What is Dysthymia?

Dysthymia is also known as Persistent Depressive Disorder. A person is diagnosed with dysthymia after having a continuous depression of more than two to three years. People with dysthymia may not remember a time when they felt joy in their lives. It is a milder yet longer form of depression and affects women two to three times more often than men. It can also affect children, with a diagnosis being made after one year of continuous depression and their mood may be irritable rather than depressed.

For some, dysthymia becomes part of a person’s personality. People often delay treatment because they feel that the condition is normal for them. For those diagnosed with dysthymia about 10% will go on to develop Major Depressive Disorder.

Dysthymia may also be related to substance abuse. Those with the condition may abuse drugs or alcohol in an effort to find some relief to their depression. Similar to the symptoms of depression those with dysthymia may either overeat or have a lack of appetite, sleep too much or have sleeping difficulties, feel a lack of energy, have difficulty concentrating and feeling hopeless.

This topic is important to me because my therapist believes I have dysthymia. I can’t remember a time when I felt happy but I know it’s been a few years. I sleep too much and I eat too much. I feel overwhelmed writing out bills or I can only accomplish one or two things a day. I can’t clean my house the way I want to. I just have no motivation. Sometimes I won’t shower for a few days or even leave my bed except to go to the bathroom.

I’m not suicidal, I don’t harm myself, and I know it could be way worse, but still, I sometimes wonder “Is this the best it’s ever going to get?”

I do have a few bright spots though. I love doing anything with my son, even if it’s just reading together or playing a game. I like being on the internet, being up on the news, watching Netflix and I love reading.

But I do wonder if there’s any drug or therapy that will help me come out of this so I can be more fully engaged in my life.

(*Source: All About Depression)

(Photo Credit: Mike Baxter)

 

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TBT: My Biggest Champion

Inspired by Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop.

Prompt # 1. Throwback Thursday: Share an old photo and let it inspire your blog post.

This picture and post of Tyler and I come from July of 2011, when Tyler was four and a half.

The post was about how ever since Tyler was able to understand my chronic illnesses, how much understanding and empathy he has shown me.

That summer, Tyler had sports camp. I had to park two blocks away which was very painful on my feet. I said something about it, mostly to myself, and Tyler shouted, “Can someone help my mommy, can someone drive my mommy to the school? She is sick!”

Another time the doctor was putting me on a prescription of steroids. I explained to Tyler that the drugs will make me gain weight and cause my face to look round. “But you will still be pretty, Mommy”, he said.

And when we’d go grocery shopping, my little boy would push the grocery cart around because it was too painful for me.

The post was entitled “The Biggest Champion, the Smallest Child”, and although he is now ten and a half he is still my biggest champion.

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A Spoonie Gone Too Soon

Monday night we in the Spoonie community lost a young woman who personified joy and compassion.

Twenty-eight year old Gwendolyn Weidman choked to death while eating dinner. Gwen suffered from Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome and  Dysautonomia

One of the symptoms of her illnesses was difficulty swallowing.

Many Spoonies knew Gwen better than I. I got to know her on the former But You Don’t Look Sick message boards and later through Facebook. She loved her cats, was part of an animal pet and rescue center and advocated for her diseases. She was always there for her Spoonie friends no matter what she was going through.

As a final act of compassion, Gwen donated her organs and tissues.

Those who would like to honor Gwen may do so by donating to Dysautonomia International and the Ehlers-Danlos Society

In addition, a PayPal account has been set up to assist Gwen’s family.

Photo Credit: Danielle Raver

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Book Reviews!

Inspired by Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop.

Some clever thieves steal some priceless manuscripts from F. Scott Fitzgerald. The scripts are flipped over from many interested parties but there is reason to believe bookstore owner Bruce Cable of Camino Island, FL is currently in possession of them. Approached by an organization specializing in recovery is Mercer Mann, a young novelist who has just been let go of her teaching job. The company gives Mercer a generous offer and she agrees to go under cover to get close to Cable. I hadn’t read John Grisham in years, I got tired of the lawyer thing, but this was really different. A great beach read, taking place in a beach setting and a plot that kept me interested. Recommended!

Jessica Malloy’s absolute favorite star is Grace Kelly and because her father is her publicist, she gets to meet her at various times throughout their lives. This is historical fiction so it follows Grace’s rising star to her fall from, well, grace when she has a baby out of wedlock. It also delves into the McCarthy Era. I really enjoyed this book, it helps that I am a Gracy Kelly fan myself! It is a wonderful coming of age story where a young woman realizes that her idol is only a person.

These reviews are from my goodreads account. I’d love to see you follow me!

 

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My Last Concert

Inspired by Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop.

Prompt #2: Tell us about the last concert that you attended.

I hadn’t attended a concert in years but when I heard Lady Gaga was in Cleveland in 2014 I knew I had to be there!

I never thought much of Gaga until she was on the Howard Stern show. I thought she was just a Madonna knock-off until I heard her sing. I was an instant fan!

I went all out on the make-up and with what I wore. I had the whole smokey eye thing going on! We (Jacques and I) had the nosebleed seats but the arena is small enough that there are really no bad seats. I did wish I was closer but I just didn’t have the money.

It didn’t matter. Gaga was awesome; her singing, dancing, the set and her costume changes!

I felt hungry after the concert so we ate at Steak n’ Shake. The next day I felt like I had a massive hangover! Guess I can’t party like I used to!

She’s coming to Cleveland again in August and I wistfully took a look at her concert dates but she is only there for one night and it’s a night I have Tyler. Oh well, I really couldn’t fit it into the budget anyway!

But at least I have an awesome memory!

 

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What if I Stayed in Here Forever?

