Friday, January 31, 2014

Rejecting the blues...

It turned out that I needed to go back to my original PC and then the internet connection worked fine, so the Exfactor didn't have to go through the complicated job of having to change the location of the modem and splitting the cables. I thought of this myself and am glad that I saved him from having to do the work. He did have to surrender my PC, which I had already given to him, but he didn't complain too much. He does have his own PC to which he has made all sorts of alterations and I am happy to say that he had not had the chance to make any to mine. Phew!

I very badly want to get out of the doldrums that I find myself in and wrote my psychiatrist an email yesterday telling him about it. He wrote me back telling me that he thought I was quite capable of finding the passion inside myself without increasing the dose on anti-depressants and that I should try to find a way to do that. Having him tell me that has given me confidence in my own abilities to do this and I feel more empowered now. I intent to release those passions without going ballistic and be like a shooting star. I do have to make sure that this passion is directed at something specific so I have to find my targets.
He is right in so far that it is better for me not to run the danger of becoming hypomanic again, which might very well happen on an increased dose. That was my problem before and that was the reason why it was reduced. As a matter of fact, it would be bound to happen and I don't face that danger now. At the moment, I tell myself that it is great to be hypomanic, or at least to be in the run up to it, but the truth is that to actually be it is not all that great. It also gets me in trouble, because it has all sorts of nasty side effects that are very unwelcome, but that I can't do much about. They come with the territory and can do much harm.
It is good to be told to be sensible and to have to rely on your own abilities. It makes you feel less like the victim of your disorder and more like you are in charge of it and can direct it. I have to have enough believe in myself that I can assume that I have enough influence over it so that I can take the different elements of it and put them to positive use for me. If I have it in me to be manic, then I also have it in me to be an optimist and see the sunny side of life and to be passionate about things. All I have to do is release that side of me in a constructive way. That's how simple I look at it now and that is how simple it can be.
I also have to appreciate the amount of serenity I feel now that I mistake for dullness. I have to accept that this is just an ordinary state of being and that there is nothing wrong with it.


Thursday, January 30, 2014

Woe is me!

Since I have the new internet provider, I am having problems with my internet connection and gaining access to some websites. Some of them are almost impossible to load and others I should not even try. I have stopped checking my mail because that is a process that takes forever. The moment the information that needs to be uploaded is the least bit complicated, I seem to run into trouble. This is turning out to be an exercise in patience, born out of frustration. 

When the Exfactor installed the modem, he was given two options by the man at the help desk. One of them was the easier way, but he was told that this also might not give us the best connection. That is turning out to be true, so in the morning he is coming over to install the modem the more complicated way and that should improve things. At least, I am counting on that and I am keeping my fingers crossed. And my toes and my eyes, which are difficult to do. 

Did I tell you yet that I bought two new plants for the coffee table? One of them is a creeping charlie and the other one is a spider plant. Both these plants were not available the last time I was at the flower shop and I was glad to find them now because I do have some experience with them. I have put them in two matching pots and they sit there on the table very nicely, looking especially bright green. All I have to do now is take good care of them, but that may be easier said than done, of course. I will do my best. 

The Exfactor agreed that lately I have become rather dull and that I'm not half as interesting as I used to be. I used to be a great conversation partner, but lately I don't keep up my half of the discussion. It could be that the increased dose of the anti-depressants is not working enough yet and that I have to be patient, but I certainly don't want to stay dull like this forever. On Friday I will send my psychiatrist a progress report and make my displeasure known. I'm sure he will say to give it another week, but I have to let him know how I am in the meantime anyway. 

It is very difficult when you find out that the thrill in life is gone and that you are permanently stuck in a  monotone gray area. I may have wished for this before when times were more chaotic, but I have to say that I don't enjoy this state of existence at all. I like to be more upbeat than this and care more about the things that matter. At this time I feel so indifferent. It is not an attitude that I feel comfortable with. I do like to be more impassioned than this. I really, really like to care about the things that make the world go round. Life is not changed by dull people like me. 

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Look, up in the sky

After I fell into that depression last week, I haven't really gotten back to "normal" yet. I act more cheerful than I really feel, with the idea that I have to fake it until I make it. I think that way I keep the upper hand on the situation and what I behave like now, will become second nature again soon. I think lots of people do that all the time, but they may not consciously be aware of it and actually be pushing many negative feeling that they have not dealt with beneath the surface, which is not a good thing. So I do not recommend that as a tactic. 

In my case, though, it's a matter of getting the chemicals in my body back in balance and that may take another week or so. It's not as if from the moment I increased the dose of anti-depressants I suddenly felt a 100% better. The process is slower than that. This does give me an opportunity to observe life from a different point of view, but I can't say that I like it much and I must say that I prefer the more positive, optimistic one. I see no reason to observe the world in any other way than through slightly rose tinted glasses. The state of the world does not change because of that and it makes it easier to deal with. 

Having said that, this does not mean that I am also not a realist, or even a cynic at times. When it comes down to it, reality does force me to be, because I keep well enough informed so that I am aware of the true state of affairs. I also know my own limitations when I comes to how much I can do to bring about change and how much my opinions matter. I am a fairly ordinary Dutch woman and not worse or better than the next one, and that means that I generally try hard to be a good citizen of the world. I do get cynical when I think how little difference that makes in the face of the many larger problems. I think I get cynical in order not to get frustrated.

In my own life, I am generally an optimist and less cynical. I think that is because of a survival tactic. I don't think many people get cynical about themselves. It would defeat all purposes. If I feel less optimistic now, I certainly do not feel like a pessimist. Hope does glory. I know that once the anti-depressants work properly, I will be my old cheerful self again and my outlook will be sunny in the face of nearly everything. In my personal life, I wear the rose tinted glasses more often.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Able to leap tall buildings

It has been an amazingly boring day that ought not to be repeated soon and that I will forget about as quickly as possible. The only good thing about it was that it went by relatively fast, despite the fact that not one fun thing happened. The highlight of the day was that the domestic help was here, so I suppose it wasn't all bad because she is a kind person and she did clean up the place very nicely. So that was the silver lining. 

I also had a nice lunch, so I guess that once you start looking for the better things in the day, they do show up. And the weather has been good. There was a blue sky and sunshine, although it was a bit chilly, but very nice to take Tyke for walks in. This is what is called, counting your blessings. 

My computer table is very clean because I realized that the domestic help could not dust there if there were all sorts of stacks of paper lying around on it, so that motivated me to sort them out. It is very pleasant to work by a clean surface and not be faced with chaos. It was done in a snap too. I am actually very decisive once I make up my mind and can create order in no time at all. I rarely regret tossing out anything. 

I want to buy a large, rather shallow, colorful pot that holds several plants for the new coffee table and I wonder where I am going to find something like that without it costing me an arm and a leg. I have been pondering upon this all day and trying to think of the possibilities. There is the flower shop around the corner that is not too expensive, but I don't know if I will find anything like it there. I will have to walk over and see what is available. There may be more choices than I think. 

I know, this is a typical first world problem and I am glad that it is one of the few pressing ones that I have. But I do have to add that I don't fixate on the really big impossible to solve ones. I do know when I'm beat and what I can't fix and just have to learn to live with. My life is by no means a bed of roses, but I am not a pessimist and I do not dwell on the negative areas of my life. I think most healthy people do not or we would all go crazy. 

That still doesn't take anything away from the fact that this has been a boring day. I think I will end it with watching a bit of television while eating my dinner. Sometimes you just have to please your eyes and your taste buds. 

Late at night

Now that I've got such a nice coffee table, I really need a better area rug to put under it and I am trying to convince myself that just wishing for it, is also good enough reason to buy one. In my mind I am going over my finances and calculating if it is at all possible. I know I want one of the oriental rugs that are for sale at that large Swedish store and I also know that I can buy one online. All I have to do is take the measurements of the area rug that I have now and find the right sized one on line. It's one heck of a dilemma to find myself in. I will have to weigh all the pros and cons and come to a decision. 

