I am a strong swimmer, but not a fast one. I had to try at least five times to pass the sprint portion of the lifeguard exam. I needed my certification because I had already been hired as a lifeguard and waterfront manager for the summer. Clearly the job hinged on my ability to pass the stupid sprint.
I could not believe that the muscular boy who looked like he was drowning when he was treading water and had terrible form and I think may have been afraid of water... was able to get certified long before I was. He just muscled his way through the water and reached the other end seconds before the whistle blew. I missed it by one tenth of a second.
My instructor let me keep trying. Daily. For a week. I practiced with a former Russian Olympian as my coach, giving me pointers on form. It shaved some time off my sprint, but not enough. I missed my goal by one hundreth of a second. When I eventually passed at a different pool with a different instructor they timed me with an old-fashioned ticking stopwatch that didn't have tenths or hundreths.
I could swim for hours. I could swim for days. I could swim in circles around Drowning Boy. I could escape from his iron grip underwater and get away before he could grab me (we were partners when practicing this; he wasn't some big jerk). I was just not fast. Would never make the swim team.
While I like swimming, running really is not my thing. When I have routinely gone for runs (many years ago) it was strictly because I thought it would be good for me. Like going to the dentist. Or eating cooked green peppers. Or answering my phone...
I was a distance runner in junior high which meant I ran the mile and sometimes the two mile event for the girls' track team. I was not good. I ran solely to stay in shape for soccer. Which I was better at, but still not good.
I was originally recruited for the track team because I was the only girl in my gym class who didn't just walk around the track when they were timing us. I think my time was over ten minutes that first try. And even though I never got terribly fast (I think my best time was 7 minutes). But I earned first or second place at almost every match strictly because nobody else was competing. I got the points for my team just by being there and crossing the finish line.
I didn't do track or cross country in high school. I don't know why. I think because I was so busy with all my other extra-curriculars that the only sport it was worth making room for during the school year was soccer. The coach at the high school tried to recruit me because I shared a last name with a runner who was very fast and he were hoping I was her younger sibling. We were not, so far as I know, related.
I don't know what the connection is between these things and the Kicking of Depression's Ass. Perhaps I am just hoping that although I do not recover quickly (having battled with Depression for the last twenty three years), I recover with great endurance. I am still here. Plodding along. Gonna get a ribbon because there is no one competing against me. Will eventually figure out what I need to do to pass. It won't be flashy. It won't be pretty. But it will get me where I need to be.
I think it's just that I am stubborn. And I try to use that character trait for good instead of evil. I am not a sprinter. When I try bad things happen. I turn my ankle. I scrape my head on the side of the pool while doing a kick turn. I hyperventilate or have a full-on asthma attack. I am an endurer. I outwit and outlast, but I do not outrun.
I need to remember this in terms of what I want to do to get life back to normal now that I am back to normal. Normal for me does include bouts of energetic crafting, cleaning or whatever project-type thing I am currently obsessed with. But normal for me should also include thoughts of endurance. What pace can I keep up if what I am doing needs to continue indefinitely.
I cannot frantically clean disastrous areas in my house for whole days. Becuase this is not sustainable. I need to think bigger. Not a sprint. The problem is on this journey to decluttered wonder and the land of organized milk and honey things don't stay where I put them. Because I will put them someplace else. Or one of the other four people I live with will come through and move things around.
It's like running on a track that you think ends in a mile, but as you are running people keep laying more pavement and depending on how fast they are working and how fast you are running-- some days you can see the end of the track, and some days you can't.
Grateful Crap: Getting a dispensation to write a post after nine pm. I will get off internet promptly afterwards. I may set up parental controls on my computer to automatically log me out...
took meds in the morning (150mg sertraline, 450mg bupropion)
tea with a friend
decluttered/dusted room so I will be able to breathe at night
I am made of awesome.
My brain had a great day yesterday. It went zizzing around from meeting to meeting absorbing information and combining it with other information in the context of the big picture. It was so much fun.
I do not often say this about meetings. But the meetings were purposeful, productive, and thought-provoking. As a group we were involved with generating ideas that fit in to a common purpose. I was able to combine my educator's brain with my trusty old business systems analyst brain.
Work smarter, not harder.
I did have somewhat of a difficult time coming down from this intellectual "high." I went home and played with ideas. For a long time. Because it takes a long time for the ideas to float around and attach themselves to other things until they click into place.
