That’s my Mum’s phrase for the kind of day when you feel as if you can’t get your bum off the sofa, when it feels as if it’s made of lead… I’m having one of those days today. I woke up at seven, but it took me until eleven to get up, bathed, dressed and breakfasted (and not in that order).
My way of getting anything done on these kinds of days is my five things strategy. 15 minutes of anything is unachievable (no chance of a star on my chart), so I do five things, and then sit down again. Any five things – only criteria being I have to get up from the sofa to do them. So I’ve just taken two dishes into the kitchen and put three plates away from the clean dishwasher, and that’s my lot until I start feeling guilty, or the tiniest bit more energised again.
I don’t know why this happens, but since it doesn’t happen all of the time, I’m not prepared to worry about it. Forcing my way through it does me no good at all – I just get more tired. There are certain priorities which must happen – the children must be fed and clothed and get to school, and I must get to work for an appropriate number of hours in reasonably appropriate clothing (once I get there, I can just sit in front of a laptop all day and I seem to have no trouble producing good quality output).
Luckily The Husband is a househusband as well as an author, and so he takes care of the children’s needs, while I concentrate on bringing in some cash to pay the bills and for the vast amount of food a family of five can consume. So far it seems to be working for us – I’ve not missed a day of work, and the boys have only once been late for the school bus. And not every day is a leadbum day – some days I can be found happily and energetically doing the kinds of things that normal people do.
Doubling the dose of the sertaline seems to be working already. I feel emotionally miles better, but some of the less pleasant side effects have started again. My appetite is gone, which for a lifelong foodlover is a bizarre sensation, and I can’t tolerate the thought of spicy foods. There’s hardly anything I feel like eating, and I don’t eat much of whatever I do choose. Yesterday I didn’t eat enough and got very very hungry, which resulted in stomach pains. And I feel a little sick some of the time. And to add insult to injury, none of this appears to be resulting in weight loss…
These are temporary effects which I know will pass as my body gets used to the higher dose. More worrying is the loss of the driving force that I’m used to feeling. In a way it’s a blessing, because it results in less anxiety overall, but I’m considering the fact that it might also result in a lack of ambition, not just in the workplace, but in all areas of my life – a lack of long term aspirations, and a feeling of being unable to get all fired up about contentious issues. I’m sure it’s something to do with the lack of energy as well.
But the anhedonia, the lack of enjoyment and looking forward to stuff, has gone. I look forward to going to work in the mornings, to a lovely cup of tea, to social events, speaking to friends, to spending time with my children, reading a good book…. my joy in life has come back. I feel stronger and more stable overall.
It’s a complicated balancing act. But it leads me to wonder, how much stuff do I actually do not because I really want to, but because I’m anxious about what will happen if I don’t? How much does fear and anxiety actually drive me? With the higher dose of antidepressant in my bloodstream, my innate stubborn streak has come though and my main feeling at the moment is one of, if I don’t really want to do something, then I just simply won’t. And I’m looking forward to finding out about all the things I really do want to do – once my leadbum day recedes and I have the energy to do them…