It is nice to spend the midnight hours pondering over such a thing because it does keep me busy and out of trouble. I could be sleeping instead, but that, in comparison, is such a dull thing. You all know by now that I like for my life to be just a bit more exciting than that. Why choose for dull and ordinary when you can live on the edge in whichever way you can achieve it? I will aim for the thrill any day.

Of course, I wasn't supposed to be up right now, but I can claim that every night. This time it was Tyke who woke me up because he had to go out back in a hurry. The truth is, that there always is a reason for me to be up in the middle of the night because it is a habit that I can't get over. I will get some more sleep later, but I will have to get up bright and early because the domestic help will be here on time. Last week, I overslept and sat comatose in my bathrobe in the armchair when she got here and I don't want to repeat that performance. 

I am looking forward to the day and can't wait for it to start. It is like I am about to have my birthday, although there is no good reason for that. I feel that way just for the heck of it. I even have to do a few chores before the domestic help gets here and that should dampen my spirits, but they don't. I will do whatever it takes to have an enjoyable day now that I am capable of it. By that I mean, now that I am no longer feeling depressed. The only thing wrong with the picture is that I am not rich and independently wealthy. 

Monday, January 27, 2014

With just a bit of a hitch

The new modem has, with just a bit of a hitch, been installed by the Exfactor and I am glad that I didn't have to do it myself because I wouldn't have managed it. As it was, it required a phone call to the help desk, but the nice man there really was helpful, and the job was soon done. In the end, things were actually very simple once we knew what we were doing, and there were no complicated tools involved. All the Exfactor had to do was plug the right cables into the right outlets and find a place to set up the modem. That was not as logical as we had expected and it now sits on my computer table. Luckily, there is enough room for it.

The day turned out to be kind of exciting like I had hoped, so I can't complain. It went by quickly and I'm glad that I have this quiet time now to sit and gather my thoughts. I am having a cup of coffee, but I had something spicy for dinner and I expect to be drinking tall glasses of ice cold lemonade very soon. The coffee is very welcome because it helps me straighten out my thoughts and makes me alert enough to help me write them down. I am not planning on going to bed for a while and besides, Tyke has brought a stick inside and shredded it to pieces on top of my duvet. 

I had my appointment with my psychiatrist and it went well and other than to briefly discuss the past week, there was not much to talk about. I am feeling pretty stabile and that is the most important thing, and we decided that from now on I will see him once a month and email him once a week with a progress report. This is our intention anyway and I hope I can stick to it and that I will not need more care than I expect. 

I have a new coffee table that I got through the aunt of my domestic help who is always on the look out for furniture that I might like to have. This one has a square metal frame and a glass top and looks very American. I am going to have to buy a bottle of glass cleaner to keep it looking spiffy. The Exfactor and a friend of his delivered it in a van this afternoon and took the old coffee table with them. The friend is an artist who makes beautiful fantasy-like objects of art that I would place in my living room immediately if I had the space and the money. His name is Hans Dullaart, you can google his name and get his images. 

I think I am too excited to go to sleep just now and I am going to have to wind down by watching some television. It has been an enervating day after having had so many dull ones. It will be good to sit in my armchair and to also look at the new coffee table. 

With the best of intentions

Today is the day I switch internet providers and the Exfactor will be over later this morning to install the new modem. There are instruction that come with it, but I don't quite trust myself to do it right. He is more technically gifted than I am and sees how things are supposed to work in an instant. That makes him a handy person to have around when it comes to these kinds of things, but I am going to watch him install it so I will know how to do it in the future. I don't like being a helpless female and I like to know how things work. In the end it all has to be very logical, after all, and according to me I have to be able to learn how to do it. 

I also have an appointment with my psychiatrist for which I am not really prepared in the sense that I have not thought much about what I want to discuss. I suppose we will talk about my small bout with depression (which was awful) and how I got over that. It is strange how I at the same time had a bout of the flu and increased problems with my fibromyalgia and I wonder if all of that was a coincidence? I personally think it was not and that they all were related (if not the same thing expressed in different ways) and that this is the reason why I was so miserable. I certainly hope I will never have another experience like it. 

I have made a shopping list and put on it all the things I like to eat because I thought that I had not eaten  all that very well lately in order not to spend too much money. It is possible to go to extremes when it comes to that and to only eat the most basic foods that are not much fun and barely nutritious. Today's shopping list certainly looks different and dinner will be an event I look forward to this week. I have meals on there that fit the time of year and that are typically Dutch. With the weather the way it is right now, they will be very welcome. I may not eat like the king, but the food will be very tasty. 

Some time during the night, it has stopped raining and it is silent now outside. With a little bit of luck it will stay dry so that I will be able to ride my bike to my appointment without getting wet. I will say a little prayer to the weather gods before I get on my way. 

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Climb every mountain

It would be very nice if I were a bit manic now, but much to my regret, I am not. Not that I'm depressed, but I am in that in between mood that doesn't signify much at all and that I think is very dull and boring. It is good to be in if you have to do the odd chore or two, but it certainly doesn't make them very exciting, and if I knew that I always had to go through life like this, I would seriously step out of it prematurely. I can't imagine always having a dull, mediocre life and it must be for people who don't have much going for them and who lack intelligence. I do know a few of them and I now know what their problem is. 

But I would like to be a bit manic because life would be much more sunny and exciting, so I am going to try and make it that way myself. First I am going to try to write a sparkling post and after that I am going to put the trash out in the pouring rain. If that is not a thrilling experience, I don't know what is. I may possibly get drenched and end up having to take a shower when I was not planning on it, because anything unexpected is welcome. I do like to live by the seat of my pants. I don't quite know what that means, but it sounds right, so I added it. 

Taking a nap was the least thrilling experience I had today, but just before I did, I started to fall asleep in the desk chair adding one element of danger and I even started to have mild hallucinations. I don't know if that is my mind making up things on its own or if it is a combination of the medicines. The hallucinations are an interesting experience and similar to being high on LSD, which I tried when I was a teenager. I know you can have flashbacks much later in life and maybe this is what these are. I know when they happen, it is a signal that I have to go to sleep no matter what time of the day it is. 

The most exciting thing I did was take Tyke for a walk in the rain, but I was grateful that it was not snowing and sleeting the way it is up north. All that happened is that we got wet and Tyke was easily dried with the big towel that always lies at the ready in the hallway. He does understand that this is part of the program and when I tell him that he has to wait to be dried off, he does and does not run into the living room to rub himself dry on the area rug. He is a pretty smart dog. 

All in all it has not been a thrilling day at all no matter how much I try to make it sound like one in this artificial attempt to become a bit manic. I sure as heck am trying hard enough. I suppose you can't make it happen when you want to, no matter what. It has to happen all by itself in its own time. 

When in doubt, write a post...

Well, at least I've got the language right and not every word is underlined in red any longer. My Mac speaks American English now and that is a real relief. Dutch may be a lot like English, but not enough to have the exact same spelling. It was a bit confusing to write a post and to see al that red and to try to see if I had made any mistakes, and yes, even I make them. 

Every time I use the Mac, I learn a few more things and I get smarter about it all the time. The one thing I am doing now, is cleaning it up, and it is in the process of moving nearly 10,000 items to the wastebasket. That should clear up some space and the one thing I notice is how silently it runs compared to my old PC. I can't even tell that it is running and I can keep it in the sleeping mode without worrying that it is wasting a lot of energy. 

Both my mental and physical health are continuing to improve. As a matter of fact, I can hardly tell that there was anything wrong with them just a short time ago. Imagining that I was emotionally a wreck as little as two days ago is hard to do, yet it is true. I thought I was the most miserable person in the universe, although I am sure I was not. I am certain that there are people in worse shape than I was, but everything is relative. It depends on how much you are used to. 

