Beyond Blue

Beyond Blue

Video: Getting Through the Rough Spots

Figuring out the cause of a relapse, or even a rough spot bordering on relapse, is a bit like solving a riddle or working on a hard crossword puzzle. It’s like a long, dreaded hour in Advanced Calculus class (even though, you know, I never made it to that room). There are the new triggers. For me that’s grieving my recreational sport I so enjoyed–running–because I want to avoid a hip replacement at all cost. Reading my junior-high journals and processing those painful memories didn’t help. But there are the regulars, who lurk behind most of my dark patches…a denial of my illness, the misconception that I am the dirty-blonde version of Wonder Woman, and, of course, unrealistic expectations. I so appreciate your help navigating through this forest of fears. So, listen up for some of your own wisdom.

Click here to subscribe to Beyond Blue and click here to follow Therese on Twitter and click here to join Group Beyond Blue, a depression support group. Now stop clicking.

  • Nancy

    Therese – What a wonderful topic and video blog. You expressed the realities of “managing” chronic illness so well. Naturally for years, I could identify the need to manage a business, a family and a household, which is a second business in and of itself. However, “managing” myself as I used to structure it, was in the form of a self-punishing, relentless task masker, who as my own “boss” never allowed me a day off or self care (unless that self care would increase my output of production).
    My identities were all through what I produced on a daily basis. Were and are there not many responsibilities and days that would require me to have a fast paced lifestyle (not of the rich and famous type – more of the Mommy, businesswoman, community service type). What I realize though, looking back is that I was rarely “enough” for myself and my expectations. Whatever level I achieved, I thought I should and could do better and more.
    I could go on extensively with this topic, but having some years on you in life, learn from my experience (which went haywire and now suffer with deeper chronic illnesses) – cut yourself some slack. Do not look at giving yourself time to just “Be” as a waste, but as a necessary renewal. I so much heard myself in you, as your spoke of not giving yourself that free time.
    I think what makes us a strong group of people is that we DO have to manage and reassess ourselves, which takes courage, a strength to look at the truth within us, accept our limitations, grieve for some losses where necessary, count our blessings, and as you and Matt so well put it……. just keep swimming. And I will at to that, “One Day At A Time”.
    Nancy L.

  • marilyn

    therese one thing i have learned about myself is that i can be my own worst enemy and we do need to take care of oueselves.its ok to step away from things that are going to drag you down we cant save the world so as your freind matt said just keep swimming but its ok to float once in awhile.stay strong and keep the faith marilyn

  • Larry Parker

    Just keep swimming … ain’t that the truth.
    Two questions, though:
    1. Don’t you think it’s not a coincidence that you hit this rough spot after the SEQUENCE of your running mentor’s death and your hip injury?
    2. Yes, in almost (but not quite — we must always remember medication and other medical self-care) a 12-step model, we with depression must always “work our program.” It is, as you said, deadly serious (literally), never just for fun.
    But doesn’t the metaphor of “problem-solving” mask the fact that the idea of “fixing ourselves” creates its own stigma — putting ourselves down as “bad” or at least hopelessly flawed people who never deserve what everyone else has?
    Not to mention the fact that sometimes (and I think this is my rough spot lately) we try so hard to “fix things” instead of letting inevitable bad news or circumstances wash over us that we make things worse?
    That polite questioning noted, Therese … please, from all of us, we pray for you … “Just keep swimming.”

