Medicated #04: If you can’t come out swinging…

Contra this time last year, I can sleep quite well, actually. Thanks for asking. Too well, in fact.

An appointment with the doctor has it that the source of a persistent narcolescence is likely something other than my medication. Apparently my SSRI of choice doesn’t do that.

To test the hypothesis, my dosage is being dropped by half.

Gym has been suspended, and then given the green light, owning to the need for an opinion on an umbilical hernia I likely first obtained when body surfing across Gawler Place. It was either that or a taxi would have ground me into road pizza. I’ll take the hernia, thanks.

As it turns out, it’s not so serious, and it would have been better (with the benefit of hindsight) had I stayed at gym. Gym helps with my depression. It also makes me sleepy.

Now I’ve been away from the blogosphere quite a bit this year, but don’t you think that means I’ve been doing nothing.

In my spare time, when not twiddling my thumbs, I’ve been trying to organise the drafting of a harassment policy for the Humanist Society of South Australia (HSSA). We’re going to do this democratically, or not at all, so that takes a little more time, work, and patience than if we were to opt the route of executive power. I like to think that discussion both makes for a better policy, and keeps the membership aware of why the policy is there.

In dribs and drabs of I’ve-got-to-get-it-finished-soon (although it really leads into an event in May), I’ve been working on an article I started in December of last year. Suffice to say, the fact checking, verification and investigation took longer than I thought, and I now know a bunch of stuff related both tangentially and directly to the subject, than I ever knew before.

Some of it I wish I didn’t. Some of it agitates my clinical depression.

I’m forced to ask myself; which is more depressing, the knowledge that a problem exists, or inaction on said problem? Because if inaction is more depressing, then being depressed into inaction is going to cause feedback.

Problem; Inaction; Depression; Inaction; More depression; More inaction.

It’d be a lie to say that I’ve been inactive, generally, but by fuck (which is sacred around here), I can’t half feel the blanket pressing down on me.

Which I guess is an improvement over the last twenty years. The blanket always did press down on me to some extent, only for the most part, I wasn’t aware of it. I guess the meds have been doing their work.

I guess the crux of it is that the blanket doesn’t give me room for a good swing and hit. The alternative is struggling?

I’ll labour on. I mean, you do that when you’re depressed anyway, as best you can. The trick though, is to find the things that motivate you, which contrary to the cliché, are not necessarily the things you love.

Burning moral outrage doesn’t burn in me like it used to, which has had the twin effect of helping me see things clearer, and investigate further instead of getting my jocks in a twist. But a little more impulsiveness along these lines would at least help me get my volume of writing up.

Of course, I don’t burn out, either, being as I am at the moment.

I can’t even act out anger for the rhetoric of the rant anymore. Or at least, not for an extended period.

Poetry, or at least poetic prose is starting to flow more freely, and with humanistic intents. One of the themes emerging the HSSA has been religion’s monopoly on hope, and it seems to me that a godless literary tradition could offer competition.

Short of the suspended critical thinking of some of the transhumanists, the selfishness (and self-serving readings) of the Randroids, or the totalitarianism of some of the worst of the 20th century’s godless dogmas, that is. A literary tradition that speaks to what good humans can do, without getting all bleary-eyed about it.

The thing is, human folly notwithstanding, there’s still reason for hope without recourse to divine intervention, or secular fictions. Denmark does it pretty well, and largely without recourse to deities.

I have selfish reasons for wanting to see these hopes recognised in my own time, and my own circle, if only to motivate me through my own depression. I’d be lying if I said there wasn’t this side to it.

That being said, I’d like to think that this would be a good way to get out there, if not quite swinging. I’d like to think that it’d be a good way to help others, and to fulfil an ethos of contribution.

But more on that, hopefully soon enough.

I have things planned and in the works. We’ll touch base again, and hopefully (I’m not ashamed to use the word) I’ll have a little more to show for my efforts.

~ Bruce

Medicated #003

Yaaaaaaawwn…

I’m just a little weak at the moment. While I’m happy to report that last night saw the first night of sleep for a number of nights that could be called normal and healthy, the insomnia has taken a bit of a toll.

I’ll be recovering for a couple of days, I’d imagine.

It’s just a little odd for me, really. I’m more motivated that I’ve been in ages, and right throughout the day, but the body just isn’t willing to keep up. Usually it’s the drive that flags first.

That being said, I’m actually more on top of a lot of things than I usually am. In addition to the usual humdrum, I’ve got more ironing and whatnot done. My home is tidier than usual.

I’ve even got around to moving the furniture into a new configuration around the house – almost the way I want things to be in a writing environment.

When I’m not tired, it can feel a little like having a clear, burning sun, the perfect magnifying glass, but not knowing what to burn. I’ve got the energy and the focus, I’m just not accustomed to having it like this.

Readers read at their own risk – management takes no responsibility for accidental cauterization. Actually no, there’s no risk of that. I’m tired right now.

I’m getting no reading done, of course. Oh, my mind is alert, but if I sit down in a cosy spot to read I’ll start to nod off even as my thoughts race. I have to keep on my feet if I want to keep moving, and that of course, exhausts me even further. And reading and writing aren’t things that really get done in any of this.

Even after the issue of sleep is resolved, I suspect there will be a certain amount of decrepitude, physically speaking, to deal with. Gym will help with this, but I’m still not sure yet how large the gulf is between my ambitions and my physical capacity to deliver.

A whole new phase of rehabilitation is unfurling in front of me.

For now, I’m just going to try to get some sleep.

~ Bruce

Medicated #002

Worpwoggletreefish… teeeeee hee-hee-hee-hee-hee!

You were expecting something like that? No? Good!

A few days ago I managed the first night of unbroken, eight hour sleep, in a long time. Now however, as I’ve reached the maximum dose of my medication, insomnia has returned. I expect it to abate again, eventually, as it’s done in every graduation.

Then that should be it for insomnia; no more increments in dosage pending, I should level out, side-effects-wise.

It’s the lack of sleep that’s kept me away from writing, if nothing else. I gave myself time for eight hours last night, but could only manage five, again for the second night in a row.

At any rate, there’s been some speculation through the backchannels, some inquiry into wellbeing, on account of my being a little quiet online and whatnot. No, I’m not dead, nor has the Flying Spaghetti Monster revealed His noodly appendage to me.

I’m still doing fine. There’s no doomsday in sight. You may recall that I entered into this at an unprecedented elevation of mood.

None of the scarier side effects have occurred; suicidal thoughts (I’ve never had those in my life); heart palpitations; spasms; nausea.

I’m just a little tired is all. You can all relax. Maybe I’ll sleep better knowing you’re chilled out.

If and when the upside of getting my sleep back coincides with better motivation, over the next couple of weeks before the benefits plateau, I’m contemplating having a little toy around with Stephen Fry’s The Ode Less Travelled. (Yes, I thought ‘oh dear!’, in Fry’s voice when I read the title).

Perhaps I’ll churn out a poem or two in an altered frame of mind.

Until then, poo-tee-weet?

~ Bruce