Hanging in there …

I will apologise in advance for the tone of this post (if I post it …) but I need to write this stuff down. When I first began this blog, it was intended to act as a form of writing therapy. Even though it has developed into something a little more arty, I still need it to be helpful to me in times of difficulty, and today is one of those times.

Today has been a very dark day for me, and probably the first time I’ve considered “turning off the lights” since early February, when I last begged the earth to just swallow me up.

I haven’t been on any medication at all for a month now. I weaned myself off a high dosage of anti-depressants in anticipation of finally being prescribed something that would address what appears to be a more accurate diagnosis. But the “experts” have decided that I should be completely medicine-free for the next three months in order to accurately record my daily mood activity.

Well, for the record, the mood has been swinging more than Michael Buble, and I am getting dizzy.  I felt quite down for a while last week, but not terribly morose. The daily walks in the woods and the photography were helpful to keep my mind in a reasonably peaceful mode. Then, the upswing began earlier this week. Unfortunately, so did the flu. I’ve never encountered that situation before – one in which my brain is buzzing in overdrive, my mind is racing, my thoughts are fleeting, but my body is so full of cold, I can’t physically respond. Horrible, surreal situation … my physical, flu-ridden self needed rest, but my hypomaniacal mind wouldn’t allow it. Both aspects of me fighting each other tooth and nail, and, in the middle of it all I still had to function adequately enough to get my son off to school and do all the other maternal duties after he returned home.

And if that wasn’t crazy enough, my mood has now swung completely the other way. Not only am I full of germs, chest on fire, with a painful cough reminiscent of a 50-fag-a-day smoker – but I am really down. I cry a lot, I want to sleep a lot, and I want to crawl into a space and hide. Many people talk about how the flu “wipes them out” and they have to stay in bed all day and rest. Others talk about how Depression “wipes them out” and they have to stay in bed all day and block out the world.

Today, I have both.

And I’m not allowed to rest, because I have a child, and single mothers don’t get to rest.

So, tonight, while my son sleeps, I write – because writing is supposed to be therapy. I don’t write this to request sympathy, nor to inflict my problems on anyone or ask for advice. I write because writing, for me, places distance between that which is in my head and what is in my heart. I can’t allow what is in my head at this moment to infiltrate my heart – because once it wins that battle, there will be nothing left.

Writing down the nonsense that fills my brain right now takes it out of my head, disperses it onto the page, and dissipates it away where it can’t hurt anyone anymore. There are only two ways I can think of right now to make the noise go away … and writing is one of them. The thing about this illness is that this feeling will not last long … and within a few days, I’ll probably be singing to the furniture again. So despite how paralysing the lows can be – and this one is pretty crippling – I must remember that this will pass, and peace will return again soon.

© Alice through the Macro Lens [2012]

Categories: Alice's world, Cyclothymia | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 19 Comments

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19 thoughts on “Hanging in there …

  1. FWIW, I love your photo here!

  2. DeeDee

    Three months med free? That seems almost cruel. I hope it goes better than it’s been. Sometimes rebound symptoms are pretty fierce.

    Fabulous photo as well.

    • Thanks for the compliment about the photo.
      I see the logic in the med-free wait, I guess. He needs to distinguish whether my symptoms were influenced by the high doses of Prozac. But they don’t appreciate that some of us still have to get on with life (work and kids) in the meantime.

      I hope it gets better than it’s been too.

      • DeeDee

        I can see the logic too – might be worth asking if there’s a cut-off point earlier than 3 months that could be considered adequately conclusive.

        I had med-induced psychosis from Prozac, but it doesn’t take that long to get out of the system, I don’t think. Still, the extra time might be to allow adequate time for symptoms to emerge.

        I agree, having to get on with life is seriously undervalued by providers. I had one switch up my ADD meds right as I was trying to finish up my dissertation, which totally screwed me up and made me very ill, not to mention undermining my progress. It was all I could do to wrap up the work on time.

        Then again, there’s never a good time to have things disrupted by med changes, is there?

  3. Thank you for sharing your photos, thoughts, and feelings. I’m sorry you are feeling so lousy, both physically and mentally, right now. I hope you are feeling much better soon.

    The picture is beautifully ethereal.

  4. Your title is apt – HANG IN THERE! Today is tough, but the sun will rise again tomorrow and your little one will smile and perhaps you will begin to feel a little better. Wishing you well, dear.

  5. The photo is beautiful. Your words are honest and I think most would say they wish they could do something to help. Courageous to open up like you do.
    Hang in there. Wishing you well.

    • Thank you.
      It’s quite a surreal experience to present self to a world of strangers – but this blogging community is so encouraging and warm.
      It really is quite comforting.

  6. I almost didn’t want to click “like” because I’m sorry to hear you’re going through such a difficult time. The title of the post is spot-on, however, and I hope you keep taking deep breaths and telling yourself to ‘hang in there’! I commend you for being so transparent about things that are not always easy to open up about and hope that it brought you some peace to write it out. It seems there are several supportive people here cheering you on, so please feel free to share whenever you need to! 🙂 Best wishes & lovely photo, btw! 🙂

  7. I’m the same with other bloggers write about their struggles.
    “Like” seems the wrong word to use – but I think we all know that it’s just a show of support.

    Thanks for your kind comments.

  8. Life’s a bitch at the best of times without being ill as well! .. you get my empathy, girl.. I’ve been down the depressive route and got to the end of that road and into the light..
    I wish you strength to get to the light to..
    If you ever have thoughts that your son would be better off without you ( I’ve been there to ) he wouldn’t…and I know that helps to keep you going..

    • Yes, it certainly is!
      Thanks for the sending of strength though. The backhanded compliment of bipolar is that everything that goes down will come up eventually, so it’s often a case of just riding the storm.
      As for my son – he’s stuck with me, I’m afraid 🙂

  9. You hang in there! “Turning off the lights is not the answer and only causes pain to those left behind. Instead, turn off the switch for the night, sleep well and wait to see what new wonderful things await you the next day. You are too talented to let it go unused/ Just the mere fact that you get out and find the awesome bugs you do and take the time to photo and post makes for a good day in my book. I am certain there are those in your life who need you and whom you need also. Best of luck. Have gone through dark times on my end also. Feel for you, but don’t give up. .

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