Ok, so maybe I'm not depressed exactly yet but my mood is dipping and I am distinctly lacking in energy and enthusiasm. If I stop to think I feel rubbish. It is as though there is a current trying to pull me below the surface. But I am fighting back.
There is a point on which the day turns. I take care of my animals, that is automatic and non-negotiable. It doesn't involve a choice. But after I have come home and had a cup of coffee and my breakfast, then there is a choice. I could choose to go back to bed - and, oh, I can't tell you how much I want to. Sometimes I have to sit in front of the computer for a while focusing what energy I have on resisting that urge.
But then I get up. I light a fire, I do a quick clean and tidy round the house, and then I start on a creative project. It is interesting and illuminating for me to see that I don't need to be elated to be inspired, that even slowed down as I am now, the ideas come.
I could still be doing so much more, and in the evenings I have to fight off the thought that I haven't done enough, though I don't know what enough would be.
So this is what I am doing right now. Ploughing on as best I can. Hoping that if I can just keep going my mood will not overwhelm me, and that I will come out of the shadows and back into a brighter place.
Yesterday K came over to help me sort out my little house. I did a fair amount upstairs before she came so we concentrated our efforts downstairs. I still need to wash the floor but the end is visible now. Over the weekend I plan to finish upstairs, clean the bathroom and tidy the garden. I am going to start 2014 with a clean house AND I AM GOING TO KEEP IT THAT WAY!!!
I feel very driven and determined at the moment. I want 2014 to be a good year, a better year, a year when my illness doesn't run my life. It has done that for far too long. I want to be doing some of the things I want to do, and not just be busy coping all the time. The question I am struggling with is - how many plans is too many plans? What is realistic to expect of myself? What if I become unwell again, will I be able to manage it better than I have done in the past? The unpredictability of living with this illness or disorder or whatever you want to call it is really hard. I don't have a whole lot of faith in myself. I have too many memories for that. So I don't know. I can't know. All I can know is that I am going to try to keep moving forwards whatever my mind throws at me.
I went to the workshop with K today. It was good, really really good. Everyone there is so friendly and helpful, it's a lovely atmosphere. I'm carving a wooden horse, not a fancy detailed one, just something that I hope will look at least vaguely horse-like, because I need to get used to the tools and working with the wood.
I started to get really frazzled after a couple of hours though, and told K I needed to leave. I'm not used to talking to people, and the muscles in my jaw actually hurt! I want to build up to going to the workshop three or four times a week and if I can save the money go the ceramics course that starts in February. I'm starting to think that, you know, I might actually be able to have a life. This Reablement work is exactly what I need.
But I'm also aware that I have to be realistic. That's something I've not always been terribly good at in the past. I have this pattern of feeling relatively sane and capable, and wanting to catch up on all the things I want to do but haven't been able to, and making various grand plans and then being so disappointed with myself when I fall apart and can't manage. And then I feel defeated all over again. I want to do things differently this time around. Get used to doing one thing and then try adding another. Be patient with myself.
Because it's just after four and the only thing I feel capable of doing is getting into bed and watching a film, and I wouldn't be surprised if I fell asleep before the film was over. Pathetic, eh?
I'm not quite sure what is going on. Something is changing, and when something starts changing I've learned that I need to take notice.
Yesterday the chimney sweep came in the morning. I busied myself cleaning while I waited. Cleaning, which has seemed an impossible task for a while, is suddenly easy. The chimney sweep was late so I had to rush into town to meet K. We went to the library first. I collected a ridiculous amount of books and then I made myself be sensible and reduced my armful to five - a book about living with bipolar, a book of David Hockney's recent paintings, a couple of books about painting abstracts and a book about woodcarving, because I am going to begin learning how to carve wood on Monday.
Then we went for a coffee and we talked. Wow, we talked - art, books, politics, oh yes, lots of politics. It made me feel really fizzy and buzzy, it made me think that yes, I would like to make some friends, that I would join the reading group I saw advertised at the library, maybe I'd even go back to the dating websites. But by the time I got home I was physically shaking.
This morning I had to go into town - shopping, bank, prescription. Except there had been a screw-up with my prescription and they gave me lamotrigine, quetiapine and paroxetine which weren't due, but no depakote, which was. Turned out that because the last letter the GP's got from the hospital didn't list depakote on it they'd taken it off repeat, and they won't put it back on repeat until they have another letter from the hospital, so the doctor just wrote me a prescription for a month, and I had to go back into town to collect it this afternoon, and I'll have to phone my CPN on Monday.
Inbetween all this I carried on cleaning. My muscles were aching and my temperature control seemed to be shot, but I felt driven, I didn't want to sit still. And I didn't want to just get my house basically clean and tidy, I wanted to make it spotless, to organise all my paperwork, and to arrange my books. I have this really strong feeling that I don't want to sleep tonight. The idea of getting into bed is repugnant. My mind is trying to override my body. Which makes me suspect I should do the exact opposite of what I feel like doing. Because of this mix-up with the prescription I now have a fair amount of 'spare' quetiapine, so I think I am going to take some extra and try to get a decent night's sleep.