Monday, July 31, 2006

Recovering

It's Monday morning, and I'm running late. However, since I'm not actually employed at the moment, it's not stressing me out. So I wanted to be at the coffee shop to working on Jan's book for 9:00. So it's 9:26 and I'm still at home. Big deal.

My life has changed drastically, my friends, over the past few weeks. If you read this blog with any regularity, then you know that I was plagued with insomnia for months. From last August until about three weeks ago, I averaged two, maybe three hours of sleep a night. Some nights I never even slept at all. And all of this occurred while I was working 16-18 hours a day.

Insomnia makes you crazy. A few nights of insomnia are bad enough, but but eleven months of it is enough to send one to the loony bin. Add to that mix a demanding job, major depression, and my unmedicated and already-weird brain chemistry, and you have a recipe for disaster.

And a disaster it was (no details necessary ... just take my word for it!). I was so busy during the school year that I never made time to go to a doctor and get medication. I didn't have health insurance anyway, and no one wants recent treatment for "mental health issues" on their record when they're trying to get health insurance later on.

You hear about "teenage depression," and I was hoping it would end when I finished being a teenager, but it looks like this is something I'm going to have to deal with, on and off, for the rest of my life. It's very frustrating because I've lost friendships over it. I've probably lost job opportunities and other opportunities as well, simply because I happened to be in one of my "nonfunctional" periods when the opportunities presented themselves.

I've been nonfunctional for most of the summer. I had big plans for the summer, big plans for teaching next year. I was nonfunctional when I resigned last spring. I don't regret resigning, but I do wonder if I would have done so, and if my job would have been more manageable, if I'd been going on six or eight hours of sleep a night, instead of zero to four.

I finally made it to the doctor about three weeks ago and got a sleeping med (Restoril) and an antidepressant. Not the best treatment for bipolar disorder, but considering I've suffered allergic reactions to the most common bipolar treatments, it's what I have to take for now.

Life is getting better. I'm sleeping, and that has made a world of difference. One night I actually fell asleep without taking the Restoril, but I woke up feeling like I had a bad hangover, feeling like I'd relapsed into the shaky, anxiety-ridden hell that had become "normal" for me for so many months.

So maybe I need to take sleeping meds for the rest of my life, too. I'll do what I have to. I'm finally starting to feel truly normal again, and I'd forgotten what that felt like. Looking back on it, I'm amazed that I ever even made it through the school year.

I hate taking drugs of any kind, but I'm thankful that I have them. My poor, long-suffering Hubster is, too!

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