Beep...Leave a message, I'll get back to you when I find my mind

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

As I look back on 2006, I must admit - I am not sad to see it go.

Next to 2001, it rates as my shittiest year as an adult.

There is something vaguely unsettling to returning to your senses after any kind of depression or other altering event. After being so very agitated for so very long, the relief I feel to have found ME again is profound.

This has not come without cost. My marriage has been hit hard by this last year. This has been one of those years where you gaze back upon it and think that if you could sustain a relationship through this, you should be able to manage anything. The Titanic sunk with less pressure than what has been on my marriage.

The fact that I got by my first term in school with my lowest grade being an A minus (which was mortifying to my perfectionist side), is a tribute to the quality of the work I was able to recycle from Grad school. Pure survival instinct.

The Block, which I saw as a writers block at first, extended into every part of my life. I stopped reading. I stopped quilting. No cross stitch. I even stopped playing my video games. Everything ground to a halt. Not a screeching halt. More like a rusted part, seizing up. I even stopped drinking. Clearly a sign of the apocolypto!

My life, the one I have cultivated carefully, methodically, was turned upside down. The more I struggled against the changes, the stronger the undertow became. Since it is my nature to fight, I could not let the tide take me down to push me up again. I exhausted myself fighting. My walls were breached.

I retreated. I left my post. Abandoned the ship. I, like Elvis, left the building.

When you come back, it is a sheepish feeling. Shy, embarrassed - not quite sure what to say or how to explain the whole thing. I often wonder what Emily will recall about me during these times. Will she have an awareness that I fiercely love her, while forgiving my absences from her emotional life? Does Terrance truly understand that there are things that I can't control entirely? Can't explain entirely?

And as with any illness, I have good days and not so good days. Yesterday was an all right day - today was not good. I am hopeful that tomorrow will be better, although I won't know until I get up and judge my body chemistry. Wellbutrin seems to have been one of my triggers, a little gateway to a manic episode. I am weaning myself off of them, half doses at a time. Of course, what this does to my rollercoaster of emotions? I don't know, exactly. But I know that the Wellbutrin is not good for my body, my brain.

Of course, the Ativan that I had to take last night to get to sleep tends to spiral me into a small depression. And of course, not sleeping sends me into a manic episode. Yee-Ha! It's the best of all worlds!

So, I try to be quiet - which is a state that KILLS me. My impulse is that when I feel better, I can pile up the work. Which my therapist has strongly advised me against. You know - when not depressed, I'm manic, so I work like crazy.

And so, I watch me. Like a spectator on the sidelines of me. I watch as I occasionally do less than positive things. I watch me try to figure out WHY that just happened - what end did that serve? I wade through the depression that follows the realization of the unexplainable manic state. I cry in the shower as I try to get my skin to wake up under the hot water.

And this is when I wonder - would a different medication help this? Would I trade the moving between the high and low for the calm of the middle? Will the middle come back with more time and no medication? Can I wait for that? And will it make me different? Not Dawn?

I don't know.

16 Baleful Regards:

ephelba said...

If you figure it out, fill me in. I read up on the drugs I know my Dr would prescribe for me and I begin to think there has to be a way to do this without drugs. Then I wonder how much I'm willing to put my family through whilst I figure it out. It would be so much easier if one didn't have to drag one's family through it too.

Lisa said...

Oh wow. I've been thinking of you and wondering how you are...

Gosh, I wish I had some answers for you.

You seem to be on a very powerful path... You know yourself, your body, your needs so much better than before. THank you for writing about your journey. (You should write a book, woman!)

V said...

I can't imagine a more scary choice to have to deal with. Calm and potentially not yourself or manic, but totally yourself. I don't think its a choice I could make myself. I'll be thinking of you.

mamatulip said...

I think you know yourself now, at the beginning of '07, better than you did at this time last year. I think the right choices, the right decisions will come to you, because although it may not feel like it at times, I think you are wickedly in tune with your whole self -- body, mind and soul.

I've thought of you a lot since you've made such major changes in your life. And I'm thinking of you now.

Hang in there...

AngelHawk said...

Thanks for sharing- also know that you are not alone- from trying to find the right prescriptive cocktail to keep the darkness at bay and to let you rest without making you a zombie...(sigh) keep your chin up and know that we are here for you - to listen to help youto feel that you aren't alone and to cheer you on- its a fight that we are all fighting- (HUGS)

Anonymous said...

Dawn, I am sorry that you have been struggling so much. I hope 2007 will be smoother sailing for you.

I am glad you are writing about this, though I am sure it must be hard. It seems like it is part of the answer to you healing, though... and you write with such honesty and grace, even about an impossible subject.

You know I am here if there is anything at all you need. I can even make a road trip to Montreal if need be. (We could catch some Habs hockey together -- skating and punching is good for the soul).

love to you.

Anonymous said...

Ugh. It's so trite, but one day at a time.

Always thinking about you, my friend.

Mitzi Green said...

o, that we could plod dumbly through life without thinking too hard about much of anything other than "is it time for my arby's beef'n'cheddar?"

we think too much.

Fraulein N said...

I know whereof you speak. Take care of yourself.

E. said...

Hard stuff. I hope it gets better for you soon, that things seem lighter. I admire your ability to write about this with such candor and eloquence.

Mommy on the Loose said...

Being self aware is a huge part of the battle. The medication thing is freaky- I liken it to trying to find a light switch in a pitch black room that you are unfamiliar with. Hopefully, you'll know when you hit the thing that works, but until then you have to just kinda grope around and hope you don't grab onto anything too ookey.

Anonymous said...

Don't I ever wish I could just tell you what the right answer is and save you all the angst and trouble this has caused you. I do know that every step you have to take to get through this is a step closer to the answer you will find that works for you and your family.

You are constantly in my thoughts.

P.S. I just got back in the mail the Christmas card I sent to you. I think I wrote the address wrong and I didn't keep the email you sent. I didn't want you to think I forgot about you. I'm sorry it didn't work as planned. I'm thinking of you.

Anonymous said...

Found you through true wife confessions and thought I'd say hi. And yes, you're right, depression sucks the big one. Take care

Anonymous said...

Oh sweetie, I hope this year is better for you. I feel bad that I suggested Wellbutrin to you, I had no idea that it could trigger a manic episode. Hopefully you'll find something else soon. I'm always here if you want to chat. Love to you!

Anonymous said...

Finding the right balance of medication is the hardest thing. People think once a diagnosis is made things will automatically get better, but they don't always. Give it time and just keep paying attention. I know it's exhausting, but you are doing what so many people never do.

Anonymous said...

Dawn, I'm always thinking of you. I hope 2007 is a better year.

And good God - your lowest grade was an A minus? You scholar, you.

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