Hoping For A Trend

Score: +3.5

My moods have been pretty unstable lately, but I am trying not to let it cost me any more time at work. today, however, was a good step forward. I handled my responsibilities and had enough energy left over to be charismatic with Amanda’s family in the evening. We said goodbye to Kathy, who is headed back to Idaho perhaps for another two years or more. Life will return to its regularly scheduled programming. 

I had a good session with my therapist Margaret today. She thinks I am being very emotionally aware of myself (and my limitations) during my bouts with depression recently. I have been conscientious about not reacting to “flash in the pan” type sensations, and allowing myself time to rationalize them. I have lots of really absurd feelings right now, and they originate not from a place of thought, but are more of an involuntary brain spasm. I don’t let those types of things have the ability to command my actions. 

Margaret also gave me some anxiety-reducing strategy documents which are designed to help people in a crisis find their way to relief. Some of the exercises seem legit, and definitely worth a try. I’ve been having an anxiety attack ever couple of days after work and I could use a way to cope with the symptoms. I didn’t have one today, but I also felt much more in control of things. I know my battery had been filling to 40% or so overnight, but I would burn through the charge by about 10 am or so. Today when I woke up my battery was more like 90%, with nearly 35% left over at the end of the day, which was a great feeling. I feel alive again, rejuvenated. 

I’m going to be ok. 

Trudge

Score: +2

A dramatically better day than Monday. I endured my shift and didn’t have a breakdown. It was really hard though. 

So I feel more emotionally stable, if not marginally. My physical symptoms and low energy are still a concern. I have been spending a lot of time just soaking in the shower. Somehow the dancing water and soothing warmth pacify me. It distracts me from my emotions and other physical depression symptoms. 

Amanda’s sister is here, so unless I follow them around, I’m not going to see much of her this week. I have been feeling distant from Amanda, because a lot of the things that help us connect with each other have been put on hold since her depression got bad. We spend a lot of time being silent sitting near each other, but when we do engage it is still rewarding and positive. This state of things is not a shock to me: Amanda will not be able to access her happiness until her brain is back in balance. She can try to get in touch with it, but the good feelings that are normally there will be gone. It will be a cardboard cut-out; representing a shape without substance. So this is a difficult time for us both. She’s not going to be able to reflect love for a while, and I must accept that. 

I don’t think the Lithium has taken effect yet. I still feel imbalanced and unstable underneath the surface. 

Things at work are hectic. People there generally don’t engage me anymore, with a few exceptions. Then again, I’m not there to be anyone’s friend. That’s not what I am being paid to do. If the rest of them want to be best friends forever, more power to them. My standards for friendship are much higher than most. If I can’t engage you on any meaningful level, we won’t get far down the relationship path. 

We have started a competition at work where the number of calls we take will be kept track of and opportunities to win prizes given to people who achieve those marks. We earn tickets which will be entered into a raffle and gift cards will be distributed to the lucky winners. So the more times you meet a goal, the greater probability you might win. I have earned some already. More importantly, the spreadsheet that was sent out has everyone’s call volume on it, and some people are woefully behind the pace. 4 calls an hour is average, and I am over that mark. Most guys are in the low 3 range, with some barely managing to make 1 an hour. One call an hour? That’s just 8 calls a day! I took 41 calls today, just for comparison. 

So this is revealing because I get these slackers don’t like having their numbers published. Because they would rather give off the impression that they are making metrics when the truth says something else. I have nothing to fear from this competition, only opportunity to gain. 

So things are going to be busy. I go to therapy tomorrow. I’m looking forward to it. I need some guidance on how to handle my symptoms. 

Exposure Therapy

I guess being out while depressed is somewhat better than being trapped at home alone with my symptoms. When I’m by myself, I tend to spiral inward until surrounded by darkness. So I didn’t really want that to happen, leaving me with tonight’s social gathering to attend instead. Amanda’s sister Kathy is in town from Idaho until Thursday, and we have been spending every available minute with her. Dinner tonight was a much bigger ordeal than I expected, with 10 people on hand. I like these people, but feeling the way I was and having to mingle with them was hard. I didn’t say very much, but I wasn’t silent. I forced myself to engage, to laugh and seem excited. I smiled and played the part, even if my thoughts were an absolute mess. I did it. I did not cave in and seal myself up in the apartment and surrender my evening. I don’t want to lose more time to this illness if I don’t have to. There are going to be times where I will not be able to push through it the way I did tonight. This is an inevitable certainty of my disorder. But I did not abandon this evening. And now that I have arrived in my bed, I can drift away and start this thing over tomorrow with a new outlook (hopefully). The reset button will be pushed. 

Inward

Score: -3

I came home after struggling through the first hour of my shift. I felt like I was losing control of my emotions. I feigned an emergency excuse and came home. I am alone in the apartment crying, and spiraling down. 

I feel tremendously sad. I am detached from the things and people I love, and I feel isolated in my anguish. I tried to text Amanda but she’s not responding. Not that there is much to be done. I’m crushed. Low. I feel devistated somehow, and utterly disregarded. No one wants to be around me unless I’m healthy. 

