Monday, October 26, 2009
As I was reading posts on one my threads today, I realized that maybe I am suffering some depression. I'm not doing things that I normally would do when I am feeling well. I haven't been crying the last couple of weeks and that is why I didn't connect what was happening to depression. For those that don't know me, I am disabled by bipolar disorder. So this is not your mere garden variety blues. This is more insidious. There are many things when taken individually seem minor but when taken in combination signal a major warning sign.
I thought I had been handling the whole deal of leaving the Humane Society a couple of weeks ago fairly well lately. Maybe I am not handling it as well as I thought. That was the start of not doing what I normally do to manage my weight loss program.
I have kept my food diaries faithfully on paper if not in my Palm or iPhone everyday without missing a day since December, 2005. The last week, it has been a real chore. I haven't even entered what I ate last night. Let alone, what I ate today yet. The farther away from when I ate the more likely that what I record will be inaccurate.
Another sign may be that I have not been posting faithfully on the sites I use for support for my weight loss program, Spark People and Richard Simmons Clubhouse. It seems so difficult right now. I get overwhelmed by all the reading I need to do to just catch up. I know most people on those sites would tell me to not worry about catching up and just post. But I feel so guilty not personalizing my posts. On Richard Simmons site, I haven't read his daily message or Richardgrams in weeks. I used to do that faithfully and would even go back into the archives to read the messages and Richardgrams that I missed while on vacation.
I really used the Spark People site faithfully since joining in August. Looking at my Spark Streaks, the changes are obvious. I logged in to the site everyday since joining, 73 straight days, missing for the first time on Oct. 23 and 24. I really was focused on getting as many Spark Points as possible. The last couple of weeks, I don't really care how many Spark Points I get. The last couple of weeks, all I was doing was spinning the login wheel, answering the trivia questions, recording my food and exercise. I was not reading the articles like I had been doing. With the trivia questions, I usually was in the upper 80% range and in the top 20 people for the month. Needless to say I didn't do those on the days I didn't log into the site. Today when I finally tried to answer them. It took 9 questions to get my 3 daily trivia questions right, 33%, the worst I have ever done. I drank 8 cups of water for 30 straight days ending on Oct. 10. Now it is sporadic whether I get them in or not. In fact, I have had the water in my glass to make it 8 glasses for the day and dumped it into the sink rather than drinking it because I just don't feel like drinking it. At the same time, I stopped tracking how much sleep I was getting. In the last 2 weeks, I have only wrote in my journal 3 times and those were very brief.
Lately, I have been only exercising for 20 minutes one day a week which is usually walking slowly. I'm starting to think that maybe I am using the herniated disk in my back as an excuse not to exercise. I have even been in the parking lot of the YMCA, got out of the car, decided that I shouldn't exercise because I may get hurt or hurt more later, got back in the car and went home without exercising. I don't think the pain is as bad as I want people to believe. I am supposed to be going for an epidural injection into the disk in a week but I am not sure it is bad enough to really be having that done. I may not even be able to tell the difference. I've even considered canceling the appointment. Or is the pain not that bad because I am not exercising like I was? Prior to injuring my back, I would spend an hour or two at the YMCA exercising or I would spend at least 30 minutes walking, doing the elliptical or an exercise video at home. I did some form of exercise every single day.
Another thing that is weighing on my mind heavily is the change in my health insurance starting in January. The company I retired from decided to stop offering health insurance to me and wants me to fully be on Medicare since I am disabled. I don't know if the medical insurance will be better or worse than what I currently have. I also don't know how well it will cover my mental health since Medicare's mental health coverage is not as good as its medical coverage. One thing I do know is that my therapist who I've been with for almost 8 years is not covered by Medicare at all due to her degree. That means that I will need to switch to a different therapist. If I get good enough mental health coverage, I may be able to attend a therapy group which is run by both my therapist and a therapist covered by Medicare. The group would be billed through the therapist that is covered.
Tuesday, when I have my therapy appointment, I may need to discuss what I have mentioned in this blog. Maybe together we can develop an action plan to help me overcome this depression and get back on track with my weight loss program.
Member Comments About This Blog Post
My therapist told me which therapists at her office were covered by Medicare. I think I will be going to the other one who runs the group. I can't ask at the HR department of my employer because they closed the local plant. But they have hired a service to help us choose the best Medicare supplement and Part D programs for me. I have my interview with them on Nov. 12. My therapist believes I am grieving right now and am being way too hard on myself.
2524 days ago
I hope your discussion with your therapist went well. Of course with my WebMD degree (LOL) I would agree that it is depression - and why wouldn't it be with all the changes going on in your life. That said, I know that you are getting the help you need from your therapist, and he/she can help you go get to someone that will take medicare or the supplemental. Look at as many supplemental plans as you can find, and evaluate them carefully. If you are not comfortable with this, perhaps the HR dept of your old employer can help you sort through them.
Good Luck, and I hope you feel like yourself again soon!
2525 days ago
I do have hypothyroidism that they are having trouble controlling. My T3 levels are low even when I am on huge doses of thyroid medication while my TSH is low and my T4 is high. I've been told that is unusual. I have an appointment to see an endocrinologist about it Nov. 10. I've been waiting over 3 months for that appointment.