I am determined to never feel like that again and I will never reduce the amount of anti-depressants to that degree again, unless I am completely without common sense and make the same mistake twice. I also hope that my psychiatrist will be able to keep me from doing this should I ever have that foolish notion again in the future. I can't do much about getting the flu, except that I think I may not have been eating as healthy as I should have, and that may have contributed to me getting sick. Eating take-out food two times in a row is not such a good idea.

Isn't it great that today is Sunday? I've got a bunch of chores to do that I neglected while I was sick. I'm sure I will have the energy to do them now. Whether or not I feel like doing them is another matter. I think I would like it better if somehow I could reward myself for doing them. Like have an ice cream sundae, or something, but my body would probably protest at that. Oh well...

Saturday, January 25, 2014

To keep myself busy

Just for the heck of it, I am going to write a blog post now when I should get ready to walk Tyke in a little while. I think he will be patient and wait for me to finish if I don't dawdle too much. That means I have to do this quickly and not hesitate about what I want to wite down. I was going to say, "on paper." But that's not quite what I'm doing. I don't have a pen in my hand. 

I have installed a Mac OS X today that I got from my sister. She got a new computer and I asked her if I could have her old one. It took me a bit to get it working and the internet connection straightened out, but with the help of the kind man at the help desk, everything turned out well in the end. I have only worked with a Mac a few times in the past before, but I am getting around okay. I will be spending the rest of the weekend familiarizing myself with it.

My depression and flu are just about over. I am about back to "normal" or whatever a person is in her daily life. I feel so much better, but the flu is traveling through my whole system, if you know what I mean. I think all the orange juice that I drank helped me get better, because I'm a great believer a big doses of vitamin C in its purest form. Right now, I'm having some coffee for a pick me up and to help warm my bones. I had the windows open for most of the day, even though it is cold outside. 

It is such a relief to feel better that I am almost in a jubilating sort of mood, but don't worry, I am not hypomanic. I don't quite feel good enough for that. On occasion, I still feel like lying on the sofa under the gray blanket with Tyke in my arms. And Gandhi can lie on my stomach and purr. 

My body no longer feels like someone beat me with a two by four. I think that was the hardest of all. Being so sore and uncomfortable that even my pain medication didn't help. I wanted to be swadled in soft, warm blankets made of fine wool. 

Well, that is all for now. I have to make bookmarks of all the other pages I visit. At this rate, I am not going to have the opportunity to get into any sort of trouble this weekend. 

A double whammy...

Not only do I have to wait for the increase in the dose of anti-depressants to start working, but on top of that I've got the flu, and I am really disgusted because I did get a flu shot this season. Apparently, I've got another variation of the virus. I am now not so sure if it is worth it to get a flu shot at all, because I felt very miserable this morning on top of feeling very depressed. I was not in the least bit a happy camper and spent most of the morning asleep on the sofa in my bathrobe.

So, to sum it all up: I've got a very sore knee, my fibromyalgia is acting up, I have the flu and I am depressed. Isn't that a great state to be in? I don't think so either. It is that I am naturally an optimist that I am hanging in there at all.

The Exfactor has taken care of me today and walked Tyke. He also brought over a carton of orange juice which is very refreshing and good for my sore throat. I will have to take care of myself later this weekend because he is going to Belgium and won't be back until Monday. I am going to assume that I will be doing better by tomorrow and it will be good to get some fresh air, because I did miss being able to go out today. I didn't feel good enough to, but it is equally miserable if you can't inhale the fresh winter air.

A depression is like being in labor. You have to go through it until it is over and nobody can help you with it. You are the one who has to go through the pains of it. No amount of analysis is going to do any good because that is not what the problem is. It is a pure physical problem and has to be solved chemically.

It is the same way with the flu. You don't analyze the flu either. You take care of the symptoms and try to get better as quickly as possible and hope you don't get chronically il from it.


Friday, January 24, 2014

When you feel the way I do...

The first mindfulness training that I went to last night, turned out to be a popcorn fart and should have been called: "Mindfulness for Dummies." Actually, it was an insult to my intelligence and I left halfway through because I could not stand to listen to any more of the drivel that was spouted. It was too bad that there were people there with real issues and I hope they will be helped by going through this training and will not have an allergic reaction to it like I did. It certainly did not live up to the expectations that I had of it. In fact, it didn't even come close, but that is all I will say about it because it is an ongoing training and I don't want to spoil it for other people.
On top of that, my mood has been playing havoc with me and I am now in a depressed state of mind. This is due to the fact that I decreased my dose of anti-depressants too much and it has been increased again yesterday. Of course, it is going to take a while before I notice the benefits of that and I am going to have to be patient in the meantime. The only time I have relief is in the afternoon when the dark clouds magically lift and I almost feel like my old self. This lasts for a couple of hours and it is nice to feel like that for at least a little while. That does give me hope for better times to come.
Sometimes I feel very bad and I want God to instantly strike me dead with a bolt of lightening. Or I wish for a suicide pill that I can take so I will be instantly dead without suffering. I know what I have to do then is make a pot of coffee and drink a cup. Once I do that I feel much better as a rule, but the relatively short time that I have to wait for the coffee to get done is torturous. The self hatred I feel is indescribable and I would not wish it on anybody. No one should dislike themselves that much.
Keeping in mind that it is all a chemical imbalance does not help much when I feel at my lowest, because I have a tendency to forget that at that point. I am not reasonable and thinking logically when I am ultimately depressed. I am glad enough that I instinctively know that I need a cup of coffee or two to get me out of that incredibly deep hole. Something inside of me still wants to survive and that is what I owe my life to. Besides, it is more difficult to stop living than it is to stay alive. Staying alive is something you automatically do. You have to make a real effort to stop living.
I have a sore throat and hope I am not coming down with that flu that everybody else has. I rode my bike in the pouring rain last night and got soaked. I am glad that it is Friday and that the weekend is around the corner because I am more than ready for it. For some reason I think it will be easier than this past week was. I do keep having an optimistic spark somewhere deep down inside of me, but then again, I have had two cups of coffee.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Living in the moment, yes sir.

I do well being up this late at night. This is when I am really bright eyed and bushy tailed. It turns out that I am a nighttime person and so my true nature is revealed. By the time everybody else is sound asleep, I am ready to party. Well, you should take that with a grain of salt, because I am not really a party animal.
I am not the crotchety person that I am during the day anyway, which is also a new phenomenon. But I do think it is becoming of my age and I plan to grow into this new character trait gracefully. I will tenderly hug it to my chest and cherish it. Any new development is worth taking good care of. It's been such a long time since I got to experience one.
Being negative in an optimistic way is a fine art that needs to be carried out with finesse. All the little details need to be paid attention to in order to perfect them. You can't just be crotchety in an imperfect all encompassing manner and you can't be the victim of your own attitude. You need to aim your darts carefully and timely and always be prepared. You do want to get the most joy out of them.
I only half jokingly write this and I am more serious than I am not. I don't want to turn into a kindly old woman who loves puppies and little babies. I want to be a tough old broad because I think I will last longer that way. I think anybody who makes it past 90, must have an enormous egocentric streak. I know I have that tendency myself and I am planning on developing it further.
I do have to admit, though, that not being crotchety at the moment is a nice break, but then again, it is easy not to be because I am all on my own here in the dark cozy living room by the light of the desk lamp. There isn't a soul around to do battle with and I'm not going to be crotchety in this post, although there may be times to come when I will be. In a way, I am looking forward to it.
It's so satisfying to also have an other sort of attitude at your disposal and to not always have to be the same monotonous person day in day out. I never want to get bored with myself and would always make sure that I would not be by looking for some new angle to blow life into my personality. Maybe I have more control over events than I think I do and they are not just up to fate. I wonder how much of the timing I have in my own hands?

