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Not Again

I’ve been struggling with my mental health a bit lately due to burnout as I continue to work and even get busier while COVID explodes all around me. This weekend my wife and I went to see my parents at their ranch. It was supposed to be a relaxing weekend away in the great outdoors, but we made the inevitable shift back to old family dynamics, and it drained me. It drained my wife too, since both of us felt like we had to be “on” the whole time, where at home we can go hours relaxing without talking. She’s been burnt out with work and school too, and now I feel like she doesn’t want to be at home anymore.

Today I’m feeling depressed. I don’t want to say I’ve relapsed, I want to believe it’s just a bad day, that it’s just a rough time, that everything will be okay. But just for today I’m scared. I don’t want to feel this way. I’m better. I’ve been better. I’ve beaten depression. I’m not going down this road again. I want to run home and hide under the covers, but I know if I go home I’ve lost the battle today, and that’s the beginning of the backslide. I want to hold tight to my wife and not let her go, but I don’t want to burden her with the fake shit in my head. I need a week off to rest, but I’m afraid to take it with everything so uncertain.

I don’t want to come here like this, compromised and vulnerable, since I started my time on HS from a healed place, but I don’t know where else to turn. I don’t want to worry my friends, I don’t want to tell the guys in my recovery group, and now I don’t want to tell a bunch of anonymous fucking strangers on an international forum dedicated to this. But here I am. Secret’s out and off my chest.

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Hey Friend!

Thank you so much for writing out!

Know that you are strong! You are a fighter!

Always remember that Relapse is apart of Recovery! Take some time for yourself! You are strong friend!

Hold Strong

Darian

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From: xlucid_gamerx

Hold fast friend! You’re in a safe spot here. I know you don’t want to share or burden others but that’s what we’re here for and I hope sharing will actually help you through this.

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From: dariandaotter

Hey Friend! You are loved and you absolutely do matter! Hold Strong! souzyHeart

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I don’t think that “the stuff in your head” is fake. Our thoughts and feelings are very real. Things are really rough for everyone right now, so I’m sorry that you had the stress of your family situation on that. I know being with my family drains me so hard and is usually where I end up relapsing. I’m proud of you for posting tho.

I go through phases where I’m in a really good place, and then fall back into the hole, and it makes you feel so stuck. So you’re not alone there.

If you need to take time off to rest, that’s not “losing”. If 2 days off is going to help you, then take it. If you continue to push like this while you’re burnt out, you’re going to end up having to take more than 2 days to recover.

You said that your wife felt pretty burnt out? Maybe you guys could sit and talk. Support each other. Communication is important. You’re not a burden on her. Help each other - talk to her and let her talk to you.

The stuff in your head IS NOT fake.
You’re loved.

Hold Fast
Kayla

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Hi @SheetMetalHead - It sounds like it was difficult to admit that you needed to get it out there, and maybe even hard to share it with people here. I hope you know that you are not judged here, and we respect your vulnerability and appreciate the bravery it took to say some of this stuff out loud.

I am sorry a time you set aside for something that was supposed to recharge you, caused you further distress. It sounds like it may have shone a light on things you were struggling with in an uncomfortable way.

It is my personal opinion that when you have (had) depression, it is always there, somewhere. This is such a volatile time for you, and you seem tired, and maybe that is wearing down your ability to overcome your depression? It is okay to have bad days, even strings of bad days together, especially during a time like this. I don’t think is makes you weak, but it feels like to me you are embarrassed that you have succumb to the stress and burnout. I can empathize; I thought I was really strong and resilient, but it turns out that this situation with the world is hard in a different way…and I have been struggling too.

When you were feeling better, what are some things you did that encouraged that feeling? Is there any way to modify these activities for this situation? It seems like you need a break. It is almost halfway through the year, and some people, I think, don’t realize that a vacation once a year minimum is really good for you… and it isn’t something you should be ashamed of needing in my opinion. Breaking the monotony and stress can help you recover from burnout. Even if it isn’t a week, but a long weekend so you can enjoy a day for sleeping and relaxing and spend time with your wife… maybe that might be an option?

