Monday, June 18, 2007

Survival

Over the last few years, I have collected a group of short-term coping tools that have really helped me out. These are the things you can pull out when you are having a not-so-great or even really bad day to help get through the next few moments or hours. These aren't long-term solutions, but they can get you in a state of mind that allows progress in those long term solutions. I have divided them into three groups: physical, mental and chemical.

Physical
  • Go for a walk - just get off the couch and walk out the door. I am usually feeling better within minutes.
  • Take a warm bath.
  • Sit in the shower and just notice the feel of the droplets hitting your body. Sometimes I imagine the water washing all the pain away. I like to call these "super water wasters" but they are well worth it.
  • Go for a walk barefoot. It is amazing how grounded this can make me feel. The different textures on skin that usually doesn't get much sensation is magical.
  • Exercise - Some studies have found that 30 minutes of exercise a day is as effective as anti-depressants such as Prozac. Do whatever feels good - walking counts too and 30 minutes will go by more quickly than you expect.

Mental
  • Meditate - Just noticing your breath and quieting your mind in the process can work wonders. I also like guided meditations and imagery. Help for Infertility by Healthjourneys is nice.
  • Yoga - Perhaps this is more valid under the physical category, but I find the mental calm that comes with doing yoga a bigger prize. I really like the Yoga 4 Fertility dvd.
  • Create something - You don't have to be good at something in order to be creative. I have painted the most childish looking paintings (honestly - a 15 year old looked at one and though a preschooler did it) but it still felt good. I have also enjoyed crocheting baby blankets and clothes. It is a hopeful thing to do and great for any of those long waits for results or the next cycle to start or whatever. I picture each stitch as a unit of time. Just as one stitch at a time will make an entire blanket, this moment brings me that much closer to the current goal.
  • Go see a friend or invite someone over. In those low moments this probably doesn't sound good, but surprisingly, it almost always works.
Chemical

Note: These are meant for short term solutions only. I used to be very adamant about never using chemicals to change my mood and I didn't even try it until about a year after we lost our son and were about 3 years into our trying to conceive journey. Now I think it is a very good solution in some situations.
  • Anti-depressants - I actually haven't tried these personally, but I think that it can be a good solution especially if it allows someone enough of a mood boost to be able to continue to help herself heal.
  • Sleeping pills - A quick trip to insanity is to be sleep deprived. Who isn't more grumpy or cynical or sad when really tired? Give yourself a much needed mental boost and get a good night's sleep. Another good thing about sleeping pills, is that you only take them when you need them unlike anti-depressants.
  • Alprazolam (Xanax) - After moving over "to the dark side" of chemical mood enhancers I decided to give this a try while I was waiting to miscarry after our third pregnancy. It is for very short term use as it can be addictive. This is for when you just want to check out for a bit. You can feel your emotions just dissolving a way. I have only taken it at night and used it in place of a sleeping pill. (My experience has been that if I am really keyed up, sleeping pills aren't enough. Xanax will take the edge off and help you fall asleep.)
  • Alcohol and sugar - Never underestimate the power of red wine and chocolate! The trick, of course, it too have just enough and not too much of either. Add a box of tampons and you have an emergency miscarriage kit.
There is my list. I hope someone might find a useful tidbit. If you have any other ideas, please let me know!

1 comment:

Lori said...

When I find myself too into myself, I volunteer.

While waiting on adoption #2, my daughter and I (then about 18 months old) worked with hospice patients.

It was amazing in so many ways.

Good lists.