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Well, that's the way it is.

I finally have to admit to myself that I no longer am a morning person like I have been for a long time. I have now returned to the person I used to be most of my life and am hopeless in the morning. It takes my brain a long time to start functioning properly even though I drink numerous cups of coffee and I take my doses of medication when I get up. I am incapable of doing anything important like cleaning up the kitchen or washing a load of laundry. I sit in my armchair like a zombie and can't even have a proper conversation should anyone drop by. I even lie down on the sofa and take naps.
I suppose the big reduction in my anti-depressants recently has finally caught up with me and this is how I really am. I am not bright eyed and bushytailed before noontime. That was an artificially induced condition and now my true nature is making itself known. It is quite a surprise to me and has taken me completely unawares. I have to get used to it and adapt my whole attitude and way of living. This means that I will no longer make appointments early in the day like I always did. I am not in any kind of shape to allow myself to do that in the morning.
I have to forget about being the early bird that catches the worm and also start thinking about staying in bed longer to make sure that I have slept long enough. I think that is one of the mistakes that I have been making. I was so used to very optimistically jumping out of bed, ready to start the day. It sure as heck is not like that anymore. I walk around in a daze now, almost unable to make a pot of coffee and am draped over the kitchen counter waiting for it to be done brewing. I think the coffee makes me feel better, but it is just a false sense of security, because very soon after drinking it, I collapse like a soufflé.
I am mentally such a mess that I can't take on any sort of responsibility. I am barely able to walk Tyke and feed him and Gandhi. And those are the easy duties. Forget about doing anything more complicated than that. It is a good thing that I am not taking care of children at this point in my life. They would suffer from neglect until I emotionally came to the surface. But then again, I would do a terrific job once I did. Even at my age.

Something substantial...

I realize a blog post has to be about more than whether or not I very much need this cup of coffee I am having now, although I do. I feel it lifting my spirits as I write this, and I wasn't worth much when I started to. But sometimes you have to start writing about something very simple like a cup of coffee to get in the proper mood, both figuratively and literally, and it's very often how I start my blog posts.
Coffee is of such significance to me. Whether or not I have had some, is almost a matter of life or death. The presence or absence of caffeine can make me or break me, as you would have witnessed if you had seen me draped over the kitchen counter while I waited for this pot to be done brewing. I would have been ready to kill myself if there had been any sort of a hitch in the system.
And you think I say that jokingly.
Nothing could be further from the truth, although I don't think I would be ready to give my life for a cup. I am just not prepared to give up my sanity and I will fight you tooth and nail over a cup of coffee when I am badly in need of one.
At least I've got my sanity back now and I can think coherently and I am ever so grateful for that. I even like myself again, which I didn't a while ago. I was ready to drink poison if I could have laid my hands on it. It's amazing what caffeine withdrawal will do with your poor brain cells, or is it just the fact that I am up in the middle of the night? Possibly I should have gone straight back to bed after I had gone to the toilet.
But that was too simple, of course.
You can't say that I ever choose the easy way out. I am stubborn and will always do things the hard way, simply because I can. Now that I have had my second cup of coffee, that is one thing that is very clear to me.

Monday, January 20, 2014

The emotions also count...

My psychiatrist doesn't want me to cover up my slightly hypomanic tendencies with an increase in the dose of my antipsychotic medication. He thinks that, as long as I am not doing any harm, I should deal with them on my own and feel my feelings and see where that takes me. He says that I have a tendency to want to solve everything with medication and ratio, but that it is time to also start relying on my emotions and to not be afraid of them. He asked me if they had now led me astray and I had to answer him that they had not, but that some people had shown concern about me, though I did not understand why. The point is that as long as I have done no real harm, I can continue as I am.
I suppose I don't always have to make sense to everybody and sound completely sane. Maybe sometimes I will sound rather illogical, but you may consider that poetic license. My mind is not always just an average mind that walks down the middle of the road. I do have a tendency to wander all over the place and make associations and connections that are a bit unusual. Very often I have to refrain from writing down my more extreme points of view and I practice a lot of self censorship. Of course, I don't always feel that restraint and things do cross the wire, but I am glad that they do. That is not to shock you, but to shock myself out of complacency.
This morning, when I got up, I was completely out of regular coffee and could only drink decaf. It was not the disaster I thought it was going to be, but to say it was a success is a totally other thing. I didn't have a real cup of coffee until I saw my psychiatrist and that was only one cup. I functioned on that for the rest of the morning and took care of many phone calls and other errands on automatic pilot. By noontime I was a zombie and all I wanted to do was hang in my chair like a wrung out dishrag. Luckily the Exfactor did the groceries then and when he came back, the first thing I did was make a pot of coffee. To say it saved my life, would be to put it mildly.
A cup of coffee never tasted as good and was never as welcome. I am fully functioning now and have even taken an afternoon nap, so you can tell that I'm back to normal. Well, as normal as I'll ever be. The nap was very welcome too because I didn't get enough sleep during the night being up and busy  with other interesting things, which I will tell you about another time.
In a while my sister will pick me up so we can drive to Genk in Belgium where another MRI scan of my knee will be made. It happens to bother me very much today because of the bike ride to the psychiatrist, so I can tell exactly where the pain is. That will help the technician point the scanner. My appointment with the orthopedic surgeon to talk about the outcome will be next week and then I will hear if I will be operated on again. I have mixed feelings about that, but I know I can't keep walking around with my knee the way it is now.
Wish me luck. 

Lying down on the job.

Today I am contemplative and I don't know any other way to be. It is very unlike me to be this way, although I have a vague memory of being this way in the past. I am not happy or sad, but very thoughtful and turned inward and I am considering all sorts of things. None of them are really matters of life or death, but obviously they are important to me. Maybe I have finally calmed down enough to contemplate them.

I suppose the thing I really think about the most is what my role is here in this life, and what I have come up with that makes the most sense is, that I have helped create one heck of a human being in the form of my daughter. If there was no other mission in life that I had, I have done at least that and I also have to add that I think I can take equal pride in my grandson. I may not have achieved much in my own life, but they seem to achieve much in theirs.

Maybe that has been my purpose here in this life. That does make me feel good enough and gives me a sense of fulfillment. I happened so I could bring about them. Isn't that an amazing thing? I am glad that I have come to that realization and that I can appreciate the significance of it. In a round about way, I am making my mark, not by what I am personally achieving, but by what my offspring and her offspring are. That at the same time is my sweet revenge, but I must not speak of that.
Well, that was my brilliant thought for today and a glimpse into my way of thinking. I wrote the above a few hours ago and had to let it sink in myself too, but what I wrote still holds true now.
Some of you have expressed concern about my state of mind after I wrote my last blog post and I reread it, but don't understand the concern. I can defend myself and say there is nothing to worry about, but if I don't understand the concern, that would be a false promise. All I can say is that I am seeing my psychiatrist in the morning and that I will discus it with him. Whatever "it" is.


Sunday, January 19, 2014

The wake up attempt...

