Saturday, June 29, 2013

Low energy: is it normal or am I depressed?

Low energy. Something I rarely understand and others don't understand with me!

Consumer point: Sometimes it hard to tell if my low energy is due to depression or due to normal day to day every activities. Whenever I start something new, say for instance a new job or something in my routine that changes my schedule and I come home exhausted and all I want to do is sit on the couch. Uh oh, rings a bell in my head, here comes my depression again. I have thought so much about things that show me I am depressed that sometimes I can overreact and think that being normal tired (ie: something that would make anyone tired) is my depression. I do do a lot. Understanding that I can't do everything is important.
However, on the other end of the spectrum, sometimes I need time to recharge my mental health and people do not understand this. They think that I am blowing them off or don't understand how sometimes I do just need to be on the couch for awhile. I get very very frustrated trying to explain to people that I am not blowing them off, but sometimes I just need time to relax.

OT tips:

  • Time management:
    • Planning out the week, to make sure that there is an occupational balance
    • Helping clients to understand when this is low energy vs. symptom of depression
  • Energy conservation
    • Helping clients to plan emotionally and/or physically draining activities throughout the week and not overdue it in one day
  • Acknowledgement
    • Acknowledging that living with a mental illness is hard and sometimes you do just need to recharge
    • Acknowledging when there seems to be low energy that is not typical and a sign of worsening depression
  • Exercise
    • Exercise can help to combat some of that low energy
    • Eating healthy 

Saturday, June 22, 2013

ADHD: Your own attention barriers to accessing your medication

Consumer perspective: I had the biggest issue arise when I was dealing with fieldwork. As I decided to go somewhere very far away from my family and psychiatrist, my psychiatrist informed me that she would not be able to prescribe my adderall if I was out of the state. I could get the prescriptions for my other medications but I could not use my adderall perspective in any If you don't know about controlled substances, read about it here: 
You cannot have refills on your medication and you must have a hard copy. 
For someone who has legitimate ADD or ADHD, a few times I have completely lost my written prescriptions. The whole issue with ADD/ADHD is attention. I have the attention to put the prescriptions into my purse but the time I get home, I may have my attention completely elsewhere. This is the thing with ADD, why I lose my keys, because I am not paying attention because my thoughts tend to run. So having to have a paper prescription can cause nightmares. 

When I lost my prescription, not only could I not get the drugs, my psychiatrist was worried I was abusing the pills.This made me laugh because honestly, I would never risk my license or job over drugs. However, this was straightened out when she talked to my therapist who reassured her that my issues are with organization. However, this had come at a bad time as I was doing many projects in school. 

OT perspective: Our clients are on many medications. Understanding how medications are accessed and can be accessed are important to understand medication management. Although adderall is just one simple example, many other drugs are similar to these restrictions. For someone who has a controlled substance medication, you not only need to put into place how/when they take the medication but also WHERE they put prescriptions if they get multiple prescriptions (the pharmacy will not hold onto the prescriptions, the person who has the prescriptions must). For someone who is taking the drug for organization, this needs to be in a clear spot. What I ended up doing was creating a little bag that was only for my prescriptions and other small important cards (ie: CPR card, etc). This bag was never moved and remained in the same place. This system helped me. Other people may need something different such as a caregivers help. 

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Transitions-discontinuity in routines

Transitions are hard for everyone. Transitions can be even harder for people with mental illness or disabilities.
OT perspective: Supporting clients through transitions are an important part of  OT. Transitions can be defined as a “discontinuity” or “interruption” in habits and everyday activities (Blair, 2000). Transitions can be as simple as having to  wrap a leg for lymph edema everyday to moving to a new city or starting a career. By understanding the environmental impact and time management of transitions we can fully help our clients.
Consumer: I have been anxious for the past few months about moving. So much so that depression has really kicked in. So many regrets & feeling alone & isolated. I am bad at saying goodbye. As my therapist tells me, everyone feels anxious about moving, it's big changes. However, as with depression, I continued to ruminate on how I am feeling & how I am scared of moving somewhere might trigger an episode of depression. These feelings felt so deteriorating that it was making me not functional. I couldn't pack, I couldn't do work. I reached put for social support & got help. I made lists, I used positive coping skills. Thank you family. 

What are your thoughts on transitions? How do you deal with client transitions? What coping skills do you use? 

Friday, June 7, 2013

Coping mechanism: from collages to polyvore

Artwork I have made from Polyvore. I do this alot as a coping mechanism. I used to like to make collages, but now I just use Polyvore. 

My reason behind this blog: OT and consumer views

Depression is very common and one the leading causes of disability in the US.
I am an occupational therapist and I have been diagnosed with depression since the age of 11 when I had my first suicide attempt. (Since 14, I have not had any more suicide attempts). I have an IEP and have been in the special education system since the age of 12.
 I hope to give insight into depression & special education not only from a consumer perspective but from an occupational therapist's perspective. I am also diagnosed with ADHD and may blog about this later, since depression & ADHD make life very interesting.

OT thought of the day: OTs continually say "we do not treat depression", this sentence needs to be changed from "we do not treat symptoms of sadness but we treat symptoms of depression". Depression has many symptoms that OTs treat. Looking at the DSM-IV: (I haven't seen DSM-V but I from what I have read, depression has only changed in regard to grief component) decreased interest or pleasure in activities, weight loss or weight gain, difficulty in concentration, fatigue, insomnia or hypersomnia. These symptoms are such a vital part of treatment from an OT perspective.

Consumer thought of the day: I continually talk to my therapist about organization. I am a very messy person. I have a system for academics that have taken me 10 years of resource to implement, but I am unable to organize my daily routines and clothes. How may you ask can I be an OT if I cannot do this for myself?  I can easily task analysis people's routines and break them down and help. I am able to regurgitate what I know from OT : organizational system put into your daily routines, use a planner, make goals, categorize etc But no one has been able to help me implement this. When I come home I have zero motivation. I like to stay on my couch from 5-10 pm and watch Netflix. Is this a symptom of depression? Is my disorganization heighten due to ADHD? I have no idea. I just understand how hard it is to implement ideas and suggestions when people are not in the environment. One of  my thoughts about this is related back to home health/ Assertive Community treatment. (Please see link if you don't know what it is) ACT is only for serious mental illness and it is proven to work. However, it combines key components of OT, helping people in the environment! Getting off track, I wish OTs could help people who function, but not functioning fully in their environment. I kept thinking in OT school... Perfect fit for OT. Although high functioning, I have serious disorganization and motivation problems that keep me from even having people over. Rambled on but I think others will relate to this.