A Day Inside my Head

Posted by Arjen Lentz on July 13th, 2011

(preamble: generally I think about posts here for a while and so it is with this one – however, it turned out more topical for me now and thus this post is pretty much “real time”. Just so you know…)

Good morning, and welcome to this tour of my head today. Feel free to ask any questions. It’s a bit of a mess right now, I am aware (I try not to fuss too much over that as it’d just be an added stress – just step over).

Jittery? Ehm yes that too – the body that’s attached to this head definitely is jittery this morning as it has been for some days; it’s had (give or take) about 0 hours of sleep last night and that takes its toll. Some nights are better than others.

Any medication that might help? Yep on it, since last week and for the first time in about four years. Went back to the doctor because I don’t regard crying in a corner as not a normal way of spending even part of a day. Cause? Dunno, there are triggers but other than that it just appears to be chemical imbalance (SSRI). Now it might take up to a few weeks (or even months if the dose needs to be tweaked) to hopefully settle things again.

Oops mind those thoughts whizzing past – you’re quite right most of them you’ve seen before recently and in a bit they’ll come around again. Persistent buggers they are, they’ve been thought about and/or dealt with, yet they keep popping back up, bloody useless really. It’ll be great when that just goes away – yep the meds should help with that. The thoughts themselves are of the harmless variety, no fear there. I just prefer to have new thoughts rather than recycling old used ones, you know?

So where were we… ahyes, sleeplessness. Of course those pesky thoughts don’t help but relaxation exercises assist; and in part it can be a temporary side effect of the meds, difficult to tell really with so many factors. I do get up every morning, have breakfast or go for morning walk with an apple to get daylight and exercise as well and try not to have naps during the day – yep all the right things, it’s really good to have those habits mostly in place while things are ok then it’s so much easier to keep them up.

So how do I feel, am I ok? Ehm, obviously not ok really, and how I feel differs per hour (pretty irregular waveform, for the geeks). Can I cope with life, daughter, the world outside and run my business? Luckily, yes. With running my own business, having others work for/with me and not doing emergency type stuff at all, that’s flexible enough to remain manageable. When I started the business four years ago some people were very concerned about the timing (and I’m not disagreeing) but it’s worked out well and reaping its benefits now.

I can joke and laugh and enjoy myself, as I realise it’s not me but just a malfunctioning part of me. I refuse to let that take over. I’m decent company (and that’s not just my own opinion). I do have some bad moments, say akin to a nasty stomach cramp (general feeling of dread), and those are more frequent right now than when things were going ok. It used to just be there every once in a while which was managable, it’s more annoying in its current state; hope that subsides soon. Last time I lost a lot of weight in a very short time, this time it seems stable and as I mentioned a light breakfast is generally doable and other meals are mostly fine.

Judgement? Ah, that’s a bit tricky. It’s not quite right and I’ve experienced examples of this over recent months before I figured out what was going on, so I need to be careful. Ability to observe yourself and often recognise cannot always prevent trouble, because clearly some of the logic applied is affected by the problem and thus currently borked. Self-awareness is good but not a complete solution here. Technical matters = usually ok, personal matters = potentially tricky, emotional matters = quagmire. Being tired I obviously need to take care to not grump or snap, not fair to take things out on other people and it doesn’t help anyone. The immediate nasty symptoms required action. Now that that’s happening… Overall, I’m functional. Of course, more sleep would be excellent!

I mentioned triggers earlier. The other day while on my morning walk I had quite a reaction to seeing a couple walk hand in hand, which is usually just regard as cute. Surprising, but there’s context. First of all and just to be clear, this is not the only type of trigger observed. Second, I know that close companionship has a very stabilising effect on my state and since I’m not currently in a relationship I can’t benefit from that. Bummer. I’m telling this because it may help others. If you have a partner (who understands), you’re likely to be in much better shape. Obviously, initiating a new relationship would be messy to say the least (not impossible though, if you’re both well aware of what’s going on), and even when already/just dating someone (which I am) tossing this stuff into the mix is a rather serious burden. That said, if you want to continue seeing the person you’re going to have to talk about it, as it’s not an optional part of who you are and they need to understand why you are and behave/react the way you do and might be a tad volatile. Oh and if you’re with someone who “doesn’t believe in it” (depression, that is) – seriously get out right now as they’re toxic to you and you’re better off without them.

When I did the little talk 3 years ago that ended up starting BlueHackers, I’d dealt with my own troubles – it was just good therapy for me and potentially useful for others to speak out, make things more open and ensure people didn’t feel alone. I didn’t think I’d find myself “back here” – still, I know I’m not alone!

It’s very annoying when part of your head doesn’t “behave” the way you want and is affecting your life for some period of time. I am able to just disregard the occasional “what am I doing this for” as I know those thoughts/doubts only pop up when that part misbehaves and it’ll disappear when things settle. That’s a relief (and probably comforting to you, the reader, too ;-) but still a nuisance in the mean time.

I’m now using these scribbles here as therapy. I don’t need pity (does anyone?) but empathy is good. I don’t want to have to pretend that everything is alright, because it bloody clearly isn’t and it costs a lot of energy which I need for getting better. I am open with the people around me too, for the same reasons: nice to still get invitations for dinner and doing stuff together with friends even when I’m somehow exuding this odd vibe that might otherwise scare people away.

Thanks for visiting – and now, out of my head. It’s mess enough without so many extra visitors ;-)

Filed under: Brain Hacking, Written Reflections

 

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