All this to say, thank you for overcoming your fear of vulnerability to post here. It made me realize my own mental health surrounding burnout and stress is valid. Yours is too! I hope you and your wife can make some space for things that help you guys spend relaxing time together.

Hold fast <3

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From: okamimemories

hi friend, i just ant to say. its okay to reach out to the HS community. we’re here for you. we won’t judge you or push you away. we’ll welcome you with open arms always. i know how it feels to not want to reach out to certain people through fear of being a burden. but youre never a burden. we love you, friend.

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From: ravenholdtassassin

we all love you here friend hugs :slight_smile:

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Hey @SheetMetalHead we discussed your topic on the HeartSupport Twtich stream today. Here’s the live video response:

Hold Fast!

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Hey friend,

I don’t want to come here like this, compromised and vulnerable, since I started my time on HS from a healed place, but I don’t know where else to turn. I don’t want to worry my friends, I don’t want to tell the guys in my recovery group, and now I don’t want to tell a bunch of anonymous fucking strangers on an international forum dedicated to this. But here I am. Secret’s out and off my chest.

Indeed, it’s uncomfortable when you’re the one who accepts to open up and be vulnerable. But you know from experience that it’s okay. I remember that you told me once something like growth happen through discomfort… So, thank you for sharing this. Being vulnerable is actually part of being strong. It’s honest. It has to be respected. But it feels risky, for sure.
Just know that you are appreciated as you are, no matter what you want (or don’t want) to share.

Today I’m feeling depressed. I don’t want to say I’ve relapsed, I want to believe it’s just a bad day, that it’s just a rough time, that everything will be okay. But just for today I’m scared. I don’t want to feel this way. I’m better. I’ve been better. I’ve beaten depression. I’m not going down this road again. I want to run home and hide under the covers, but I know if I go home I’ve lost the battle today, and that’s the beginning of the backslide. I want to hold tight to my wife and not let her go, but I don’t want to burden her with the fake shit in my head. I need a week off to rest, but I’m afraid to take it with everything so uncertain.

I’m sorry you’ve been feeling that way. I know it’s quite uncomfortable and… honestly the feelings you’re experiencing - also your worries -… I felt the same two weeks ago and I kept feeling stuck until a few days ago in a kind of numbness/paralysis/exhaustion circle. Felt like I’ve been reaching some breaking points, just like it happened in the past when I was at my lowest with depression. And to realize that is freaking frustrating and scary. I really wondered if this whole quarantine had just blown away all the efforts and energy I put before in handling my depression. I thought about a relapse too, but I guess it’s also really a matter of perspective here. Though, I understand your current fears and, maybe, disappointment.

If you felt the need to go home today, then it doesn’t mean you failed anything. It only means that you need some rest. And it’s totally okay to acknowledge that. The fact that you’ve been battling with depression and making progress is something you can 100% be proud of. But it would be counterproductive to make this journey an extra-pressure on your shoulders. If you didn’t experience that depression, would you allow yourself to rest today? You’re still a human before being depressed. And like any human, you have the right to go through ups and downs - especially during this quarantine. I mean, it’s objectively draining for many of us. You’re not less than you were yesterday by being aware of this.

But you still gained something through your journey, which is a better understanding of who you are and what helps you when you don’t feel okay. Use that knowledge, friend. I’d stay… trust your guts/intuition that tells you to rest. But also, don’t use the resting time as a way to give up entirely. Go outside, do some exercise if you can, enjoy some activities you like. If you can take a week off, embrace it truly. And you can think about it as a way to really take care of yourself - as you need and deserve, so you can recharge. It doesn’t bring anything good to extend yourself too much. And at this point, you already know what would be good for you. Don’t let this stupid depression (or any negative mindset) telling you what you deserve or not. What you only deserve is: tons of support from others, some rest, and compassion for yourself. And I know you know that actually.

I know it’s a bit of a vague advice here, but: give yourself some time and grace. Really. Even more than before. Just because you need it. Maybe more than before. There’s a wave in your life, it looks like some waves you already saw before, but you can still decide how to ride on this one.

