Inactivity, Depression, and Seasonal Components to Mental Illness

 

In this life with schizophrenia, I have had my ups and I have my downs.  Lately, actually for the last three months at least, I have been more inactive than I should be.  I haven’t been exercising every day like I should be.  Usually I go for short walks everyday and lift hand weights two to three times a week.  Haven’t been doing that as often lately.  And I can tell it’s starting to take it’s toll.  I don’t have as much energy to accomplish everyday tasks as I once did.  I also have been lacking the motivation to work on my writings,  unlike a few months ago.  In addition to these blog posts, I also write poetry, journals, and am working on a novel.  I currently have two books of poetry self published through lulu.com.  I figured if I don’t have a regular job, I need to find some way to keep myself occupied and somewhat productive.

As a result of my inactivity I can tell my physical health has suffered.  I have more aches and pains than someone in their early 30s should.  I attribute this to way too much inactivity.  I am convinced my inactivity was initially brought on by a bought of depression that was bad enough that I checked myself into a mental health hospital for four days back in September.  After I got out of the hospital I would sometimes sleep twelve to fourteen hours a day.  Some days I would sleep just out of depression, while others I would sleep out of boredom.  It became a nasty cycle.  I would sleep out of depression and I would be depressed that I was missing out on what was going on around me.  I would be too tired and or depressed to do my exercise and my socializing.  And I would be tired and depressed because I wasn’t exercising or keeping up with friends and family.

Even though I have been depressed and inactive for a long while, I feel like I’m starting to pull out of it.  Maybe it’s the change of the seasons or the hope of the upcoming new year that’s helping me out of my current depression.  Or it could be one of the phases of my individual illness.  This isn’t the first time I have gone through a period of inactivity and depression.  I went through one similar to this about six years ago, back in the fall of 2007.  

One of the positives about having had a mental illness for over half of my life is that I can recognize many of the patterns of the illness.  Not only can I recognize the triggers and know what places, types of situations, and people to avoid, I know a lot of the short term and even some of the long term patterns.  Many people with mental illness have a seasonal component that goes along, where they do worse during some periods than others.  For me, I have always done bad in late summer, usually August and early September.  For others it’s during the winter.

I always have had to remind myself during these days of depression during the last three months that I’ve been through these times before.  I’ve come through these times before.  And I will come through them again.  Better times will be ahead.

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Medical Advances, Nutrition, and Mental Illness

It’s been a long while since I last posted to this blog, so an update is in order.  This post will be about medical advances and mental illness.  This is another reason for those of us with mental illness to hope that the future will be better than the present.  Many of the medications that are being used to help treat mental illnesses now didn’t even exist fifteen, twenty years ago.  

New discoveries are also being made in nutrition and how full body health effects mental health.  If you don’t get proper nutrition, the body won’t function well.  If the body doesn’t function well, the brain won’t either.  We all need to make it a point to eat healthier and more balanced, mental illness or no.  Let’s not kid ourselves, the typical American diet of highly processed foods and fast food isn’t healthy.

If you are under treatment for mental illness, always tell your doctor about all of the over the counter supplements you are taking.  Some of these, especially herbs and anything with alcohol in it, can cause serious side effects when mixed with anti-psych drugs.  Know what you are getting into.  Stay informed.  Read all of the handouts that come with your anti-psych drugs.

There are rapid advances being made in research.  These advances can and will find better treatments, perhaps sooner than we think.