Month 2 Health Update: Lessons and setbacks

Woman sitting silhouetted looking at the sunset and facing a barbed wire fence
It's an uphill battle, but at least I'm heading in the right direction. Photo by Takeshi Charly

I was on a good track, but we've run into some issues.

Sorry it's been a while. I'm not very good at keeping to a schedule these days. I had planned to do, well, a whole lot more of everything right now. But I'm still in pretty much the same place I was a month ago, productivity-wise.

Health and stress-wise, things are a bit...rocky. This will be a shorter update as I do want to get back on track with timing by posting a longer update in a few weeks.

Let's dive in.

Mental health update summary

In my last update, we had your classic "relief at getting help in a crisis" post. I was on an upswing, we had some lovely weather, and I even travelled twice (once out of the country).

But when I returned from the UK in early April, things began to unravel. My first extended vacation on PTO resulted in my shortest international trip to date and I struggled to stay on routine with the massive schedule and time zone changes.

I forgot to take meds, slept fitfully, and ate at different times than I'm used to. I also left zero recovery period before returning to work (lesson learned there). When I got back, I struggled again with gloomy weather, a comparatively dark and small apartment, and some big changes at work.

As I tried to pick up the pieces again and recover from being so off-kilter, I found myself struggling to sleep even with medication and dipping back into severe depression. I even began self-harming again.

After talking through the issues with both my therapist and psychiatrist, we upped my dosages and I considered some serious life changes.

The biggest one I had to face was setting some hard boundaries in my relationship. I learned that I'd let some bad habits form that directly contributed to my anxiety; things like waiting on my chronically late husband until I had a panic attack and taking on the mental load in our relationship.

It had just never occurred to me that I was enabling and allowing these habits to continue. Obviously my husband shares the blame, but part of my stress had come from blaming him and feeling helpless to change anything.

So I'm working on re-examining a lot of my choices and taking responsibility for what I can. Of course, this is a two-way street, so we plan to both work on ourselves in therapy and move forward together.

Reflecting on relationships

It's fascinating to me how the people and situations we surround ourselves with can alter the course of our lives so drastically.

I never dreamed I would be actively working to prevent myself from self-harming due to relationship stress. Of course, that's no one's fault.

You can love someone deeply but also recognize unhealthy patterns and dynamics. You can be committed and also need to re-discover yourself. You can be married and need physical space.

I don't have a lot of answers yet and I know it will be a long, hard road to unpick all these threads. And I won't lie, I've done a lot of grieving in the past month, wondering if my marriage would last. We've been through so much, but could this be our breaking point?

To give myself some hope and leave this on a happy note, I'll end with a new goal I have: Next spring around Easter, I want to be alive, healthy, and standing with my husband on our favourite Scottish beach to renew our wedding vows.

I might even have already bought the dress.

Catch you again in a few weeks. Cheers!