Hello Again

I’m back!!!

I did not plan to take a 2+ month hiatus. However I was in a funky mood which then rolled into being busy and week after week I just didn’t feel the call to resume writing posts. And here we are!

Since my last post, I traveled to Rhode Island and St. Louis, got Covid (that’ll be covered in another post), made double workout sessions a regular thing, and more!

It’s been a mixed bag of emotions the last few months to be honest. Earlier on in my recovery journey there was so much hard work to be done that was the main focus. Lately it hits me at times that this is life now. I from time to time really feel the loss of my pre-surgery life and feel like I worked so hard yet only got back some things and just feel cheated.

So really I’m taking it day by day. My emotional state can swing wildly depending on the day. My go to instinct is to want to hole up and be alone to wallow in my bad mood, however I know I feel much better by talking about my pain and getting things done. That’s therefore a constant challenge I’m tackling.

Mood Swings

My TBI made me much more clued into my mood, and has caused a much more frequent swing. Early on, my awareness of my mood was very single; I was either happy or sad and happy usually coincided on the weekend when Kevin was with me (ew I know).

I slowly entered into a more grey area vs. black or white; some of being more aware of my feelings is due to therapy but I think it’s more-so having a lot less occupying my days.

What I never experienced pre-surgery was real bouts of depression. Pre-surgery a bad mood lasted at max a few days and was mixed with happiness; now a bad mood can last weeks and nothing can immediately make me feel better. It’s a bummer; the only thing that helps me is knowing this is temporary. Sometimes the only way through is through, and you have to embrace the suck.

The other big change now is how quickly my mood can change; again I think it’s now not having as much going on that can offset/downplay the intensity of my emotions.

Take yesterday. I woke up in a semi-bad mood. Even though I’m a morning person I do not like to talk to anyone immediately. Wednesdays are a busy morning because I work out at 9am; it’s kind of hectic to get out the door on time. Then exercise=endorphins=happy and I was jovial. Then slowly over lunch and into the afternoon I fell into a bit of a funk. And that was only up to 3pm!

My takeaway with managing my mood is to first and foremost be kind to myself. Sometimes I need to make smart choices even when I don’t want to, i.e. choosing to lay down and rest my body after a tough workout even though I’d rather say, watch tv.

I’m also a big believer in accepting what, REALLY, can be taken off your to do list. Little is extremely time sensitive and I’ve seen how paring your list down to say,3 not 5 things can make a huge difference. There’s always tomorrow.

Throwback Thursday: Birthday

Today’s my birthday! Believe it or not, my post a few weeks ago about my birthday during quarantine was completely a coincidence but how timely. In honor of today I thought I’d post a few favorite memories from years past.

First legal drink back in 2009 at a bar in Bloomington!
My parents took me to Vegas.
I got myself a fancy camera for my 25th.
I also went out in Chicago with friends!
I celebrated with friends by going to afternoon tea for my 27th.
Vegas to celebrate being 30!

Manageable Task Advice

I’ve always been a huge reader. Pre-surgery my lifestyle lent a lot of time that I could spend reading; my commutes everyday, my lunch breaks, etc. It’s therefore been a struggle to now find specific time to spend reading.

I have appointed set times, such as listening to an audiobook to and from the trips to my workout sessions. I try to pick reading over watching tv; some nights I do better than others.

But a helpful way to tackle my goal to read more is a great way to approach any goal; divide it into small and attainable parts. I select a few books, usually one audio, one novel and one nonfiction or similar, easier to slow read, and for the audio and nonfiction I make a rule to do one chapter a day. It’s slower than my normal time it takes to get through a book, sure, but it’s a very doable way to get through books!

I Love Pizza

To be fair, who doesn’t?

I’m a huge pizza fan. I normally show some decorum, but pizza is on a different level for me.

When I was in the hospital I lost close to 40 pounds and it was a daily struggle to get me to meet my caloric need. Some days if dinner especially didn’t interest me, Kevin, after working all day, would go out and get me pizza if I asked.

Last week I was feeling really nauseous all day so food din’t interest me. My mom said “well, what if we ordered a pizza for dinner?”

Hmmm, that actually sounds good…

I had a few pieces. For now and forever, I can always eat pizza!

Flashback Friday: Quarantine Birthday

The start of quarantine was especially weird. We greatly feared this thing yet didn’t fully understand it and we were at first dedicated but soon fed up with the stay at home order.

My birthday is April 21st, so it was pretty early into the pandemic. I’m not a big celebrator normally, but I do like to see friends usually. So it was a change that I instead simply had my parents and dog to celebrate with in 2020.

March Madness Brackets

I don’t pretend to know much about college basketball. Since I didn’t go to a college with a huge sports presence, I’ve never been overly invested in the excitement each year. However, I’m a team player and completed several brackets this year.

Because I don’t know (or really care), I did absolutely no research and instead picked teams for “silly” reasons; do I like a city/a mascot/etc. Low and behold I managed to pick a team in the final match. Again, I don’t know much; my mom asked me during the second half of the final four game what color my team was wearing; I said I only had been looking at the score so I actually didn’t know…

I’m going to win money in my work pool, but I’m more excited for the pride I’m winning in my just for fun friend pool!

How to Change Your Mood

Two weeks ago I slowly fell into a funk that lasted ten+ days. It was not fun and I had so many moments of thinking “I just want to be happy.” Unfortunately these bouts of a down mood happen from time to time. I wanted to share some tips that hopefully help you:

Change your location.

I went to my condo with Glen and that was the catalyst for turning my mood around. I needed the moment of sitting on my couch with my dog.

I heavily believe in the importance of location on your mood. Yes it’s not always possible to go to a different location. It’s also difficult with Covid risks. That being said, go for a walk. Grab a coffee somewhere. Anything. Just change up where you are to break up the monotony that can draw out a bad mood.

Take it easy on yourself.

When you’re down it’s not the time to, say, start a strict diet and exercise plan. If there ever was a time it’s ok to sit and binge The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills (I mean, that’s an example. Not a real life thing that happened…) this is it. Yes being busy keeps you from negative thinking but the wrong kind of busy can be exhausting and add to feeling bad, not help.

Know that this is temporary.

The advantage of my 3+ years of therapy is that I’ve learning to accept that a bad mood will pass. While it’s no fun to feel icky, sometimes the only way through is through. Telling yourself this feeling is temporary can be a huge help.

Taking Meeting Notes

I was a devoted note taker in meetings before my surgery. Taking notes was really writing down a to do list that I could then tick off afterwards.

I used to write these notes. With the switch to Zoom, and because I can’t write like I used to, I prefer to type reminders during a meeting.

I highly recommend using the notes function. It’s small enough to be alongside a Zoom box.