Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth." Genesis 9:13

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Good question

Jean Grey asked:
It is scary not knowing what the future holds, not having a life plan. Can you give yourself permission to drift for a while? I have reached the ripe old age of 45, which seems to have given me license to tell people how young they are, and you are. You have lots of time ahead of you. Plenty of time to figure out a new path, a new role (to use OT speak), or maybe even return to OT in some capacity. But you don't have to do it now. Now you have to heal yourself.
I don't know why drifting is so hard.  At this point I know I can't work and really can't do much of anything at all.  As my depression has become a monster mixed episode (it may be that it was diagnosed as mixed for months but all I have cared about is the depression) I have to change what I was used to.  It took so many months--and going back to work and failing, followed by a suicide plan--to realize that I just can't work.  For now is tacked on there but I don't know that.  I ran through every job I could think of that I could reasonably get around here in the next while.  Summary:  I nope I can do some OT.  Not now, I can't focus enough to not make terrible mistakes and I'm too irritable to be polite, but someday.  I really want to work PRN just a few hours a month.  I have to get better first.

Maybe that's it:  Getting better is less drifting than it is really hard work.  I was drowning for so long and now that my mood is swinging crazily around when I have a few moments that I don't think I'm going to die from depression that I am working really hard in those minutes on some very basic things, like what day it is, what time is it, did I remember lunch, is there at least one clean pair of underwear in the house, how many days ago did I shower, where is that piece of paper that tells me what I'm supposed to do for counseling, what else might I be able to eat besides sandwiches, cereal and frozen stuff without burning the house down, etc.  I think I'm at a point where I'm constantly trying to both adjust to where I am right now, knowing that this may change totally in an hour or even 5 minutes, but also I have to be so careful because not only is the suicidal risk still present the accidental injury risk is way high.  Just in the last few days I have stepped on a plastic thing the cat had been playing with with the arch of my foot, bruising it and making orthotics painful; stepped down from something after fixing curtains that fell down and my ankle turned all the way, then all the way out, narrowly risking injury and demonstrating how badly torn my ligaments are, and I stepped on something, slipped and very nearly fell last night.  Paying attention to what I am doing requires concentrated effort and being safe  is still a work in progress requiring a lot of help.

I guess what I'm saying is that life is such a struggle right now that it takes constant fighting to function minimally and I find myself either exhausted by that or wanting to find a way to make it stop being so hard.  I think I succeeded for so long at making myself do things I wanted to do whether it was a good idea that I was really capable of handling for so long that now I know that I can't do many things I used to or want to and have this vague idea I need to fill in that time, without remembering that I don't have time to fill because that time is filled with trying to survive, whether than it grabbing a couple hours of sleep in the late morning/early afternoon, going to see Dr. Mind, working all night on calming enough to sleep, or fighting to get my clothes washed and dried before they mildew in the machine and have to be re-washed.  Those things are huge efforts right now but my brain wants to have a more normal thought pattern that I am not capable of managing.  A routine I guess.

So I don't have a good answer except that yes, that would be easier but I'm pretty sure it's beyond me, at least right now.

Copyright 2006 www.masterofirony.blogspot.com


Michal Ann said...

Jen, although this might seem like a "backward compliment," you've done an excellent job of giving us true insight into your battle.

Thank you.

Keep fighting the good fight. We will be here to keep "holding up your arms," as Aaron did for Moses.

I am exhausted at the moment and writhing in pain from my chronic hip/thigh problem but I will try to use that pain as a "wake-up call" to bring you before the LORD. Not a bad thing. Might sound a bit odd but it's not bad to use our aggravations as a trigger for prayer for others.

Please pray for my daughter. It's quite likely that her flu symptoms have resulted in pneumonia. She's had temps over 102 F for days and horrible chills and sweats. She was face down in bed when I stopped by yesterday to bring chicken soup and healthy snacks for her kids. I'm very sad and worried.


Anonymous said...

My prayers are going out to both of you (Jen and Michal) this evening. How wonderful, Michal, that you can be there to help.

Jen, I can see this is a struggle and I have a ton of respect for you as you tell it like it is. I hope you can find a calm spot in your mind that lets you accept that healing is your "job" right now - healing and all the pain and frustration it entails - I can "hear" the pain in your writing. Hopefully the writing is healing for you too.

You are doing the best you can right now and your best is your best. Meaning, whether you are doing your best at an occupation, or doing your best at healing, it is STILL doing your best!

Keep on - day by day - and try to remember that you've already made steps forward. Be proud of that.

Prayers to you every day.


Lurid said...

Oh man am I glad I read this post for several reasons--the first being that your comment about the laundry reminded me that I had a load in the wash and had totally forgotten about it. I just got up and took care of it, so thanks. It's amazing how fast stuff mildews in an HE.

Secondly because I'm interested in your spatial awareness issues. Since I started lamictil seven months ago my spatial awareness has gone to shit. (heck? hell? this is not a cussing blog, I'll try to rein it in, sorry.) And every time I bump my dose, it gets worse. I drop most things I pick up, and am always bruised from running into things and stubbing my feet and falling, almost always have cuts on my hands, etc.--cooking is a hazardous proposal these days but I do it anyway, luckily on a flat top stove so it's a lot harder to burn the house down than with a gas stove. Do you think yours is caused by meds, or by the bipolar itself? I was clumsy before lamictil, but now i'm into a whole new realm of not being aware of where my body is in space and time. Floaty head. Mostly I'm just terrified I'm going to fall on my kid. Luckily for both of us she has good reflexes and moves fast and seems at least marginally aware that I'm not up to par these days on simple things like handing her a spoon to eat her oatmeal with without dropping it under the table or somehow slamming it into the pantry door or god knows what other crazy thing. my failure to manipulate small objects is like the running joke in the house these days.

I wonder about the mechanism by which lamictil works--since it's for epilepsy, I imagine it somehow functions on the electrical signals in your brain, which in the case of bipolar means it could function in a sort of interruptive way, jolting your serotonin out of an unbalanced path it's ready to barrel on down.

Anyway. This post also made me think about the American approach to life as something to win or lose at, as a path leading to a definitive destination, whereas other world views might suggest life is something to be lived in each moment, without a goal at the end of it. While I like that second view a lot better because hot dang does it take the pressure off, I think the first-world POV is pounded way too hard into our heads for us to be able to live more in the moment without the constant threat of "should" in our heads. I should be able to work, I should be able to get up in the morning without wanting to smash my fist into the bathroom mirror, I should recycle, I should care about x, y, z. Whatever. Like life's one big means to an end.

I don't know where I'm going with this, probably nowhere, but your post made me think about how the experience of living with a mental illness can really turn up the volume on "should," and that makes the struggle that much harder.