Monday, August 11, 2014
On the one hand, I would be unable to hold still, with impulsive bursts of energy in which I would start painting a room or start driving cross-country at 10:30 at night. On the other hand, I would completely crash in total exhaustion. All my senses were on hyper-alert making me so anxious and paranoid that sometimes I was afraid to drive on the freeway at all. Getting out of bed, going to work every day, attempting any activity that required any sort of exertion was totally daunting. Being on constant high-alert, no matter how much sleep I got I could not manage to recharge my batteries.
That summer we saw fireworks, I ran a 5K on the spur of the moment, we went on a 1600 mile road trip, I took the kids camping, I painted the basement, we entertained company, and more. But all I remember was constantly having to muster energy hour by hour, and really just wanting to sleep all the time. We'd make plans for the evening, and I'd have to take a nap before I felt like I could go. It was kind of like the exhaustion I felt when I was newly pregnant, and I wasn't pregnant. Combine that with the depression I was already experiencing--with a financially difficult year, moving, and two job changes--I felt like a total mess.
It wasn't until my sister and I compared notes on a new medication we had both tried that I connected the dots. She had had similar side effects to my mania/exhaustion, and it was like a light-bulb turning on. In June I had started taking Abilify. Abilify is a medication that is supposed to augment the effect of anti-depressant medications. Instead, it had the effect on me of amplifying my anxiety and depression, and making me even less energized than my already low-energy self. The same thing had happened to my sister.
Flash-forward to this summer. I also painted a room, saw fireworks, went hiking, went camping, spent time at the pool, and entertained company. Yeah, I'm tired, but I feel much different. Looking at the stark contrast from last summer to this has been surprising. I've been able to enjoy family activities and work on projects without completely depleting myself. I may not be the most energetic person to begin with, and I have had depression for a long time, but I feel more like myself now than I did a year ago.
I just keep looking back at last summer as lost time. Everything that has happened this year seems to be defined by how it is different, and better, from last year. My Abilify trial (and failure) has created a reference point for me.
Since then, I have found a good balance of medications that allows me to be functional, happy, and hopeful, and I feel a little bit like me!
Friday, August 01, 2014
Fun day at the zoo with Sorenson cousins. The kids were more interested in climbing on animal statues than look at actual live animals. Figures. Highlights included the bats, elephants, and giraffes. The kids always love going on the train and carousel. They got to touch a turtle!