of a low mood, we can work on getting ourselves out of the low or solving the problem. One member of the group suggested leaving finding the root cause of the problem to the professionals: He was absolutely right.
With yesterday’s discussion in the forefront of my mind, I am planning on discussing the very volatile mood swings that I have. There has to be some cognitive behavioral therapy technique to lessen the volatility of these. Perhaps I need to journal more than once a day. Perhaps I need to journal when the low mood hits as to get the thoughts out of my head and discern fact from feeling? I can bring that up with my therapist. I also want to discuss this feeling of hopelessness that’s so pervasive and why I feel as if I have to grasp tightly on to things that might only provide a glimmer of remote hope. Finally, I want to bring up that I will be volunteering for Faithful Friends and how I can fit in because I plan to treat this like I would a paid job. I need practice getting along in the workplace and a volunteer opportunity can help with that.