In an attempt to try to be fully awake, I am drinking my second cup of coffee, but it isn't having much of an effect yet. It will take at least one other cup before I am truly awake and functioning up to par, but it will help if I have to use my brain cells and start writing this blog post now. It will help get rid of the spider rag that is gathered in my corners of my sleepy brain and the caffeine will take care of the rest.
I so stubbornly insist on sitting here in the middle of the night behind the computer instead of going back to bed, that you'd think I have a brain dysfunction that prevents me from doing so, but it is actually the fact that I have to take a shower and change the damp sheets that prevents me, because that's how much I perspired. Very often that's the problem and I don't know yet how to get around it. I think it is the side effect of one of my medicines, but I don't know which one. All of them may be the culprit, so reducing one may not help.
Because I was basically instable, I decided to yesterday increase my antipsychotics with 1 mg. I had recently decreased them by 2 mg and that may have been too much of a good thing. I was constantly weaving in and out of a state of hypomania and I can't say that this was a comfortable thing. This was accompanied by the necessary anxiety and the usual worries I have about my state of mind in that case and it all was just a major flop. It is true that I am too anxious about reducing my medicines too quickly and may be making big errors. This may just be the amount that I need to be on.
I have just got myself a big glass of wine because the third cup of coffee had done its job and now it is time to be mellow. Having the alcohol enter my body is a pleasant feeling and very relaxing. I should give myself over to a night of debauchery. Yes, as if that is going to happen. I don't remember ever having that sort of a night, but with the state of my memory, that does not say much. I have lived a long life with many events, so there is a lot to forget.
You really wonder, in the face of everything, what I really get exited about when you consider that there is so little I have control over. I think I do, and I try to manipulate events, but in the long run I have no way of altering their outcome. I sure as heck can't make people behave a certain way and I don't have godly powers in that I can't prevent major things from happening. I should really relax and realize that it's not all up to me how things turn out. If I adopt a more reflective attitude, I will see in the end how they do and they do just as well without my interference.
I am saying this under the influence of a dry white wine from South Africa and doesn't that make you tell the truth? And now I am very hungry and have got to get something to eat.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

That was nice...

The Exfactor surprised me this morning and came over with chocolate croissants. I sure as heck wasn't counting on that, but they tasted great with my coffee. It was a very good way to start the day because I had not had breakfast yet and my stomach had just started growling. I think I could have eaten four of them, but then I really would have had to worry about my diet. I dropped a hint that he could repeat that gesture regularly, and as a matter of fact, make a habit out of it. I think Tyke and Gandhi agreed.
The sun is shining and we have a blue sky and I blame the fact that I am in a good mood on that, but it could also be the fact that it is Saturday and that I have given myself the day off. I should really be doing the dishes and hanging up the laundry, but I feel like doing neither of these chores, so let me be irresponsible and throw caution to the wind. Maybe the laundry will get mildew in the machine and the dishes will grow penicillin on them. I don't care. I just want to sit here and do pleasurable things.
The new modem of my new internet provider was just delivered and I will have to read the instructions well. If there is anything responsible I will do today, it will be that. But that is not like doing a household chore, so it doesn't count in my opinion. It will be something totally unusual and out of the ordinary and that is just my cup of tea, because I am in the mood to do unusual things.
I am getting a new computer next week and I have been putting photos and documents on a memory stick so I can transfer them. It is amazing how much memory there is on these sticks. I can still add lots of data. I am giving this old computer to the Exfactor with Windows 8.1 on it but I will have to teach him how to use it first. Once you are used to it, you don't want anything else.
I just remembered that I am also getting a tablet and that will be lots of fun because I will be able to sit in my armchair and get on the internet. That will be the ultimate form of laziness. Such luxury I am getting in my life. Maybe that is because it is now 2014 and good things are going to happen. I expect a lot from this year, but that is because last year was so bad, that this year has to be better.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Living at the right speed...

I have decided that, since I am finally feeling in the proper mood, I will take advantage of it and go to sleep late tonight. I may not go to bed until midnight, that is if I last that long, but it is my intention. I have made a pot of half and half and since I found the proper measuring spoon, I am getting the proportions right and the coffee tastes a lot better. I had been making it way too strong all this time. I think it is terrible that I did not realize that and did not notice it until I made the last two pots. Drinking coffee is now not just a necessary thing, but also much more enjoyable. Go figure!
The Exfactor and I had our "patat and croquetten" for dinner and they tasted very good. We could hardly finish them, though, despite the fact that Tyke helped us eat them. Tyke was really surprised because we normally do not eat food like that and I think this may have been one of the very few times that he tasted fries. At least they weren't greasy, so I did not feel too bad about giving him any. Gandhi thought she liked croquetten too and begged for them, but then refused to eat anything we offered her. I think it was the fact that we were eating something new that attracted her.
We had chocolate mousse for dessert and the Exfactor ate only one portion, while he had brought four of them. That leaves me with two more to eat and I am looking forward to that. As you can tell, I am not the least bit worried about my figure, because last night I had ice cream and I am really overdosing on sweet things. It is only once in a while that I do, though, since dessert usually is made of dairy products and I do pay the price when I eat them. I very willingly do, so I don't mind it, really. I even wonder why I bother to avoid them considering the joy I get out of eating them. How is that for logic?
I can tell how normal the mood is that I am in because of the very boring nature of my blog post. I never write about anything exciting when I exist in a "gray area." I am very happy about this myself and would almost wish to always write boring posts. Let's hope that I do for a long time. Not for your sakes, but for mine.

Silly things...

I woke up a while ago completely sober of mind and I knew that just about everything I had done in the past weeks or so had been silly things. I did not in the least condemn myself for that, but looked at it with kind of an amusement and was relieved that I could do so with such clarity. It was like stepping off a rollercoaster and standing on solid ground again and being completely level headed. To feel so sane and to be so objective was a welcome feeling and I had been waiting for it to come about. I just had forgotten what it was like and could not beforehand predict what it would feel like. Well, it feels like having been sick and feverish and waking up healthy and noticing that it is springtime outside.
Of course, it is still winter, but you can't tell by the weather we're having because it is very mild. Mother Nature is kind to us and we will have to bring her many offerings, short of our first born children. I will take bad weather instead of that.
I have a terrific mess in the kitchen because I have not cleaned it up for two days. I will blame that on my former befuddled state of mind. Last night I had a terrific craving for ice cream and bought a liter of the raspberry kind and ate it all. It was a delicious experience, but I don't have to repeat it any time soon because that craving is completely satisfied. Thinking magically, though, I wonder if that helped me straighten out my mind? If so, maybe I should eat it once a month or so. But no, that is another kind of silly thing to think and I must not get bogged down in that train of thought.
This evening the Exfactor and I are going to eat "patat en croquetten" which is our kind of take out food. We have both not eaten it for quite a while and decided that we have a craving for it. There is a good take out place right around the corner from here which I have been able to walk by and resist the delicious smells coming from without buying anything. Some people eat it once a week, I suppose in the same way people go to McDonalds regularly. To say that I am looking forward to dinner, is to put it mildly.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

The times they are changing...

I am not hypomanic anymore but instead have sunk down into a bit of a morose mood. At least I understand the system now and know what this is all about. I won't be so foolish as to make changes in the doses of my medicines, because I know that this mood too shall pass. All I have to do is accept the mood I am in and not fight it and before you know it, I will feel chipper again. I have no doubt about it.
To get me halfway there, I am having a tall ice cold drink, which will at least make me feel mellow, although that is really not the problem, because I don't feel any stress. I do want to feel a bit happier and I hope to achieve it this way. If I in any way can affect my mood, I will do so, be it by hook or crook. That sounds just a bit illegal, but it is not prohibited here to drink alcohol at my age and I haven't been asked for my ID in a very long time.
I can tell I am down because very few things excite me, actually none at all. Not even the two very good books that the Exfactor brought me from the library this morning and that I asked him especially for. One of them is another book by Kay Redfield Jamison and is called "Exuberance, the passion for life," and since I feel that so often, I thought it might be the right sort of book for me to read.
I hope I rediscover the passion for life while I read it and that I will soon have butterflies in my stomach again. I like being hypomanic so much better than this dull state of mind. I find it has nothing positive, except that it is more serene, but that is the only one of its benefits. It is like slowly being roasted over an almost dead fire and just as exciting. I would rather quickly drown in the Niagara Falls. Or have the bungee cord break while I am jumping.
Well, I think that is morose enough and now I need to eat some food. It is not smart to drink on an empty stomach, so I have to eat a sandwich or two. I wish I had a jar of chocolate paste, but I already ate the one I had in two sittings and yes, it tasted very good, almost as good as eating a box of bonbons.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Sometimes you feel like a nut...

