Daily Check In, 6 – Back in the Horse

I have, reluctantly, been re-prescribed amitriptyline. It’s really hard not to see this as a failure. So hard, in fact, that I am feeling that I’ve failed. I realise that I haven’t really and that a vast proportion of us are medicated in some way for at least some of the time. I had hoped that after the best part of a decade on sleep/anxiety tablets, something would have magically changed. But I guess the medication is an adjustment or correction, so naturally, absent the correction, I return to baseline. Le sigh.

On the plus side, as I steadily ramp the dosage back up to something that actually knocks me out, I’m beginning to go to sleep pretty much when I want to and more or less sleep through the night. Waking up is a bastard though. I did alright yesterday, and both cycled and swam on the way to work for the first time in months. It was amazing. Except for my little finger (he of the snapped metacarpal bone), which is evidently not quite as strong as it used to be, because is it flaps and flops alarmingly as I drag water behind me. I’m sure it’ll pep up.

It’s hard to tell this early on how my general mood and affect is being affected, and more so to separate that from the abrasive influence of lacking sleep. Everything is harder without enough sleep, and it thins down that membrane between me and the world. Too easily pierced… I prefer it when you can give that bubble a decent punch and not get bruised. For now, I guess I’m going to have to keep an eye on myself. That means I do need to write these posts. It’s perversely much easier to write about bad mental health than good. Good should be the default, right? So why does that need commentary? I think it’s because otherwise, when we crash, it can be so hard to remember that it’s temporary and that things have felt better.

Having some kind of diary record is so useful. I found that out when I was in counselling, and (due to never throwing anything away if I can possibly help it) I still had letters and diaries from when I was a teenager, and they provided an invaluable portal back to the teenage me, along with their firsthand impressions, memories and feelings.

I cast back to some of my earlier posts about feeling hideous before going back to the doc’s, and realised I’d ended up in almost exactly the same mental and emotional space I was on before I started taking amitriptyline to begin with. Frustrating, but it did at least help me to understand why I’d been prescribed it originally. It led to me being uncharacteristically teary at the surgery, which felt super-uncomfortable. The Verve were wrong: the drugs do work, but you need to know what you’re taking and why.

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