What goes up must come down

For an entire week I was on top of the world.  Felt like the best week I can remember this past year.  Great energy, healthy appetite, a to-do list as long as my arm that I was checking off as fast as I could.  Actually being engaged with life, with my friends and family.  Putting out an effort, it wasn’t war paint this week.  Oh no!  It was putting my best foot forward.

My ex used to berate me for talking to strangers, well guess what I did that week?  I talked to as many strangers as I could find, too bad for you sweetheart!  I made new friends and I shone brighter than I have in ages.  Each new task or interaction called to me like a drug, and I chased that high.  For a whole eight days the world was my oyster.

Photo by Min An on Pexels.com

Did I recognize this as unusual and off for me? Sure, but I also embraced it.  Pre-meds, pre-diagnosis, my up days lasted maybe two days in a row at most.  This temporary life trained my system to go hard and to go fast.  To make the most of the time while I had it.  Each day that passed only served to convince me that this was all the new meds, which it was, and that it was permanent, which it was not.  Proud of the new schedule and routine I had in play during the week, I went to bed excited for tomorrow.  Then I woke up.

My alarm went off and all I could think was no, no, oh hell no.  In contrast to my waking before the alarm for the past week.  I turned it off and finally awoke a few hours later.  This time rolling out of bed, instead of over, I had places to be.

At the appointment I explained to my doctor how disappointed I was in this day.  How I had been on such a roll and to crash so hard was brutal.  He explains that this is likely because my meds aren’t sorted yet and is likely to happen again.  We discussed my high chasing, busy and effortless week.  He highlighted some concerns and we highlighted the good points too.  We discussed the minimums I should try for on the down days.

Meeting with my psychologist that afternoon I again expressed my frustrations.  Having chugged a Red Bull so I wouldn’t fall asleep in the chair, I was there but far from present.  The only idea in my head was going home and curling up in bed.  This was the day when I realized my mouth had written cheques my ass couldn’t cash.  I took on my homework with enthusiasm, lying to myself that today was a one off, not a change in cycle. 

That homework wouldn’t be done for a week.  All the times I said “Sure” or “I’ll be there” to friends suddenly abandoned.  I went dark.  A swift and sudden shift from where I was a week ago.  From being the one initiating contact to the one who puts her phone on do not disturb so I wouldn’t have to face reality.  Avoiding all contact with the outside world, resuming my social media hiatus and responding to my well-meaning family only because I had promised I always would. 

Where was the woman from a week ago?  Would I ever be able to dig myself out of this pit of despair?  Why can’t I just be better?  Wavering between self-hatred and guilt to nothingness and being numb to the world.  Every detail of my life seemed hopeless again.  All those plans, short and long term, I had made just a few days ago were abandoned.  Worst case was the only solution my mind could foresee.

The down days outlasted the good ones.  Just one of the reasons I haven’t posted in a while.  The adjustment to my meds hardly helped.  The side effect of higher dosage being a zombie who just slept all the time and had about an hour of clarity per day.  During the clarity I did what I could, but physically my body was not my own.  After living with that for over a week, I made the executive decision to go back to a lower dose.  I say executive decision, but the reality is my doctor and I discussed this when we upped it, although we were expecting far different side effects. 

That decision was one of the better I’ve made recently.  Physically I have good and bad days, my motivation is growing daily, my to-do lists getting longer although not completed at a pace I’d like.  My outlook hasn’t much improved though.  Appetite is finally up-ish, as is the desire to cook healthy food for myself.  But I only have enough groceries for two days.  Simply because I’m waiting for the crash again.

I’ve agreed to outings with family and friends but no farther than three days out.  Fearful that when I awake tomorrow I’ll be thirty steps back from today.  Sticking to a realistic routine, now understanding the difference between a schedule and routine, and the importance each has in my daily life.  Struggling with the realization that this is my life, my circumstance for however long I’ll have.  Struggling with the realization that hopefully, probably, in time this won’t be my day to day and that something far less bright and beautiful from my miracle week is the medical goal.

My psychologist and I discussed this at length once.  How I would manufacture my up days at will if I could.  Harnessing the energy and clarity, transforming it into my own super power if possible.  What that could mean to my personal life and my professional one.  All the benefits and none of the cons.  How amazing, life changing that would be.  To even imagine that now puts a smile on my face.  It seems impossible, unattainable, but that doesn’t change the appeal.

If only I could bottle it, I wouldn’t even try to sell it, just put in in storage for the next round of down days, for safe keeping.  For days of writer’s block, or lack of motivation when I try the gym.  When my phone chimes with well-intentioned friends I don’t have the energy for.  To cash those cheques I wrote last week, to make my family proud this week.  If only I could defy gravity and stay up forever. 

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