I have been reading "The unquiet mind" by Kay Redfield Jamison and I recognize myself in many of the details. When it was first confirmed that she was manic-depressive, she very often stopped taking her medicines when things were going well because she would convince herself, through all sorts of reasoning, that she did not need it anymore. And she is a professor of clinical psychology herself and was being treated by a very competent psychiatrist.
This made me think of what I was doing with the reduction of my own medication and that I have to be careful that I don't convince myself that I can totally do without it one day. I was planning on that, but now I see that it may not at all be a possibility and that taking less of it may be the only option. I don't want my mind to be so dulled that I have no life left in it, and I do want to feel a myriad of emotions without going off the deep end, and in the end, that's what Kay Redfield Jamison managed to achieve by carefully managing her doses.  
This book, I realize, will be a little like a bible for me because it so closely describes the symptoms that I have and the process that I am going through and it is good to reread it every once in a while to remind me of what is important. As a matter of fact, I ordered another copy of it online and had it sent to my psychiatrist because I would like for him to read it also, although you can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink it.
I am really lucky in that I get the manic episodes, but I don't get the depressions that follow them that so many people get. That goes to show you that there is always some reason to count your blessings. I used to suffer from depressions more and now I just get many manic episodes. I prefer the latter, needless to say.
I am, right now, not feeling especially manic, but I am feeling no pain either, and I would say that I am in my normal optimistic mood. I have this tendency to feel uplifted and positive toward life and I am glad that this is my general attitude, because there is no need to have another one. A person can achieve just as much with this one as with a more negative, pessimistic one and in that case, only gets in her own way. I see no need to constantly worry or walk around as if I need to kick against holy institutions. I figure if I go my own way, they will crumble and fall down of their own accord.
I regularly have a drink nowadays and I find that a pleasurable thing to do. I suppose it's a temporary activity that I am imbibing in and very often the Exfactor comes over at the end of the day and while we have our drinks, we have the most interesting conversations. I consider this as good as any other kind of a hobby and it is intellectually stimulating as well. We touch upon a myriad of subjects and hardly leave anything undiscussed. Our excuse is that it keeps our minds sharp and prevents early dementia. I like the fact that he has definite opinions and is well informed, yet not so inflexible that he is not willing to consider another point of view.
It will be really interesting when my American ex gets here in May and we will get some other input. I will have to make sure that I shore up the Exfactor so he will not feel left out. The American ex has quite an overwhelming personality and can be quite overbearing. They are as different as day and night. The most important thing is to have stimulating and interesting conversations from which we can all learn something and we do have to remember that we are Europeans with a different point of view.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

I'll not be held responsible...

It's so totally cool to sit here early in the morning and to not have a care in the world yet. That's why I like being up now and making the most of this time. I don't feel like I have to perform, but it is when I do best. It is the most laid back way to start the day. I think the fact that I am still in my pajamas and bathrobe also helps, because it makes me really feel like the day has not officially started yet. I will be more than ready when it does.
Every once in a while I am a bit hypomanic, but rather than let it disturb me, I make the best of it and try to enjoy the sense of freedom and joy that this brings me. Other people have to do drugs or imbibe in alcohol to get this feeling, but I am fortunate enough to get it all by myself. My psychiatrist has already told be that I will always stay hypomanic up to some point, whether or not I take medication. I may as well incorporate it into my personality as a pleasant character trait.
I suppose I am like an artist and am regularly beset upon by my muse. It would be nice if I had a passion beside writing these blog posts to set the power of my muse lose upon, but maybe as I reduce my medication more, I will find that passion. Right now, I find writing here to be very satisfying, but I can see where I would want there to be more of an outlet in the future.
I have come to the point of self acceptance, although I have thought that I already did so in the past. Maybe it is so that you accept yourself completely at different stages in your life and then reaffirm that every so often. I have had a good look at all that makes me the person that I am, including my so called flaws, and have decided that they are beauty marks that only make me more unique. I don't feel insecure about who I am right now and am willing to embrace all of me.  
My hypomania is a part of my personality that I would be loathe to do without, even though it can have its negative aspects, so to me it is the job to make their impact as small as possible. There are many positive aspects to being hypomanic and I would not like to do without them. It would be like cutting off a large part of myself that I could not live without. It would be like a mini suicide. I have had hypomania in my life as long as I can remember and they were not happy times when I had to suppress it with all my might. That caused a lot of emotional problems.
I am going to let it exist in all its glory and give it full reign while at the same time giving myself a set of rules to behave by. I will probably write them down on a large sheet of paper and hang that up by my computer table so that I will be able to remind myself to live by them. I am sure as heck not going to be intimidated by it or in any way think it is not allowable. Being hypomanic is something that I also am and a legitimate part of myself that I must not deny. It is the happiest that I will ever be.

Monday, January 13, 2014

All sensible people...

Because it is in the middle of the night, and I have no place to go in specific, I am allowing myself to have a glass of cold, dry, white wine from South Africa. I needed something to unwind me and could think of nothing better since the milk is all gone and I can not make hot milk with brown sugar in it. Besides, this wine is much more fun because it is making me feel slightly tipsy, which is a welcome feeling. Every once in a while you just want to let down your hair.
I do have to, of course, go back to bed in a while, but I am not quite to that point yet. I want to savor the quiet dark hours of the night first. Right now, I am my own best company, although I would not mind someone agreeable to talk to, but try to find someone at this time of the night. I would have to go to a pub downtown and hope to find someone who was still sober enough to have an intelligent conversation with. I better not take that chance and stay here with Tyke and Gandhi instead.
My sister and I saw the film "Philomena" and although I had heard about those practices, I had never watched them as a subject treated in a film and it was very moving. I think both the actors did a good job with their respective roles and it was a very believable story, of course, based on a true one. Toward the end of the movie, I felt such outrage and not at all forgiving like the main character did, but then again, I don't know how I would have felt if I had walked in her shoes.
Nowadays, when it comes to the catholic church, I am keeping the intentions and the attitude of the present pope in mind, and that keeps me somewhat tolerant of it, or able to bear it. But it is only because of him that I do. Other than that, I think for the most part it is a corrupt institution which has committed may sins in the name of god. Having protestant roots, I don't identify with it, being much more of a Calvinist, but I can understand the attraction of the common people to the hierarchy and the pomp and circumstance, although I am sure that Jesus the man, in all his simplicity, never intended that.
I can see why a writer would want to be a drunk because the words flow much more easily. It is as if the brakes are off and the muse has been given free rein. This is not something new I am discovering, I am just stating it for the first time while under the influence of wine. In the past that was under the influence of orange juice and vodka, which is much more powerful stuff. I could see while under the influence of wine, I could get very romantic and fall in love with the first attractive man who presented himself to me. It is a good thing that I am aware of this, although the exposure to them is very small.
I am, and will be, a single woman unless a miracle takes place, and having Calvinistic roots pretty much excludes that. I can't go to Lourdes and pray for one. I don't mind this too much because I actually think that I have a pretty darn good time all on my own. I don't live with too many illusions and having just a few of them fits my personality. Well, as is befitting of my manic depressive one, I actually have a very dramatic one, but I keep it under wraps. It is only when I have had something to drink that it gets to peek around the corner.  

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Do a good deed, any deed...

