I’ve Been Quiet Lately

Quietly Taking Care. Writing & Doing Less.

I’ve been quiet lately. Out of commission. Taking it easy.

This holiday season brings tough firsts. First Thanksgiving since my father died in April. First Christmas coming up. My sister and I plan to remember him and observe our family Christmas traditions. We need each other. We miss our dad.

Seasonal affective disorder hit hard, too. As the days got shorter, I cocooned, became seasonally and situationally depressed. Seasonal depression, bipolar disorder and now my grief overwhelm me at times.

Taking care of myself….mostly. Seeing my psychiatrist and psychologist. Going to a grief support group at Jewish Federation & Family Services. Reaching out and asking for help, for support, when I need it.

SO IMPORTANT that you ask for and accept help. My insight into my need for help, reaching out for it and accepting it, has KEPT ME ALIVE.

When I was 18 years old and suicidal, realizing I needed help, asking for it and accepting it made all the difference.

Worn Out

Tired Collage
Photos taken & poem written October 2015. It’s that season again…

Exhausted

Overwhelmed
Not thinking clearly
Not able to complete sentences
Not able to answer direct questions

Fumbling with language
With spoken language
With what I hear
With what I read

So sleepy
Feared falling asleep
Driving to doctor’s office

Door locked
Looked at calendar
Over an hour early

Went back to parked car
Overlooking hill of eucalyptus
Enjoyed view

Tolerated gardeners
Noisy leaf blowers
Those things should be illegal

Wish I had slept
That extra hour
Though not sure
It would have helped

Seems there’s no refilling
This empty tank
No overcoming
This fatigue right now

Seasonal and situational
Wait it out?
Perhaps
Not sure

Worn Out

Tired Collage

Exhausted

Overwhelmed
Not thinking clearly
Not able to complete sentences
Not able to answer direct questions

Fumbling with language
With spoken language
With what I hear
With what I read

So sleepy
Feared falling asleep
Driving to doctor’s office

Door locked
Looked at calendar
Over an hour early

Went back to parked car
Overlooking hill of eucalyptus
Enjoyed view

Tolerated gardeners
Noisy leaf blowers
Those things should be illegal

Wish I had slept
That extra hour
Though not sure
It would have helped

Seems there’s no refilling
This empty tank
No overcoming
This fatigue right now

Seasonal and situational
Wait it out?
Perhaps
Not sure

Spring is REALLY LOUD

Common yellowthroat  Credit: George Gentry/USFWS
Common yellowthroat
Credit: George Gentry/USFWS

Springtime can trigger seasonal affective disorder (SAD) in both those with depression and bipolar disorder. For those of us with bipolar disorder, SAD can trigger mania and hypomania. The stressors of these changes contributed to my psychiatric hospitalization a decade ago.

As spring has approached and the days have lengthened, I have had mild symptoms of hypomania, including insomnia, which I addressed with my psychiatrist by reducing my SSRI dose. We left my dosage of divalproex (Depakote) the same. Initially, we tried halving my dose of the SSRI escitalopram (Lexapro) to 2.5 mg for six days, with the intent of removing the SSRI altogether. But I found myself unable to stay awake during the daytime, so I remain on 2.5 mg.

To me, spring is a cacophony of noises accompanying the frenzy of renewed life. The days are longer. The birds build nests and make it known loudly and clearly with their calls that they are mating and starting anew. All that springtime bursting and bustling of new life, is stimulating, and for me, overstimulating.