Today is my 27th day of getting punched in the noggin with Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation which means I have only 9 days of treatment left until I’m completely cured!
About being cured, I mean. There’s no permanent cure for mental illness yet but I have hopes because this shit seems like it’s sort of working. I still have dark days and fatigue and brain fog and all that jazz but I also have bright days…lots of them. More than I’ve had in longer than I can remember. And I have enough energy to go to treatment every single day and at this point that is sort of amazing.
My last visit with my shrinks went well (I’m seeing one at the psych unit and my old one as well) and one of them told me that when you finally get into remission from depression you are 350% more likely to stay in remission if you exercise 30 minutes a day for 6 times a week. Spellcheck tried to correct “exercise” to “excessive” and I agree, spellcheck, but I’m trying it anyway. I’m also sleeping better (which is the first response from TMS for most patients) and that helps with feeling better and that means I have more energy to exercise and suddenly I’m almost a healthy person if you don’t look at all the bacon and vodka I’m consuming.
Overall it’s good and I’m relieved and scared that it will stop working but there’s another issue I hadn’t counted on, and that’s guilt. A little is guilt for not doing it sooner (although if I had done it when it was first recommended they wouldn’t have treated both sides of my brain so it worked out well that I waited) but mainly it’s guilt over using my time for such self-indulgent things. Rationally I know I shouldn’t feel this way but it doesn’t change the fact that I feel like I’m being selfish. It adds up…the hour I spent driving to TMS, the hour I spend in the chair having magnets punch me, the half hour I walk or swim, the hours I sleep instead of work or worry. It feels like cheating. That’s wrong. I know it’s wrong. But knowing and feeling are different things. I know that time given to yourself to make yourself healthier is good for you and for everyone around you. I know that it takes time and effort for some of us to stay sane. I know that I’m worth the work and that I should feel grateful that I can take care of myself without feeling guilty. So the next step is moving from knowing to feeling.
I don’t think I’m alone in this. I think so many of us struggle with the thought that it’s okay to take care of ourselves, and it’s strange that it’s a struggle to treat ourselves as kindly as we treat the dog. The dog needs walks, and healthy choices and water and play and sleep and naps and bacon and more naps. And love.
I need that too. And so do you.
It’s not just a gift we give to ourselves…it’s a duty.
I’ll remind you if you remind me.