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Mental Health Track 052

Another day, another… what? Not dollars. Obviously. More time introspecting and obsessing about sleep? Yes, probably. There are advantages to having my morning routines spannered by not sleeping. One is that I’m now awake as I write this, if rather dopey and worn, rather than first thing in the morning fuzzy and sleepy. I often, if not usually, feel fine first thing in the morning. Overnight, whether by sleeping or dwelling in that peculiar twilight between sleep and dozing, I’m kinda reset. Whatever I was worrying about the night before has slid away and I’m vaguely prepared to handle a new day. That’s possibly overstating the readiness part, but in most of these entries I’m OK, even if I haven’t slept and feel rather frazzled or wired. By the end of the day I’ve been through that and beyond it, but when I go to sleep again I tend to forget what that’s been like. Ideally I should capture the beginning and end of my day and how I feel, but that’s just too much effort and I’d never get around to it.

So what have my days actually been like? Well, they do start off fine, but I’m quickly falling into a weird yo-yo oscillation between blandly OK and hugely disconnected. The disengagement from, well, everything has been on the rise over the last couple of weeks. I think it’s partly from my ongoing disappointment in myself – a bunch of reasons, but high up the list is realising that perhaps I cannot do without these sleeping tablets. What I’ve fallen back into the oscillation of mood I used to experience, albeit without going quite as hyper as I once would have. Instead I’m switching throughout the day between these states of feeling dandy to utterly hopeless and disinterested in my life, and back again. So by the time the day comes to a close I’ve probably bounced back up to OK once more – ready to reset again. It’s tiring. And it’s frightening. I really enjoy my work, and feeling myself pull away from both my team and being engaged in the work itself is alarming and makes me sad. I even go in with good intentions and just feel it all drawn away. Yesterday had a lot of moments when I recognised that was happening, even if I couldn’t do anything about it. I recognise that same behaviour from how I was mentally checking out of being in Birmingham and Bath last week, even when I was trying to re-engage. It’s very frustrating. A wise friend reminded me that this is various neurotransmitters being out of sync and all fucked up. That’s important, because my brain state is not precisely the same thing as me, even if we do share a house. Back before I took these things, I was out of whack, and now that I’m not taking them I’m similarly out of whack. Solution: take the fucking pills.

And I think that is the fix. I’ve tried this, and it hasn’t worked. It could have gone much worse, but it hasn’t gone well. Apart from a few nights where I’ve just slept and it’s been fine, I’ve been running myself down for several weeks now and it’s impacting all the things I want to do and the people I want to be with. I can’t place myself in a situation where I’m diving into “maybe I should just quit” and “what would it be like to put a whole bunch of holes in this part of my leg – would that feel like something?” – certainly not when I can mostly avoid it. I’ve been erratically taking the sleeping tablets in hopes of scraping together enough sleep over the last weekend or so and it hasn’t really worked, probably because I’m not doing it systematically and as part of a routine. I should know better than to get up at 1am and take a bunch of sleeping tablets. The hangover and lag are much the same as necking a few bourbon doubles, and not particularly good for having a decent night’s sleep. I feel like I’ve learned or reminded myself of some very obvious things that I should have known, like remembering why I’m taking the drugs in the first place and that they do mostly work. My frustration at them not always working may be related to a lack of discipline in how or when I took them, but also not fully appreciating how much they might smooth me out. One of the things I wanted to know is whether I’m different when I’m not taking sleeping tablets. Easy answer: yes, I’m not sleeping. Harder answer: it’s the lack of sleep that fucks me up, reduces my emotional availability, reduces my capacity to be creative, and makes it harder to feel good. Even if that is different, those are worthwhile differences to acquire. Or at least they are for now, anyway.  

Also, quite importantly, I’m utterly fucking sick of myself and thinking about whether I’m sleeping or not. I am thoroughly bored by myself. Possibly this is linked to the fluctuating levels of interest in myself and everything I do, but this has become the only thing I’m thinking about and it’s getting right on my tits. I’m pleased with how much we’ve managed to do despite this – having things booked into my diary means I usually do them even if without that prompt I wouldn’t do anything at all.

Last night was my dear friend Ben’s book launch for his wonderful book of comic poetry for kids (well, like all good poetry for children it’s also excellent for adults), Serious Nonsense for Terribly Grown Up People. You should buy a copy, you will like it. A lovely full room of funny interesting people saying and doing funny and interesting things. I even took part in the open mic at the end and read Captain Pigheart’s Mermaid Adventure to a very heartening crowd of chuckles and giggles. A nice feeling, and even lovelier to share the evening with so many people I know and am most fond of. Hurray for other people’s successes.

Mental Health Track

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

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