A fairly boring update

275mg (still waiting!!!)

I’m shutting myself down, locking myself away. I feel the need to get away from people, from stimulation, from hustle and bustle, noise and activities. I want to be quiet and alone and rested.

The problem, I think, is that I have been so unrested. It’s not that I am not resting, I am. I’m resting more than I think I should. I just feel so tired, all the time. I don’t think this is depression. It’s just being overwhelmed. Over-exhausted.

I also think my back injury has something to do with it. I twisted a vertebrae in a riding accident last May. Nine months ago. For months I had no idea I’d done it. I mean, I remembered the incident very clearly. I just didn’t connect the pain I was having with it. I didn’t even fall off.

But slowly, I have become more debilitated, in more pain, suffering more fatigue, having more headaches. I was so tired from Wednesday to Saturday last week that I just gave up on Sunday. I lay in bed and let myself feel miserable, drifting in and out of sleep, doing nothing, going nowhere.

I’d just had enough. I couldn’t take it anymore. I couldn’t take the constant battling to do things that I should be able to do. I couldn’t take anymore of the desire to do, and the inability to do it. I was surprised I felt quite good on Monday. I thought I’d feel grief-stricken forever.

So I’ve rewound. I’m doing as little as possible that is too exhausting. I find going out and about with people exhausting. So I’m trimming that back. I’ve trimmed it back to zero at this point. I know it’s probably not the best to socially isolate myself, but I find it easier this way. Especially now; I was starting to feel like there are so many demands on me and so I just need to relax. It’s not like people are actively demanding. They just want to see me, spend time with me, and I think it’s hard for people to understand that I need space and time and quiet.

I’ve completely trimmed back exercise. It’s not so much of a priority at the moment. At least, improving fitness isn’t. It’s more about mediating fatigue levels, and getting some exercise in. I haven’t done any all week, except a brief walk yesterday and an hour walk today. My lower back was sore again after today, and my leg has started to hurt too. I don’t know why.

I must admit I feel a lot better now that I’ve removed the ideals, and shoulds and expectations I had for myself. Now I’m just doing what I can and trying to be happy with it. At least that way I might keep my stable mood.

That’s it from me; what I consider to be a fairly boring, and fairly depressing update. My apologies for that.

20 thoughts on “A fairly boring update

    • It is a great skill to have, and one that I struggle with a lot. I have been pushing myself for ages, blaming myself for my deteriorating physical condition. It has been hard for me to accept that recovering from this injury requires time and patience. Getting to the point where I am emotionally exhausted from pushing myself too much is how I figured out I need to cut myself some slack – I hope to avoid doing that in the future! I am sure over time both you and I will develop the ability to cut ourselves some slack 🙂

      • Yeah, I basically had to have bipolar explode in my face before I backed off. I had this silly idea that I ought to be able to keep up that (hypomanic) Superwoman pace forever. I’d been warned about burnout, but this was something else entirely. I just told everyone that it was migraines from med changes (true) but really, it was a lot more than that. Since then, I’ve set a few more limits to try to keep the workaholic thing in line.

  1. Hi Sara,
    Thanks so much your brutal honest! It is a bumping road to say the least:) Some days, I know how it feels to just want to isolate:(
    I am beginning the paperwork for my nonprofit, Pathways to Courage- dedicated to raising awareness and providing education to those who struggle with the challenges of bipolar and the people who love them. Speaking to high schools, colleges, and of course the medical profession! Vision of one day offering financial support(via grants, etc.) for those that need it and opening clinics to offer a respite for bipolar folks as well as an opportunity to learn additional coping skills.
    Again, thanks for sharing:)
    I love your blogs~Sherry

    • Thank you Sherry 🙂 It was a bit boring for me to write this because I am sick of thinking about and experiencing the effects of what I consider to be such a minor injury, but I am glad you enjoyed it.

      Pathways to Courage sounds like an amazing initiative! A respite is just what I needed last week. Too bad such a thing doesn’t exist where I live. Keep me updated 🙂

  2. ‘Removing the ideals, expectations and shoulds’ is a great way to alleviate fatigue and overwhelm. It works for me, at least for awhile.
    I too find people exhausting and tend to isolate myself but then that backfires on me too sometimes and I realize I am too isolated and have to rearrange my life to correct that!
    It seems that with bipolar there is a constant need to balance the scales, just when we finally are feeling better, we are feeling too good and have to scale back some activities. And then we head downward and end up too far down and have to tweak something to tip the scales the other way. Just the journey can be discouraging….
    However, having said that, there are certain things I cannot personally afford to give up and that is exercise. It is my medication. I walk everyday if I can, and between the walking and the fresh air, it pretty wells can make a bad day into a better day, every time. So make sure you give up only the things that are overwhelming you but not the things that are good for you.
    Hope what you are doing works. I know what you mean by ‘boring’, it gets tedious to have to put so much time and attention into this illness but it is necessary for survival. Don’t give up….

    • You are so right, and I am with you on the exercise. Normally, I do something everyday and that’s the hard thing with this injury I’ve had. I am not longer able to work out to the level that I normally do. I used to do a lot of vigorous body weight and free weight exercises as well as spin classes, other cardio workouts, and lots of horse riding. This back injury has reduced me to walking and jogging, and there are limits on that too.

      I won’t give up. I certainly felt like it last week, and in way, that brief period of giving up revitalised my spirit and now I feel able to push through. Just another challenge that will teach me more about myself and the best ways to cope. And yes, you are spot on about what I meant re: boring. It is tedious. At this point, the injury is more tedious for me than bipolar. It’s just that pain, fatigue, and not being able to engage in my normal healthy activities are major concerns for me – they are all triggers for depression. I’m doing okay so far, I hope it will continue 🙂

  3. winter is about looking inward… and staying strong while the body will feel inclined to shut down. you are smart to accept the season and yourself. most of the physical pain and fatigue you’re describing probably has emotional roots… so slowing down and letting the emotions rise to the surface is a good idea. misery is nothing to be afraid of. it just needs to be dealt with and allowed for like anything else. it’s something to get through. i choose to see it as an emotional adventure… & u are the brave heroine, in your own process, of course : )

    • Only problem is – it is Summer where I live (I am in New Zealand). Well, it’s supposed to be summer but it’s so cold here I am wearing many layers and a dressing gown and am still freezing!!

      The physical pain and fatigue are both caused by an injury to my spine and the subsequent damage to my muscles. I am having treatment on both my muscles and my spine. Interestingly, the portion of my spine I have damaged is where the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems cross over and so some of the effects of the injury and it’s treatment include headaches, dizziness, fatigue and nausea. In this case, it’s more the physical injury causing emotional disturbances. It is hard going not being able to do the things I normally enjoy. I am usually very active, and this injury is slowing me down. It’s frustrating.

      You are right though, it is an adventure, a journey and something to get through. I know I will come out the other end with a better understanding of myself, and I am sure I will develop new improved coping skills. Thank you for your words of encouragement. Just what I needed 🙂

  4. Sorry to hear about the persistent back injury. Welcome to getting older;) I have two fractured vertebrae from the past, one from a sports injury and another from bumping my head real hard in my college days. Fortunately, they don’t give me too much hassle. When they do I find stretching my back and doing sit-ups helps a lot. Otherwise I don’t do anything for them.

    I think you are doing well to recognize what is causing your fatigue and adjusting to it. It’s better to deal with it daily instead of waiting until you are completely exhausted. Anything to keep your mood stable is good. Take care.

    • