Not Feeling Well

Song: N/A

Mood: 4

Not a great day. Accomplished almost nothing and all I want to do is go back to bed or sit on the couch. I guess this is just one of the dips in my recovery but it sure sucks.

Stay safe.

Sunday Evening

Song: N/A

Mood: 5

Yesterday flew by. J and I went out of town to take a look at an antique shop on the side of the highway. We’ve both been past it many times but have never gone in to take a look. They had a lot of really neat stuff, including an old tube radio that I almost bought. They had quite a record collection, too, but the records that I found that interested me were pretty beat up or priced too high. That was okay, though, because it was a neat little adventure.

On the way home we picked up Slurpees and then watched a couple of episodes of Futurama. It was a good day.

Today has been kind of rough. I’m having a lot of trouble motivating myself to do anything and I really just want to sit down and stare at the wall. I don’t know why this is happening now, but I just can’t be bothered to do anything. J prodded me a couple of times today with good ideas but I couldn’t make myself do them (and today would’ve been a great day for a motorbike ride, too).

My nighttime medication doesn’t seem to be having the same effect on me that it used to. I’d take it about two hours before bedtime and just before I went to bed I could really feel it wearing on me. My mouth would get dry and I would feel like I had hundreds of tiny people trying to pull my shoulders down toward the ground. That hasn’t happened for the last week or so. I definitely need to bring this up with Dr W. Maybe it’s time for another medication adjustment.

Speaking of Dr W, the government around here has decided to make a whole bunch of changes to the healthcare system – including the mental health facilities. The facility that I have spent almost five months of my life in is due to be closed, with the beds moving to a hospital across the city.

Now, I don’t like change in the first place, but I’m worried about what is going to happen. As always with government ideas, they stick out their chests and brag about how much money it’s going to save and how good service is going to get, but the details are tough to come by. Will Dr W be moving to the new facility? Will he keep his outpatient practice where it is now or move it as well? Will there be a “consolidation of services” and some doctors will be let go? If so, who? And when? What will happen to the nurses, clerks, and therapists?

Another thing that concerns me is that I’ve spent so much time with these professionals that they know me enough to make my stay a lot easier – it will be difficult to start from scratch with an entirely new staff.

I wish there was more information available. Then again, if it’s bad news, maybe I should be glad I don’t know more.

Stay safe!

And Into The Weekend We Go

Song: “Chug-a-Lug” by Roger Miller

Mood: 6

If I haven’t mentioned it already, I’ll say it now – J is a genius! She did some research into my back pain and last night she had me prop myself up in a particular way with a pillow when I went to bed. I slept better and woke up this morning without any back pain. I’m going to do the same thing tonight, hopefully it wasn’t a fluke!

I’m having a lot of trouble motivating myself to do pretty much anything. I’m not sure if I’m getting stuck in a rut again or if I need to talk to Dr W or Dr P about it, but I really don’t like watching the days slide by while I sit on the couch and curse myself for not getting up and doing something. I have no shortage of hobbies, books, DVDs, or computer games; it’s just so much easier to sit down and not do anything. I guess it’s better than being stuck in bed, but only by a bit. I don’t like feeling guilty that another day has gone by when I go to bed.

I guess by writing this stuff out I’m accomplishing something, so there’s that.

About six months ago, Dr C told me that I should force myself to do things that I used to enjoy and chances are I’d enjoy them again. Except for a few bumps, I kept to that advice but these last few days I really haven’t been able to do it.

The thing is, sitting on the couch all day is not fun. I want to be active. I want the satisfaction of accomplishing something or learning something new. I want to be able to say, “Check this out!” when J gets home from work.

I need to come up with a project to do. Something useful that captures my imagination and will occupy my brain for more than just a few minutes at a time. Something that I’ll feel satisfaction about when it’s done. I need to think about this.

Worries about work and insurance are still on my mind, and I can’t stop thinking about it. I keep trying to tell myself that everything is fine and I still have everyone’s support, but I keep worrying that one of these times when the phone rings it’ll be someone telling me that my insurance has been cancelled and I have to go back to my old job. Dr W has been quite emphatic that that won’t happen but I’m having a lot of trouble letting it go. I think that worrying about work is causing other problems and may even be contributing to my lack of motivation.

Another thing I really need to improve on is the area that I’m comfortable driving in. It hasn’t changed much over the last few months and I’m worried that I’m going to get stuck, unable to drive more than ten minutes from home. I also need to get out on the motorcycle more. I bought a new jacket just so I could ride but I’ve only done it once. Insurance isn’t cheap around here so if I don’t get out more it’ll be a huge waste. Great – yet another thing that’s pressuring me.

I’m glad the weekend is here, though. It will be good to hang out with J and maybe watch a movie or two. That would be nice.

I hope you all have a good weekend!

Stay safe!

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!