I do intend to post here when things are good, so it isn’t just is one long litany of woe. Then I forget. Apologies. But in terms of keeping track of how I am, it’s useful for me to document and it might be useful for you if you care to know. Totally understand if you don’t!
It’s been a bit over a year since I drew the line in the sand and decided I had to stop doing everything. A year of “working on myself” which sounds terribly selfish and tiresome, but has been helpful. And tiresome. Lots of talking about myself to medical professionals. Lots of journaling to try and sort out the spaghetti in my head. Lots of lying around, resting, and trying not to feel guilty about it. Lots of unearthing of past hurts and trying to make sense of them.
Depression is still a factor in my life, but it seems to be mostly under control. Once I got used to the change in medication, things improved quite a lot. I still get melancholy at times, but it doesn’t seem to devolve into catastrophe like it did last year.
Started this post in August. Now it’s September. Oh well. What was I saying?
Oh yes. So the mood has stabilised somewhat, which is good. Talking therapy and medication does help! I was talking to someone the other day about what it means to be on medication long term…I’ve never really worried about it. I know it’s important to some people to be drug-free, and I would love that, but I just know that every time I’ve toyed with that idea since I was diagnosed with depression it hasn’t been pretty. So I take my pills. And I’m not ashamed of that. It is what it is. If you need a crutch to walk, use the crutch.
Having said that though, I’m at very limited functional capacity right now. I had hoped that as the depression stabilised and I sorted out some of the trauma from the recent and the distant past that I would start to see an improvement in my physical health and energy as well. But that…hasn’t happened. In fact, with the absence of those other stressors, it seems that the profound physical exhaustion is its own thing. I mean, they’re all tied together in one way or another, but this is quite distinct.
Georgina sent me the tool used to diagnose myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome, which is what she has lived with for the past few years, and I do seem to tick a lot of the boxes. So went to chat to my GP and he agreed, but said it’s one of those things where you have to rule everything else out first. So I’m just waiting on results from blood tests to see what’s what. Glad to have a GP who is willing to listen.
I’m at about 12 hours of work/sustained activity a week now, which is better than it was a year ago (much better!) but still not ideal. I can usually do one thing in the morning hours, sleep most of the afternoon and do one thing in the evening hours. That’s not consistent though. I think I did too much last night–I went to band rehearsal, had one drink afterwards and headed home at a sensible hour, but stayed up too late working on the service for church on Sunday that I’m leading (not music). Then I had women’s Bible study this morning and I really wanted to go but I couldn’t get up.
It’s a physical heaviness, all my limbs feel like they’re filled with lead, and my joints are aching and sore as though I’ve been on a long hike. But I haven’t. The smallest amount of physical exertion makes me even more tired. Sleep isn’t refreshing. I would actually love to go on a long hike! I really want to move and get the blood pumping. A friend suggested going to Liffey Falls this week, a beautiful and reasonably easy walk, and I really want to but…then what will I not be able to do? I won’t be able to do that massage today. I won’t be able to do that editing tomorrow. I won’t be able to do that filming the day after. That sounds like a lot of things, but I’m only talking about an hour or two of activity a day where my mind and body have to be responsive and on the ball. And apart from church and music, with my remaining energy I have to prioritise the activities that will pay my bills, which is adult and boring but necessary.
Centrelink has connected me with a disability employment services agency, and I’ve met a couple of times with someone there, who is lovely and is going to help me work out how to make my self-employment sustainable. It’s kind of confronting when you’ve been a high functioning sick person to actually have to admit that you can’t figure it all out, but it’s also such a relief. It’s nice to sit with someone who just fills out the forms and works out the details and all you have to do is listen to the result and approve it.
I am, as always, having to pray for trust and peace in the face of unexpected bills (thanks, dentist) or even the expected ones (thanks, car service that I keep delaying). I usually panic first (aaaarg we have to sell the house) and then have to remind myself of God’s care and providence that never changes. Seeing the plentiful fat sparrows outside our living room is a good reminder!
[re: selling the house–our mortgage repayments are so much lower than anywhere we could rent, and given the state of the property market just exploding in Tasmania and the difficulty friends have recently had in finding somewhere modest to live due to the competition, it is probably prudent to just stay put and enjoy the beauty of our surrounds! I do occasionally dream again about getting a block of land and building something that would be just big enough for us and all on one level and with things to make life more comfortable for mum, but methinks that will never likely happen, well not without still having a mortgage anyway–see aforementioned property market explosion.]
I’ve thankfully had just enough coming in to keep the bills paid, though there were a few tricky weeks in the middle of the last month. I’m grateful for the couple of hours’ work here and there that pop up when I need it, or for people swiftly buying things when I put them up on FB. I thank God for understanding friends who bought me coffee (and beer), or invited me to things and paid for me, or gave/sent me unexpected little presents, and just kept nice things in my life ticking along. That’s extremely humbling. I’m grateful for all the people praying for me. I’m grateful for the messages. I’m grateful for this life, even when it’s hard.