I’m trying to scrape my way out of the hole, but it’s not really working. I can’t shake the sadness in my body. My emotions are jumping and sinking on a whim. Things are precarious. 

I’m just going to cry for a while, and maybe vent out some of this terrible energy in my body. 

Fret

Score: +2.5

I write to you in the midst of a bout with anxiety symptoms. I am alone tonight as Amanda has gone out to see her sister who is visiting town for the first time in a few years. I can’t go, because I am the on call tech tonight and must be near my work laptop in case I get another call. So I’m here in the apartment and I feel awful. My heart is tight in my chest, my thoughts are racing, my muscles feel crampy and agitated and my mood is deteriorating. I am having a lot of depression feelings welling up inside me right now; I feel like I’m crumbling. I had a good Skype chat with a friend and that did distract me for a bit. I got in the shower and just let the water run on me and tried some breathing exercises. I feel a little better, but I’m suffering still.

I’m not dwelling on anything in particular right now. My thoughts are really out of control, and moving too rapidly to really comprehend fully. In general, I’m feeling lots of negative things, though it is hard to tell what those things are exactly.

I think that I am just a little upset about being the on call tech this week. I have missed out on a lot of stuff. It doesn’t feel like the extra $250 was really worth it this time. I will be on call again in about 3 months, so hopefully I have better luck then.

I’m just struggling tonight blog. I really wish I had some pot so I could take the symptoms away, but I shouldn’t be dependent on it like that. It would be easier than suffering, however. I think that as time goes on I will feel better. The shower helped a bit.

But times like this are to be expected when you are mentally ill. This situation should come as no surprise to me, because I have felt this way before, and I will surely feel this way again. Symptom management is an every day part of coping with this disease, and it’s something I am always trying to be better at. Tonight is an excellent chance to ride the wave of anxiety until it meets the shore of sleep. Tomorrow the reset button will have been pushed, and we will start a new day at square one.

I hope your evening feels better than mine does right now. Goodnight.

What Is Done & What Remains Undone

Score: +3

It’s Saturday, and it’s really hot here in the desert southwest. I have been keeping busy with some mandatory responsibilities and sweating a lot. Blah.

All this incessant heat has me thinking about my life, now that I’m huddled in the shade trying not to move. If there’s one thing that I’ve managed to let go of, it’s my past. Since coming off the cannabis recently, I had expected to have a lot of nightmares about stuff that happened in my last relationship because the pot suppresses dreaming entirely (but then uncorks a torrent of dreams for days). Instead, I have had no nightmares, just odd dreams with little or no context and very random things happening. Nothing out of the ordinary. To be honest, I don’t have much trauma from my past relationship, except for that night I tried to kill myself. I don’t like holding on to bad feelings, and negative things because they are poison for the mind. In situations like a divorce, the memories and incidents should be abandoned (once processed for merit), because they are never going to be properly resolved or brought to any sort of closure. I could dwell, but there’s not much to be gained there. I don’t harbor any resentment for Jax anymore. I’ve let go of that part of my life, and fully moved on. Going back is useless.

So this weekend I’m the on call tech, and my phone has already rang twice. Amanda had her art in a TV show that was filed here in San Diego today and we are going back there to pick up her canvases which were used as decorations around the house. It’s going to be on A&E networks and FYI at some point in the the fall, on a show called “Tiny House Hunters.” It’s just another great opportunity for Amanda’s burgeoning art career. She is more than a month sober and deep into her treatment program. Things for her have been improving over these last few weeks. She has taken on the lion’s share of the housework and has started tackling projects around the apartment. I see her pride coming out, and she wants the place she lives in to be a reflection of how she feels, and as that feeling gets clearer and stronger, things will begin to take shape in her environment.

As for me, I’m recovering and doing well. I experienced a very low point back early in the week, but have struggled up and out of that pit. I am on a higher dose of lithium, but I doubt that would have had any effect by now. My symptoms are fading as time passes, which is a sign that I am not headed for a prolonged bout with bipolar depression.

I have such a good life right now. A life that I am happy with and that I can develop respect for myself in. I don’t disregard the errors of my past (of which there are many), but I don’t hold on to them like they were something precious that I desire to keep. I have learned something of quality from my negative experiences, in order to improve myself for the future. But I refuse to be upset, hurt, bitter or even resentful of things that happened to me, and because of me. What’s the point of all the bad energy? Does it help me feel good about myself? Do I gain some sort of satisfaction by being miserable? Do I yearn to be the victim of my own calamitous life? See how these questions all point to a destructive thought sequence with no possible positive outcome?

I’m all about improving. Life is constantly providing me with new things to learn about, and from. The things that we experience (with a proper interpretation) are there for us to build off of; we grow and change in a manner of our own choosing. We can, therefore, exist in the past, where nothing can be changed, or thrive in the future, where anything is possible. If life has any one lesson to be gleaned it’s that unpredictability reigns supreme. That’s what keeps me (at least) tuned in for the next new thing that will happen, whatever the outcome. There’s no judgement, only understanding.

 

Sop have a good night, and take the path that makes you feel alive, full and real. This world has so much to offer, if we can disconnect from regret and move on from pain.