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08
February

Still In the Game…

Written by m0rg0th. No comments Posted in: Depression, Goals, Health

At this stage I think a quick post is necessary just so you all realise I’m actually still alive and this two month hiatus from posting isn’t more “final”. I won’t lie, it’s been damn tough the last few months: tougher than it’s been in a long time. Emotionally & Psychologically it’s been hell; I’ve been navigating some very rocky reefs just off a very dangerous coast. I don’t know if I’m out of those waters yet, but at least this week I’ve steered a more positive and productive course. Only time will tell. Time is the only true auditor of “survival”.

I have found some energy and I’m attempting to find some motivation to move on and get out of yet another crossroads where the vehicle (me) has stalled. In some ways it’s seemed like I can see the tick boxes running out at the bottom of the page for chances to start again. I will get a more enlightening post up soon, but for the moment I’ve made use of five minutes to indicate I’m still in the game.

05
November

“Today is the first day of the rest of my life…”

It sounds hackneyed and trite. I’d be the first to say that is exactly how I have felt about that statement in the past but it’s also true. I’m not sure why (yet) that statement sounds different to me today, but I found myself saying it early this morning while making breakfast. Is that a sign of hopefulness returning? I’m not sure, but perhaps it has something to do with the day I enjoyed yesterday. I attended a wedding; not something I do lightly as I don’t really believe in the legal construct of a wedding.

I do believe in the commitment that two people can share with each other which is why I attended yesterday’s wedding. It was between two people I believe love & care about each other and they wanted to share their day with those around them that they feel similarly.

It was the most relaxed wedding I’ve been to in over 10 years. That doesn’t demean the event in anyway, it was simply a reflection of the couple and their family and friends.

Somehow though I drove away last night feeling somewhat more “lively” than I have felt in quite a while. Although I was tired at the end of the day and running on very little sleep, I found myself strangely energised by the day and the people. I caught up with some of those friends that sit in the secondary circle and oddly found myself feeling valued again. Even though I’ve not seen several of them for up to a decade, they still managed to demonstrate to me that I’d made a difference in their life and that somehow I’d manage without effort to make a positive impact in their lives. That was valuable and enriching for me yesterday: perhaps it was the shot in the arm that my emotional state has needed?

Only time will tell on this one, but this morning was the most positive feeling morning I can remember in months. Hopefully I can channel this into some positive action forward!

29
October

Progress is slow at best (if at all) over the last couple of months. I’ve been having some horrific bouts of deep Depression that seem to be profound but concentrated over a few days but anything up to about 10 days. Then I seem to crawl back up out of it. It also seems to me that I have some sort of 3/5 week pattern going on. What I mean by that is that I seem to get maybe up to 3 weeks where I’m buoyant enough, then I will have between a week and a fortnight of strong and sometimes overwhelming Depressive bouts.

I’ve been working with a Psychologist again: yet another new one as both my previous choices have retired. The sessions seem to be progressing well so I’m prepared to consider that it’s an escalation before a substantial improvement that’s been transpiring over these last two to three months. But it’s been a very bumpy road this last six months. Yes, I seemed to make some ground earlier in the year, but now that is past things are not progressing as satisfactorily as I’d hoped. Things are just getting emotionally harder as the weeks go by again.

I’ve also had a few financial setbacks again, large bills mostly but I’ve also had to repay some money borrowed, inevitable but not the best time. I thought I’d be financially ok until the end of the year but that’s looking shakier now.

Surprisingly though the last couple of days have been much better. I’ve been making a substantial effort to not come down on myself for a shattered sleep cycle, and basically I’ve decided to just not give a fuck for a week or so about anything other than focussing on positives and trying to experience some happy periods no matter how “irresponsible” that may seem to me. At the moment a positive mood seems more important than anything else to my ongoing psychological survival.

03
October

Lost Footing…

Written by m0rg0th. No comments Posted in: Depression, Goals, Health

Clearly I’ve had a relapse with regard to the emotional position I was in 18 months ago and I can’t let that continue. Here’s hoping that with the financial mess behind me now I can grasp some bull by the horns and get some traction in life again. It’s been way too long since I felt on solid ground.

That said, the end of last week and the weekend just passed was the most hopeless and emotionally debilitating period I can remember over the last two years. I have no certain idea why and that’s concerning because it seemed to come from nowhere and I really was struggling to stay afloat. I spent hours on the phone with friends just to hang on. I really hope that was some incredibly obscure and unlikely set of circumstances that’s done & dusted now because I’m pretty sure I’d be underwater if I had to try and stay on top of that level of psychological blackness for a couple of weeks continuously.

Anyway I’ve shortlisted some tasks this week to try and prevent slipping down to that level again. Hopefully that state will not reoccur before I find my feet again.