The moment I stopped to overthink my own situation, I actually started to take small steps to take care of myself again in a more effective way. You know, all these little things we can add to our daily life and makes us feel great. Just all these small actions that stop to do when we feel like drowning again (including reaching out). Change doesn’t happen in a day though. But seeing at least one day when I could have my head above water made me see again that what I felt as being a relapse was just, maybe, an other wave. Just make sure not to make it a self-fulfilling prophecy. Because that wouldn’t be fair to yourself nor to your own journey.

(Sorry if this reply is a bit messy btw)

I appreciate you. I appreciate reading you around here - it helps me too.
Thank you for being part of this community. Thank you for stepping out of your comfort zone. I hope this can be a step for you to make the right decisions for yourself and your health - mental and physical.

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Y’all. I feel like a celebrity :laughing: Thank you so much! This was all advice I would give to anyone else, but sometimes it’s just hard to listen to yourself. I’m so glad y’all were here to give it back to me.

I started feeling better almost immediately after posting this topic. The hardest part is reaching out for help, and that’s what I did here. Saying it made it real, and being real it’s now something I can deal with. I finished up my morning tasks at work, and I’m taking the rest of the week off to rest and take care of myself. I’ll do some stuff around the apartment that I haven’t made time for, drink plenty of coffee, watch some TV, take naps, and maybe go drive around a bit. In the last couple weeks I’ve been cutting out some of the extra responsibilities I’ve taken on, so I think this break will be extra helpful.

I’ve been off my antidepressant for a month now, under my psychiatrist’s care. I figured I’d have days where I felt a little low, but today I was scared because I started feeling like I wanted to vanish, and I haven’t felt that way in several years. Y’all are right, a rough time doesn’t define me, and it doesn’t mean I’ve thrown away all my progress. I knew that in general, for other people, but I had to hear it because I didn’t believe it for myself. Thank you everybody.

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You’re absolutely right. Depression isn’t cured, it’s managed, and exhaustion and fatigue make me more susceptible to bad days. I know that bad days are very possible, but I don’t like when they become a reality. I also don’t like admitting when I’m not okay, because it makes it real instead of a figment of my imagination.

I’ve been burnt out for awhile, and I’ve been just trying to get through it, even though I know it doesn’t work that way. I took last Wednesday off to rest, and it helped, but the weekend drained whatever energy I’d recovered. In a way, it’s a blessing that our vacation plans for the year are falling through, because now I can take time off to rest.

I’m glad I could help you in this roundabout way! I joined HS to lend perspective to people who are going through things I’ve been through. I never imagined that my reaching out for help would help someone else too. We’re living through a hard time. I would tell you or anyone else that it’s okay to be tired. Now it’s my turn to take that advice and be kind to myself.

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@Micro, I don’t know what else to say. That was really loving and kind. Thank you friend.

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I don’t know what to say or who to say it to. I feel myself regressing again. I don’t know why. I want to run away, lean into the familiar comfort of my depression, and be alone.

I don’t feel safe talking about this with my wife right now. Maybe I just need to communicate with her; but her work is draining all her emotional resources, and in more neutral times she has said that I have a tendency to be needy. Right now she needs me, and I need to be strong for her. I’m also dreading making hurtful confessions to her in the Amends step of my recovery program, and I don’t want to lean on her when I know that she’ll withdraw for at least a little while when that happens.

I don’t feel safe talking about this with my friends. I’m “better,” I’m “recovered.” Some friends are new and haven’t seen this side of me before, and I don’t want them to. I don’t feel that kind of security with them, and I like having friends who I can just have fun with. Some friends told me once I was “better” that yeah, you were kind of a drag. We still loved you, but you weren’t always the most fun person to talk to. The one friend who really gets it is a woman who has always understood my mental health better than anyone; and as vulnerable as I’m feeling right now, I’m afraid that confiding in her could lead to emotional infidelity.

I had my final session with my therapist this past weekend, and will be setting up appointments with a new one. I think this is a positive next step, someone to guide me through a new chapter, but I’ll need to establish a rapport with him. It will take time before therapy feel safe again.

