helen-louise (baratron) wrote,

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Health stuff - touching wood...

I've been delaying posting this for a while. Not that I'm particularly superstitious, but my mother is, and no matter how sensible and matter-of-fact I try to be about things, some of her attitudes have rubbed off on me. One of them is that it seems too much like tempting fate to declare things until you're certain of them. I'm not sure that I even believe in fate, let alone the kind of fate that could be "tempted", but I still prefer not to get too excited about things until I know they're fairly definite.

Well, though I can't be certain that these things are permanent, it is true that a couple of good things have happened to me recently. For the past 19 days or so, I have been falling asleep at night and getting up in the morning. This is the longest stable sleep pattern that I've been in for more than a year. I know this might be extremely hard for you to understand, because the sleep/wake cycle is so fundamental that most people take for granted - they just go to bed and are asleep in a couple of minutes. It's never worked that way for me - I've never found going to sleep easy, and as I've got older, I've had more and more trouble with it. For at least the past year, I've been suffering so much with circadian rhythm disorder that I haven't been able to maintain a stable sleep pattern for more than a couple of days at a time. I haven't even been able to maintain a "reverse" sleep/wake pattern, where you deliberately stay awake at night and sleep during the day - even those have only lasted a week and then collapsed.

Can you imagine what it's like to not be able to know more than a day or so in advance what hours you'll be sleeping on a given day? It makes a lot of everyday life things impossible. Going to work goes out the window because almost all jobs require you to be there by a certain time. I'm not lazy - I have enough willpower to be able to drag myself out of bed when still tired, but I was at the stage where I was so exhausted that I'd sleep through alarms, and if someone physically tried to wake me up by talking to me and shaking me I'd wake up enough to babble a bit but not know what I was saying and not be able to move. Trying to wake me up in this state would be impossible because I thought I was getting up, but I was actually still asleep. I spent hours half-asleep, certain that I had got up, only to find that I was still in bed and that I'd been dreaming that I'd got up. Repeat several times, until I'd got enough sleep to actually wake up. I'd find myself sleeping for 18 or 20 hours at a time and then being awake for 20 to 30 hours at a time. All sorts of weird stuff like that. Working, even from home, became impossible, and even just making plans to see people & being social became hard.

Well, it's very odd, but suddenly I seem to be finding myself getting tired and falling asleep like a normal person again. I don't know why - and I don't know if this is a permanent miracle cure or if my sleep patterns will get fucked again. Really, I have no idea what's rejigged my body clock into functioning again! The only thing I can attribute it to is the magical healing power of Alton Towers. Honestly - I've only been able to sleep again since I went there. It's as good a reason to quote as any, isn't it?

My moods have also improved. Lately (in the past couple of months or so), I've noticed that they've taken a definite swing upwards. I've had a couple of brief periods of rapid cycling and hypomania, and now I feel sort of vaguely normal. Which is actually pretty amazing. The most obvious thing is that I feel like myself again - my brain seems to be working again - I can think clearly, and I have near normal amounts of energy. Now, again, I don't know to what I can attribute this improvement. It could be that high doses of folic acid have sorted me out, it could be the magical healing power of Alton Towers, or it could be that I've simply got to the end of my depressive episode. Major depression does generally only last for two years at a time, and I've come to the end of that. I'm still on antidepressants, and I expect that I will continue to be for a while, but I've got a doctor's appointment on Friday and we'll discuss all this then. The way I feel now is the way that I'm supposed to feel - basically healthy.

So now that I'm feeling vaguely normal and vaguely healthy, I'm actually in a position to start sorting my life out. It's not going to be easy, because I'm about £2500 in debt to my mother, about £300 in debt to Richard and I have an overdraft of £1700. I also have an unfinished PhD hanging round my neck like an albatross (where did that expression come from?). But I'm well enough and my sleep is stable enough that I can actually do a part-time job now, and I'm looking to make that full-time as soon as I feel ready to. So I can start paying my bills and paying off my debts, and when I've cut into the financial mess a bit I can start writing up my thesis. Properly, this time.

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