Tired…

Song: “The Show Must Go On” by Leo Sayer

Mood: 4.5

I didn’t sleep well last night. No nightmares, but I found it very difficult to get comfortable for any length of time. I don’t know if it’s my posture, the weight I’ve put on, or the mattress, but I’ve got to do something about this or it’s going to start causing problems.

I got up with J this morning (I was already awake) and had breakfast, then once she left I went down to the basement and sat in the comfy chair to try and get some more sleep. No luck – despite being tired, my mind was racing and kept me from falling asleep. I tried to meditate but didn’t have much luck with that, either. All I did for quite a while was sit in the chair, stare at the wall, and feel kind of miserable.

Eventually, I managed to drag myself out of the chair so I could have a sandwich for lunch, after which I went right back to the chair, with the same results. Finally, around 3PM, I heaved myself out of the chair again and went back upstairs and forced myself to play with a Raspberry Pi for a while. I have a bunch of them sitting around right now and for the life of me I can’t figure out what to do with them. Maybe some inspiration will hit if I keep poking around at them.

Shortly after J got home we had supper and then she went to her yoga class and I went into my room/office/laboratory and started cleaning up. It’s been a mess in there for months which makes it more difficult to do pretty much anything, so maybe now that it’s a lot tidier I’ll have more luck with my brainstorming and other stuff too.

I wish I could find a project to do that really captured my imagination. Something that I would be excited to work on and would jump out of bed to get at it. Something that I’d daydream about when I wasn’t working on it. Whether it’s a new story or something microscopic or electronics or a welding project… I just wish something would really grab me in a way that I wouldn’t need to worry about having to force myself to do it.

Today has not been a great day. Hopefully tomorrow will be better.

Stay safe!

First Appointment With Dr P

Song: “Little Red Riding Hood” by Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs

Mood: 6.5

I’m happy to say that today has been a better day than yesterday. I only woke up once from a nightmare and otherwise slept pretty well I think. I had trouble motivating myself to do anything this morning but I did manage to drag myself out of bed and went to sit on the couch for a while. I figure that sitting up in a different room is a step or two up from staying in bed and staring at the ceiling.

Today was my first appointment with Dr P. I was a little nervous at the beginning but I think it went quite well. It sounds like he and Dr C had a pretty thorough conversation when they discussed my file, which makes me a little more comfortable with switching therapists. We also spent a lot of time talking about where I was at and potential ways forward, and at the end of the session I found I was pretty comfortable with how things went. I think this is going to work.

Other than that, I didn’t accomplish much of anything today. I spent too much time thinking about work again, and not enough time being active. We’ll see what tomorrow brings.

Stay safe!

Not Feeling All That Great

Song: “I Wanna Be Sedated” by the Ramones

Mood: 5.5

After a pretty long stretch of feeling good, I’m starting to feel kind of crappy again. I don’t think I slept very well – I remember waking up from a nightmare once but also waking up several times because I was uncomfortable. It’s kind of annoying – if I sleep on my back my lower back starts to hurt, but if I sleep on my side my upper back hurts. Just can’t win.

I had a hard time motivating myself to do pretty much anything today. I spent a lot of time on the couch but managed to get some laundry done and fiddle around with my electronics stuff for a while. My folks called and it was very nice to talk to them.

I’m really trying not to but I spent an awful lot of time today thinking about work and where I am right now. That didn’t help matters much, and I’m trying to kick myself out of the rut before I start really dwelling on the negative things again. I don’t want to end up in the hospital again if I can help it.

I don’t know why I keep thinking about work. One of the things that I worry about is that I can’t go back to my old job. I just can’t. J and Dr W and Dr C have all said that that’s not in the cards, but I still worry about it every day. I worry that it’s work calling me in or the insurance company calling to tell me I have to go back every time the phone rings. Even when the caller ID says it’s a friend or family, I worry that work has got their number and asked them to call me to get me to come in.

It’s ridiculous, I know. I know it is. I can’t help it.

Another thing that bothers me is that I don’t know if WG knows that I can’t go back. We used to work very closely, and one of the best parts of my job was that I got to work with him every day. I hope he knows what’s going on but I feel like I need to tell him just in case, and I’m worried that I’ll lose him as a friend. I’m not sure what to do.

