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Mental Health Track 014

Lagging a bit today, like either my body or my brain is about four inches behind the other, elastic snagged on sleep. I’m enjoying my fancy new musical mask and earplugs – cannot hear or see a damned thing, and I think I’ve sorted the wake up alarm volume out. Not that my sleeping brain trusts it yet – woke up in advance of the alarm again. That is a thing I truly hate – I want the absolute maximum number of Zs and waking myself up early because I’ve developed doubts about hearing the alarm is no good. It’s very tempting to compensate by sacking off the morning routine and getting a couple more hours in bed, but I know how that snowballs: go to bed a little later each night, get up a little later; the routine cracks, I get none of my extra stuff done in the morning, I’m not tired enough at night to go to bed and on it reels. It certainly took a while to get to sleep, and it’s likely to be the quick “off” of sleeping tablets that I’ll truly miss. As yet I’m not experiencing any sudden spikes of anxiety as I get ready to sleep, which means either the drugs at a lower dose are still doing their thing, or my life is in a happy anxiety-free state. I reckon it’ll take a bit longer to figure that out properly.

I woke up with my lungs grinding, half caught in a deep bronchial wheeze which the asthma drugs have not kicked yet. It feels like I’m drawing about half the breath I should be. I shall seek out some more Symbicort to go with breakfast in a little while. It’s an odd chronic condition, asthma – or low-level COPD I guess, since both of my primary asthma meds are usually for the treatment of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. That does sound a lot worse than asthma! Having been on some kind of medication since I was about five, the prospect of taking a cocktail of drugs at various times of day doesn’t bother me. It’s when I can’t breathe properly that I really notice it. I’m used to doing some extra exercise to keep my lungs in check, forcing them to go without air while underwater, getting used to the sensation of not having breath in them. Being rather breathless this morning has made the kettle bell exercises challenging – I can really feel the not having enough oxygen to make it all work. Slightly light headed now, but slowly regaining oxygenation. Funny how that provokes a stronger sense of mortality, which I can’t imagine anyone really needs at eight o’clock in the morning. Surely a morbid fear of death should arise at bedtime, in the knowledge that one simply might not wake up again… A cheery beginning to the day!

I blame the asthma and the very repetitive dream I had, in which I was apparently fleeing from ED-209, the two-legged frog gun-machine robot from RoboCop. As far as I can recall, I never got very far – mostly trying to navigate my way out of a multi-storey car park while pursued by that stop-motion bastard. Running away once was stressful enough, trying to get past a gang of near-naked young folk who were occupying the whole elevator. But the dream kept resetting, or I kept resetting it, and the further I’d manage to get away from ED-209 the more other people would get in the way, and I had to begin again in hopes of reducing the collateral damage. I didn’t even get any of ED’s classic lines about not having much time at all to comply. It just expanded endlessly, re-running the same steps in Groundhog Day fashion. Maybe that’s what finally woke me up – having had quite enough of trying to escape; there didn’t seem to be an option where I could simply stop and fight, or get shot to bits. I think I would have preferred that.

And yet this routine is doing what it’s supposed to, as my breathing returns to normal I am relatively present in my body, slightly horrified by the brightness of the sun even diffused by clouds, and my mind is somewhat more awake from being made to think about itself. Me – I have been made to think about myself. I’m pretty sure that thinking of myself in the third person is something like the opposite of being awake.

Mental Health Track

A purposeful daily attempt to track how I feel and what I’m doing.

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