I’ve been checking the boxes for depression lately. Up until now, not the sadness, feeling worthless, or obsessive thoughts; but I’ve lost interest in fun activities and my daily living, I’m weary, and even my favorite vices aren’t rewarding or appealing.

My life is full of Shoulds right now. I should start exercising. I should do my recovery work. I should pursue a hobby, any of the several things I’ve expressed interest in. I should figure out how to snap out of my coma at work. I keep feeling like there aren’t enough hours in the day for me to do all the things I should do, but the reality is that I fill my time telling myself I’m tired and I need to rest.

COVID isn’t helping anyone. Enough said.

I’m actively resisting the mindfulness exercises I preach on this forum all the time. They seem daunting. I hope writing this post can be an initial mindfulness step, and maybe I can take steps from here to get better. However, I’m not sure I want to stand on my own right now. I’m tired.

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I’m sorry to hear that you’ve been having a rough time @SheetMetalHead.

All the reasons you mention about finding it hard to reach out to people in your life are understandable. It sounds like, these days, there’s no place around you where you could just be… you. With all the strengths and vulnerability that makes you who you are. Without having to prove or perform anything, and without having to be afraid of what might result from this vulnerability. While you are facing all these “shoulds” and obligations in your life, it makes sense to feel overwhelmed and tempted to lean into this call for stillness in the midst of your progress.

Depression sucks so much, for reasons I don’t even have to mention as you understand that way too much already. But also, for what it’s worth, I like to see it as a beacon sometimes, something that gives me a direction, a kind of message that both my body and my mind are trying to send me. Generally, I understand the “message” when I’m hitting rock bottom already, but with time I learned to identify those depressing spirals more easily. Just like you did by sharing this. Good thing that you’re aware of how you feel right now and to put words on it.

Friend, you’ve been battling for so long against this overwhelming shadow. You’re facing all the Shoulds in front of you, you’re looking after a place where you can just BE without having to wear your “good husband”, “good friend” or “warrior” coat… it all makes sense to be overwhelmed. Your battles are not invisible. But I understand too well how hard it is to just find a place where you can be without any restriction induced by depression, without being afraid of the consequences, of what you’re feeling or thinking. And, should I say, without feeling like you’d be failing on yourself.

I keep feeling like there aren’t enough hours in the day for me to do all the things I should do, but the reality is that I fill my time telling myself I’m tired and I need to rest.

And do you rest? Or does your mind keep resisting against this idea? Personally, I can spend an insane amount of time being stuck in this middle of “nothing”, of doing nothing and being motivated by nothing, to keep repeating to myself that I need to rest but somehow I don’t. And it’s not 100% about the amount of things I’m doing or not. It’s about accepting my needs. Because indeed, it’s disappointing to feel dragged back in the most depressed places of my mind while I’m objectively doing a lot to heal and just… live.

There is rest… and rest. I don’t know if you’re part of the HS Masterclass, but this reminds me what someone said a couple of weeks ago. The main idea was: “I live from a place of rest”. A mind blowing statement.

I’ve been on and off for so many times wondering if I’m genuinely lazy sometimes, if I’m not finding some comfort in my struggles, or if being defeated from time to time is really the product of my depression. I think that most of the time my interpretation is wrong. But it’s not even important. The thing is, while I’m trying to understand what’s going on so I can decide what would be my next step, I totally ignore what I’m feeling and currently experiencing at an emotional leval. And there’s a need for just so much grace and self-compassion in these moments.

I want to encourage you to allow yourself to be tired. To rest in whatever sense it takes for you, as long as it remains safe. To take a break. And to realize that it’s okay.

Yes, you are fighting against depression and yes it has this little voice sometimes, this familiar call towards some very dark places of our mind. But you’ve been working on yourself for a long time too. You know yourself better than you did years ago. You know your depression in a better way too. You’re not out of resources either and you can be proud of this safety net you created for yourself when things get tough. Now, you also have to be a safety net for yourself.