14
July

Two Years On…

Written by m0rg0th. No comments Posted in: Dreams, Furbag, General, Health, House, Philosophy, Work

So here I am two years down the track after leaving my former full-time employer. It’s been a rough journey and it’s still not over. I suppose the positive of it is that I’m still here. I use “suppose” because there’s been times that I’ve been pretty unsure about that. I’ve definitely felt like there’s no point to living several times over this last two years, but fortunately (and I say that with at least some degree of “tongue in cheek”) that’s the level at which it’s stayed; still a “passing” thought that I don’t let take root. At this stage I can still entertain hope that things will change for the better. There’s been some points at where things have looked quite grim yet I’ve managed to deal with them somehow, help arriving from unexpected quarters. Things need to get better I couldn’t hang on like this for another 40 years, but hope’s not been entirely extinguished in me yet.

I feel like I’m almost starting over from where I was two years ago in many ways; I’m sure that’s not the case, but some days it’s hard to see it any other way. The difficulty is increased now though by my inability at the moment to picture a better future. That hinders motivation, which the lack of in itself makes picturing a better future difficult. A perpetual cycle of nothingness and inaction. I find my vision fading: not my sight, but my vision of a future and better situation. That’s the disturbing part of where I’m at currently, like there’s no space for me in the future, no matter which direction I look. I’m hoping that’s not the case and most days hope is all I’ve got. Certainly there’s no extraneous phenomena helping to break down that bleak outlook. I’m glad I still have my two furbags, they manage to bring a smile to my face most days. I’m pretty sure things would be a lot different without them. The value of pets with regard to Depression should never be underestimated. Food & a cardboard box or six seems to be all they ask in return.

Although at times I’m beginning to question if my choice to come off the Anti-depressants (AD’s) was well timed, it’s done and I’ve committed to giving it a good shot before conceding a return to being back on them. That said, I’ve been able to action some things that I couldn’t seem to get sorted while being on the AD’s. Only a bit more time will tell on that one. At the worst they’re on top of the fridge and I can easily start back on them without the effort of having to go get another script filled. I might be housebound a lot of the time, but at least I have a month’s worth on hand and even my worst levels of motivation won’t stop me from reaching to the top of the fridge and start taking them again. As I mentioned in a previous entry I was a least prepared when I came off them to have them on hand if necessary. They’re still there, in reach if required. I’ve re-engaged with a Psychologist, yet another one as my last one has also retired, that’s the second one to retire on me over the last 2 years. Good planning on their part I’d have to concede.

Financially things are a mess, but I’m scraping by most weeks. I could last another six months if I have to in my current situation and the financials don’t change for the better. If I resolve this situation with my creditors as I hope, twelve months is quite likely. Things do have to change in the future, but not drastically within the next week. Breathing space for a while.

That’s not to say that there haven’t been positive changes over these last two years: I’ve adopted vegetarianism, I’ve lost twelve kilograms (another five would be great), I’ve witnessed some wonderful support from my friends and family, financially I’m repositioning for the better. Once I have a better income again I’ll be in a hugely better position over time.

But there are still roadblocks. I need to develop a vision for the future again though, that’s clearly absolute requirement for my ongoing quality of life. If I can’t develop a new one of those I’ll be unlikely to see another forty years. God who would want to without one for that long? It’s both tiring and debilitating being on a roller coaster ride of feeling as if my nostrils are barely above water, then going under for just long enough to feel the choking reflex, back up for a minute or two then down for the same seemingly ad-infinitum. Something will break eventually.

But it’s all about the choices we’ve made: who and where we are is all about the choices we’ve made that have contributed to, and thus brought us to this point in our lives. It’s unrealistic to not accept that.

However I’m not letting it break today. I’ve promised myself to go easy on myself for the next week, take a few steps back and start at the drawing board (or in my case the white board) again. Perhaps I need an exercise in documenting my resources and at least mapping out any sort of plan. At least a plan that doesn’t work provides options for a new one that may succeed. If I stop trying I guess that marks me out for three quarters dead anyway doesn’t it?

Although most of the above sounds morose and hopeless just getting it out has actually lifted my spirit somewhat, I can see even just looking back a few paragraphs that I’m still able to kindle a spark of hope. The question really is can I foster that to a campfire for the remainder of the journey?

It’s come to my attention in the last few days just how much my study has been turned upside down over the last few months with various “spring cleans”. The very important workstation configuration is critical to getting work done in the quickest and most comfortable way. Clearly I’d forgotten just how well configured my workstation has been: until I realised it had been changed and that’s why all of a sudden I was feeling all this back ache and sense of stress.

So several hours was spent overnight getting it all set back up into the correct configuration again! Desk has been lowered to it’s correct position again, and while I was at it I pulled the switch apart on the electric adjustment and fixed that so that it wasn’t hanging loose anymore. Getting the chair right again has also made a significant difference. It’s not hard to tell when you’ve got it right, no back pain after an hour!

