It All Starts With The First Step

It has been a dizzying couple of months. Especially the last three weeks. The fog re-set in and I have felt like I have been coasting along. My thoughts have not been great and they haven’t been focused on building myself up. My motivation has been terrible and nothing seems to interest me like it once did. Nothing has made sense and it has felt, at times, like my world is crashing down around me and all I can do is hold on. I have become less active in my care and thankfully my mind still knew I needed to do something different and get back on the right path and get back to moving forward to better days. All I have to do is take the first step.

And I have taken that step. The step I took was to try and re-fire up my active level of engagement in my care. The feeling of coasting along is certainly not the answer I am looking for. In my mind, I have wanted to give up. What’s the point if everything I am doing is getting me nowhere?

Also in my mind, something else was bugging me. Something was swirling around and it made some sense. Do I want to grab ahold of it or can I even grab ahold of it? Is it too late and this feeling of being lost was going to become my new reality from now on?

I am proud to say the answer to each question is YES and NOPE respectively. I still have a desire left to feel better. I do not want to give up after almost two and a half years of hard work.

Time can really get away from us quickly. I have noticed this the older I get. Each day goes by a little faster than the last one. Something you feel like you did yesterday, can quickly become a year or a couple of years in reality.

About a year ago, my previous psychiatric nurse practitioner left and went somewhere else. I did not receive notice until I called for an appointment or a refill. I do not remember which it was, but when I called I was notified that she had left. Thankfully, one of the doctors there would be able to prescribe any medication refills I needed. Unfortunately, the doctors who remained in the office were full and were not accepting new patients.

This isn’t the first time I have been without a psychiatrist/nurse practioner for a period of time. It happened before, but I was able to find another without there being too large of a gap between visits. I felt like I was churning along still at that time. I could meet someone new and go through the questions and all…no problem. Whatever I have to do to keep myself moving forward.

Let’s just say a year can go by very fast. The nurse practitioner I was seeing before had left and I was told the office was actively searching for someone new to come in. I was put on a waiting list. Cool…I’ll just wait and hopefully someone comes to the office before too long.

So I waited and I waited. I called the office a few times to check their progress, but was told they were still searching for someone. A month grew to a few months which grew into six months and then ended up being around a year.

And then I got a call from the office. A new nurse practitioner had just started and was seeing patients. This was a couple of weeks ago. I was able to see her last week…thank you Lord!

I also had not seen my therapist in about the same amount of time. I had access to a doctor, for my refills, but other than that my mental healthcare team kind of evaporated before my eyes. I hadn’t actually seen someone in person for over a year.

I was at a point where something had to change or I was nervous (afraid) where or how I might end up. The path I was on was leading me down instead of up. Nothing made sense.

My last blog entry talked about accountability and the fact I need to be more active in my care. The two things I mentioned doing where: getting back into seeing my therapist and start exercising again.

I am proud to say that I am well on my way with one of the accountability actions I laid out before you. I called the next day, after writing the blog entry, and scheduled an appointment. I have to wait a month to get in, but I have made the appointment.

The one month wait had me nervous. I feel really bad now so what would I be faced with in a month?

Thankfully, the answer came in the form of the phone call. I received a call from the office letting me know they had just hired a new nurse practitioner. I was able to get in the very next week.

I was nervous going to the appointment as it had been so long since I’ve done any of this. “This” being hanging out with my mental healthcare team. I was a mess. I felt terrible the day I went in to meet the new nurse practitioner.

She asked the standard entry questions and then she asked how I had been feeling lately.

I tried to sum up the last year in a 45 minute visit. I had so much to say. I grabbed this moment from over here in my brain and then the next from over here and so on and so forth. I laid out so much information I surprised myself. Or maybe it all made sense at that very moment.

I hadn’t talked about myself, in that much detail, for that long of a time since maybe about the time I originally sought out help. It was exhausting. It was extremely emotional. I found myself tearful and feeling vulnerable throughout the whole time I talked.

How I felt for the last couple of weeks all made sense…at least it kind of made sense as I formed bits and pieces of the last year into one jumbled story. It wasn’t the most cohesive, but soon a picture of myself formed. I am really hurting, and feel like a mess, as I have not done everything I know that I should have been doing.

Should I have been more aggressive in finding a new psychiatrist? Probably so. Should I have made an appointment with my therapist when this started? Probably so. Would all of this have made a difference where I was at today? I would like to think so, but you really never know. Dealing with the mind is a very tricky game that can sometimes change quickly.

I will say this, God was looking out for me. You may be thinking… Really?, Was He? You sure present yourself like the opposite happened.

I talk a lot about “active” care. The idea of us being active in our care is a must. Coasting along really doesn’t work in the end. A problem you are trying to ignore, or not tackle head-on, will find a way to get to you and effect you eventually.

It’s almost like I had to be reminded of my own “active” care. I will say “I got lazy”, maybe not the best description, as these types of things are what I say when I am being hard on myself, but it is just the easiest way for me to say that I feel like I dropped the ball.

I don’t deserve any of this. None of us do, but sometimes we have to work for something to truly appreciate it and this plays in the mental health arena as well.

The last few months have sucked. Sometimes these times have sucked really bad, but here I am. I am still here. I am standing again. I may have been knocked down, but I got back up. I didn’t have to, but I had to.

The payoff for me putting one foot forward: I was able to raise one of my medication doses. The effect: I feel like a light switch has been turned back on. I try not to be a medication pusher, but in this instance, a change in dosage is what I needed. I have been plowing along an under-medicated-mess. No wonder I have felt so bad.

So now I am adjusting to this new dose. I have a follow-up appointment scheduled. I have an appointment scheduled with my therapist. The one thing I feel I am missing is the exercise part. I have to get back to exercising.

This all started with putting one foot forward and taking the first step. One step leads to another and that step leads to another and, pretty soon, we are moving forward on our path again.

I do feel like I am being looked after. Things feel like they are falling back into place. I have put in more work and I’m becoming more active. I already am beginning to feel better. I still have a ways to go, but I like moving forward versus the feeling of moving backward.

You got this! I got this! We got this! It all starts when we take the first step. Let’s keep walking this journey together. I know I need the help and support…we all do. We can get to where we want to go.

Have a great day!

Jason

Please visit my website: http://www.rockingmentalhealth.com. There you will find other blog entries along with some other creative things I am doing to raise mental health awareness.

Published by Jason Kehl

Nurse, artist, musician. One I have done professionally and two that I have not😉. I enjoy creating art and music as a hobby. I do it mostly because it helps me to feel better or express something that I feel inside. I am a believer in Mental Health Awareness. My goal is to throw myself out there in hopes that someone sees it and can gain the strength to seek help or keep working on themselves. We are an unfinished product! That's OK!

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