If you’re afraid to stay stuck in this, give yourself a time limit to rest. A day, a week, it doesn’t matter as long as you’re committed to it, just like you are for all the other things in your life, but without the performance spark. You already did it before. It’s okay if you need it 1, 10 or thousand times. You’re only human and you can’t be on a proactive mode all the time - even though “rest” doesn’t necessarily mean doing nothing, on the contrary. Even if almost everything in our society tells us that being constantly proactive and focused on what’s next is a realistic expectation… it’s not. You have the right to say a gentle “f*ck” to everything when there’s a potential for it to be healthy and positive. And it starts in your mind. You’re committed to so many people around you. You’re committed to your relationships, your therapy, the steps of your recovery program, your work. Be committed to yourself just as you are right here and right now. Without any layer of guilt, disappointment or to do lists. Those feelings, people and responsabilities will still be here tomorrow. They won’t give up on you just like you’re not giving up on yourself.

Sometimes battling with depression feels like we have to be performing at so many things at once as it just affects every dimension of our life in such a sneaky way. It goes on the top of handling all the usual things that every people encounter everyday. Sometimes we can be so used to be in this warrior mode that even if we know that being vulnerable, having ups and downs and resting is theorically okay, we also need to remind ourselves that it’s really okay, and not only an idea that we internalised at some point. A warrior mode can pervert the idea of rest or self-care and make it be another task in our giant lists of Shoulds.

But sometimes we also just need a moment when it feels like depression isn’t part of our vocabulary. It’s not giving up. Especially since it seems that you have people around you who could be a pillar of accountability if you need. “I’ll take some time for myself today. Could you check on me tomorrow?” is just a small step we need to take sometimes. Even if you don’t really know what to do or what rest would imply to you, it’s okay. Time is a gift in itself. You’d still give yourself this moment and have an opportunity to 1/ learn to know yourself, 2/ listen to what your heart, your mind and your body are trying to tell you. Just because all of these parts of yourself, these parts that make you uniquely you, keep on existing both behind and in the middle of the layers of depression. Don’t just run after the person you want to be, or feel like you have to be. Allow yourself to meet this person that you are right here and right now. I can assure you, it’s a beautiful individual already.

Hope I don’t sound like patronizing or anything by the way… that’s really not my intention. This response only comes from a place of care for you and your well-being.

Appreciate you, @SheetMetalHead. I’m grateful you’re part of this community. Not just because of all the wise insights you share with so many. But because you’re you.

Take care. :hrtlovefist:

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Wow. I needed to read this. This is absolutely true. I know what is good and healthy, and I know I can take a rest when I need to, but I spend a lot of time telling myself I don’t need to, not yet. I want to be frugal with my paid time off so I can take vacation and still have some left over for mental health days or sick days. In May, when I created this thread, I said “no, not yet” until I broke and, halfway through Monday, basically walked out of the office and took the rest of the week off. My boss was understanding, but he asked that I monitor myself and take rest days sooner to prevent abrupt departures like that.

You’re right. I loved the ending of the movie “Inside Out” because, in the end, Sadness saved the day when Joy couldn’t keep up and everything broke down. Also to this effect are the lyrics by I Prevail: “Let me be sad, even for a little while, just a chance to catch my breath.” It’s like a fever, something to let you know that something isn’t right and needs attention.

In the worst of my depression, “rest” was staying in bed 12-18 hours a day. I hoped, even if I didn’t fully believe, that if I just took some time I’d feel better the next day. These days, the hours between getting home from work and going to bed, and the time spent slacking off and not doing my best work, are the “rest” I take. I tell myself: “Maybe tomorrow I’ll feel up to going for a long walk, or sitting down and completing the Forgiveness step in my recovery program, or maybe even doing an honest workout.” Even if I know it’s not true, I hope it will be.

You’re right. Here I fall victim to comparing myself to others who don’t need mental health breaks. I accept that I could use breaks from time to time, but I have trouble accepting that I may need them more often than others. I want to be normal, and keep telling myself if I can push through the lull I’ll be better. My wife and I are taking a trip this weekend. It will be restful, but I’ve been trying to push myself to that finish line, and I think that’s been exhausting too.