2525 days ago
I'm so glad to see all of the support you're getting! There is so much good advice flowing your way... Really I have nothing more to add except that I would definitely check into the Medicare Advantage plans. I had no idea how well they work. Some of them are better than insurance and not that expensive either. Some friends of mine have insurance that says (as they explained to me) they can use any doctor in their state. And it comes with lots of other perks too. Theirs is through Blue Cross.
Really it is bad, bad timing for you because as was said earlier when under depression you can't think clearly and it is hard to make big decisions. It is worth it though to get on the right one from the start. Something else to watch for is your thyroid levels. Depression can be a side effect of that too. As you can see we are all here backing you up...
Hang in there...
2526 days ago
Thanks for the support!
For those that mentioned lack of structure in my day, that certainly may be my problem. I used to volunteer there 2 days a week in the afternoon, Thursday and Friday. Also due to my back injury, my doctor recommended I quit bowling due to it's explosive nature which was Tuesday evening and Wednesday morning. That all happened since mid-September. I immediately replaced volunteering at the Humane Society with volunteering at a free health clinic for low income people without insurance Friday afternoons. But that leaves 3 days a week that don't have the structure I have had since going on medical retirement.
When I was in day treatment right before I went on medical retirement in 2003 right before I went on medical retirement, they really worked with me on developing structure in my day after I retired. Working at another job is not a possibility. A condition of my total permanent disability retirement was making no earned income. I can't even volunteer at polls on election days because I would get a W2 form. That is why I give my time away through volunteering. On top of that wouldn't accept all the work time I would miss through therapy and doctor appointments.
As far as the health insurance goes, it is not a condition of retirement. They reserved the right to change or eliminate it at anytime. On top of that, the company recently went through bankruptcy which allowed them to change all programs they once offered. They not only took health insurance from people who are disabled on Medicare, they took it away from those who are over 65 and on Medicare. They still offer health insurance to retirees not on Medicare whether they are disabled or not. They provide free lawyers to try to get all their permanently disabled employees on Social Security Disability so they don't have to pay the full retirement (and now health insurance.). They reduce the amount of your pension by the amount of Social Security Disability therefore not getting any more than you would if you would have retired normally.
I doubt my therapist would be covered by a Medicare Advantage or Medigap plan because she is not a Medicare provider. Hopefully t
whichever program I choose to supplement my Medicare will cover mental health as well as medical as long as they are Medicare providers.
2526 days ago
Yes, Becky it sounds like depression has cycled back up/out of control for you. Perhaps the stresses around your leaving the Humane Society and shift in routine triggered it.
Seeing your therapist soon and reviewing all these concerns and overwhelm-ments is a great plan. Can your company force you to buy Medicare B and get off their retiree insurance program? You may want to get some legal advice on that one. It seems to me that if the retiree program is there and you can afford to pay your portion, you should continue to be able to buy it. Of course, a lot of companies are stiffing their retirees on insurance promises these days, but if it's because you're disabled... it might be a legal thing that they may not be allowed to do if they're not ditching all their retirees. You are right, Medicare mental health coverage stinks because the federal government doesn't have to follow reciprocity laws that private insurance does.
You can also find some decent Medicare Advantage plans (private insurance that adminsters your Medicare for your Medicare premium) that may approve your therapist.
As for your pain -- depression numbs. You may feel less pain right now because of the overall dulling that occurs during a depressive episode. Don't cancel that epidural injection. You made the decision for that treatment when you were in your "right mind" and when you could adequately access your pain.
2526 days ago
You are overwhelmed right now!! Please don't dwell on the past -be it either what you've done or not done. deal with today only - baby steps baby steps. Tomorrow will be here soon enough - but you can't live in your future - it's not here yet.
Have a long talk w/your therapist - but don't cram too much into the session - - only what can be dealt with at that time Good luck stay in touch Claire
2526 days ago
WOW! I saw your need help on one of my teams so I came to your SPage and saw that you have done very well for your health..losing that much weight without surgery is an accomplishment! I think you do have alot on your plate and talking with your therapist is a great idea..maybe even going in with a list might help..gets things out of your head and onto paper..take each day one at a time..good luck on your journey!
2526 days ago
I'm guessing that when you left the Humane Society you also left behind the things that structured your day. When I took early retirement I lost two months of pretty much doing nothing because I need external structure in my life. (So I found a different great job). Try setting up a schedule although if this is depression you might find that hard to do. Also, you may be still grieving the loss of the HS in your life.
Why not call your doctor now and check on your meds. If your eating or sleep havbits have changed, you are feeling hopeless along with the lack of concentrtion you mentioned it might be worth the call.
Good luck to you. Peggy
(and Kat, I have to disagree with you on this one - depression is most often a chemical imbalance and choices and follow-through are impossible when under its cloud.
2526 days ago
We all suffer from different forms of depression. Yes, some more than others. It's part of the choices we make moment to moment.
I would recommend that you utilize Spark every single day in every single way. Also, exercise at least 60 minutes per day in one way or another. And, of course eat whole foods and stay away from any sodas and artificially sweetened "food" items and drinks.
2526 days ago
Disclaimer: Weight loss results will vary from person to person. No individual result should be seen as a typical result of following the SparkPeople program.