Tuesday, March 21, 2017

A Winter Lost: At Last, Spring

My absence from this blog has been equal to my absence from life in general. 

This past winter something inside of me broke, and I just checked out. A shattering exhaustion, the kind that only deep depression can produce, consumed me... I just could not get out of bed.

Add to that the frustration of under treated chronic pain and you’ve got a recipe for disaster.

No writing, no painting. Barely present on Twitter and mostly missing from Facebook; and when I’m there it’s usually only to like others’ posts not to post anything new of my own.

Even with several med tweaks and help from my doctors, it just wasn’t enough to shake it and the months of November through February were lost to me.

Then, March came.

There is in March, of course, the promise of spring; but we also had a trip that had been planned a long time in advance that I had to make, for my own good as well as to not let my husband down. 

Somehow (with great encouragement) I managed to drag myself out of bed and through the panic attacks and crying jags was able to push through the stress nightmare that is air travel for me and get to where we were going.

As soon as we landed, I saw the sun and the palm trees and I felt a subtle shift. I was still in incredible pain, still scared of what could possibly go wrong during our trip or at home where my mother was babysitting the cat.

But after a week in an upbeat, vibrant environment I was exhausted in an entirely different way but somehow there was a tiny spark in me; and I knew at home there was another new med waiting to try to help my pain. I was anxious to get home and get started on it.

My new sun hat

My optimism did not last long. 

On day five I had an intolerable reaction to the med and it had to be stopped; it is now in the ‘fail’ column. Meeting with my doctor yesterday we decided to go back to an older med that I used to take but stopped because we felt it might be making the depression worse (quitting it didn’t help the depression get any better, we found in the end) and so I started back on that one again last night. It’s my hope that I can find SOME relief from my pain, even just to take the edge off, so that I can be drawn again back to my blank canvases and the keyboard, too. So that I can be drawn back to life.

While we were gone they had one of the worst wind storms in Michigan history—and it was THE worst power outage event ever. Almost a million people without power and with damage to houses, trees, 1200 pound power poles snapped in half like twigs. We were lucky, we kept checking the phone and the answering machine picked up every time, meaning we were spared from the power loss.

We were also lucky in that we flew in and out on good weather days and missed the airport snarls that happened because of not only the wind storm itself but the blizzards on the east coast that followed our return. We were very fortunate.

It was a good trip. Though the depression dampened my enjoyment and the pain severely limited my ability to do much other than to ride a scooter around and take in the scenery, it was a good trip. We visited relatives one day, catching up and seeing how happy they are since they retired and moved down south. It was nice to see it.

So what now? How often will I feel up to blogging? Is the depression finally beginning to lift a little now that it’s officially spring? I don’t know. It is sunny today, but I can tell it’s still cold outside, and the pounding on my roof tells me that our building was not entirely spared from damage from the high winds a few weeks back. I’m just grateful that they are repairing the damage now before this weekend’s forecast rain.

Such is life with chronic illness, let alone mental illness. You don’t know when improvement will come, if it will come. All you can do is keep trying a little more each day, keep fighting sleep, keep battling to stay out of bed. Work with your doctors and therapist and hope for the best.

I’m hoping that I won’t lose spring the way I lost winter, and I hope that spring returns the sun and a renewed sense of hope to anyone out there who, like me, might desperately be needing it.