Technically that’s “10 Days or Fewer.” I’m an English major, what can I say? By the time you graduate, the pedantry is well and truly ingrained.
Also I will own up right now that that title is misleading. It has not been ten days since I decided to get my shit together, so I can’t actually tell you if my method (such as it is) works or not. But it has been a while since I last posted–most of a month, in fact–and a lot has happened. Or more accurately, very little.
At the end of July, I finished tapering off Abilify, on my meds manager’s advice and with my consent. I wasn’t sure how much the drug was helping me, and she felt like I needed to get off at least one of my meds, since I was taking five different ones to treat my anxiety and depression. I’d also gained quite a bit of weight in the months since starting Abilify, so there was the possibility that it was contributing to that as well and that if I went off it, I might start to shed those pounds. So we agreed to try tapering me off it.
The initial taper, from 15mg down to 5mg, went pretty well. I had some withdrawal symptoms, like increased depression, but those went away eventually. After a couple months, I started tapering off the 5mg as well, and as I said, I took the last one at the end of July.
And everything was fine for a while. I wrote 6k of silly fanfic and was feeling pretty productive and generally quite good about my life. I mean, there was the part where I still didn’t have a job, but that wasn’t weighing on me very heavily, and anyway, I’d just put in three applications. It was bound to turn up something, wasn’t it?
Unfortunately, depression decided to turn up first.
Depression is kind of insidious. At first, it just seemed like I was having a few bad days, but as those days lengthened into a week, I started kind of hating myself again. I wasn’t getting anything done. My burst of productivity at the beginning of the month–reading books, writing fanfic, watching movies–evaporated. I spent my days trawling the internet, and many nights staying up until 3 and 4am, just because I wasn’t tired.
I realized I was probably having a Major Depression episode. That didn’t help. My next meds appointment, with a new meds manager, was two weeks away, and my next therapy session even longer away than that. I just kept stewing, and knowing that my brain chemicals were acting up did not help me feel better. If anything, it made me feel worse, since if I was just a Better Person, I would realize I was being irrational and stop being depressed.
If only it were so easy.
It only got worse when I found out that I did not get any of the positions I’d applied for. At two of them, I didn’t even get a call for an interview. I got pretty low, and a week before my meds appointment I ended up calling the National Suicide Prevention Hotline.
Talking to someone without a dog in the race helped a bit. I managed to claw myself onto a ledge just above the bottom of the Pit of Despair, and held myself there until my appointment.
My new meds manager agreed that stopping the Abilify is probably what brought about the episode of depression. As of a week ago, I am back on it, and to be honest I’m feeling a lot better for it. I can’t tell if it’s actually helping at this point, or if I’m just experiencing a placebo effect, but I’m definitely closer to the top of the Pit of Despair than the bottom. I can see the sun shining, and it’s just a matter of getting high enough to let it shine on my face.
Which brings me back to where we started: getting my shit together.
I decided yesterday that I am done with sitting around and doing nothing. I have a ton of books to return to the library. I have a less-silly fanfic that needs updating and more importantly, finishing. I have an afghan for my brother and SIL to knit. Among many, many other things. So I sat down with a notebook and wrote up a plan.
Well, 12% of a plan.
Most of it comes down to a schedule. Having a set time every day to do certain things, so I can start reaching my goals and making progress. It’s only day 1 of the schedule, but I think it’s going pretty well. I think I will probably report back at the end of the week to tell you all how it’s gone. As important as the schedule is, however, I also know it’s important not to treat the schedule as the be-all, end-all of my day-to-day. Flexibility is important, so if things don’t fit the schedule, it’s all right. Just go with the flow. Get done what you can. That kind of thing.
I think, so far, it’s working. I didn’t do as much writing as I needed to do today, for example, but there’s always tomorrow. There is always and forever tomorrow.