Another week trying to just get on while coping with the depression and anxiety, so not much has been happening. I’ve had a couple of days in a row now where I can eat without having to immediately dash off to the loo, so that’s a big win… but I’m still not able to eat very much.
I saw my helpful psychologist on Thursday and had two anxiety attacks (complete with ‘oh no, here come the tummy wobbles’) while I was in here office – which was actually incredibly useful, because we were able to work on tools to cope with them right there and then. Labeling what was going on so the mind gets back in control instead of panicky emotions running riot helps; remembering to breathe (sounds simple but the first thing I tend to do when I panic is hold my breath!); and reminding myself that this isn’t going to last forever – all these are useful things when I’m feeling really rotten and anxious. I’ve been feeling a lot better since practicing those things.
The weather has been nice but today has turned cooler. Connie took me for a walk in Queen’s Park the other day to see some of the flowers planted for the Carnival of Flowers but she wasn’t stopping to let me photograph them!
(Photos taken on the run with my phone as Connie CHARGED around the park!)
I’ve managed to pick up a sore throat and a bit of a snuffle. So I’m off to have some hot water with lemon and ginger. Uni starts again this week, but we haven’t heard back yet about our marks for the 2000 word story – we should know by the middle of the week, the lecturer says. Then it’s a race to the finish when all work has to be handed in by October 26. I think I’m as up-to-date as I can be with the other work for the subject, and I’m not going to stress myself out about it, not when I’m already trying to recover from this bout of anxiety and depression! I am better than I was even this time last week, though.
Because apparently, I don’t get to have one without lashings of the other. Like sandwiches and ginger beer in an Enid Blyton Famous Five novel, they just go together. Only without the fun of a picnic.
So. I really haven’t done much this week, of anything. No uni work. No housework. I’ve barely moved. I managed to get to my appointment with the dentist – the tooth I was worried might have been cracked turned out to be ok, it’s just that the medication I had been taking (but am now off) for the mania caused the gum to recede a bit, so the tooth has become extra sensitive. Add in some sinus pain with the couple of storms we’ve had, and that explains why I thought something had gone very wrong. She did an x-ray (another one!) to check there wasn’t an abscess lurking, treated the tooth with some concentrated fluoride (which tasted oddly of tropical fruit – maybe passionfruit and rockmelon?) and sent me on my way. It was worth the $60 out-of- pocket for the reassurance.
I also saw my lovely mental health nurse. I’ve been having trouble eating, and this was making me anxious. Turns out that this is normal for people who are depressed – who knew? This is all uncharted territory for me, this depression after mania – it’s been such a long time since I’ve had a manic event to cope with. I’ve had to really be kind to myself about food, and not worry when I can’t eat very much, but still make myself eat SOMETHING – even if I can’t manage to eat an entire serving of rice porridge and have to waste some.
Mr Beloved has also been dealing with depression. The lovely mental health nurse reassured me that this, too, is normal: when two people who are prone to depression live together they often get depressed at the same time. Even the Very Helpful Psychiatrist said that she gets extra busy around the equinox.
But we’re getting better, I think. Slowly. Mostly by being very kind to ourselves and not expecting too much. There’s no point beating yourself up when you simply can’t manage to do much. The floor will still be there to be vacuumed tomorrow, after all.
Oh, and I had to see my GP yesterday to get a letter excusing me from jury duty – I got called up again – the fourth time in the last 12 months or so. If I was only so lucky in the lotto I’d bother buying tickets!
I’m hoping that this week I’ll be well enough to do some uni work and some housework. And there’s the Helpful Psychologist to see. And Connie goes to the groomer, which is a good thing – she’ll be very glad to lose her long winter coat.
The Carnival of Flowers is on so I might even take a wander down to one of the parks for some photos later in the week if I’m feeling better. Tonight, though, they’ll have fireworks which scare Connie. Ah well, it won’t last for long.
And I’ll watch Dr Who. And tomorrow night we’ll watch the next episode of ‘Call the Midwife’ – isn’t that a brilliant show?
Saturday. Recovery day. Friday is my big day at uni, where I go to my creative writing class and my mind gets completely overwhelmed and – ugh. I just get wiped out. It’s wonderful class and I’m excited to be doing it, I’m learning heaps, but it’s so much at once.
It starts with getting up earlier than usual so that I can get to uni in good time. Apart from the couple of weeks when I couldn’t drive because of the shakes (going away now that I’m just about weaned off the Saphrïs, thank goodness) I drive myself out there, and I’m not really used to morning traffic – even Toowoomba style ‘rush hour’ is a little bit anxiety-making for me, since I’m just not used to stop-start driving (and especially at the moment when the depression/ anxiety is kicking in, I get worried – oh, rapid cycling bipolar, how I love it – NOT!).