My son and boyfriend are at the pool and I have yet to get there this season. Instead, I am in my bathrobe, showered (you gotta give me credit for that) and have woken up from my second nap. My back was hurting so I cancelled my therapy appointment.

Which was a really bad idea because I really need to be there because I can’t get out of the house. I need therapy to get me out of the house but I can’t get there.

My therapist is terming me a “borderline agoraphobic”. Last week we made out a calendar of all the things that I would do this week, with maybe getting to stay home one day but no more than that in a row.

I’ve been at home for four days, mostly unshowered with the AC on and the blinds closed. Sunshine is good for people like me if I could only get outside.

Sometimes I enjoy staying inside. Like many agoraphobics it would be pretty easy for me to stay inside forever especially with having a partner to take my son places and the internet at my fingertips. I mostly read which is my favorite hobby. I usually go through a book in two to three days.

But most times I feel alone, depressed and a failure. Despite my best intentions, despite the plans I make, I start to get shaky, nauseated and feel frozen. Getting a shower gives me anxiety and so does picking out clothes. I don’t take any joy in doing my makeup or my hair.

I’ve gone longer than four days without going out. I think my record is nearly two weeks. I am missing out on seeing my son having fun in the pool and missing out on my favorite season.

Tomorrow my son has a haircut, tae kwon do practice and I’d like to get my white trash toe nails polished.

Those are my plans, I guess we will see what tomorrow brings. If you’ve never felt this way, please don’t tell me to get my ass in the shower and just do it for my son. It doesn’t work that way.

And if you’ve ever experienced this before you know exactly how I am feeling.

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Book Review!

With special thanks to Mama Kat’s Writing Workshop

Eleanor Oliphant may be a little odd and “a little bit mental” but she thinks she has it altogether. Little by little the book gives you clues about Eleanor and you learn that she is anything but fine! I was so freaked out at the end! In case you can’t tell, I loved this book! It is definitely the best book I have read this year. I read the book (300 + pages) in a day. I stayed up late because I had https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/42602933-emily-cullento find out what happens to Eleanor. Read this book!

This review is from my goodreads site. I’d love it if you would follow me!

 

 

 

 

 

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Family Reunion, Spoonie Style!

A couple of weeks ago I had thrown my back out. Jacques had to push me in a wheelchair for my doctor’s appointment. My x-ray was normal so I am going to start PT next week.

We had planned a trip to see our cousins but I didn’t know if I could stand the pain and make the drive with just Tyler.

It was decided that Jacques would drive Tyler and I up and he would stay in a hotel so as not to interrupt “family time.” When my cousin heard that that was the game plan she invited Jacques to stay as well!

The trip up was so painful but it was great to see two of my cousins who are sisters. It had been nine years since we had seen them, Tyler was a toddler back then!

                                                              Lisa, Tyler, Diane and I 

Lisa has a beautiful home that is completely surrounded by woods. Which would have been peaceful except that she has four dogs and four cats! Tyler loved all the animals. He had to keep an eye out for his stuffed Eeyore because the dogs thought it was a toy for them!

Because of my back pain I decided not to go to a dog park. But I needed a rest and I needed a heating pad! Using the stairs was near impossible and I was so thankful that I had Jacques to unpack and pack our things!

At night we went out for  a wonderful Italian meal.

It was too short a trip but my cousins were leaving to visit their parents so we started on the trip back.

I had a great time but the memory of my trip will be forever colored by the horrendous back pain I was having.

Have you ever went on an outing or trip and your disability or pain took away from your memory?

 

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TBT: Farmer’s Market

Special thanks to Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop.

1. Throwback Thursday: Choose a photo from a previous May and write a poem or a blog post.

From May to October is our town’s Saturday morning farm market. This photo was taken May, 2013.

As you can see, there’s fresh fruits and vegetables, Mennonites, baked goods, plants and arts and crafts, just to name a few. Oh coffee, can’t forget about coffee!

I haven’t been there for a long time because I’ve been depressed. I also get anxious at the thought of going outside.

That’s what anxiety and depression do, they can rob you of your life.

But this year, I may just make it. My therapist and I worked out schedule of sorts of two weeks. Most days I must go out and do something, but sometimes I get a day off and get to stay inside.

I also have this thing that I have to shower before I go out, but sometimes I lack the motivation. My therapist says I don’t have to shower every single day, it’s okay to sometimes not shower.

This would be a nice, romantic thing to do with Jacques on a Saturday morning.

I’m setting this as one of my goals to overcoming depression and anxiety and I will let you know if I make it!

 

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Book Reviews!

Inspired by Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop.

These reviews are from my Goodreads page. I’d love for you to follow me!

 

 

I heard Dan Rather on an old Howard Stern show and thought it would be interesting to read his biography. I wasn’t disappointed. Covering the assassination of JFK, Vietnam, Watergate and the Gulf War, just to name a few, Mr. Rather comes across as an authentic newsman and person. From his early days on CBS news to the time when he was asked to leave to what he is doing now, this is a great book. If you love autobiographies, and even if you don’t, I highly recommend it!

 

 

Agatha’s ex-husband is getting married again and Agatha begrudgingly attends, but the wedding is not to be as the bride is shot to death. Knowing Agatha’s reputation, the bride’s parents ask her to investigate. I took a break from reading the Agatha Raisin mystery series and was delighted to plunge back in again! This is the perfect English village mystery and Agatha is a perfectly unlikeable character. She’s not all bad actually, and I enjoy this middle-age woman ever in search of love. I’m looking forward to the next book! You may want to start with the first book in the series, Quiche of Death.

 

I hope you’ll enjoy these selections. I’d love for you to follow or friend me!

 

 

 

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