Thank you @Micro. Thank you for understanding, being compassionate, and using your wisdom to help bring me and others back to center. I appreciate you so much.

Today is a better day already. Last night I told my wife that, while I understand she’s stressed to the breaking point with her work, her emotional absence was affecting me. Now at least it’s not something I’m keeping to myself. Rather than sitting in her recliner while watching TV last night, she came and laid next to me on the couch. Since my primary love language is touch, that simple act went a long way to making me feel closer to her. I think posting here helped too. You’re only as sick as your secrets; and if someone knows about it, even strangers, then it’s not a secret anymore.

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My boss was understanding, but he asked that I monitor myself and take rest days sooner to prevent abrupt departures like that.

That’s a good advice - and also totally understandable coming from a boss. As the saying goes: “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”.

I accept that I could use breaks from time to time, but I have trouble accepting that I may need them more often than others. I want to be normal, and keep telling myself if I can push through the lull I’ll be better.

I understand. It’s a frustration that I have as well. It feels like depression equals limitations, lack of freedom compared to others. But I also like that this frustation can produce some interesting questions. It’s an interesting thought to challenge: is the comparison worth it? What are my own standards and do I want it to be the same as others? Is my perception of others based on truth or do I see in them what I want to see? (…)

This last one has been really interesting to me recently. I always thought that we can’t presume what someone is living and/or struggling with. In other words, better be curious than judgmental. And as therapy is currently raising a lot of questions in my mind, I’m also realizing for how long I’ve been on a survival mode. Just pushing through, over and over, with no rest. No one really noticed… and I’ve been acknowledged for reaching some life goals from time to time. I didn’t even really notice, at least not as I do now. This gives me a slap in the face when I start to mirror how I’ve been until now with how I perceive others when I’m frustrated or disappointed by myself. In the end, we never know what someone’s experiencing. But we are all worth the efforts it takes to live a fulfilling life, regardless of the shape it would take.

The way you perceive this question or your capacities compared to others depends on seeing it as a matter of equality or fairness. In any case: you are normal. You are human.

[ramblings: off :no_mouth:]

I’m glad to hear that you had a better day! Have a great trip this week-end.

Also, you motivated me to watch Inside Out again, haha. :laughing:

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Thank you for sharing your struggles with us. I’m glad you chose to open up despite feeling ashamed about it, but please know that people do care about you. I’m afraid of relapsing too. It’s terrifying because it feel so out of my control. If you want advice, something you could do is chose to actively control a few small things in your life, like when you go outside or how much time you dedicate to something you like to do. For example, lately I’ve been scheduling time to spend time with people and not pressuring myself to produce anything while I’m having rest time. What do you think you could do?

Also, I want to remind you that you’re strong for reaching out. Good job.

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Welcome to the community @Dragonfly!

You bring up a good point. I try to keep the Serenity Prayer at the top of my mind. I stop to consider whether or not I have control over things, I try to let go of the things beyond my control, but I don’t really execute “Change (or control) the things I can” when those things are small. Now that you point it out, I realize there’s not much proactive mindful stuff I do day to day. I usually make good decisions like eating healthy home cooked meals and limiting my drinking, but I see those more as decisions to abstain than decisions to do.

Small things I can control: abstaining from naps after work; taking longer walks with the dogs in the evening instead of just around the block; cleaning the kitchen every day instead of just when it gets bad. Writing those here, now they seem more like things I can do instead of things I should do, and they seem a bit less daunting.

Thank you for your perspective!

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UPDATE: I finally called my psychiatrist yesterday. We’re making just a slight tweak in my meds, and hopefully that perks me up a bit. I’ve been putting it off for the last month, but I’m glad I finally did it, and that I don’t have to change my whole regimen.

In other news, I’m getting more serious about finding a new hobby. I’d love to shoot pool after work maybe once a week. It might be hard to find a local place that’s open right now, but I figure $20 a week for some alone time doing something I enjoy sounds nice.

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