Despite Myself

I had a feeling I might get up way too early, but that’s what happens when you go to bed early and you’re feeling antsy. I spent a busy weekend working on my apartment. Purge, purge, purge. So many things have been thrown out. I wanted to do this before I found out and then after I found out it became a necessity. Found out what? This is hard to admit, but there are bugs in my apartment. I feel just about as awful and ashamed of this fact as I have ever been about anything, no exaggeration. I can tell myself that I’ve been sick and that this is a result of that but it doesn’t do a lot to make me feel better. I feel like a disgusting failure.

Dealing with this, and having to suddenly find the motivation to work through everything that has to be done has been very stressful. I wasn’t doing a lot, barely anything. I believe I mentioned I have next to no stamina? So that’s pitiful reserves of energy, almost zero functioning work ethic and bouts of apathy that suck all my drive to do things, no matter how important they may be.

And it doesn’t matter. Things still have to get done, despite myself. They have, I’ve come a long way in this cleaning process, but I’ve had a lot of help. If I hadn’t had my mom and my boyfriend (Jeremy) to help me with this purge I would have been screwed.

The frustrating part currently is that they were due to come in and treat for the bugs on Monday, so I plowed through the preparation with Jeremy here over the weekend to help, Mom coming in on Sunday, and a final push by myself to be ready Monday morning. Monday I left before they were due to arrive and didn’t show up again until well after the treatment was supposed to be done. I thought I was going to get home Monday night and find that things were well on their way to being normal again. No such luck. They didn’t come. They left me a note stating that they won’t be here until the 5th.

This might sound like I get more time to prepare, but really I was ready. Everything was thrown out that needed to be, everything else was bagged and the furniture was moved. Somehow, even with help, I had managed to do a lot of work myself. And now? Now I have to undo some of the prep in order to live here, without undoing all the prep that was so hard to achieve. And I have to be here, with a problem I barely see but I know is still there. I have to stew with this stress-triggering problem for a week.

So it spills over onto other areas, as things tend to do with depression and anxiety. I am cranky, sleeping a bit oddly (obviously, it’s almost 4:30 am as I write this) and feeling my creative energies are floundering. I am trying not to be completely pessimistic but it is certainly weighing me down.

I guess it’s a good thing that I am seeking out counseling. I’m looking to bridge the gap between me and what Dr. R can offer me as my psychiatrist. He is there to listen, in a sense, but on the whole he is there to establish my current condition, prescribe medication accordingly and guide me towards any other necessary steps. Counseling is not really his domain. I started to look for help for myself but if I can’t find what I need he is prepared to refer me to someone I can talk to.

This all has to do with that problem I mentioned before, the one I cried over for a while and then sort of calmed down about. It’s still relevant, and I’d like a counselor’s help in having to deal with it. I don’t mean to tease with this mention of an ambiguous “problem” but it’s still sensitive. I want to share it when I am ready but at this point I am still not ready. I think I would be more comfortable with it if the larger portion of it were resolved.

In any case, I am hoping to get in touch with a counselor in the next few weeks. There’s always the option to go to a walk-in if I can’t stand the wait, but I feel like I can hold out for now. Part of this may be that I don’t want to juggle the bug problem and the other problem at the same time. I feel like I need to compartmentalize in order to preserve myself.

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Update from the couch

The purge of junk has begun. My mom came over yesterday and we made a dent in the work together. I am caught between feeling good about the progress and feeling bad about the remainder. Still I’d say that overall as far as the cleanup is concerned that my mood is going in the upward direction.

It does get dragged back somewhat by finding myself tired at 6pm. I hate feeling those doldrums, especially when lately I’ve been using most of my time and energy to write. Where normally I’d be lost in the far reaches of a video game, lately I’ve been staring off into the void, pondering my next blurb or poem. The pondering has even produced some results. Imagine that.

Not to say that I think gaming is bad. To me gaming is another avenue of fiction to explore. The enjoyment provided by a compelling game can be akin to a book, a movie or a tv show. It’s exploring the fruits of someone else’s imagination, and it is the root of what I love in life. However, I am encouraged that I am not just gaming. It is easy to be caught up for long periods of time. It is highly escapist for me, especially when the game is detailed and immersive. Getting something else in the mix activity-wise is a promising development.