Something else that I worry about is what if I get a different job but I can’t do it? Dr W and Dr C have told me several times that I shouldn’t use the word “can’t”, but what if the only job I’ll ever be good at is the job that I had to leave because it put me in the hospital? I like to think I can do a lot of different things, but I’m 41 and there are a lot of younger people with better and more recent qualifications out there.

But enough of that – I can feel myself starting to feel desperate so I should probably switch topics.

I have my first appointment with Dr P tomorrow afternoon. Dr C introduced us briefly a while ago and he seemed like a good person. I’m looking forward to working with him and I hope we can make the same kind of progress that Dr C and I did. It’s very good that he works out of the same office so I don’t need to find a different building and worry about parking.

Tomorrow is supposed to be nice and cool out so if I can motivate myself to do it, I think I’m going to spend some time outside. I’d like to weld a couple of hooks onto my little welding cart and then paint it. Maybe I’ll do some more laundry, too.

Stay safe!

Today Was A Good Day

Song: “Mr. Giant Man” by James Last

Mood: 8

Today was a good day. I didn’t sleep particularly well – woke up from nightmares twice, I think – but things are pretty good.

I got together with WG this morning at around 10AM and we went to the record store, drove around a bit and stopped at two thrift stores (one that smelled really bad) to see what they had for records, and then went out for lunch at an Indian restaurant that was really good. WG had a lot more luck with records today than I did. I found quite a few promising ones but they when I looked at the vinyl they were all in really bad shape.

On the upside, WG gave me two records that he had duplicates of – a Bob & Doug Mackenzie album and James Last’s Voodoo-Party. I’ve been looking for Voodoo-Party for a couple of years now so I’m really excited to finally have it. I have a feeling that it will be spending a lot of time on the turntable over the next while.

After we were done lunch, we headed back to WG’s place and he showed me how his gardens are coming in. He’s got three raised gardens and some other plants in pots beside the gardens. Lots of tomatoes and beans, and one little pepper plant that’s growing a HUGE pepper. I don’t know how it’s holding itself up.

WG and I talked for a little while longer and then I headed out. I got home shortly before 3PM and plopped down on the couch because I was pooped.

Just as my eyes were starting to close, J got home. I went outside and helped her unload the car and then we talked for a bit. She had a good weekend with her folks and the highway mostly cooperated with her. I was very happy that she was back – video chats are great but they’re not even close to the real thing. After she had a drink and built up some steam, she went outside to put in some plants that she brought back with her.

After that we had a light supper and she brought me up to speed with the news of the world. I try to stay away from news sites so J sorts through them when she reads them and tells me about the interesting or good stories. I then went outside and watered the garden.

It’s been a good (but quite tiring) day. Hanging out with WG was fun and I’m noticing that it’s getting easier to do some things without getting too anxious or panicking. Maybe it was just because I was in a good mood, but I’m going to put a check in the “win” box for today.

I don’t have anything scheduled for tomorrow so I think I’m going to try to catch up on laundry and maybe go for another drive around the area. I don’t think it’s supposed to be quite as warm tomorrow so maybe I’ll spend some time in the garage. We’ll see.

Stay safe!

And Sunday Comes To A Close

Song: “Octopus’s Garden” by the Beatles

Mood: 7

The weekend is almost over and it has gone by better than I’d hoped. I’ve spent more time by myself than I have since getting out of the hospital, and, although I miss J a lot, I’m doing okay.

I also went out twice. The first time was yesterday evening when I went to pick up some groceries; the second time was this afternoon when I went out for a drive to see if I could push any of my limits. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to but it was still good to get out for a bit instead of sitting in front of the TV.

I spent a lot of time doing my exercises and meditating. I had some trouble clearing my head today but eventually managed to calm it down enough.

I did a fair amount of writing, too. I’ve got two stories in the works right now and I’m having trouble concentrating on them enough to stick with working on one but I’m making progress.

