Having identified the culprit trigger(s), the job now becomes to engage my wellness plan – by putting all of my attendtion on doing those things that help reverse the downward spiral. For me, that includes vigorous exercise for at least 20 minutes but 40 is better, every day; I’ve chosen rollerblading, with cycling and speed walking as back-ups. And it means being extra vigilant in avoiding stress-inducing situations (anything involving socializing especially in a group is a no-no right now.)
I’ve alerted my manager to my condition and have asked for straightforward tasks, in exchange for the more complex data validation exercise I was doing. I think I can still manage the website work, because of its creative component – an area that is very important for helping my brain regain its equilibrium.
Luckily, I have no sadness and no anxiety. My cognitive abilities are impaired though, which is how I know for sure that it’s depression and not drug-induced foggy brain (which I get in the morning due to my antidepressants); my brain feels like it’s under a heavy fog while being squeezed from both sides at the temple area. It also sometimes feels like it is swimming in murky water; the head feels heavy and wants to wobble on its axis – my neck.
The primary cognitive difference is that my brain’s functioning has slowed right down (I am holding a toothbrush, but what do I do now? oh yeah, get the toothpaste and brush.) What used to be automatic actions now require conscious processing. Also, the brain is murky and bogged down and unable to process at a higher level than the mundane; when I try, the brain hurts (I’m not kidding); it experiences more pressure at the temples and wants to flee. I can’t follow or process instructions if there are more than 2 items of information (I could neither understand nor make sense of instructions I was being given by a gentle lady at my Toastmaster’s club, on how to work the timer).
Everyday habits now require conscious thought. My brain is extremely forgetful of basic things (instead of forgetting one thing as I get in the car for my normal Wednesday errands, I forget three or four. Nothing can be taken for granted now. But, it seems I am still able to write simple memos and journaling is okay too, thank goodness.
I expect recovery will take two to four weeks based on experience, closer to the smaller number I’m guessing because this relapse is not as severe as the others; there is no ‘dear-in-the-headlights’ feeling.
I accept that my illness has relapsed due to specific triggers, that I am not responsible for this, and that my most important job is to just do the next right thing for getting me well again. That’s my truth. Anyone who has a problem with that can speak to the Big Boss…
M i c h è l e
p.s. I believe I will be writing an Epilogue to my book, given the above.