Not a good start to the day this morning. So how are things now? I ask because I know that I’m up and down quite a lot in the course of a single day, but have made no effort to document or analyse this, and get left with an average sense of the day instead.
So… Got my world mask on before arriving at work. I get a couple of minutes frantically spinning my Powerball (trying to rehabilitate my recently broken and now rather lumpy right hand). Sure, some overwhelming feelings of choking claws tried to gouge their way up my throat, but I made it dry eyed and ready to say “howdy”. As usual, getting locked into work and tasks to complete are deeply soothing, distracting me from myself.
I realise that I’m wildly tired. That sucking sense of my eyes being poured out into the world and everything behind them continues. But I’ve done some things, and it’s slowed that drain. Or something.
I stopped taking amitriptyline in January, after many years of use for anxiety and sleep disorder. I’d come to feel that I had no emotions – the stuff chopped off the highs and lows, leaving me in the manageable but thrill-free middle. How could I maintain relationships without a full spectrum of feelings? Each night all worries and thoughts and ideas and plans were largely erased by the amitriptyline, and the glory of unconsciousness would follow.
Coming off it was an inevitable carnage of no sleep and the resurgence of feelings. I think… I experienced no more or less anxiety, making me wonder if anxiety had simply become an emotion. Over the last few months it’s remained fairly constant, but I’ve had no discovery of especial happiness and joy which I’d rather hoped for. It’s possible those feelings are simply being overwhelmed by, well, the feeling of being overwhelmed… I’m not sure what that is. A sense of “too much”, of doing things I don’t find a desire to do, which I do because I’ve always done them. It’s a tricky line between routines that shape and protect and routines which have ceased to produce a joyful or utile end. I don’t know what to do about those things. I have ended up with responsibilities I never sought. I’m not sure what function they should perform or feelings they should engender in my soul. I might have the capacity for feeling more (and I’ve certainly spent some time wanting to cut all my skin off with horror, or doubled up trying to find a way to eject tears from my body) but it’s as if I have no space left to fit them into.
So, I am a little adrift. I’ve replaced amitriptyline with occasional use of zopiclone, to catch up and make up for those nights when I don’t get enough sleep. At times I’ve thought, perhaps, I’ve got this sorted – I’ve give to sleep without sleeping drugs for several days in a row – and then I get a week of shonky, short, waking nights and it saps everything away. I don’t know if I can make it without more control over sleeping.
I believe in a phrase, cheerful despair. It captures quite well how I’ve long interacted with the world – aiming for optimism and warmth despite the ghastliness that permeates it all. And even while writing this, I guess I’m doing the endlessly human cognitive slicing and dicing, because my general state is, I feel, hideous, and yet I’m looking forward to getting home, seeing my other half and kittens – these are indisputable goodness in my life, despite containing their own stresses and fears. I’ll go home and for a time, all this will slide away underneath that top layer of existence. I’m just afraid of when it’s peeled back again.
This is self-help writing, don’t freak out. Plainly I am struggling a little, but scribbling about it will help, eventually.