Season three of Battlestar Galactica was my video of choice this weekend. I burned through most of the season but I think I fell asleep through part of it. (A trial? Seriously? Everybody on the ship carries a gun and hates him – why didn’t someone just shoot him and be done with it?)

I also had a good chat with my folks both yesterday and today which was great.

I spoke with WG this afternoon and we’re on for tomorrow morning. We’re going to go record shopping and then we’re going to have lunch. I’m really looking forward to it.

What I’m looking to the most, though, is J getting home safe and sound. I will probably be out with WG when she gets home but it will be so nice to see her again. She hasn’t been gone for long and she’s not very far away but I sure do miss her.

Stay safe!

My Sleep

I don’t think it’s possible for me to overstate how important a good sleep is to me. One rough night can have several days’ worth of consequences, and several bad nights in a row can put me right back in the hospital. Here are some of the things that happen when I don’t get enough sleep:

  • I have trouble finding the right words when talking or writing. This is embarrassing and a little frustrating, but overall not a huge deal.
  • I am much more vulnerable to panic attacks, and things that shouldn’t make me panic can send me into a downwards spiral.
  • I can’t fend off depression or anxiety as easily.
  • My thoughts go to dark places a lot more often.
  • My OCD kicks into high gear and I have a lot of trouble even with things that I’ve already conquered, like checking the stove or whether the door’s locked.
  • It is much harder to force myself to do anything.
  • I am much more likely to start hearing voices again.
  • I just want to be alone, curled up in a little ball somewhere in the basement. I don’t want to see or talk to anyone.

Fortunately, between the medication Dr W prescribed, the techniques and information about sleep hygiene that Dr C showed me, and the CPAP machine, I am getting a good sleep much more often than I used to. My only real complaint now is that my nightmares have been making a bit of a comeback lately. Fortunately, they’re still not as bad as they used to be and usually only make for a 30 to 45 minute period before I can get back to sleep.

Here’s what I do during the day to help myself get a good sleep:

Morning

  • Get up within the same two-hour window every day
  • Take my morning medication within the same two-hour window every day
  • Have breakfast within the same two-hour window every day
  • Take some time (usually around 45 minutes) to worry about things so they don’t bother me as much over the rest of the day
  • Do my exercises
  • Meditate

Afternoon

  • Make sure I remember to eat a lunch that has at least some protein in it
  • Keep myself busy doing things like chores or hobbies
  • Meditate

Evening

  • Make sure I’ve talked to someone during the day
  • Keep myself busy doing things like chores or hobbies
  • Have supper within the same two-hour window every day
  • Brush my teeth and get everything ready for bed before I take my evening medication so I can just go to bed and crash without needing to do any prep later
  • Take my evening medication within the same two-hour window every day
  • Go to bed within the same two-hour window every day
  • Meditate
  • Do breathing exercises until I fall asleep

It seems like a lot of stuff to remember but once I got into a routine, it became very easy to remember everything and find time for it.

One thing I need to work on is what to do if I can’t fall asleep. I should get up, go out to the living room, and read a magazine or something like that, but I keep telling myself that if I stay in bed just five minutes longer, I’ll fall asleep. Of course, I keep saying that until I look at the clock and realize two hours have gone by. I need to force myself to get out of bed and wander off to the living room until I get tired.

Stay safe!

A Pretty Decent Day

Song: “Lily the Pink” by the Irish Rovers

Mood: 7

Today was a pretty good day. I relaxed a bit, worked outside a bit, and accomplished a few things that have been on my list for a little while now.

It took less effort than normal for me to get up and go outside. I think the nice weather helped – it’s been a little cooler the last few days – and once I got my momentum going, it felt good to be on my feet and doing stuff.

I also played around with a Raspberry Pi, but I was having trouble getting it to do what I wanted and started getting a little frustrated so I abandoned it. I used to really enjoy playing with that stuff but I just can’t get into it the same way anymore. Maybe I need to spend more time with it to help get back into that stuff.

J went shopping after work so she got home a little later than normal. She picked supper up on the way home and we had a little celebration for the good news we’ve had lately. We also watched some Futurama. Some of the jokes haven’t held up very well but it’s still a great show.