  • Gypsy

    I must agree with Nancy and GIVE to yourself.
    I was diagnosed at 27, and was told that I inherited it from my mother; bi-polar which at that time was referred to manic depression.
    Two years ago I was reborn spiritually…and have kept control until Dec. 23rd which was my only grandson’s first birthday. It was hard on me as I am not allowed to see him as my youngest daughter married a man who has alienated her from the entire family. Not only that I have not had a Christmas with all my daughters since 1993. I handled it by putting a picture of my three daughters together and pictures of all my grandchildren under the tree.
    But this Christmas on that special day I went to breakfast with friends and came back to find my home was broken into. That black hole swallowed me instantly as all my writings were on the laptop they had taken. A special wooden jewlery box..was put into one of my pillowcases along with my serequel and valiums which are the only medication I have been on since two years ago.
    The police who did the report said it would be no trouble to get my medication refilled…but were they wrong.
    I go to a doctor a hundred miles away as I have known him since childhood and he knows EVERYTHING about me; but he was out of town.
    I only take valiums for panic attacks which had become rare…and the serequels for night terrors. For the first time in my life I bought alcohol and drank from morning until night until my doctor ordered the refills on Dec. 27th.
    I had planned a trip to Kentucky for my daughter to see her seven year old. My oldest and middle were not talking and it was a difficult trip as I invited my oldest along so she could see her neice for the first time in five years. They did get along well but as soon as we came back the talking quit. My daughters are all estranged because of their husbands, not themselves.
    While in Kentucky, my son-in-law took the car I was letting them buy…and had no payments for four months out with tags belonging to another car…and ran it out of gas. It was impounded and I was the only one who could get it out as the title was in my name…and there I was in Kentucky.
    When I got back I paid 280.00 to get it out and found that a car worth 6,000.00 was completely ruined by no oil and transmission fluid after spending 400.00 on it.
    I am on disability and SSI and recieve 340.00 a month. I needed that money from that car…and I hit bottom even more from my daughter knowing what they had done when I gave them the 1,200.00 back to them to buy another one. If I had known I would not have done that.
    Two days ago I met a spiritual healer on line and she called me and talked to me for an hour.
    I have been doing better…I have spent the last month in the corner of my bedroom on the computer and not talking or seeing anyone.
    Today, I moved my computer to the living room again and am getting motivated once again.
    Tommorow I have an appointment with a spiritualist healer that accepts medicaid.
    As for pyschitrist’s, two years ago I was on 4,000.00 of med’s a month. I was written a letter three years ago that I probably would never get better.
    Well, for the past three years I have worked on my disorder from a new aspect…the Shaman Indian Wisdom…which has done wonders for me.
    I would like to say that hang in there…believe in yourself…and find a way to reach within yourself to see the cause of the problem.
    I am now 49 and realize that times will happen but as you were told…keep swimming honey…you’ll make it…and keep prepared for those low I usually do, but there are things that happen that we are completely unprepared for…that is when you float…gathering strength for that swim.
    Let your spirit free &
    the “Spirit be Within,

  • Anonymous

    I hope that this video is seen by all of the BB visitors – and more. I have shown it to my wife who has lupus. She has ignored the symptoms of the illness and that allows it to hammer her when it flares. So, there are some physical elements of relapse to her illness just like what you’ve described – and she has been struggling with a hip problem too. When she lifts weights and runs she seems to be able to hold the illness at bay (hurrah!) so much so that we have joked that the flares stem from the ‘illness she doesn’t have’. The physician said the blood markers of the illness are absent therefore she doesn’t have lupus any longer. Well, I want to believe that and so does my bride – but, in truth, we know the monster lurks and will pull her under if she is careless. The parallels are really enormous. Thank you for this particular video – I think it gives us a sense of ‘right’ to the struggle – to keep swimming and smiling and trying. Which, by the way, is what we so diligently pray for – for you Therese. Take the time you need for you – when you need it – which may not be when you want it. I have a great memory of a man who told me how important it was for him to have down time. He said that down time was a lifesaver. And, I do believe he was right.
    Things have been more than a little crazy of late so I’ve been away and unable to comment or offer even a quick hello – but that does not mean that my friends here are forgotten. Each of you are in my prayers. Blessings…