It’s been a while since my last post however I’ve not been doing nothing. I’ve been off the Anti-Depressant’s a month now completely. I’m shocked at the positives that have come from that so quickly.

Now before I go any further don’t think for a minute that I believe that taking the course of AD’s for three years was a bad choice. Clearly it wasn’t: it enabled me to leave the toxic place of work that was driving me to the brink, enabled me to make some other decisions that have since clearly moved me into a more responsible attitude towards the further directions my life will take.

That said, I could probably have come off them 12 months after I went on them after having left the toxic workplace. Working there was clearly the most damaging thing I was doing to myself from a health perspective. Needless to say it’s done now, things are moving forward more quickly than I anticipated. All of this is good. I’ve not had a single depressive bout for the thirty odd days since coming off them.

I’d come to consider that rather than assisting me now, the AD’s were actually hindering me from moving back into the world I needed connect with again. It seemed to me that the only way to know that for sure was to come off them again and see what awaited me on the outside. I had discussed this with my GP six months back and was ready to wean off them when I decided that due to an impending job prospect I’d wait in case the levels of demand on me were such that I still needed to be stabilised. However that situation passed, the job didn’t eventuate and with another prescription renewal dawning I decided now was the time. There were no significant pressures outside the normal and I was dealing well with them. However my life was feeling like I was now treading water in the Sargasso Sea. I was uninspired, feeling creatively hindered and generally weighed down. It felt like it a draft print looks from a laser printer. There but barely.

Against and I must stress the against my GP’s suggestion I decided to come off cold turkey. We’d originally planned a tiered approach until I was no longer taking them: pretty much a two or three month timetable. But given that I now had what I considered the perfect time to do it quickly and without any significant life pressures looming I decided to jump off the figurative bridge.

I didn’t do this blindly or unprepared however. I renewed the prescription keeping it easily to hand in case it was needed. I’m an old hand at coming off mood & mind altering substances via the cold turkey method and confirming no physical risks from doing so with this medication in particular, I decided to commit to the path. I had backup plans in place, friends who were aware of what I was doing and why. They would be ready to assist if necessary.

Once again I strongly urge against this method without certain things in place. This is definitely a case of only if you’re fully aware of what might be going to happen and do your best to plan for it: certainly do not do it without people helping you. As I said even though I’ve had previous personal experience coming off a lot of illicit drugs, cold turkey is not without it’s risks. I cannot emphasise enough that it’s NOT something to go into without your eyes open and other people to be there for you if it all goes to hell. There are risks of physical reactions and extreme psychological reactions including potentially suicide.

A month later, my head is clear, my body feels grounded, I’m awaking from sleep far more refreshed and I’ve been impressed with the amount of motivation I’ve had available to channel into various tasks I’ve needed to get done for a while. I think it’s been the appropriate choice at this point.

I’m now looking forward to the new chapters in my life.

Many years ago when I was first getting clean it was suggested to me that I might make a “Gratitude List” for times I was feeling somewhat negative about things in general. Last night I woke up in the middle of the night with that thought in my mind again. So I suppose it might be meaningful to do so again.

I’m sure there’s more, yet that’s as much as I can see today.

I can’t say it was a great weekend of activity, although I did help a friend out with something that’s been holding her back from getting a lot of work done. It’s good to know you can help friends and receive the simple joy and satisfaction that comes with that and the recognise the appreciation and thanks.

Outside of doing that, the rest of the weekend has been spent examining and reorganising my plans for the coming few months. Financially things are just limping along, but it’s not the money so much as the disintegration of the faith in myself and my skill set that’s more concerning now. I know rationally I have a huge range of skills. However at the moment they’re not being used to their full potential. I can see this, but have been feeling at a loss about how to kick start the process again. The vain hope of getting a job again that will use these is solidifying into a figurative concrete wall, grey, uninteresting and unattractive.

Coupled with that is a major lack of motivation for anything, it’s debilitating. It’s not accompanied by the profound Depression that I was feeling 18 months ago, but somehow this is more insidious. The subtleness of it is what’s most concerning. So today I’m spending time regrouping myself mentally and strategising a fresh path for the next 3 to 6 months.

27
February

The Maelstrom…

Written by m0rg0th. No comments Posted in: Depression, Dreams, Philosophy, Winge, Work

It seems I’m in a holding pattern, slowly spiralling inwards but not really reaching a destination, i.e. a goal. Financially I’ve slowed the sinking, but the lifeboat is still leaking slowly, with the threat of a major leak constantly a threat. Purposiveness is disintegrating slowly too which is as concerning if not more. I’m steeling myself for a cathartic jolt which I hope is looming.