Exposition Universelle

Paris Exposition: map, Paris, France, 1900. Courtesy of The Commons, Flickr.

Dear Internet,

I’ve been writing this in my head for days and yet here I am circling the aggressive blinking cursor with trepidation. It begins back when Dr. H upped my lithium dose to 1500mg a day (Two pills in the morning, one in the mid afternoon, last two at night). He soothes that things will change within a week once the drug metabolizes.

And he’s right, it does.

The world clicks into focus a bit better and I do not feel the crushing tiredness that plagued me through most of June. But perhaps it is too soon to tell or it is too late to tell. For the relief is short lived and I’m back to finding myself at a cross-roads, again, with what I need to do.

Or what I want to do.

At my most recent appointment with Dr. H., one where it had been sometime since we had seen each other due to schedule conflicts, my lithium levels were still in the therapeutic range. But all of the symptoms I recounted then in our session in June still exist., the biggest culprit is lethargy.

Lethargy, in any form or from anywhere, is a cruel bitch of a mistress. In my head, I am writing short stories! I am getting projects done! I am curing cancer! In reality, I feel so drained and physiologically exhausted I find myself taking short cuts to save time such as stop washing my hair daily, stop wearing make-up, and pushing off as much as I can to another day.

It’s a relief when daily chores are done because I can curl up in my bedroom and do nothing until I fall asleep, usually to some Britishism. I’m not reading, still. I’ve touched nothing in terms of projects or hobbies.

The days I am home alone in Grand Rapids, when TheHusband is  up at Throbbing Cabin, I don’t cook dinner, I graze. I am exhausted walking six blocks to get hot dogs.  There are five bag of treats of some sort on the counter, the fridge is full of easy to eat food like hummus and pre-made salads. I have lots and lots of liquids on hand, because sometimes I can’t even be bothered to eat, but I can be bothered to drink.

I medicate my tiredness with Sugar Free Red Bull, starting in the morning and then administrating as needed through the course of the day. Sometimes there is coffee, other times, Coke. Before I could not drink caffeine past early afternoon hour, as a rule, because it would amp me to all hours of the night. Now, I can’t seem to live without it.

There are times I’ve been so exhausted I’ve taken 3-4 hour naps and then still went to bed at a decent hour and slept for at least 8 hours.  Then woke up as if I had barely slept at all.

Dr. H’s argument to me is that I’m not taking my Klonopin at night, as I should, to help me fall asleep  and sleep deeply and as such, it’s fucking with the rest of my day. Is there some truth to this? Maybe. I’m running out of drugged options here and I’m grasping at straws. I want to have some semblance of life, not a shell of a life viewed through opaque windows.

So here’s the deal: Dr. H. AND Dr. P. have asked me, for months if I’m truthful, to track my moods and experiences, at least daily summary of what’s going on to better serve me and thus them. I haven’t been doing that. My reconstruction at my sessions are faulty at best, which makes for sketchy advice. I am an unreliable narrator.

I have decided, then, after this last session with Dr. H. that I needed to make a change. I needed to change – not me waiting for change, but I needed to change. For months I’ve been darkly hinting like a punk Cassandra that a big THING was going to happen. So maybe part of my lethargy is the waiting for a THING that can finally kickstart into gear.

I miss so much from a life that is just beginning to bloom. So I need to change and I need to figure out how to make these changes to make a real impact and not superficial. It needs to count.

Dr. H. said a week of taking Klonopin at bedtime should help shake out the symptoms from the lithium. It hasn’t. But as I don’t have a clear, written record of what is and is not working, I don’t feel as if I have the evidence to show that it’s not working. Oh, I feel mellow, but my tiredness and energy levels are still in the gutter.

So I’m going to start slow and I’m going to start week by week. The first week, starting with this entry, is to write every day, even if it is only 250 words, how I feel that day. It doesn’t have to a treatise on the condition of  modern man, but it does need to be a record of what I’m doing. I may include how much I sleep. What I ate. What I saw.

Each week, I’ll add in something new. I want to start rowing again, to take a yoga class, to swim in a pool. I want to put my Fitbit to work for me instead of just acting like a post-modern adornment on my wrist. I want to cook. And adventure. And a million other things. Friends that are bipolar say exercise helps them immensely, writing helps immensely, talk therapy helps immensely. Remember a decade ago when you were used as a chemist experiment and for a year you felt miserable?

Slow. One thing. At a time. A week.

Then the choice will be easy to make.

x0x0,
Lisa (Day #7)

This day in Lisa-Universe in: 2012, 2011, 2003, 2003

1 Comment

  • Laura Dennis

    1 August 2013 at 20:42

    I completely adore this post. I’m not on any meds but my experience with fatigue in the last year or so is just like how you described. Bi-polar is not my thing….sleep apnea and fatty liver disease, both caused by obesity are my things and both leave me so exhausted I could just really sleep all the time and I’d still be tired.
    I just love the way you wrote this…brilliant piece.