Work has been a struggle this week, working with a person who has had a lot of trauma, and lots of additional work with no additional time to do it in. I was so tired last night (partly because of staying up too late watching election stuff) that I decided not to go to swimming class.*
Today I went into work for a couple of hours, did some stuff that needed to be done, sorted out a massive pile of papers and left feeling slightly more able to cope next week. I could have stayed later on Friday to do it but honestly, I was done. I got home from work, spent some time with the cat, and then went for a swim. Today was the first weekend in months I’ve had the motivation to go for a swim. I even did a couple of sprints.
*Note to self: either take the next day as annual leave and stay up all night watching the election, or go to bed at your normal time and find out in the morning. Don’t stay up several hours past bedtime and go to bed having seen only three results then feel shit all the next day. Although let’s face it, we’re all going to be feeling shit for the next five years.
For me, the hardest thing about depression hasn’t been low mood, it’s been my complete lack of motivation. I go to work, I come home, and I spend every evening and weekend on the sofa eating carbs. From swimming 3-5 times a week and pilates at least once a fortnight for the past couple of years, this year from January to April I swam twice other than class. I’ve put back on all the weight I lost in the last 2 years, which doesn’t help my dodgy hip, and just urgh. Swimming is very important to me; it’s cardiovascular and strengthening, it supports weight loss, it helps me sleep, it’s mentally relaxing and can be almost meditative for me, it relieves and prevents pain in my hip, it’s something I can do comfortably and confidently, or I can challenge myself to go faster, use better technique, improve my weaker strokes, and it’s something I enjoy. No matter how pissed off I am when I get into the water, no matter how annoying other people in the pool can be, the act of cleaving through the water makes me feel better. So not being able to motivate myself to go has been difficult for me, in lots of ways. I took annual leave the week beginning 13th April, and the following Monday & Tuesday. I had hoped to use the time to get back into an exercise groove and I wanted to swim every day and do one or two classes as well. In the end, I only managed to swim three times. To be honest, I’m disappointed I didn’t manage more than that, but I’m trying to look at it as a good start rather than a fail. Stroke development started again on Friday after the Easter break and I headed up to it, but there was a power cut at the pool and it was cancelled. Owing to annual leave I was only at work Wednesday-Friday last week and I’d aimed to swim at least once on Saturday or Sunday, but I just couldn’t do it. I sat on the sofa with a loaf of sourdough and a jar of peanut butter, feeling that I was letting myself down. I think work is taking it out of me more than I realise, and I think that because I have started to feel better, I’m assuming I’m better than I am and I’m expecting too much of myself. The good news is, a meeting finished early today and I took advantage of that and was in the pool by 1630 and did a kilometre. I also managed what might be my fastest ever 50 metre length, 67 seconds, and my average speed per length was pretty good (for me). Months of eating carbs obviously agrees with me. I might not make it to the pool again this week before Friday, I might not make it there next weekend. But I might. And if I don’t, that’s fine, and if I do, that’s great.
I went back to the GP on Friday for a review. I told him that although my mood is starting to lift, it’s not back to normal yet, and I’m still low on motivation. Then we had a chat about the side-effects and I said that although they’re an inconvenience, they’re not intolerable. I said I think I’ve been really lucky – the Sertraline has started to work quickly and the side-effects aren’t hideous – and he said that it’s helped that I went when I did. He thinks if I’d left it another couple of months the depression would have been more entrenched and would take longer to clear, and he says it was good that I’d thought things through before I went and he didn’t have to spend weeks persuading me to try meds. So, I’m staying on the same dose, going back in 6 weeks, and as I’m on annual leave next week and therefore not exhausted in the evenings after a day of work, I’m going to try to get back into an exercise routine.
My mood is lifting but I remain pretty unmotivated. Night sweats have started; last night’s were so bad my tossing and turning ripped a big hole in the bottom sheet.
Still tired and sleepy, but not like Wednesday when I fell asleep at my desk. Hands and feet still sweating, and my body temperature feels warmer, which is weird for me as a permanently cold person. Weird dreams have started, but that doesn’t bother me. Nothing intolerable so far; this could be a lot worse. And I had enough energy last night to go to swimming class for the first time in a few weeks. So far, so good.
Tired. So very very sleepy. And my hands and feet are very sweaty. But mainly I’m tired.
I think the Sertraline has kicked in. My colleagues spent much time laughing at me this morning because I’m “bug-eyed,” “sort of manic looking” and “smiling too much.”
Went back to my GP yesterday. All the bloods came back normal, so we’re happy there’s no physiological reason for why I’m feeling like this. We had a discussion about antidepressants and my priorities in terms of avoiding side-effects – there are some things I would find much harder to tolerate than others. And he’s started me on 100mg sertraline once a day, with a follow-up appointment in three weeks and the understanding that it might take a month for them to work.
Took the first one yesterday morning. Now, I was very very tired yesterday after the awful day at work on Thursday, and yesterday was nearly as stressful, but I think taking the first dose yesterday was foolish. I’d have been better waiting until today (Saturday) to give me a chance to adjust to the side-effects rather than being hit with them at work. Yesterday I was very woolly-headed, but that might have been the pre-existing tiredness, and I spent the afternoon suffering waves of nausea. That had settled by tea time, but by then the tiredness was overpowering me, and when I went to bed, I lay awake the whole night, knackered but unable to sleep. Fingers crossed the insomnia passes quickly.
I am so tired, all the time. And making stupid mistakes – threw out a finished pair of trainers last week then a few days later realised they’d had my orthotics in them. Last night I completely forgot to bring my laptop home from work, although I knew I needed it today, and I had to go and get it at 10 o’clock last night.
I just want them to confirm what’s wrong with me and start fixing it.
Now that I’ve acknowledged that things aren’t right, I’m trying to use the periods when I do have a bit of motivation to set myself up for when I don’t. So this morning I realised the prospect of the walk to Lauriston Place and back was too much for me and I scrapped the idea of giving blood. Instead, I went to Tesco and then to the Wee Boulangerie for a loaf of rye sourdough. Then I came home, had a sit down, and had bread and peanut butter for lunch. I spent the afternoon reading The Monogram Murders and watching the last 3 sets in the Davis Cup men’s doubles.
This evening I chopped up some onions and garlic and put them in a frying pan on a very low heat to soften, while I had a sit down. Once I felt like getting up again, I chopped up the 6 packs of tomatoes I accidentally ordered the other week instead of 6 tomatoes, and stuck them in the pan too, with a bay leaf, some honey and some balsamic vinegar. Once that’s all cooked down, I’ll have pasta sauce for 2 dinners this week and another couple for the freezer. Tomorrow I will make Anjun Anand’s spinach with black-eyed beans and that will be two more dinners for this week and two more for the freezer.
So I’ve used the small pockets of energy and motivation I’ve had today to make sure I’ll have decent meals when I get in from work with no energy and motivation. And when I was too schlumpy at lunchtime to make a decent lunch, I had really nice bread and peanut butter which was easy and so delicious it didn’t feel like I’d settled for the only thing I could manage.