Once I’m at uni I have time to have a half strength skinny latte before class. This gives me time to settle down, open up a new document on my computer, and generally get myself set up before the 9 o’clock start.
Then the lecturer arrives and it’s BAM, full on,until he calls a break at about ten thirty. He brings so much energy to the room, deliberately making the room a safe place to ask questions, but keeping the pace fast and fun so that we are learning HEAPS about the writing process and whichever topic we’re up to this week. I take lots of notes on my computer and listen hard. We get a quick loo break and then steam on again, usually with group work or exercises, full pace until we finish at twelve, by which time I am wrung out – my brain is full.
Yesterday I knew was going to be stressful because we were warned the week before to bring hard copies of our 2000 word stories, to share in groups. We did a process called ‘creative development’ where you read your story to a small group, who provide critique, but you’ve asked for some direction beforehand – in my case, I’m still not sure that the end of my story is working, so I wanted some feedback on that. The idea is that the group expands your thinking, they might throw in some ideas that you wouldn’t have come up with on your own.
And if I had been more confident yesterday I think I would have enjoyed it more. As it was, I don’t think I have EVER been more nervous reading something in my entire life. My hands were shaking, my knees were knocking, my voice was tremulous, my nose was running, my eyes watered. I was a mess and instead of it getting easier the further I read, the more difficult it became. ARRRRGH! The other five students in the group noticed but were kind, and had useful comments to make about the story. At the end of the session when the lecturer came around and asked for comments I said that it had been exceptionally nerve-wracking because it wasn’t just reading something to ‘people’, it was reading work to other WRITERS.
After we finish our group work, the lecturer usually has some sort of video thing to wind down, tries to leave us with something funny, something that reinforces the points that he’s spent the lecture making. The whole structure of the three hours is really carefully thought out so the class gets the best use of the time, but it is full on and really tiring for me. I love it – I have never enjoyed a class so much, and it’s very different from the stressful time I had last semester – but it’s exhausting.
After class I usually go to lunch with some friends from the class. We kept talking about how cool the things we’d done in class were, and one of the girls who hadn’t felt able to read her story during class time was able to share it around the lunch table once we’d all eaten, which was amazing – so we had our own Creative Development session for her there. She was just about as nervous as I had been, which was oddly reassuring for me – I didn’t feel like such an idiot for being apprehensive. And I felt like I was able to give her some useful feedback.
Then off to my small scrapbooking group – not because I was going to work on anything (although I do have a small project to start on, a birthday card for my brother) but because I owed them a visit and they are dear friends, and I wanted to see them. I called to check it was still okay to come, since by now it was after two o’clock, and the hostess said ‘please come.’ Only problem was I missed the turn, got lost, and spent another fifteen minutes trying to find my way back to where I should have been – I don’t know that side of town – arrgh! A cup of tea and a chat, a sit down for about an hour, and then back home in the almost-rush traffic again and I had to put myself to bed.
I was quite shaky and anxious. I know part of this is the depression, I know normally I can manage this level of driving, but just at that moment I needed to lie down under the quilts and be warm and not do very much. And it was my Dad’s birthday yesterday – HAPPY BIRTHDAY DAD! So I gave him a quick call before I fell into bed. I did manage to call the dentist and get an appointment about a sore tooth, so that was at least one more thing taken care of, but – phew, I had had enough of Friday.
Meanwhile, Mr B had had a very productive day – he’d used the pots and potting mix we’d bought on Thursday and split up some of his carnivorous plants; he’d re-potted some succulents that were well overdue; planted out some nigellas that needed to be moved from pots into the ground, and sundry other garden jobs. I’m going to steal some off his photos from his blog, since he took some marvellous pics.
So that’s about it. We have a two week semester break now, but I have homework – editing the 2000 word story – and by editing, the assignment is really re-writing the whole thing again to try and make it better. I think I’m going to try it in first person instead of third person, that sort of thing. And I’m meeting with two of the girls from class on Tuesday to see how we’re all going with that.
Oh, and I mustn’t forget – tomorrow a group of us are going to see the lecturer’s latest play performed at the local theatre – we all decided to go to the Sunday matinee. Looking forward to that.
Mr B has spent most of today being able to write (not an everyday occurrence, which is why it’s worthy of mention – he is writing through the pain, and good on him. I hope he won’t pay for it too much later.)
