19 Sep 99 – Diary
The last few days have been boring. I haven’t done or felt anything spectacular. So there is not too much to report. The Epilim seems to have kicked in and seems to be working.
However, any assumption that my life is fine now is just plain wrong. I feel as if I have spent the last two months expending all my energy struggling to stay afloat in the ocean with waves crashing around me.
The Epilim is like a life boat that I have found. I’ve been able to clamber in and lie at the bottom, gasping and thankful that it has been there and thankful for its protection. But now that I have rested a bit, I have sat up and looked around.
All I can see is the featureless ocean in all directions.
My real job now begins. I have to find land and build a life. In stabilising on the Epilim, I’ve only gotten thirty percent there. I still have most of the work to do.
I suppose that’s why I still feel as if I am depressed. But I don’t think I am really. I’ve using the term “shell shocked” and it probably is still a good terminology. Until I find a focus on what to do next I’m going to remain floating.
Of course I’m being lazy about doing anything, but I’m still nervous about how I feel (will I remain feeling stable?) and I am distinctly nervous about making any sweeping decisions about my life given the way I feel.
I suspect if I had a spouse, they would have become annoyed with my wishy-washy attitude. My parents are beginning to think I am being tiresome. I am happy C. is in England, so I don’t need to do much explaining.
I’ve been making lists of the things I can do, and the things I want to do. I have followed my feelings and that of others and aimed high. But at the same time, it is still difficult visualising myself doing these things. The wounds of the last decade have taken their toll and are manifesting as fears of competence and, well, just fears. I am having a great problem just starting.
One side effect is that I have partially slid back into my old routines at my old job. But this is dangerous. These routines are not helpful or safe for me. If I stay I will destabilise again in the near future.
So at the moment, I am caught between the comfortableness of my old life and the need to move on to a safer place. I haven’t figured out how to do it yet.
One big problem of switching to a safer lifestyle is that it is going to make me unpopular with my family, who will not be able to see my need for it. After all, isn’t going back to the the old days a good thing?
Sometimes I feel as if I not only have to battle with myself but with everybody around me to get what is good for me. Sometime I feel my family is supportive, but only if it supports their own interests as well. This confuses me. They don’t need to accept what I am doing, but actively hindering the things I need to do to survive seems so bizarre.
Of course some of my survival traits are pretty bizarre. I don’t own a television. I can’t. If I did, I would watch six to eight hours of television every night.
But some of the other survival traits are slowly coming back into being. I started going to the gym since Monday past. I have a personal trainer, who is able to keep me on track and who by his presence encourages me to push myself. It works – I lost two pounds this week. Only eighteen more pounds to go. That translates to ten more weeks of work at the gym. But it’s worth it!
I’ve done a peculiar trade off. I take less sessions with my therapist and use the extra cash to pay for my personal trainer. I figure that looking good will do a lot for the way I feel and therefore counts as therapy. But I don’t stint my sessions with my psychiatrist.
I’ve taken out my morning schedule to start back using it. But I haven’t stuck it back up on my wall yet. This has nothing to do with being depressed, this is just a triumph of true laziness.
I’m supposed to go to sleep early (by 11:00 pm) at nights. But I haven’t started doing that yet. Sometimes common sense tends to take a back seat to…stupidity. But this one is a real problem. If I do go to bed late I wake up disoriented and I can’t make plans for the day.
I’ve realised that how I deal with the first hour and a half after I get up will set the tone for the entire day. Somewhere in that time I have to sit down and plan the day. If I do not make plans in this time I will waste the day by frittering away the time. For some reason I seem unable to make plans once I start moving in the morning (I have an exceedingly difficult time changing my plans in the middle of the day too).
People know this and tend to leave me alone in the morning. However, it does limit some of the types of work I can do. For example, I can’t handle construction work as I have done in the past. The contractors are ready to start work at seven o’clock and I simply cannot make it out to meet them.
20 Sep 99 – Diary
Bad day today. But it didn’t really start today. It started four days ago on Friday, when my cousin and his wife had their first child. This all happened at 1:30 am, and by the time were were finished celebrating, it was three am on Saturday morning.
Bad move. Saturday I was disoriented because my morning pattern was shot to pieces and I was tired. Everything started getting out of control and by Saturday afternoon things were in a disarray.
I wasn’t depressed mind you. But I was still sufficiently fragile that little things had big effects.
Sunday was no better, and today I had a difficult time getting out to work. Mind you, I still wasn’t depressed. I was more disoriented.
The moral of the story. Just because I feel better doesn’t mean I am better. I’ve got to pretend to be convalescing and go through the motions before I tackle anything extreme. I expect that this settling back into routine is going to take a month or two.
This period of recuperation confuses me of course because I used to cycle straight into hypomania. I’ve never needed to recover before.
So. No more late nights in a hurry.
And finally. Normalcy is so boring!
21 Sep 99 – Diary
Went to my regular appointment with my psych today. Told her about my odd sensation of finding things difficult to do, but not feeling depressed.
She said that’s probably me being normal. She said that since I tended to be hypomanic when I was not depressed, I have never felt what it was like to be normal. She said it is probably going to take some effort to do the things I never had to make an effort to do before.
For the longest while, “normal” for me was being hypomanic. What most people would call depressed, I would call depressed. And what most people call normal, I had no idea what it was. Now that I do, “normal” feels almost like being depressed.
I ask myself why the heck do I want to be normal if it is going to be so much work. And trust me, it is work. Why do normal people put up with it?
The answer comes easily enough – an unending cycle of mania and depression.
Nevertheless, I don’t want being better to be work. I just want to be better. Life just ain’t fair.
But not taking the medication and going hypomanic is awfully seductive. No wonder the rates of non-compliance for taking medication are so high.