The Dreads continue to strike each morning around 5:00 a.m. Fortunately, today I was able to discuss this nemesis in depth with Dr D. We always cover a lot of ground in our thirty-minute-long sessions, and despite my morning grogginess, I used up every minute to the fullest.
I worried the day before my appointment as I usually do, despite the fact that Dr. D. is the best and the kindest psychiatrist I’ve ever seen. To settle my anxiety, I jotted down a few talking points in my notebook. Creating talking points always helps me to focus and guarantees my getting something useful out of the session.
I was about to first place The Dreads down on the list, but then I realized that I needed to start with another topic. I wanted my doctor to know that I had just spent five days with someone I loved who was verbally abusive to me, and emotionally unpredictable to be around. Walking on eggshells for five days would be enough to exhaust anyone, and I’ve been utterly drained since the end of that visit.
I suspected that my emotional hangover caused the milder form of The Dreads I’ve experienced recently to become much worse. Dr. D., who has a gift for therapy and almost became a psychotherapist, was able to shed light on the situation. I hope to cover what he said in a future blog post as it concerns personality disorders and bipolar disorder as well.
After we spoke about that, the subject turned to The Dreads. I told Dr. D. I tried to lower the Seroquel and it didn’t work – I didn’t feel it was the right time to take that plunge. I added that I thought I should wait a few more months to try. What was interesting to me was that Dr. D. asked why would I choose to make a medication change after what happened last week. (I thought he had a good point!) He advised that I wait for a calmer time to try again and that I didn’t necessarily have to wait another two months to try, but to take it “day by day”.
I continued explaining The Dreads in gory detail to Dr. D. I made sure to differentiate them from their first cousin Depression in that my dread/rumination only lasts until I drag myself out of bed. The feelings dissipate after a few cups of strong-ass coffee. Dr. D. understood where I was coming from, and he mentioned an interesting point. He said (and I’m not paraphrasing too well but I hope this makes sense) that when we are on the verge of waking up, our old consciousness can be stirred up. Since I’ve been through so much trauma, that concept makes sense to me. Then he emphasized something I already knew a little about: the importance of regular bedtimes and waking times, but with a different twist…
I explained how difficult the mornings have been ever since school got out for the girls and that I stopped getting up at a regular time each morning; I also ceased using my Sunbox bright light first thing each morning.
As soon as I said the words “bright light”, Dr. D mentioned reading a recent study with findings that truly surprised me. The study cited that getting early morning daylight (via natural light or a therapeutic light) & maintaining regular waking times/bedtimes were more helpful in improving depression than regular aerobic exercise.
Dr. D. said he’d search for that study again to email it to me, and I’ll search for it as well – if I find it I’ll post it here. He suggested that I consider going outside in the morning with a cup of coffee (programming my coffee pot the night before to get it ready) and hanging out to receive the natural light.
Since Lucy Puppy is up bright and early at 5:00 a.m., jumping like a pogo stick to go outside, I could use her prodding to get me going. Craig has been the one to take Lucy out thus far, which has been wonderful , but if I want to stop these damn dreads, I need to excuse him from morning puppy duty!
Wish me luck, kindred bloggers. I realllllly need it. The Dreads suck!