I went to bed at a somewhat reasonable time last night. I didn't wait for a book to fall on my face before I stopped reading. However, the toddler who went to bed for the night at 3pm the following day did not manage to sleep through the night. Go figure.
And when she woke she felt the need to poke me in the eye and have loud and interesting discussions with me like, "I have been wondering about the thunder..."
Then after what felt like hours and hours of trying to get back to sleep I gave up because my creative brain was wide awake. So I got up AND I WROTE. Not blog stuff (I didn't allow myself to turn on the computer until at least 4:00 am). Creative writing. Something new. And it was so much fun that I wanted to dance a jig.
This is what I was missing. This is the piece of me that was locked away when there wasn't enough serotonin to go around. Years ago (but not yet decades) I wrote most of my master's thesis for my MFA after everyone was asleep and before they woke up. Because I was awake. Not because I stayed up too long or set an alarm to get up early. But because the ideas woke me up when they were ready and I paid attention.
My favorite example of this was a short story I wrote. I got up in the middle of the night after a rejuvenating three hours of sleep and wrote the story from start to finish. It was about a funeral parlour hair dresser (yes this is a real job) who worked in a small town in Minnesota.
Here is the kicker: I found out later that my paternal great grandmother was a funeral parlour hair dresser in small-town Minnesota. I had not been concisously aware of this. Isn't the subconscious a wonderful thing?
Tee hee! Until you have not been you for a length of time you don't realize how truly amazing and wonderful it is to be you. Maybe it is like leaving home-- when you come back you appreciate things so much more. You don't know what you've got 'till it's gone (and other musical cliches).
I am not, by the way, advocating clinical Depression as a method for coming to some kind of zen acceptance of Who You Are. I am just saying a little thanks for this moment of accepting me for who I am and being pretty happy about it.
Grateful Crap: That I am not a single parent and that my spouse is also my best friend. This, I can heartily recommend.
I already wrote that my Daily Convexions on the earlier post: meds and not much more. Still minding the pills. Using the new minder now. 150mg sertraline, 450mg bupropion
The owner of this blog would post, except that she promised not to be on the computer after nine. Sigh. However, beginning a post at 10:00 would be completely and utterly foolish and lead inevitably to binge watching the UK version of Life on Mars and staying up until 1:30 and then reading Buffy the Vampire Slayer season 8 comics on the ipad. Until said ipad fell onto someone's face thus signalling time for lights out.
Sneak peek of the tomorrow post though: STILL NORMAL!
Daily Convexions: meds in the morning as appropriate... then not much else.
Today was a day like many other days in my typical existence...
I got lost while driving around and around and around Saint Paul because for some reason I plugged in the completely wrong address into google maps last night and went to the Westside instead of Dale and University. They are not the same.
When I picked child up from friend's house (really a giant and terrifying collection of twisting corridors leading to a mysterious apartment whose number I cannot remember) she was quite tired. Walked the long long way through the labyrinth (avoiding the minotaur) in the rain to the car before discovering I left my keys in the third floor apartment.
Back up with super tired child now growing more and more agitated; found the keys in the bathroom on the sink (naturally).
Driving home with a child screaming. Taking her out of the car screaming. Putting her on the bed screaming. For 2 hours solid. Tired out of her mind and unable to calm down enough to sleep.
Instead of spending afternoon studying and organizing things and practicing horn, spent afternoon calming the child and engaging in important snuggling activities.
Totally messed up during a rehearsal with the concert band I play with. Everyone else was playing the third movement; I was playing the fourth. But i did it with great gusto. Hmmm... I didn't think the fourth horn part was so exposed in this movement! For some reason the conductor didn't bat an eye in my direction or mention the very loud and percussive horn countermelody in the middle of a lyrical oboe solo.
A fairly run of the mill day. And it wasn't too stressful. It felt like a normal bunch of things going slightly wrong, but it did not derail me as it might have in the past. It feels so very different to feel back to normal. I am reminding myself that this is what it feels like when I start to properly treat my Depression and it is well controlled. This is not an invitation to quit treating the Depression. This is the Beginning.
So I started routinely taking medication in early June. Now it is Early October. Four months to figure it out (for the moment). That is not an instant cure. That is not "take two aspirin and call me in the morning." There was a trial and error and error and error and error period.
Here was the progression starting in May of 2013 and ending with October of 2013
1. sertraline 100mg
2. sertraline 150mg
3. sertraline 150mg, bupropion 150mg
4. sertraline 150mg, bupropion 300mg
5. sertraline 150mg bupropion 450mg
6. sertraline 150mg bupropion 600 mg (oops)
7. sertraline 150mg bupropion 450mg
This is the most me-like my brain has felt in a long long time. If this current cocktail works this well on most days I will be most pleased. But it is worth remembering how much tinkering was involved in getting things right. And knowing that things will probably change and we will have to do that again.