The drink I like best nowadays is hot milk with brown sugar in it with essence of vanilla as an option. It soothes both my mind and my body and doesn't at all make my stomach upset. I microwave the milk in a mug at full power for 1 minute and 40 seconds and add a heaping teaspoon of brown sugar and stir the milk well. I suppose that ordinary white granulated sugar or honey would do just as well, but I pretend brown sugar is better.
I am going to have to start buying more milk which is not regularly on my shopping list and only was the last time because I had a craving for a cold glass of it. My stomach makes terrible noises when I drink it cold, but hot with sugar it doesn't bother it at all. Isn't it nice when you discover something new like that? I don't know what made me think of it, except that I wanted hot chocolate milk but had no cocoa in the kitchen cupboards.
My daughter has decided that she likes me again and I have gotten the nicest emails from her just recently. We will give our relationship another chance and remember that a lot gets lost in translation and the fact that we don't see each other face to face. It's hard to communicate through the social media and emails and not be able to see each other's facial expressions and body language. And no, do not recommend Skype to me. I think to be on the safe side, I will build in just a bit of distance until I can see her in real life.
My sister and I are going to see the film "Philomena" with Judy Dench in it tomorrow afternoon. I read one review on it and it was a good one and I do like Judy Dench. This is a Dutch premiere and I hope that my sister was on time with making reservations. It will be my treat because I owe her a birthday present.
I am feeling amazingly good for someone who has just reduced another medication. I still get slow and tired two times a day after I take the antipsychotics and I don't know what that is all about. No doubt my psychiatrist will have the answer to that. Other than that, I am not experiencing any problems and I hope it stays that way. The whole point is to start feeling better.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Yeah, a cup of coffee will do.

I needed the cup of coffee I had so much. I was near suicidal until I drank it. I knew not to pay attention to my feelings of desperation until I had had my shot of caffeine. All I had to do was be patient. I am drinking my second cup now and no longer want to be dead. The feelings of self loathing are gone. I do wonder why I have to go through this process, though. If I were caught unawares, I would not make the coffee and do myself in. That's how bad it gets.
I had to reduce the dose of antipsychotics today because they are downers and they were making me feel down since I reduced the dose of anti-depressants, which are uppers. And so I play the game of musical chairs with my medicines and keep adjusting the doses. This is what frustrates me about taking medicines and why I want to get off them eventually, but if I keep reducing them, I will sooner or later. I was not a happy camper today and accomplished very little, but then again, who is keeping track?
Things irritated me today and I had no patience for anything except Tyke and Gandhi who are innocent of everything. The same energy company called me three times to try and get me to switch over to them no matter how angry I got at them for calling me. I threatened to report them if they called me again. It shouldn't have happened, but that did the job. I had a fatalistic approach to everything and wanted to lie down on the sofa and not get up again. It was the fact that I had to take Tyke for his walks that saved me from doom.
I am sure I will feel better by tomorrow when there will be light at the end of the tunnel again. Or the tunnel will turn out to be a lot shorter than it looks now. It's a bitch to wait for the chemicals to be in balance again because that's all that's really the matter. In the meantime, I feel like eating a box of bonbons. I crave chocolate when I am down in the dumps. Oh, that reminds me that I can make a mug of hot chocolate. How very interesting! 

Thursday, January 09, 2014

Standing my ground...

Much as I like my black glasses with the red trim, I had to trade them in today for my other pair of "tortoise shell" glasses (that make me look like a school marm) because they are the latest ones I got and are the strongest. I had a bit of a hard time reading the text on television to the point that it was hurting my eyes, so that was no good. I had to stop being stubborn and start wearing this second most favorite pair and convince myself that I looked just as nice. I think I did a good enough job of that and am not embarrassed to be seen in these. I do keep thinking, "What in the world do I have on my nose?" It will take a few days to get used to these.  
I am having a cup of coffee to keep up my spirits and to prevent me from going to bed prematurely because it is way too early to think about that. I am not feeling as jolly as I could be and am trying to artificially induce happiness. The Exfactor bought little bottles of dry white South African wine for me and each one holds two glasses. I can drink one or two glasses before I go to sleep at night. The bottles have a screw on top so I don't have to bother with a cork, which I am no good at. I am already looking forward to the first glass, but I am going to postpone it for just a bit. I don't want to become a greedy alcoholic. God forbid I should permit myself another vice.
I am almost done with a book by a social and political commentator whose opinions I value a lot, and now I am a bit desperate for reading material. I will probably end up reading a novel from my own bookcase that I have already read and know by heart. I don't know if I am adventurous enough yet to start on something completely new, although I do feel a mild curiosity. Maybe I will feel bolder once I have had a glass of wine. I think you do have to be in a relaxed state of mind to start reading a new novel.
Despite the cups of coffee, I am yawning like a fool and almost collapsing in the chair. I will take that glass of wine to bed with me and hopefully leisurely drink it there.

The broken hearted...

I have, of course, been hypomanic off and on for the past week or so, at least ever since I started reducing the anti-depressants. I was, up to a point, in denial about this, but I had to admit it was true when my psychiatrist mentioned it yesterday. He had been able to tell by the nature of my emails to him. Reducing medication can cause mood swings and that is exactly what was happening with me. Things reached a pitch Tuesday afternoon when my mind as well as my body completely went into overdrive and I had to take a tranquilizer in order to settle down a bit. I now, after the fact, understand better what was going on then. I will hopefully settle sown to a dull roar now, because I can claim to not be in an excited state of mind while I still am. It's an odd disorder, bipolarity.
I found out, quite by chance yesterday evening, that the man I loved most in my life died in March of last year. I had over the past few years lost contact with him and I wondered every day where he was and how he was. Now I have my final answer and it came as a shock. I found the Facebook page of his late ex wife and was able to download a lot of photos of him and I am happy with them. I have photos of him in albums from the time we lived together 20 years ago, but none that were taken so recently. I was so broken hearted when I left him behind and it took many years for that heart to heal. It was one of the main causes for my total mental breakdown.
Timing is everything in life and it is serendipitous that I should find out the news about his death exactly now when I am dealing with all the things that happened 20 and then some years ago. When they say that a little girl grows up and finds a man who reminds her of her father, then that was true in this case. I had a very similar loving and playful relationship with this man as I did with my dad. The only problem was, that he would not even make the tiniest commitment to me and I felt very insecure. Now that I look back on that as a more mature woman, I don't understand what my problem was because that is exactly the kind of relationship I would want today. I threw away a lot by demanding security and I nearly destroyed myself in the process.
Well, I am rectifying all of that now, of course, and I will this terribly large issue also. It will be the first thing I will talk about when I see my psychiatrist next.
Tyke woke me up because he very urgently wanted to eat. It could now wait one minute longer and you would have thought that he had been starved. Gandhi's dish was also empty and she acted equally hungry. Those poor animals have such a tough life with me. Luckily, the Exfactor had done the grocery shopping and we are well supplied. God forbid there should not be enough food in the apartment.  

Wednesday, January 08, 2014

Don't do as I do...

After one heck of a session with my psychiatrist, I feel like I have no words left in me, but I know that is not true. When I just walked out of his office, I felt drained, but at the same time very satisfied. I got to say so many things that I have always wanted to say, but instead of my head and my heart being lighter, they almost immediately filled up with the rest of the things I need to talk about, but I will get the chance to do that on Monday, when I have a new appointment.
I do feel that I have accomplished a lot in one session and that I made huge progress, but I do have a good psychiatrist and that helps a lot too. Timing is everything in life and it is fate that he should be in my life right now when I am so ready to move on to bigger and better things. I know that he will help me get there.
My psychiatrist wanted to make sure that I was not hypomanic because he suspected that maybe I was. He had not seen me, but had read my emails and knew about my intentions concerning my medications and thought I was making a huge decision very quickly. He had to spend some time with me and observe my behavior. At the end of the session, we decided together to leave the doses of medication as they are for now and to see in a week or so if we are going to reduce them some more. It all depends on how the psychotherapy goes and on how stable I stay.
Much to my relief, I feel fine now and I don't really feel that my mood is one extreme or another. I am not experiencing a lot of sadness or extra joy. I am glad when I get to experience all sorts of shades of gray in life. I really don't mind wrapping myself in them and adding a touch of another color for brightness. That is how I dress in real life too.