  • Lynne

    You know even though my computors a mute, I can ususally gather enough feedback from the comments to have a good idea of what’s transpired. You have so many very insightful readers that I still gain a lot of wisdom from these posts. Larry has an excellent point in the very idea of “fixing” implies something’s messed up to begin with. It makes sense that it would feed an already guilty, anxious psyche. Perhaps it would be safer just to consider us all “works in progress” on a learning quest.We’re Explorers navigating inner space in search of inner peace. BTW It’s fine to even just tread water sometimes. When I was a child I used to spend hours in the pool just floating and looking up at the sky and pretending I was flying and looking down upon the sea. That was a place of peace for me. May you find that place too! (\o/)

  • Hondo

    just watched your video 3 times just thought of something i can remember when my children were small my wife and i use to take them to the comminity pool it’s a large pool if you would jump off the diving board you would have to swim to the ladder to get on firm ground or swim to the shallow end to get on firm ground I guess sometimes we get a cramp and need the lifeguard to come help us to firm ground so I guess we all just need to just keep swimming till we hit firm ground your video brought back fond memories for me keep up the good stuff I really enjoy your website and the feed back from all your readers Thank-you and GOD BLESS keep swimming I like that

  • Valerie

    Yes, Therese, please keep on swimming–figuratively and metaphorically, emotionally, and spiritually–you get the message. Just keep on “keeping on.” For YOU. Not for us but for you! And take the time you need for you. Take the downtime you need in whatever way you need it–even if that means taking a break from BB. You’re only as good to others as you are to yourself. Remember to put your oxygen mask on before you put on the kids’ oxygen mask–so to speak. (hopefully, you fly and know what that means)
    Take care. Love Valerie

  • Terrie

    SWIMMING!! One of those little lifesavers from God that keeps us “afloat” when we most need help. I realized while reading your comments, dear Therese, that many readers saw the metaphor re: swimming. But, those who swim know this: it is absolutely cathartic – being kept afloat, yoga-type breathing, total quiet, you can cry and nobody knows, plus a return to where we were first conceived. If I can’t swim, I take a shower, wash my face, anything to mimic the return to water.
    I have a friend with a ten-year old friend who is prone to massive, physically destructive, two-hour long temper tantrums. One of the New Year’s resolutions we came up with was the idea of getting into a shower or bath for 20 minutes when she feels this rage coming on. We’ll see . . .
    Do you notice a difference in mood btw. running and swimming? Whenever I start to sink (ewww – bad pun), my therapist always asks, “How long has it been since you’ve been in the water?”
    Love, Terrie
    P.S. I went to the beach a year after my husband left me. Diving under the waves, by moonlight, made me scream aloud with joy. My heart simply let go of the anger, fear and depression that had held me captive for so many months, and God baptized me with new life (again!).

  • sue

    You know how much I admire you..Our paths so similiar its comforting. I love your blogs, your videos, your truth and your strenght.
    Have you ever posted a video explaining to family what its like for “us” how to help not to help..and really just to give a glimpse into our mind…your realism and honesty and how to explain things can shed light on those that live with us.

  • ChatteringMind

    I love this video, Therese. The shift from running to swimming is an interesting one, maybe a metaphor for something, a kind of life change we all experience from time to time. I injured my knees on a long run through Washington D.C. around the time of my 33rd birthday. It was a particularly beautiful day, I was wearing old shoes and I ran seven miles instead of my usual three. Somehow, my knees never really recovered from that. I went to rehab and had physical therapy. I was told I would run again! But I never did. The shift to swimming was—arughh!–so depressing. I felt slow and thick in the water for a long time, but within the year a new peace kicked in and I found that swimming was more pleasing to my senses, more meditative, less frantic. You don’t get the huge high or the kick unless you really push yourself, but you settle into a nice, luxurious, gratifying peace. After my swim, I float on my back, look up at the ceiling and breathe! I feel so grateful. Hang in there. –Amy

  • Frank Hulse

    Beware the barrenness of a busy life. – Socrates
    That was in the BeliefNet quote this morning and it sure rang true. Sometimes the repetitive aspects of continuing to swim can be boring -but it’s also comforting somehow. I don’t want to become numb or zoned out but something about repetive motion seems to calm me a bit. I do the exercise bike regularly. I confess that I multi-task and may watch TV or talk on the phone while keeping my RPM’s as high as I can and still talk/think. But I also do a form of meditation while ‘riding’. And when I climb down after half an hour, I feel validated, like I’ve paid my dues or something. And even if other things haven’t gone right – that one thing sort of sustains an holds up the rest of the day. It’s great for my circulation even when I’m sort of blue and not doing much circulating otherwise.

