Diary of a Network Geek

The trials and tribulations of a Certified Novell Engineer who's been stranded in Houston, Texas.

11/23/2018

How to Help a Loved One

Filed under: Deep Thoughts,Personal Care — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Dragon which is in the early morning or 8:10 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is a Full Moon

Especially, if they’re depressed or suffering from other mental illness.

The holidays can be an especially rough time of year. I know for many years, I would get a kind of seasonal depression that would come over me after Halloween and last until at least Christmas, and often until after St. Valentine’s Day. In my case, it was due to not being in a relationship, mostly, and having an unrealistic expectation about how my life should look. But, frankly, even for people who are otherwise happy, the holidays can be rough. I mean, they call it the “holiday blues” for a reason, right? So, what do you do if someone you know and love is suffering from season depression? Well, sometimes, listening is enough. Just being there and hearing them, without necessarily trying to fix it can actually be a big benefit. Also, if it seems like your loved one is having more than very short-term depression, it’s perfectly okay to suggest they need more help than you can provide. Unless you’re actually a mental health professional, you may not be all that qualified to actually help someone who’s seriously depressed. One of my favorite science-based websites, Quick and Dirty Tips has some suggestions for How to Help a Loved One Suffering from Mental Illness. It’s really good and, yes, someone with depression is, in fact, suffering from mental illness. It’s possible that it’s seasonal and may pass, but, you know your loved one, and if it looks like something more than that, the linked podcast is worth a listen.

Also, if it seems like your loved one is more than a little depressed and may be suicidal, talk to them about it. And, no, talking to someone about whether or not they’re contemplating suicide will not make them more suicidal. That’s a myth, and a deadly one at that. (For more discussion about some of the more dangerous myths about suicide, again, take a look at this article on Quick and Dirty Tips.) And, if you think they already have a plan, encourage them to call the Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255. You could actually be saving their life.

Hopefully, that’s not something you’re struggling with this holiday season, but if it is, please, get help. The holidays can be really rough and depression is nothing to try and ignore.

This post first appeared on Use Your Words!

4/27/2018

Interactive Self-Care

Filed under: Deep Thoughts,Fun — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is in the early morning or 7:00 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Gibbous

Or, my best advice has been reduced to a small web page.

Seriously, I cannot tell you how many of my friends have come to me with major issues that tend to include things like panic attacks, crippling self-doubt and related side-effects. It’s possible that’s the result of them knowing I’ve been through most of that myself, not to mention surviving cancer when I was single and thousands of miles from family. Really, that kind of thing can harden up your survival skills. Trust me on this one.
My blushing bride tells me that it’s because I’m somehow reassuring. Even strangers seem to think I exude some kind of gentle trustworthiness that makes it okay to tell me all kinds of things.
Regardless of why, I’ve talked more than my share of people out of tough emotional spots before. Off the metaphorical ledge, if you’ll allow me the melodramatic metaphor. My advice, though, is usually really simple; eat something good, drink some water, take a nap.
Well, now, when you can’t find your Uncle Jim to help you through a rough time, you can try You Feel Like Shit, an interactive website that can help you through dark times. You just answer a series of questions and the site helps you make some good, healthy self-care choices that, hopefully, will help you through whatever is going on. The creator, Amanda Miklik, would like to remind you that this really good site doesn’t replace the help of a mental health professional, and neither do I, so we’re on the same footing. And the site may actually be a little more helpful than I am.

Anyway, it’s not exactly a Friday “Fun” link, but it’ll do this week. So, enjoy your weekend, drink some water, eat something healthy and delicious and take a nap.

This post originally appeared on Use Your Words.

9/12/2011

Another Year’s Reprieve

Filed under: Advice from your Uncle Jim,Bavarian Death Cake of Love,Deep Thoughts,Life, the Universe, and Everything,News and Current Events,Personal — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Monkey which is in the late afternoon or 5:20 pm for you boring, normal people.
The moon is a Full Moon

I’m not going to die.

Well, at least, I’m not going to die of cancer.  Not this year, anyway.
Today, the oncologist told me my lymphoma is in full remission still.  In fact, the scar tissue has shrunk even more, from 14cm to 11cm, which I think is kind of amazing, but didn’t seem to illicit any special notice from the doctor.  Some people are just impossible to please, I guess!
He was a little worried because my blood pressure was high, but, then again, I’d just driven though rush-hour traffic to wait around for more than an hour for results on whether or not I was going to have to let them poison me for another six months.  All things considered, I think it’s pretty normal that I might have a slightly elevated BP!  But, I will keep an eye on it and make sure it normalizes again.
He did say, also, that I’ve made it to the point where less than 10% of the people have a likely recurrence of lymphoma.  And, according to his Physician’s Assistant, the five-year mark is where I can be officially considered “cured”, which is the first time anyone has actually told me that.  Everyone else keeps telling me that I’ll never really be “cured”, per se, but always in remission with a smaller, and smaller, and smaller chance of reoccurence every year.  So, today, I got a little more hope than I had before, which is actually pretty nice.