It's just like laundry and making the bed and doing the dishes and brushing your teeth... something that just keeps on happening and is never done. Kind of a chore, but what can you do. For now here is what I have found. I do best when I take my meds in the morning around the same time (duh). The sertraline/bupropion mix does much better than just the sertraline. They're good buddies. They like working together. I also do better when I have a regular work schedule, a weekly routine instead of a nebulous schedule on a complicated four-week rotation.
I had a meeting with my boss today going over all the things I have developed in the course of creating my new job and I thought WOW, I totally kick ass. I do not feel bad at all that my teaaching style is totally different from the teacher who preceded me because I found my own rhythm, which works much better than trying to follow someone else's dance steps. Take THAT, Depression. I have the big picture back. I can make plans for the future. I so badly want to say I AM CURED. Because that is what it feels like.
Do diabetics have this too? When their medications are working properly or their diabetes is well controlled do they suffer from the delusion that they are cured? There are plenty of people who require better living through chemistry just to have a quasi-normal life. I still don't know why I object to being one of them. It's probably because in the back of my head I think that all of this is just imaginary and I should get over myself and I should be able to cope as well as anyone else without meds. Ugh. I would never say that to anyone else. I should think carefully before saying crappy things like that to me.
Grateful Crap: Having a person who knows their stuff when it comes to medication helping to systematically figure out what works for me and not having to do this on my own. Also: normal normal normal!
Walked some amount (I dropped my pedometer and put it in my purse and it stopped recording my steps)
Took meds (150mg sertraline, 450mg bupropion
didn't freak out about stuff
spent more time "in the moment" than I typically do (I can't explain why or how, but it feels true)
Hey, today everything felt pretty normal. It was cool. Just a regular day doing regular things. It was awesome. Had a regular day at work. Regular interactions with my family.
Things didn't go exactly as planned, but whatever. It was all fine. And nobody panicked and nobody yelled and nobody threw a temper tantrum. So I guess in some ways it wasn't a normal day. Ha.
This is what I am aiming for: you know, convexity. The opposite of Depression. And when I am operating at full steam, my whole family benefits and then I benefit from their benifitting. It is benificent. And bellissimo. Although not at all balaustine. That may be my new favorite word.
I didn't do much in the way of exercise today, but I did curb the sweet cravings from yesterday (in which I may or may not have eaten the majority of a pan of rice krispy bars without realizing that I was the only one eating them).
Grateful Crap: normal normal normal. It totally rocks. Although I really am getting sassier and sassier. Which I guess is the real me. Watch out world.
took meds (150mg sertraline, 450mg bupropion) pill minder still in use, though I am not used to it yet.
Steps today: 3621 (but a lot of them were up and down 4 LONG flights of stairs 4 times)
kept an even keel (so easy to do when things aren't stormy, but it was still good practice)
That really ought to be a word. Followthrough. Like thoroughfare. But different. Right. I am too tired to properly be able to write, which is good. I should go to bed.
Making this a quick post. I got my watch with alarm, my pedometer and my pill minder. I forgot the pill minder in the car. I know where it is, though and that is half the battle.
I wore the pedometer today: 4599 steps. I am not entirely sure that it counts my time on the elliptical trainer properly. I will have to check next time. I am starting with a goal of 5000 steps which I realize is only half of the 10,000 steps recommended by somebody who does not have three children and a job and an inability to properly manage her time.
Also I did lose track of my watch earlier today. I found it in the bottom half of the butter keeper in the kitchen. Because that is where one always looks for watches.
I semi-successfully used the watch to do a 15 minute declutter. But then I wanted to do more because it seemed like I was so close to some nebulous, unattainable goal. Eventually I did sit down and do some embroidery. Because it is something new for me and I am slow and it slows me down.
Grateful Crap: discovering that having an argument as a dialogue on paper is MUCH more productive than engaging in the yelling. (note: I have decided that the name of my future rock band will be "Perpetrators of Yelliness." We will play only hard core straight edge punk. Or something like that. I am pretty sure those are some descriptive terms.)
Meds on time (150mg sertraline, 450mg bupropion)
1 hour on the elliptical trainer
Felt good, but easily tired today. I won
Quaker, teacher, parent,