I am hoping that the change in my meds is going to contribute to less fatigue, but the medication itself is not potent over 24 hours. Its lifespan is quite a bit shorter. This ultimately means I may have to find a better time to take my pills. I.e.: later in the day. I suppose the other option is to divide the dose of that particular medication earlier and later, something I’ve been told I can do by my psychiatrist.

Today is not looking like another day of cleaning. I know my mom has an appointment today so she won’t be able to provide any support, moral or otherwise. Besides, she has the big cart we were using to bring garbage down to the garbage room. I don’t know what I’m going to get up to today. More writing is a possibility.

I’m up early again and not sure what the results will be. I don’t typically go to bed very late so I suppose getting up early isn’t that much trouble. It is extremely unlikely that my fatigue has to do with length of sleep. If anything, it’s the quality… and then of course the fatigue is also most definitely mood-based. What’s interesting to me about my sleep the last couple of nights is that my AHI has been the lowest I’ve seen it.

An explanation: AHI stands for Apnea/Hypopnea Index. I have sleep apnea. Yes, that means I snore. It also means I stop breathing over the course of the night and lose oxygen. It’s a serious thing and in my case quite severe. My AHI without therapy was at about 61. That’s the number of times my air was blocked or partially blocked in an hour. Therapy in my case means a bi-pap machine. It provides a two-tiered (bi) flow of positive air pressure (pap). Essentially it creates enough air pressure to keep my airway open. Even with the machine, it’s not perfect. I still experience “events” over the course of the night, but my average AHI is down to around 12. That’s a big difference. It means I’m getting more of the oxygen I should be getting while I sleep, which means my brain is better rested.

So the past 2 nights I have slept on the couch. I have to be on my side the whole night because there isn’t enough room to lie on my back, the way I normally do. Yesterday morning my AHI was around 7. (The machine has an indicator for this.) This morning it was 3. Holy crap, 3! I don’t know when it has ever been that low. Who knew sleeping on the couch could be beneficial?

Rise. Shine. Wait.

Writing this early in the morning. By my standards, that is. Dodging the shame like I took the red pill last night. Whoosh, whoosh, I bend over backwards and it flies by… almost as deadly as bullets.

I am playing the waiting game. Possibly one of the worst games, but that’s beside the point. I may not have much in the way of a routine at this juncture of my life, but the morning part of what I do have goes something like this: I get up, go to the washroom, get dressed and check the time. If it’s too early then I kill time, usually just browsing or checking the weather or something. If it’s the right time then I call my mom.

My mom is my closest friend. We sync up extremely well in terms of temperament and sense of humour. We are mutually supportive of our respective mental illnesses. She’s there for me, I’m there for her. I talk to her almost every day in the morning and we often do things together, including meeting at Tim Hortons (the coffee place… in case that detail is lost) for breakfast. It’s easy for us to do this, as she lives only four blocks down the street from me.

But it’s a little early to call just yet. So I have to wait, which I am not always good at. Sometimes when I have to wait it seems like nothing interests me anymore but getting to the thing I’m waiting for.

For today’s circumstances, one would think it would be the opposite. That I wouldn’t mind waiting, all things considered. “All things” in this case are the chores I have committed to starting, along with my mom’s help. I am planning to start a purge of sorts, getting rid of almost everything that I haven’t looked at/used over the past year. To give an idea what this means: it’s clothes I haven’t worn or don’t fit, craft supplies I haven’t used, decorations I didn’t take out, movies I’ll never watch etc., etc… oh and boxes. Far too many boxes.

Now I said “start” this purge. I by no means expect to get it all done in one day and I don’t expect I could do it alone. It’s that motivational momentum. I don’t have much of it and it very quickly fizzles out. Even someone just being there with a suggestion as to what comes next is vitally important. So if my mom doesn’t feel up to helping today, it probably won’t begin today. I’ll have to wait, call her and find out.

For the time being I continue to dodge the shame and guilt projectiles that are launched when I consider that it’s my fault I need to do this purge in the first place. It seems I’m managing to dodge pretty well, mostly by telling myself it’s more important to do something about the mess than to assign blame.

That works? Yes, sometimes I luck out and that simple bit of self-talk actually works. Well, works enough to make me feel better, as far as spurring any constructive action that remains to be seen.