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Get out of your hide out...

It's a pleasure indeed to sit here again with another delicious cup of coffee some time after I have taken another most exciting dose of anti-depressants. They always make me feel so giddy as if I have to undertake something very adventurous and fun. I can never think of anything better than writing a blog post because deep in my heart I was always meant to be a writer and have all my adventures in my imagination. I have always liked to write from the time I was old enough to hold a pencil.
Language has always fascinated me and I'll never forget the moment when I realized that I could read a whole complicated book on my own. The memory of that moment lies fixed in my mind like a photograph and I can recall it instantly. I knew at that very instant what power I possessed. Nothing would ever be a secret to me again. I would be able to read my father's scientific book 'Eureka' and all the novels by the American writers on the bookcase. I proceeded to do so, even when I was too young to understand them. And then I thought I knew everything about America.
I had to develop the right kind of handwriting to be able to do a lot of writing and I happened to sit beside a girl in the third grade who had the neatest kind that she had learned in the west of the country where she came from. I decided to copy hers and very quickly made it my own and could write in it clearly and at amazing speed. I was lucky in that I had a knack for language and was very good at spelling. My imagination also had a tendency to run rampant, so I wrote many interesting stories which I wish I still had today. I think my teachers enjoyed them a lot. What I didn't know about reality, I made up.
I lived a somewhat sheltered life, but because I read so many books, I knew a lot about a lot of things and I preferred to read modern adult literature. My mother had a preference for American authors, so I read them a lot. I thought I learned everything I needed to know about life in the States from these authors, not realizing that they were a whole unique breed on their own. It turned out later on, that what I learned had nothing to do with the reality I found myself in when I immigrated to California in the early 70's. I met completely different people then were represented in those novels. To say I suffered a culture shock would be to put it mildly. I thought I had gone back in time about 30 years.
During most of my adult life my writing career was dormant and I hardly ever wrote anything more than a letter, although I did keep reading. When my kids got bigger, I went back to college and took literature and foreign language classes and had to discuss novels intelligently. That was a god sent. My rate of reading increased and my kids and I made the library our second home. It wasn't until I became a free woman for the first time, that I started writing again and most of that was in the form of free verse, which I thought I excelled at at first, but realized later I was just barely good at.
I realized you had to have a tortured soul in order to be a really good writer and I received one of them. I started writing very interesting things, but I did not enjoy having a tortured soul and was willing to turn it in and never write anything again. I stopped writing dramatic and sensational pieces of prose and started working on my psyche. My blog became the place where I wrote, but it was mainly a place to record my thoughts and to be self centered. I never cared a heck of a lot if it was good writing. Now that my psyche seems to have been set free, I care more about what I write and how good it is, but I do not aim for literature.
I guess what I am still doing is recording my thoughts, but I want to do it in a prettier way that makes it more interesting to read. I do like to see how many people read my blog on any given day. I am vain enough to care.

Frivolous entertainment...

I had to promise my psychiatrist yesterday, that I would not further reduce the anti-depressants until after I had seen him on Wednesday. I promised him that, but I have to admit that I did so reluctantly. I felt that I was more than ready for the next step, because the less I take of them, the better I feel. Since this is really only a postponement of a few days, I suppose I can be patient and wait. I must not be like a little kid who can't wait for something to happen and keeps asking if it is time yet. I am supposed to be a grown up woman, after all. The last time I looked, my body had taken on that shape anyway. As a matter of fact, it looked distinctly middle aged. I think I'm supposed to have the brains to go with it. I can't escape that clause.
We are going to discuss the whole medicine issue anyway. I suppose he will give me sage advice and I will put in my two cents worth and together we will come to a working solution. I have not changed my mind and still feel the same way about the medications as I did last week when I discovered what their long term side effects could be. I especially feel that way now after having reduced the anti-depressants so much and feeling so much better. I can't wait to be off them completely to feel the full effect. I assume that my own mind will surprise me, and that what I thought was dementia, is really just a drug induced forgetfulness.
I am starting to surpass myself in my ability to contemplate all of this. I had quite forgotten that I was capable of working these things out on my own. I had started to think of myself as a rather slow and dull-witted woman and I was always jealous of my sister's quick-witted mind. I felt like the tortoise next to the hare. She was already at the finish line when I was still starting off. I don't think anyone, me included, took into account that I was so much under the influence of drugs that I was simply not capable of keeping up. I had become a very dull conversation partner and socially I was pretty much a dud. I think I will see a change in these areas now as I become more lively.
I am already envisioning a time not too long from now when I will be free from drugs completely, although it is possible that I will have to keep taking the mood stabilizers. That is not the worst thing that can happen and is like someone taking epilepsy drugs. They do not affect your personality and your ability to function. If anything, they keep you on an even keel.
This has been a somewhat serious blog post, but sometimes they need to be written also. They help me order my mind. I've got lots of thoughts running through it and it is good to line them up and have a good look at them, so I suppose that yes, I am a linear thinker. I do think that logical and rational thinking brings me to the answer and one step closer to the goal I am aiming for which lies in a faraway future that I may never reach. Well, we are all cut short before we get there, aren't we? If we believe like His Holiness the Dalai Lama does, we get to live over again in many other lives. That would appeal to me if I knew that the conditions into which I was born were favorable. Who chooses to be born as a starving African child in a war struck country?

Monday, January 06, 2014

The time of my life...

Lying down in bed with a good book to read still doesn't mean that you are going to take an afternoon nap much as you'd like to in order to pass the time. So I got up again and made a pot of coffee to make sure I was really bright-eyed and bushytailed. Of course, then I had to find something to do, and what is more fun than writing a blog post, even though there may not be all that much to write about? It is true, though, that I am seldom at a loss for words, especially now that I have come out of that drug induced fog and I have thousands of conversations rolling around inside my head. I will have to get them down in an orderly fashion, although I feel like jumping from one subject to the other like a true renaissance woman.
Yes, I'd like to be as versatile as Michelangelo, but I doubt when the fog has completely lifted, I am going to turn out to be a genius quite like him. Not many people like him come around but, let's face it, he was born at the right time when a lot of things still had to be discovered. Yes, he did make wonderful sculptures and paintings. Well, I better move on to other aspects of myself.
I have no idea who lives behind all this fog I have been hiding in, so it is going to be as much of a surprise to me as it will be to you. I may end up staring in amazement at myself in the mirror. Already I feel much more quick witted as you may have noticed by my much improved sense of humor. I am almost as quick on my feet, although my mild physical disabilities do hamper me somewhat. I am not flitting around like a butterfly. When I wear my ankle boots that have the higher heels, I do fall off them and then feel embarrassed and look around me to see if anyone in the street was watching me. Usually nobody is, and that goes to show you that no one really gives a darn.
Yes, I do get my kicks when I walk Tyke, but at least it is not him that pulls me off my feet. I am quite capable of doing that all by myself. He is too busy marking his territory and eating things off the pavement that are of unknown origin. Yet, when he gets home he is still hungry and so is Gandhi, so I always feel like I am feeding two growing teenagers. I run out of food for them way before my next planned shopping trip and have to send the Exfactor to the store for emergency supplies. Is it any wonder that I go over budget? I probably spend less money on myself than I do on them, but I suppose that is proof of how much I like them.
Oh, but you must absolutely not get the idea that I don't eat well, because I spend lots of time thinking about what I am going to eat and how much I am going to enjoy it. And I never weigh myself. The bathroom scale stands there next to the shower stall being completely useless. I have decided that how much I weigh is absolutely no measure of how happy I am. As long as my clothes fit me and I like myself well enough, all is right with the world. The fact that I had to buy some bigger clothes takes nothing away from that statement. Some of the smaller clothes still fit too. Besides, I don't have to be anybody's sexy baby. I just have to be somebody I like well enough.