If We Were Having Coffee….

2015-01-05 20.29.00

If we were having coffee, I would ask you how your week was. I hope that it went well. My week was rather blah and unproductive. I’m not actually sure which came first. Did I start to feel low and that caused me to be unproductive? Or, was I unproductive and that caused me to feel low? Regardless, both states are here. I’m glad the coming week is March break. Not only will the university be shut down, but my supervisor will be away for a week. This will give me time to get my mood under control before it dips further (I hope). Hubby has the same March break. It will be nice to spend some time together.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you the new Ph.D. student is no more. He officially left the program this week. I don’t feel so bad for him anymore. Leaving is the right thing for him and I heard through the grapevine that it wont affect his current job back home. He just wont get the higher position he was getting the Ph.D. for.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you I haven’t had time to do any more art journaling or drawing. I set up a tumblr account for some reason. I think that is where all my free time went this week. Some of the themes are a little complicated. I still haven’t figured out how to get WordPress to publish over there. It might work this time, I think there was a glitch in the theme I was using. Social media eats up so much time if you aren’t paying attention.

If we were having coffee, I’d ask you if you copyright your photos or artwork? The art journal people in the Facebook groups I am in usually type some sort of signature over their work. I haven’t done anything like that with my art journal stuff or with the doodles I display on my blog. Should I? What do you think?

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you I’ve been having nightmares every night. Not scary ones, more anxiety provoking. They cause me to wake up a lot during the night and leave me exhausted in the morning. What do you do to get rid of nightmares?

If we were having coffee, I would probably apologize for cutting it short this week. I’m just not feeling myself. I hope you have a wonderful weekend. Here is a photo of my little Ewok to make you smile as you start the rest of your weekend.

2013-09-02 20.15.58

(This conversational coffee post is part of a weekend link-up hosted by Part-Time Monster. Join in the fun!)

My Happy Light

I got a Verilux HappyLight for Christmas. It was given to me by my sister-in-law who is a psychologist and someone who has/had BPD. Is it possible to have had Borderline Personality Disorder? I mean, does it go away or become manageable? Of course, I have no idea what goes on in her head or in her private life, but I haven’t seen the type of symptoms my husband says she displayed when she was younger. I feel like I can’t ask her about it because mental illness is not an approved topic of conversation in my husband’s family. Plus, Hubby has told me her story and I’m not sure if she wanted me to know everything.

Anyway, Hubby had mentioned declining mental health to her, that’s why she got me this happy light. It is the type of light used to treat Seasonal Affective Disorder (which I don’t have). Thankfully, Hubby warned me that she was getting me something depression-related, so I knew to be discrete (aka hide it from my mother in law) when I opened it. My sister-in-law later explained to me her reasoning behind this slightly awkward gift. This light is supposed to help with sleep. When it comes to sleep, I need all the help I can get! She said a couple of the people in the psych department where she works have them and they have said they do sleep better so she thought maybe it would help me. Thoughtful.  🙂

Photo by Jordan Shakeshaft


So, I have tried it. I’m supposed to set it within 2 feet of my face for about half an hour everyday. I have to make sure my eyes are exposed to the light. It is bright, but there are settings to control the brightness. Plus, the discomfort it causes wears off pretty quickly. I expect it will be a little while before I experience improvement with sleep. I hope I can remember to use it every day. I have used it three times so far, today included. I have slept better the two nights after remembering to use it. I don’t know if that’s coincidence or not, but it’s enough to encourage me a bit.

The box calls it “natural spectrum light”….. whatever that means. I’m hoping they mean visible spectrum. They do state that it is UV-free which is what I was most concerned about. The light interacts with melatonin, the hormone that controls your internal body clock. Melatonin fluctuations tell our bodies when to sleep and when to wake up. This hormone also interacts with dopamine, one of the major mental health hormones. This explains why the happy light also claims to improve mood, increase energy and reduce carb cravings. Sounds like a miracle to me! We’ll see.

Losing Hope and Appearing Normal

About a week ago I thought things were turning around. I was feeling hopeful, maybe even enthusiastic. You can read about what I mean here. I had my new creative projects, I had a heart to heart with my Ph.D. supervisor and I got a lot of loose ends tied up. I was accomplishing things, I was on top of the world. That magical feeling lasted all of about 30 hours. I don’t know what happened exactly, but the feeling gradually slipped away and reality seeped back in. It probably started with the headache that I’ve had on and off all week. That’s enough to put a damper on anything.

Hold on to hope.

Hold on to hope.

I still have my creative projects thankfully. I just haven’t had any time to work on them because work has been so busy. I’ve been showing the new Ph.D, around and getting him trained on all the equipment and procedures we use. He seems nice and it has been a relief to get his opinion on things. As far as having someone to share responsibilities with, that’s not really going to happen. He is in class all this semester, so he’ll only be able to take on a minimal amount. Then, he goes back home, to Kansas, for the rest of the year. So whatever I delegate to him (plus the new stuff he starts) will end up back in my lap come January.

