I was bursting with responses to Nissetje’s post as I poured words into his comment box. Then I recalled a WordPress principle guiding us bloggers to resist leaving long comments, and to reblog the inspiring post instead with our response. So here’s what I would like to say to him:
Weather is a Good Place to Start
Have you had the crazy weather that we had this year? So far, April has been more like winter than February was.
Our purple crocuses bloomed a week early
Our yard one week later — no, this is not a black-and-white photo
I was hoping to get out and prune our grapevines, and fix our garden fence now that Spring seems to have resumed, but I’m laid up with a damaged knee. I was playing with my weaving yarns, crouched, and when I went to spring back up, I felt like my knee went out of joint. It was a familiar feeling. I backed down like a recoiled spring, and then got up, putting as little weight on the knee as possible, and felt relieved that I had escaped a mishap. My knee just felt a little numb, so I found lots of reasons to go up and down flights of stairs to help heal it.
After supper, when I stood up, ZING! My knee had swelled, and pain set in. So, I took good care of myself and rested in bed all day with my knee elevated. Staying in bed for this hurt knee is a lot easier for me to do than staying in bed waiting for a depression to pass . Then, I’m more inclined to get up and push myself, and I push myself into a deeper depression.
What’s Looming on the Horizon
When I read about your weaving, you reminded me that I must stay in bed for another day or so before I can return to my loom.
I had overlooked the possibility that my knee injury would interfere with my work in my studio! Now I’m even more motivated to rest and elevate my knee. My studio is one of my lifelines! Like you say, “a doodle a day keeps the crazy away”.
I know something about what you’ve been going through, and you’ve been going through a lot in a short time. Just one or two of those broken relationships would send anyone reeling. You’re right to cling to happy thoughts about Spring coming, expecting sun, connecting with friends and your Good Animal Voice, remembering your art, enjoying your dogs and walks, choosing healthy foods, continuing learning, staying employed, valuing your intelligence and creativity, supporting the healthy parts of you, having a safe comfortable place…
You sounded discouraged about feeling glued to your couch. My jury is still out on whether bingeing on movies and junk food for a few (or several) weeks is a bad thing. The worse that I feel about it, the more vulnerable I am to it. In other words, I’m practicing not being depressed about being depressed. I’m choosing to see a depressed episode as a time for rest from the pressures that I put on myself (which I could easily blame others for).
What’s My Line?
How fantastic that you were able to pull yourself together to get to where you needed to go to get back on meds. I hope that you are continuing to progress. I know how sometimes all of the planets have to be aligned just so, etc., before that can happen. After all, how can we have the courage to expose ourselves to the likelihood of side effects when we’re already teetering on the edge? I know what it’s like to want to take a temporary break from the effort of life, and feeling too overwhelmed to do anything about it. These episodes usually come along with fuzzy cognition, so I can’t think my way through it, and am surprised when someone close to me can prompt me, like an actor who forgets the next line.
I upped one of my meds the other day when my therapist pointed out that I’ve been doing relatively well, and that only lately my moods have been more erratic. I have a love/hate relationship with meds. I am generally drug-adverse; most had unbearable side effects, usually making my illnesses worse. Lamotrigine is one that has worked out well for me, as long as I fluctuate the dose according to my mood. Too much, and I’m flying; too little, and I’m bouncing up and down and back, sometimes (lately) over the course of a few hours.
I hope that the side effects are working their way out as your body adapts to this medication. If not, then I hope that you got back to your NP in a timely manner so you can use Plan B, or find a Plan C. You are doing great keeping a conversation going with your pharmacist and NP through the side effects! And you’re doing great distinguishing your own Good Animal Voice from the voices of others who deny your experiences, perceptions and feelings.
I discovered Andrew Johnson’s meditation recordings recently on his website, Spotify, and phone apps. They help me reset my thoughts and feelings most of the time. I wonder if you might find them helpful.
Around a year ago, I took the ACES (Adverse Childhood Experiences Score). Most people get a score of around 1. Over 4, and there is a strong correlation with being suicidal, and other serious chronic diseases. I had a perfect score of 10, or 8, depending on the version of the test, and how the questions are interpreted (do I have concrete evidence that the events actually occurred?). That helped me to realize that I have something like brain cancer: my brain was probably physically damaged when I was a young child in stressful situations — but I’m resilient. Even as a young child, I had a strong voice inside me that said, “if childhood is this awful, then adulthood is going to be great!”, and it is!
I hope that something that I shared here helps you to see how strong you are, and helps more people to understand what we go through.
P.S. Thanks for sharing the “mind cancer” phrase.
photos by Grace Buchanan
stage fright image, by Victor Jeg. Used under Creative Commons License BY-2.0.
Every year, I dread February. But March usually brings some relief. Even though it’s still winter, the days are obviously getting longer, and spring is coming. March is a often sunny month here in Winnipeg, and most years, I start planning my garden, spending a bit more time outside, and generally perking up after the February slump.
This year, though, I just kept sliding downward despite the longer days, the mild weather, and the promise of spring.
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