Group therapy…Makes me think

I had group therapy last night.  It’s a women’s group and very interesting.  We have members that cover the entire spectrum, so we get lots of different viewpoints.  The exercise last night was interesting.  We rated our satisfaction with a long list of concepts/feelings/activities in our lives.  Not unusual I know.  After that, though, we had to make a note whether we think our mental health plays a roll in our satisfaction/dissatisfaction with that item.

While I was doing this, I realized how much my mental health both does and does not influence the things I do.  I want to start exercising more, so I am dissatisfied with my current level of exercise.  That’s easy, right?  So…is it influenced by my mental health.  I sit there and think, “Why don’t I just go out and exercise?”

1. Physical difficulties/pain.

2. Where to go?

3. Lack of desire/ability to leave the house.

4. Cost.

Which of those reasons is/are affected by my mental health?  For number 1, I’ll say it’s negligible.  I know mental health can influence your physical health, but I have actual diagnoses (arthritis, spinal stenosis, etc.).  So we’ll say no there.  Numbers 2 & 4 actually go together.  If I want to exercise through the pain, I generally need to start out swimming.  Most places with an indoor pool are not cheap to go to.  Yes, I can walk.  My new location and the weather conditions do not help.  Number 3 is definitely where my mental health would come in.  I am an introvert, though.  So how much of not wanting to go out is natural and how much would be considered a factor of my mental health?  I think part of the issue is my social anxiety (doing fairly well, actually) combines with my introversion and I don’t want to leave the house.  I was doing better about at least getting out of the apartment when I first arrived, but I spend money when I am out of the apartment, so that ended pretty quickly.  So mental health is a factor here, but not the only factor.  It’s probably not even the main factor.

So there’s a whole list of things I went through.  Some things I want to change are completely influenced by my mental health (PTSD and my history of trauma) and some (of course I cannot think of any specific item right now) are almost completely not influenced.   [Apologies for the awkward phrasing.]  I like the idea of a list like this because it makes me think about exactly what is being influenced by my mental health.  Working around and through these things will be easier with that knowledge.  Additionally, discussing this with my psych and my therapist is important.  Not only to help myself get better in these areas but to make sure issues I have at work are covered by my FMLA paperwork.

There’s also the idea that has been in my head for a few years now.  I think an emotional support animal would be ideal for me.  It would need to be a dog for a couple reasons.  First of all, I hate cat boxes.  Secondly, dogs need to go outside, whereas cats stay indoors.  As one of the things I need to improve is getting exercise and getting out of the apartment, a cat would be counterproductive in my mind.  My current complex doesn’t allow dogs, although they would have to by law as long as I had certification from a doctor.  The only thing I worry about would be a restriction on size due to the apartment size.  All but one of the small dogs I have ever spent a lot of time around tend to bark.  I prefer medium to large dogs, anyway.  I would actually love a Great Dane cross if I could find one.  Purebreds have so many genetic issues that they scare me a bit.

So now I have two goals.

1.  Determine where my mental health is currently affecting my life in a negative manner.

A.  Is it my history (PTSD/social anxiety)?

B.  Is it my bipolar/anxiety?

C.  Is the impact great enough to look at my medication for assistance?

2.  Make a decision about the ESA.

A.  Discuss it with my psych and my therapist.

B.  Decide whether staying in my current complex will work or if I will need to move when my lease is up in October.

C.  Begin preparing to have a pet by making cleaning a part of my regular routine (not that I have much of one).

FYI:  The picture is of Alcatraz.  Because sometimes, I feel imprisoned by my mental health issues.  It’s time to break out.

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~ by theartistryofthebipolarbrain on February 6, 2015.

One Response to “Group therapy…Makes me think”

  1. Proud of you for making a plan to take positive steps!

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