Although my supervisor was sympathetic to my mental health woes and my being overwhelmed, I’m not sure she completely understands. She says she does, but I feel like she is looking for the textbook definition of depression in me and not seeing it. Here is a description of the changes in appearance you see in depression from Livestrong…

“Maintaining the appearance may become less important to depressed people. The effort and energy that was once put into grooming and dressing significantly decreases. Showering may no longer occur daily; hair may go uncut for months. They may wear the same clothes day after day, despite wrinkles or stains. Clothing may become too tight or too loose due to changes in weight associated with depression. Also, dark circles and bags may appear under their eyes from lack of sleep”

This description fits me when I am at home, but not when I go out. My appearance has a huge affect on my mood. If I can’t get it together, I don’t let people see me. I let what other people think of me determine my worth. What would they think if they saw me with greasy hair, no makeup and stained clothes?! I don’t even want to think about it. So I put on a show. I keep my thoughts, emotions and anxiety to myself. I don’t let them show on my face. I hide my dark circles, I buy loose clothes that I don’t have to iron, I tie my hair back and I look normal.

I don’t talk to my supervisor about depression very much, just when it gets in the way. Every time it comes up she says something along the lines of “you look pretty good for someone who can’t sleep”. It makes me think she doesn’t quite believe me. I get the impression she is testing me. She wants to see where my breaking point is, when I finally start to fit the textbook definition of depression. Maybe I am paranoid, but she tests other people without telling them. She talks to me about it. If she does it to them, why wouldn’t she do it to me too.

I’m a little all over the place today. This is just what is rolling around in my head after another sleepless night. What does depression look like for you? Do you fit the Livestrong description above or are you like me and put what energy you have left into appearing normal? Do you feel like you are taken less seriously because you try to look normal? What do you think?

Attract:reflect quote

Coffee Quandaries

I like these “If we were having coffee…” and “Friday Fragments” features that a lot of people in my reader are doing these days. They are both kind of the same idea. You talk about the things that have been going on in life and in your head, but have been too short to write a whole blog post about. I’m going to go with the coffee idea since I’m basically a java junkie. So….

If we were having coffee….you’d see that I’m in long pants, socks and a sweaters….yes, I meant for that to be a plural. It hasn’t felt much like summer this week.

If we were having coffee I’d tell you that I feel like I’ve been hit by a brick wall. This fatigued feeling came over me last night and I haven’t been able to shake it. Hubby had the flu earlier this week, so it could be that, but I’m not stuffed up like he was, so I think it’s depression-related.

If we were having coffee I’d be complaining about my burnt mouth. I ate something that was too hot when I was out with my friend for lunch and burned the roof of my mouth really badly. It blistered and it’s all sore and raw-feeling now. The coffee isn’t exactly helping, but coffee is just so comforting and I need that right now.

If we were having coffee, I’d ask how you are and about your week before turning the conversation to something else. You see, I have a quandry I’d really like an opinion on…..How do you know when you should keep pushing yourself versus when it’s time to take a step back? How do you know if you are pushing yourself hard enough? I don’t know the answers to these questions but, I don’t want to be accused of being weak or not trying hard enough, so I just keep on pushing. Work through the pain. There are limits though, the problem is they are invisible to me and I don’t know I’ve reached them until I’ve crossed them.

Like my cross-country running days for instance. Sometimes when you run you get that awful pain in your side, I call it a stitch. It hurts a lot, but that is something you run and breathe though. While I was training, I started to get a pain in my heel. I thought I was being a wimp, like with the stitch, so I ran despite the pain. Eventually, it hurt so much I couldn’t put any weight on it without wanting to scream. I had to stop training cross-country. I had plantar’s fasciitis. Today, it still flares up if I do a lot of running. I keep wondering if I had stopped sooner would I have prevented this? Would I have avoided the pain? Would I still be running now?

The same sort of thing applies to life. Do I push until I have a complete break down? That’s the only instance I can think of where I would know that I have pushed hard enough and it’s time to step back.

If we were having coffee, I’d ask you to tell me what you think because I’m hurting and I’m feeling kind of lost right now.


must stay positive

Self-esteem Challenge: Day 6

This blog challenge was developed by betterthandarkchocolate.tumblr.com. If you missed the introduction or want to see a summary of all the questions, go here.

Day 6:
Something about the way you just are that you like.
What are some obstacles that are preventing you from accomplishing your goals? What will you do to overcome them?

Something about the way I just am? I really don’t know. Does this mean it has to fall outside of the way I look, my personality and the way I think, because those were covered by previous questions? What does that leave? My organs? I like my heart. It has a good rhythm and helps provide oxygen to the rest of my body.

The hurdle I’m trying to overcome at the moment is my lack of motivation. If I have things organized step by step and laid out in front of me, like this challenge, I can get myself to do it, but when things are unstructured, like making drawings to go with my posts, work or exercise, it’s really hard. Everything just takes sooo much effort and I don’t get anything good out of it in the end. So I’m spending energy I don’t have and still feeling like crap. Why bother? I know there are long term benefits to doing these things, but it seems like I keep at it and never seen the benefits. I need a more short term reward….and it can’t be food!


I tried to give my life more structure, hoping that would inspire some motivation. I was planning my meals, getting up early to run and then going to work. That lasted for about a month. Life threw a wrench in my plan and it fell apart. I’m thinking maybe I should try again, but I’ve been saying that for about a weeks now. I decided I’d try the Insanity workout again. I’m hoping it will give me a bit more pep. I’m two days in and I can barely walk. It’s a good kind of pain though. Here’s hoping I can stick to it!

For those of you who don’t know Insanity, you can check it out here. It’s always a good workout, no matter your fitness level.

Previous Older Entries

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Follow Somber Scribbler on WordPress.com


%d bloggers like this: