#608 – Relapse

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I haven’t written in my blog for almost 14 months. Life has been just busy enough to sustain me over that time, but as I’m getting closer to applying to my degree program I’m finding myself with more and more free time as the things I can do in preparation become fewer and fewer, and that hasn’t been good for me.

Let me catch you up, in case you’ve never read my blog. I have a handful of mental illnesses that have had me on disability since 2014 and pretty much housebound for a couple of years after that. In 2015 I began the process of working with Texas Workforce Commission to get me retrained and back in the job market and we finally agreed on a plan that would see me earning an associate’s degree in the healthcare field in 2017. Two other things happened that year. I had a major breakthrough in therapy and a tweak in my psych meds that together brought me out of the agoraphobia I’d been experiencing, just in time to start college in the fall of that year. Since that time I’ve been doing exceptionally well in school. After completing 35 credit hours I’ve got a 3.914 GPA. This covers all the prerequisite and co-requisite classes for my degree program, so I can concentrate fully on excelling in those classes. I’ve been socializing, I’ve been driving again, I’ve been shopping, all things that I didn’t do during my agoraphobia.

Since the start of winter break in December, I’ve been on more and more of a downswing, which I was hoping was going to turn around once I was back in school last month. I’m instead intimidated by the course I’m in now (it’s not credit towards my degree, but it is required to be completed on the application) and I’ve gotten out of almost everything that could be considered a daily habit. The only thing I am doing is continuing to take my medication almost all the time. Periods of joy are few and far between, I hardly ever have the energy to do much of anything, which means housework is usually waiting until either one of us has energy. (My wife is also dealing with a downswing on top of her narcolepsy, so she is chronically exhausted and out of energy.) Living in a messy apartment just drives my mood further and further down. It’s rare that I can find a distraction strong enough to make me forget everything else for a time.

So I am pretty much wiping the slate clean and starting over. A lot of my habits are gone. It’s going to take a while to get them ingrained again. I’m going to write them all down and then use Maslow’s hierarchy of needs to prioritize them all, and start at the bottom of the pyramid, one at a time, and work my way up. In addition, I’m going to start rereading The Anxiety and Phobia Workbook, which was a huge part of my turnaround in 2017.

I’m also going to start back with the regular blogging, so there is some accountability during my efforts to reverse the downswing, so you’ll be seeing more from me in this medium.

I am aware that this all looks like the person that tries to help by saying “Have you just tried not being depressed?” I know that I don’t have a large amount of control over my brain chemicals, but I believe that working towards a goal will make it more likely that I reach it. So, I’m doing this.

It’s late, and I’m tired, and I don’t expect many people to read this entry. But it needed to be written. More later.

#595 – Not the Best of Days, Not the Worst of Days

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Sometime around 7:45 or so this evening, I noticed that my mood was rapidly tanking, usually a sign that my blood sugar is low. My wife got me to eat a couple yogurts before heading to dinner with friends around 8:15. (More on that in a minute.) My mood stayed down throughout most of the meal, however, and persisted beyond that to an outing to a local game shop afterwards.

I really don’t know what’s triggering this downward swing, but I dislike it intensely. I feel isolated and alone, even with friends around me, and the only thing I can do is grin and bear it.

Having said that, dinner this evening was fantastic. We went with our house guest to meet three more mutual friends of ours for an all-you-can-eat Korean BBQ. The food was very tasty, I tried kimchi for the first time (not bad, but nothing I’ll go out of my way to eat in the future), and I actually had a great time, even though I was fairly anti-social throughout the meal. It was good to get out and see folks that I know and like.

Uncharted Territory

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Today’s blog post is going to be quick and dirty, since I’m taking the laptop into the shop to get some work done on it, and I’m trying to minimize how much it heats up before taking it in.

Today is February 11th. If I complete my checklist today, it will be day 26 of full marks, which is an achievement in and of itself. But the date on the calendar is important to me since in 2015 and 2016, I had stopped my checklists altogether by this date. The time of my annual downswing has begun, and I’m still kicking. I’m very proud of that and can’t wait to prove that 2017 is different, that I’m not going to give up and stop doing the things that I know I need to do for myself.

But one day at a time. Right now I’ve got day 26 to worry about.