No. 1: A Friend in Need is a Friend Indeed

I pulled myself out of my pity-party long enough yesterday to give my best friend, Ronnie, a telephone ring. She recently lost her father, and had to travel to Spain in order to deal with the loss. I knew she’d gotten back on Saturday; but I hadn’t felt up to speaking with anyone. Honestly? I didn’t feel like speaking to anyone yesterday, either; but I vowed to do at least one selfless thing… and so, I dialed her number.

We talked about her trip, her grief, and the struggles of her recent move; and then the girl turned the conversation on me (as she always does).

Ronnie is amazing in that she never takes, “I’m fine.” as an acceptable answer. She’s really good at asking questions that can’t be answered with a simple yes or no. Instead, she asks things like, “How are things between you and Mitch?” So inevitably, I ended up spilling my guts as well.

Before saying goodbye, she said, “Remember that I know you. Don’t go into your doctor’s office and tell him everything’s okay, you hear me?”

“Yes, ma’am.” (But in truth, I felt better just for having talked with her.)

No. 2: Psychiatric Revelation

I saw my psychiatrist yesterday afternoon, and spoke to him about the (rather recent) increased frequency of my down days. I explained that I tend to have two-to-three really good days (lots of motivation, positive attitude, action towards goals), immediately followed by one-to-two down days (lack of motivation, apathetic attitude, sans action).

He asked if the down days included periods of suicidal ideation… no, they have not.

He asked when these down days tend to occur… on the weekends (i.e. Mitchell’s days off).

He asked if I was getting enough sleep… six-and-a-half to nine-and-a-half hours per night.

He asked if I was eating more than once per day… nope, not usually.

Then he asked why I eat only once each day. I explained (again) that I suffer from IBS, and do not eat during daylight hours in order to avoid the consequences of an attack. “What does that look like, worst case scenario?” he inquired.

“Well, imagine that you are already described as ‘the old lady’ by your university classmates; and add to that the fear that you might lose control of your bowels during class. I really don’t want to be described as ‘the old lady who shit her pants’, ya’ know?” This made him laugh… something I rarely see him do.

Then he asked if any of my medications and/or lab work had changed. No med changes; but I have had an increasingly elevated liver enzyme (ALT) since the first week of February (something my primary care physician attributed to weight gain, even though there has not been a significant gain in that time).

In response to all of this, my shrink explained that both the increase in down days — and the ALT level — could be a result of the overwhelming stress over the past couple of months (February was when Mitchell rotated back to his night schedule, which kept him away from home for a week at a time). He suggested that I might tend to crash when Mitch is home, simply because I can (i.e. giving over responsibility for the household). He also stated that my serotonin and dopamine levels are probably adjusting to my new workout routine, which could throw my psych meds a bit off balance.

All-in-all, he said not to worry. Hang in there for two more months, see what happens when school starts up again, and we’ll revisit the issue at that time.

There was a bit of a relief that I wasn’t prescribed new and/or increased medication (and/or diagnosed with yet another mental health disorder); but also a tad of frustration that this undulating mood-cycle may continue for another couple of months. (Ah well, it’s nothing I haven’t already survived.)

No. 3: Let the Light In

Previous to my brief outing yesterday, I hadn’t left the house since Friday. The house is rather dark out of necessity (we use solar-blocking window treatments to combat the summer heat of the Sonoran Desert); so if I don’t leave it, I rarely see sunshine between the months of May and November.

Surprisingly, I found my mood began to lighten the moment I pulled out of the driveway. It felt good to be out in the sun (though not the sweltering heat); and I was motivated enough to hit the gym following my afternoon appointment.

I think the next time I’m feeling a little cranky, I may just pull open the curtains for a lil’ while.

No. 4: Fluffy People’s Happy Hour at the Gym

Because I put off going to the gym until after my appointment, I turned up there around four o’clock in the afternoon; and I was amazed at the difference!

It turns out that all of the younger, beautiful people workout in the morning (when I normally visit the gym), and all of the middle-aged, fluffy people congregate in the afternoon! Who knew?!

I felt much more comfortable and confident surrounded by “my people” than I ever have when submersed in the sea of well-muscled, spandex-clad (and often, half-naked) folks in the early hours of the day.

And, bonus! An older gentleman told me that “staring at my booty inspired [him] to stay on the treadmill for an extra ten minutes.” I laughed and told him that he’d made my day and (flashing my ring at him) my husband’s. He said he saw the ring, and was just “a harmless connoisseur of fine booties.” It was a nice contrast to the guy I posted about earlier in the blog… the one who pointed at me and my husband and said, “It could be worse. We could look like them.”

No. 5: Trying to Remember “This Too, Shall Pass”

It’s easy to grasp this concept when you’re on the other side of whatever it is you need to pass… but I tend to scoff and sneer at the sentiment when I’m in the midst of an existential crisis.

I shall try harder to remember that bad days are just that — bad days. They won’t last forever; and I am not an utter failure for having them.

Of course, the next time they roll around, I’m sure I will be inclined to scoff and sneer once more (Isn’t that what writing’s for? To bitch and moan about the hard times?! 😂) ; but until then, I’ll work on who I’m meant to be.

Soundtrack: “Who I’m Meant to Be” by Anthem Lights

“Everyone is on their way, but I am standing still
Comparing my behind-the-scenes against their highlight reel.”

– Anthem Lights, “Who I’m Meant to Be”

I love this particular part of the lyrics, because I am so guilty of thinking that way. I forget that we all put our best foot forward — and don our happy masks — in public; but that we all have not-so-great shit going on behind-the-scenes as well.

11 thoughts on “Revelations

    • Right?! I was like, Hells, yeah! Look at all these folks gettin’ their fitness on! It’s amazing how just being around people who are going through what you yourself are experiencing can make so much of a difference! ✨

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I’m glad you had that conversation with your friend, and I’m even more glad you showed up and were honest with your psychiatrist!! That’s hard to do, I’m proud of you 😊
    That guy at the gym was funny. He wouldn’t definitely creeped me out, but I have a low threshold for that kind of thing 🤣

    Liked by 1 person

    • He was really kind and funny, and old enough that I could’ve easily knocked him on his ass… so I forgave the impropriety and took the complement. (I mean, if my bootie is starting to look fine, I must be doing something right! 😂) I filed it away under “motivation”, and used the story to make Mitch laugh.

      Yeah, being honest with my physicians is not my strong suit. Mostly because I hate taking meds, I hate taking advice, and I hate feeling weak… but right now, my marriage is the most important thing to repair; and that means that I have to be present and stop saying, “I don’t care.” So weakness, be damned! 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  2. “It’s easy to grasp this concept when you’re on the other side of whatever it is you need to pass… but I tend to scoff and sneer at the sentiment when I’m in the midst of an existential crisis.” I’m the same way. When things are fine I feel like this statement is true but when things are going very south I always think it’s an annoying saying because it feels like this is never going to pass.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I am so sorry that you have so many down days and that you are so hard on yourself. You have no idea how amazing your are in my book. Everyone has issues – mental, physical, emotional. Not everyone owns them and few people are as determined as you are to manage/overcome them.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Much gratitude, my lovely friend. I wish it was easier to see ourselves as others do… because I tend to be “very kind in my outlook toward others, and show none of that for myself” (Mitch’s words).

      I don’t know how and/or why my inner critic got so bitter and cynical and scarred… but I am trying to fix that. It’s an incredibly difficult thing to do; but words of such beautiful encouragement surely help. Thank you! 🤗

      Liked by 1 person

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