I’m trying to figure out what to do with my aquarium. Right now it has a half-dead plant and a healthy Marimo moss ball in it. I’m not sure what’s killing the plant – there doesn’t appear to be anything else in the tank. I should probably grab some water and put it under the microscope to see if it’s teeming with protists or something.

J is heading out tomorrow afternoon and will be back Monday. I’ve got a bunch of things queued up to do to keep me occupied. Here’s what’s on the list so far:

  • Movies
  • Welding
  • Writing
  • Start reading a new book
  • Colouring
  • Going for a drive to see if I can push my boundaries a little farther
  • Cleaning around the house

There’s no shortage of things for me to do.

Stay safe!

Kept Busy Today

Song: “Ballroom Blitz” by Sweet

Mood: 6.5

I slept pretty well last night. Woke up a couple of times but only once was because of a nightmare. I woke up after J had left for work and had breakfast.

Around 10:30 I got a call from WG saying that he was buried at work and couldn’t get together today. It was a bit of a bummer – I was really looking forward to hanging out – but that’s okay. We’re still on for going to the record store on Monday. He has the day off, too, so hopefully I may be able to buy him lunch. I really appreciate him taking the time to meet me or pick me up so we can hang out, and it would be nice to be able to buy him lunch.

So instead of going out, I decided to keep myself busy. I did some writing in the morning, did my exercises, and in the afternoon I mowed the front lawn and did some welding. Those new 7018AC rods work great! They leave a nice, consistent, shiny bead, and make me look like I’m much better at welding than I am. The welding jacket that J got me for Christmas works really well at shielding from heat as well as sparks, too.

I got some more good news today. I got a call from my mom saying that my uncle is doing very well and may be discharged tomorrow, and I got a call from J saying that her meeting today went very well and it looks like she’s in line for a promotion!

J is thinking of going to her parents’ place for two nights over the coming weekend. That will be the longest that I’ve been by myself since I last got out of the hospital. I don’t foresee any problems and am looking forward to seeing how things go. The good thing is J is just a phone call away, and so is the Crisis Centre (if things go bad). Like I said, I don’t expect any problems. I’m already putting together a list of things that I want to do.

I’m still feeling anxious today but it’s much better than it was yesterday, most likely because of the good news about J and my uncle.

Stay safe!

Still Anxious

Song: “Sweet Emotion” by Aerosmith

Mood: 5

My anxiety from earlier today is still bothering me. I slept quite well last night, with no nightmares that I can remember, but woke up feeling anxious. The good news is that I’ve talked to my mom and she has heard more good news about my uncle, but I don’t think I’ll be able to completely relax about it until after he’s home and back to his regular routine.

J has her meeting tomorrow morning so it’s not too much longer until we find out about that. She’s expecting it to be good news (and I am, too) but there’s a little part of my brain that’s yelling CAUTIONCAUTIONCAUTION and I can’t ignore it.

My Dr W appointment went quite well today. Since we’re not changing my medication around right now we’ve gone to an appointment every two weeks, with the option of calling him at any point and getting in to see him earlier if needed. I told him about the things that were bothering me today and he said that normal people get nervous about that kind of stuff, and if I wasn’t nervous at all it would probably be a bigger problem.

I’m still thinking about work, too. I wish I could stop, even just for a day.

WG and I are supposed to get together tomorrow morning. It will be really good to see him again. I think we’re going to check out another thrift store to see if there are any records worth buying. It’ll also be nice to chat, too – he always has interesting stories to tell.

I hope that I have another good sleep tonight and get lots of good news tomorrow. That should help me kick this anxiety.

Stay safe!

Very Anxious Today

I’m really anxious today. I think part of it has to do with my uncle’s surgery and recovery, and part of it is about J’s job. She’s got a meeting tomorrow with the head honchos and I hope it’ll be good news but I’m not sure. Around two years ago, there was a major bloodletting at the office, with half the people being walked out of the building so I don’t exactly trust her managers. She’s very good at her job, though, so I’m sure it’ll be good news.

That doesn’t keep me from worrying, though.

I have an appointment with Dr W this afternoon so I’ll be able to tell him about it then. My first appointment with Dr P is scheduled for next Wednesday.

Stay safe!