All in all, a pretty good result.  I’ll go back in another 10 months for another scan, which is not quite as long as I’d like, but, better than going again sooner because they found something to be concerned about.  At that time, they will start me on a course of annual visits for this scan, which I’m not incredibly happy about, but will do until a better option comes along.  And, based on what his PA told me, I think it will be something negotiable.  The doctor may not realize that, but, well, I suspect he’s not quite used to dealing with a patient like me.  My last doctor and I joked about the fact that I wouldn’t pay my bills until I knew she was going to do her job and save my life.  We agreed that it seemed only fair!  Of course, she did, in fact, save my life, so I did pay those bills.  That is, however, one concern I have for the long-term; paying those bills.  This gets to be a pretty expensive process and if I don’t really need to keep doing it every year, I may chose to opt for a slightly modified plan.
The doctor may not be excited by that, but I have ten months to sharpen my bargaining skills, while he’s completely in the dark about my plans.  It’ll be interesting to see how that turns out!

Until then, though, I continue to work on my general health and wellness.  I was pleasantly surprised to weigh in at a mere 216, fully clothed and laden down with my ridiculous “daily carry” of keys and flash drives and over-stuffed wallet and all the other pocket litter, as the spies call it, that I usually have on me.  As I mentioned, my blood pressure was a bit high, but I’ll work on that.  A little Zen meditation, and maybe some yoga, ought to bring that under control again.
Oh, don’t be so shocked by the yoga!  No, I haven’t started doing it yet, but several people have suggested it and I decided to start looking into it.  I’m getting older and starting to tighten up some.  My knees in particular seem to get stiffer faster than they did.  Besides, I hear yoga class is a great place to meet women who are physically fit!

I do still struggle a bit with depression.  Nothing too bad, but, well, it is something that cycles around on a semi-regular basis.  I figure the yoga and meditation would help with that, too.  Speaking about my psychological well-being…
My oncologist tells me I should get married.  I thought it might be better to start with dating, but I’m pretty sure I can work the “doctor’s orders” into a decent and semi-original opening line.  I think a bit of laughing in the face of death might help some, too.  I hear chicks dig that.  Of course, I also hear that magnets can cure joint pain and people pay huge money for the kind of rough treatment my poor colon got last week for “health reasons”.  Frankly, I find it hard to believe that a regular course of high colonics could possible be good for me, so I’ll take the things Men’s Health tells me about women with a grain of salt.  (Though, I have started to edit my Match.com profile again in preparation for stepping out in the wild world of dating again.  Seriously.  Lock up your daughters!  Seriously!)

So, yeah, after all my angst last week about the physical side-effects of chemotherapy, I’ve been spared that.  I even got better than expected news, frankly!  So, I admit, I do feel a bit foolish for getting so worked up about it.  I mean, I should have more faith than that, shouldn’t I?  Well, that’s something else I’m still working on.
Thankfully, it seems I have the time.

 


Advice from your Uncle Jim:
"Some cause happiness wherever they go; others whenever they go."

8/19/2009

Blog Confessor

Filed under: Advice from your Uncle Jim,Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,Deep Thoughts,Life, the Universe, and Everything,News and Current Events,Personal,Red Herrings — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Rat which is in the wee hours or 1:03 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Crescent

“Forgive me, blog, it’s been…  Well, a long time.”

Wow, my blogging has been really sketchy here the past couple of months.  There are reasons.  Lots and lots of reasons.  First, of course, would be my no-longer-pregnant-friend’s-wife being, uh, no longer pregnant.  Did I tell you they named the baby after me?  Well, his middle name is my first name.  And, he’s an angel.  Also, I heard yesterday, he was circumcised, which means statistically he’ll be more likely to recieve oral sex as an adult.  So, you know, he’s got that going for him.

But, I’ve had a few other things that have kept me from blogging as much, or being as personal, too.
For one thing, I’ve been depressed.  Not in the “holy-jeebus-I-can’t-stand-living-anymore” way, but a kind of low-level, unmotivated, anti-social, why-can’t-I-ever-get-enough-sleep sort of way that makes doing more than day-to-day living a little difficult.  Funny thing about that, though, is a couple of weeks ago I finally broke down and saw the therapist who got me through my divorce a couple years back.  Well, I suppose that’s not funny, but what he said was.  After talking to him for about 20 minutes, he suggested I go see my cardiologist about changing my high-blood-pressure medication.  After listening to some of the symptoms of my depression, like insomnia, mood-swings, irritibility, a general anti-social bent, terrible short-term memory, among others, and connecting that with new medication I started taking while I was getting chemotherapy, he related a tale of personal woe to me that had me covinced in no time that I needed to make a cardiologist appoinitment.  So, I have one Thursday afternoon.  It took more than two weeks to get in to see this guy, because he’s got that good a reputation.  Hopefully, that will bode well for changing my meds.  Can you imagine, though?  Two years of insomnia may have all been caused by side-effects of medication that I was ignoring.  Amazing.

Of course, some of my depression and what not is due to other things, but I think a lot of it is a side-effect of that insomnia.  The funny thing is, it all starts to reinforce itself.  So my messy house that I never have the energy to clean, makes me even more depressed and makes it harder for me to get the energy to clean.  All the projects that I want to start, including that other mystery blog, take more energy than I feel I have, which makes me more depressed and hard on myself, which, in turn, saps more energy away on useless recriminations and feelings of depression.  It’s a viscious circle.

But, I hope that will change soon.
Of course, staying up late to write this probably hasn’t helped, so now I’m off to bed.  Ciao!


Advice from your Uncle Jim:
"Shallow men believe in luck.... Strong men believe in cause and effect."
   --Emerson


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