  • Nancy

    Therese, I know how frustrating it can be to loose that endorphin kick of aerobic activity, in your case running, in my case the elliptical trainer. I had ankle fusion surgery over last winter on both ankles, one at a time. 6 months in leg casts—6 months with no aerobic activity. I gained 10 pounds, turned to vino too often and lived very close to the “black hole”. Once the ankles were fused, the spine gave out. I’m only 54 and I have the body of a 90 year old! But thank God, a friend gave me her recumbent bike which she said was collecting dust and it has been great! I am able to ride away with no pain in my back everyday. It’s so good for my head. I read while I peddle–enjoyment reading—which otherwise I tend to feel guilty for taking time to do. The time flies by so fast! It has become an activity I look forward to everyday!
    I like the way you called taking care of depression like it’s a business. It’s a tough business to be in, but the alternative is much worst. I’ve suffered from a very bad clinical depression for 5 years now, since my TBI, but thank God for friends, a great neuro-psychiatrist, and this website! Thank you for sharing good and bad times and your wisdom with all of us! When I feel I’m alone in this—I log on and there you are! God Bless You!

  • Dr. Jay Carter

    Hi Therese,
    Thank you for all that you do. My Mom had bipolar disorder and so does my daughter. My purpose in life, right now, is to get and give more of an understanding of bipolar disorder. I want to do it in a humanitarian way and with the humor that was so much a part of my mother. I loved your 12 days of Christmas. Bravo!!!If you get a chance, I know you would enjoy my film on, which is available for free. It was filmed in May this year at the Temple Theater in Saginaw for lay people. I was asked to use humor, song, dance, and music to explain BiPD. It is so good to know that you are a kindred soul out there.
    Dr. Jay

  • Pingback: Stuck In a Rut? Try These 9 Tips | World of Psychology

  • Pingback: 10 Things To Do If You’re Stuck in a Rut | Therese J. Borchard

Previous Posts

Seven Ways to Get Over an Infatuation
“Bewitched, bothered, and bewildered am I” wrote US songwriter Lorenz Hart about the feeling of infatuation. It’s blissful and euphoric, as we all know. But it’s also addicting, messy and blinding. Without careful monitoring, its wild ...

posted 12:46:43pm Feb. 19, 2014 | read full post »

When Faith Turns Neurotic
When does reciting scripture become a symptom of neurosis? Or praying the rosary an unhealthy compulsion? Not until I had the Book of Psalms practically memorized as a young girl did I learn that words and acts of faith can morph into desperate ...

posted 10:37:13am Jan. 14, 2014 | read full post »

How to Handle Negative People
One of my mom’s best pieces of advice: “Hang with the winners.” This holds true in support groups (stick with the people who have the most sobriety), in college (find the peeps with good study habits), and in your workplace (stay away from ...

posted 10:32:10am Jan. 14, 2014 | read full post »

8 Coping Strategies for the Holidays
For people prone to depression and anxiety – i.e. human beings – the holidays invite countless possibility to get sucked into negative and catastrophic thinking. You take the basic stressed-out individual and you increase her to-do list by a ...

posted 9:30:12am Nov. 21, 2013 | read full post »

Can I Say I’m a Son or Daughter of Christ and Suffer From Depression?
In 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, we read: “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” What if we aren’t glad, we aren’t capable of rejoicing, and even prayer ...

posted 10:56:04am Oct. 29, 2013 | read full post »


Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.