I come in peace. I know many of you are worried about me because of my recent posts and the lack thereof. I'm fine. The beginning of the semester has been swamping me with work so I haven't wanted to spend valuable writing energy and time on blogging. Thank you for all of your kind thoughts. I just read them today. I had to boycott blogs altogether to make sure I didn't get sucked in as I'm wont to do. Thank you for your prayers as well. I could feel it. I've been carried the last few weeks and staying upright through things.
My last post was an expression of despair and frustration, for months and months I have been working to get better, to get back to being myself. I had another set-back and just crashed. But I seem to have contained the worst of it to the weekends. Which is a very good thing. Things have gotten better, just too slow for my tastes. Teaching seems to be ok this term. I'm slowly getting some confidence back. I'm teaching at a school way out in Long Island where the students are nice and polite which is a refreshing change. I still have two classes in the city but I'm trying everything people have advised me to do. My anxiety is much reduced.
OH! I forgot one of the most important things. I've been on Wellbutrin since 1996. Large amounts of it. It worked well the first year or two. Then not so much and they started me on the cocktail. But, in August the doc put me on Lithium because it has helped me in the past. It made me worse. After two weeks I felt like I did in June when I was afraid to leave the house and my cat was dying. Then I spent a weekend in Philly with some old and dear friends. I felt awful. My best friend got really worried. She said, "You aren't right. You aren't yourself." That's what I've been saying for months.
When I got home I ditched the Lithium. And then I had the idea to get off the Wellbutrin. It is possible that my body doesn't metabolize it the same way it did 9 years ago. Likely even. Maybe I got better, so the drug was just messing me up instead of helping. I looked up side effects online and some of the stories did sound familiar. So I began to reduce my dose, slowly. And I felt better some. I became more conversational and actually talked to people on the phone again. I've cut back to 300mg from 450. The first week of classes I started taking 225mg but had a really bad week--you read the results of that. So I have stayed on 300 mg, been waiting for things to settle down to reduce even more.
My anxiety has gone way down since then. Riding the bus and walking places doesn't fill me with panic anymore, so commuting is no longer torture. I did have a panic attack in Union Square last week which brought me to tears but that was isolated. I'm getting things done. I took my second and hopefully last comprehensive exam on Tuesday. I registered for one class, also hopefully my last. And, I negotiated getting another class in Long Island for the Spring.
It feels like the flood of emotions that has been drowning me for almost a year now has been welled up. When something bad happens, I don't fall apart. I'm able to hold on to my reason. Imagine yourself on the ocean in a life preserver. Through all of this I have felt like I was floating upside down with my head in the water--gasping and kicking for air, and occaisionally coming up for a breath. Now, it feels like I'm right-side up, trying to maintain my position above the swells. It's very different.
I still suspect there is something physically wrong with me. This depression doesn't originate with my thoughts. And everything I learned over the years to battle it doesn't work anymore. It feels different. It doesn't come from sadness, it feels like it comes from the outside in--like my body is half dead. I am 29 and that's the time when serious mental disorders tend to set in. I used to think I was free from that worry because mine hit me early on. But now I'm not sure. There is a long history of mental problems on both sides of my family.
Here is a list of things I have done to get better:
Faithfully take my meds and go to appts.
Began a Yoga routine (i've slacked on it recently)
Changed my eating habits to more healthy ones
Kept up with housecleaning and tried to keep up with other chores
Got out of a relationship I couldn't deal with
I've tried going back to church--it's even lonier when you don't speak the language though and I usually cry through sacrament meeting
I make myself go to the library at school to do work
I'm trying to keep up with my friends
Keeping regular sleeping and waking hours
Made showering a daily necessity
Leave my house on time to eliminate lateness anxiety
Tried to adopt a caretaker attitude towards myself
Planned a book editing project with a friend
and other things
I discovered this summer that the tedious little things are important. I was ashamed of my dirty apartment but didn't think it worth the bother to clean. I changed that attitude, realizing that accomplishing small tasks can give me confidence and reduce negative influences. I also walk at least an hour a day in my commute to classes. I plan to start swimming next week on the Long Island campus. I'm also looking to buy a cello when I get my student loan. I don't play my saxophone because it's too loud and I live in an apartment building. Music has always soothed my soul.
That's the status of things with me. I cried for an hour today but it was a good cry, and rare. I think it came from grief. And the weather is finally turning. The oppressive heat should be gone for the year! YAY! Now I'm off to buy some ice cream, and start my laundry while I watch the movie Videodrome.