I’d had a bad pain night anyway, waking up at least 4 times to go to the loo, get a drink of water, generally stretch, and once take another painkiller to get me through the night. My teary day started when the neighbours decided to share their stereo DOOMF DOOMF DOOMF at about 11 am this morning. I called the police line number to report the excessive noise and request police attendance – there’s not a lot else you can do when your walls are rattling. Again.
Except – and this is where I find it so frustrating – after nearly an hour of the noise, it stopped, and we had to call the police back and cancel the job. I have mentioned how embarrassing I find this before – I don’t want to feel like we’re wasting police resources, but at the same time, we have no other way of dealing with this persistently loud noise. The police line operators are generally understanding, especially when you’re reporting intermittent stereo noise, but I feel horrible having to phone up repeatedly. Up-down-up- down-up-down, across that hacksaw blade.
So… I retired downstairs to try and do some writing for uni, but it’s just not coming today. I can’t concentrate on the words in my textbook, let alone try and write some new parts for my story. Time to do the next best thing – if I can’t do uni work, then it must be time to tackle (dah dah DUMMMMM….) HOUSEWORK.
The dog needs a b-a-t-h (we have to spell out the word, if you say it she will run to her crate and refuse to come out) but my shoulders are already sore from too much computer time, so I’ll put that one off until tomorrow. I decide instead to vacuum the kitchen and bathroom floor and give them a much needed, if quick and somewhat dodgy wash. The dog helps by being mock terrified of the vacuum cleaner. We go through this every single time the vacuum cleaner is brought out, with much greater degrees of pathetic-ness if Daddy is around to witness just how much the poor wee puppy is frightened by evil Mr Dyson’s terrible machine.
Next the dog walks over the floor as I’m washing it, ensuring that no part is without her signature paw prints, drying into a tasteful pattern crisscrossing the kitchen and bathroom.
That done, back aching in a different way, I head back downstairs in time to catch my phone ringing. It is the lovely receptionist from the Very Helpful Psychiatrist’s office, asking if it would be okay if we cancel my appointment with the Mental Health Nurse for tomorrow afternoon and re-schedule. I try not to burst into tears as I explain that no, it would not be okay, because I’m really not having a very good time right now and I need to come in and see somebody. I can hear her desperately thinking ‘uh oh’ as she does her best to find a slot for me to see someone, before asking me to come and see the Very Helpful Psychiatrist first thing tomorrow morning. I gratefully accept, feeling guilty that I’ve made more work for everybody, and starting to cry again as I hang up.
Things are not okay. I hate being teary like this, it’s not right. I haven’t felt right for days now. It has to be addressed before it gets worse. Note to self – probably don’t put mascara on tomorrow morning.
So – not much news. Med1cation level increasing but so far – meh.
Mark for the first assignment was finally released – on Thursday – I got 97.6%, which is a High Distinction. When I got the marker’s sheet, I couldn’t actually find any MISTAKES, so I can only assume she didn’t want to award any 100s, which is annoying.
And it was a stupid assignment anyway, given only to prove that you could use the library system/journal databases/internet to look things up and then reference them properly.
See what I mean? Not even that mark can drag me out of this slump. It’s all just GREY.
I’m seeing the mental health nurse twice a week and she keeps asking if it’s time to go to hospital, and I have explained that I have very complex sleep routines that involve two different sorts of ice-packs to help me sleep, plus a hot water bottle for my feet, and I’d rather stay at home with Mr Beloved and the dog and my own things, but I’m not sure how much longer I can avoid a hospital stay.
I’ve asked for an extension for the next essay (due May 8th) so we’ll see what the lecturer says about that. I missed the lecture last week (but caught up via the audio and powerpoint provided for external students) and missed the tute (meh).
I’ll miss the lecture this week, too, because I’m going to the dentist instead. Oh joy. The biggest, oldest filling I have is giving me trouble and I am NOT looking forward to having that prodded and poked at.
That’s about all I can think of. Other stuff has happened but everything is just too grey to process.
So it’s Wednesday again and I’m missing group therapy AGAIN. Last week I had a migraine; this week I woke up with a vile tummy ache and wrenched shoulder and misery. Not sure what’s going on but I am CROOK.
I’m tired and irritable and jumpy and can’t decide what I need or want to do.
And I just realised that I mentally deducted one of the bills from our bank account TWICE this fortnight – which means we actually have $100 more than I thought we did… ARRRRRRRRGGGGGGHHHH!
I don’t want to go and see my psychiatrist (even though I am much more depressed than usual) because I don’t want to go to hospital.
I also feel like I need to apologise to the ?three people who still read this blog because it’s turned into a right old whingefest of late…