A New Hope
I spent some time yesterday with a new VA psychiatrist. My former doctor - a man who helped me through a LOT and who I had worked with since I first started going to the VA over a decade ago - retired. It was weird to be in the same building and not be seeing him. The new doc seems good, though. She is from Texas originally, so we had a nice conversation about growing up there.
And, of course, she was able to help me with the reason I was there - to add a new medication to help stabilize and improve my moods.
I am a big fan of better living through chemistry. In the words of the incomparable Glennon Doyle, "Jesus loves me, this I know, for he gave me Lexapro." Psychiatric medications are not the entire solution. But they are part of the solution. I have spent parts of the last 5 years not on any medication at all. And right now I am on several to help with anxiety, migraine and mood.
I am a big believer in therapy, prayer, meditation, mindfulness, self-care, and support from community and friends. And sometimes you need to be on medication to be able to fully access the benefits that those things can provide. I can't meditate if I am having a panic attack. And therapy won't be particularly effective if I am too depressed to show up for my appointment. Meds help make the other work possible.
In addition to my new meds, my psychiatrist also told me to stop watching / reading the news. This was a course of treatment already suggested by Barbara, who I guess should get an MD in addition to her PhD because she was right. The news does add to my general stress. And I will be consuming less of it. Or at least I will try. It can be hard to look away. Not being on Twitter any more helps - a lot actually.
And that brings me to the reason for today's message - the "new" plan for this newsletter.
Combat Snuggles started off as a daily update about the world and my place in it during the pandemic. Every day I would share a combat (something that was happening in the world that made me want to fight), a snuggle (something good that was happening), and some other stuff, including a part of an essay I was working on for that week. On Saturday, I would share the finished essay. I wrote like that Monday-Saturday every day for almost a year. Many of you remember because you have been here since the beginning. Which is just mindbogglingly amazing.
Moving forward, I am going to do something similar to how this newsletter looked in the beginning. There will still be the occasional essays - one every 2-3 weeks. These essays will be available to everyone regardless of subscription status. So if you are a free subscriber and like what you are getting, good news. Things will continue to look much the same.
In addition, starting this week, I will also be writing a weekly update. The update will have a combat, a snuggle, and lots of other good stuff. I will share recommendations for reading, writing, and listening. I will share a picture or two of family adventures (yes, this means cute Justin photos). I will give updates on things that are happening in my corner of the world.
This weekly update will be for paid subscribers only. It is a way of saying thank you to everyone who has supported me so generously, and who continue to do so.
The weekly update will come out on Fridays, and I will encourage those who read it to share something positive that is happening for them as well. So pay attention to the good things that are happening in your life. We all have them. And on Fridays I will be asking you to share them. And I will be sharing a lot of other things.
Be well y'all. Thank you for reading. With the changes coming, now would be a great time to subscribe if you aren't a current subscriber. Inflation is increasing, but the cost of a subscription hasn't. ;-)
If you are unsure about your subscriber status, just send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Have a wonderful week everyone.
Keep pounding the rock.
See you Friday.