Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Proving myself

This is day thirteen of me being on my extra antidepressant and little by little, every day, I feel myself turning into a more contented woman and at times I even come close to being happy. Sometimes I even am. I have to get used to these new feelings and do not take them for granted yet, but I am learning to trust their presence inside of me and that they will not suddenly disappear.
This afternoon I have an appointment with my therapist and I keep thinking that I have to prove to her that I am indeed doing much better. What do I say to her? "Sorry, it wasn't your therapeutic talk that made me feel better, but the medicine?" She and I are still in our trial period to see if we can make our patient-therapist relationship work at all, and this is the third time that we are doing this at the insistence of my psychiatrist. And god knows I am trying.
I am not at all feeling normal because I don't think there is such a thing, and wouldn't that be boring? But I am feeling more and more at ease with myself and more comfortable with who I am.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Honesty is the best policy

Whenever I start feeling rushed and as a result, anxious, I tell myself that there is no need for it and that I can take all the time in the world and that there is no real deadline by which something needs to get done. Now, this sounds good in theory, but of course there are some things that I have to see to that I really can not postpone and I already have a list of phone calls that I have to make in the morning.
It is a normal part of life that I get this done, but I would not have been able to as recent as a few days ago, which goes to show you that little by little there is improvement in my situation every day. I do have to say that, while this is happening, I am becoming more and more patient about the time needed for the process to take place and am in no rush to say, "Hallelujah, I am cured now," some morning when I wake up feeling good.
I know life has its regular ups and downs and that everybody's mood fluctuates and that I can not expect to always find myself in a state of happiness. But I do expect the pain of living to disappear when there is no reason for it to exist and to no longer always in the back of my mind think of a way out of life if things don't work out.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Keeping my wits about me

After every chore that I do, I sit in my armchair and rest for a while with something to drink, but at least I am doing my chores now. For some of them, I do have to have a talk with myself beforehand or otherwise I can't quite get myself to do them. But sometimes it is just a matter of timing and what I can't achieve in the morning, I more easily do a few hours later in the afternoon. Even in one single day, my mood is unpredictable, so I very much live in the moment and try not to plan the whole day ahead of time.
Yesterday, I realized that I was suffering from a shortage of sleep and went back to bed at the end of the morning and slept another two hours. This did wonders for my mood and energy level, and it changed my whole outlook on the rest of the day. In this stage I am in now, I need more sleep than I usually get and I am not used to that yet and still get up too soon. I find it hard to stay in bed once I am awake, but should probably linger there a while longer in the off chance that I will sleep some more.
When you have a bipolar disorder, you always have to be extra vigilant and sensible. There is much that you can't take for granted and you have to be suspicious of any out of the ordinary behavior of yourself. That doesn't leave much room for spontaneity. Maybe it is because of my present mood that I am extra alert for that and things will not look that bad by next week.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

In the interest of science

The nicest thing about lying low, is that the telephone rarely rings and I had not even realized up until very recently how much the ringing of the phone used to bother me. I know now that I was always afraid that a needy person would be at the other end of the line and want some of my precious emotional energy and time. Now I feel as though I have acquired a new sense of freedom in my own apartment and I no longer have such a feeling of entrapment. That's what makes it so much easier to sit and relax in my armchair and take a decent nap in the afternoon if I want. I don't have to worry that the phone will ring.
I also very much limit the time I spend behind the computer. Yesterday, I was doing some very interesting research online about the bipolar disorder and I could have gone on for hours, but I realized that I could get very obsessively involved and after one hour shut off the computer. I then proceeded to have a quiet time out while seated in my armchair with a cup of coffee. One thing I am learning is, that bipolar people are very sensitive to stress, and triggers, and can't have too much of it. It can send them into either kind of extreme state. Personally, I have to be careful not to become hypomanic now because I am a rapid cycler and quickly go from one state to the other.
I also did more research about the extra antidepressant I am taking and know more about it now I think than the average psychiatrist. I am not nearly as worried about taking it as I was to begin with, because compared to the one I am already taking, it is pretty benign. I researched that one also and visited sites that are meant for professionals or people who are otherwise interested in how the medicines work. The new antidepressant works after you have taken it for two weeks, so any benefits I am feeling from it now are strictly in my imagination. I am sure that they are the result of the changes in my life style. I have been on the new one for eight days.
Most likely, it will be a gradual change and not an abrupt one. I just have to be patient.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

By leaps and bounds

Yesterday morning, after I had gone back to bed again with a glass of hot milk to finish sleeping, I woke up in a good mood and proceeded to have the most relaxed morning I have had in a long time. Being taken completely by surprise, I didn't do much more but sit in my chair and enjoy the feeling while it lasted because I thought it might be a temporary thing. I can't tell you how good this felt after all the struggles I went through with my very unstable and troubled mood  and it was a joy to feel peace and quiet inside myself.
It did in the afternoon get a bit rougher, but not nearly as bad as it has been and I did not have to find my solace in the safety of the bedroom. I took a tranquilizer and read a book about mood disorders and how to deal with them, which of course is very appropriate right now. The good thing is that I was calm enough to be able to concentrate on what I was reading and understood the material and had it get through my thick skull. That was not possible until very recently.
I made a few changes in the living room to make my place in the armchair a bit more comfortable. I added a side table to the right side of my chair so that my coffee and cigarettes are easily available, even though that little table is somewhat in the way of the flow of traffic. I also moved a lamp so that it is easier for me to read in the evening. I had to move a plant stand in order to do so and it now is in a much less attractive spot, but I don't care. I am in it for the sake of my convenience. This is a time when I put my own needs central.
In the afternoon I was also able to carry on a long conversation on the phone with my sister so that we could get completely caught up. I had not been able to do this before, although I do have to say that afterward I had to take a full hour of rest to digest everything and let it settle down. Whenever I do any sort of chore, no matter how small, I have to rest for a while before I can move on to the next one and there is a definite limit to how much I can do in one day.
My sister and my niece (the daughter of my late sister) are the two people in the Netherlands who are very important to me and if I am going to expand any energy on anyone, it is on them. I won't waste my time and energy on anyone else. Contacts with other people will just be superficial.
I am very much aware not to try to solve my sister's and my niece's problems.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Life in a nutshell

I am not a relaxed person nowadays and, unless I take a tranquilizer, I spend a lot of my time worrying in a totally senseless way. Because really, how often can you worry about the same thing and how much time and energy do you want to spend on it? I find it impossible to apply all the tricks that I know to stop worrying that normally work so well and that I advise other people to use. I think that was a brazen thing of me to do and not very compassionate because they may have been in the same boat I find myself in now.

I have been a bit of a smartass all along and thought I was so well informed that I could tell people how to deal with their problems. Now that I find myself in trouble, I realize it isn't all that easy as following the well meant advice that better or worse informed people give you. I suppose if anything, that is a big lesson I am learning.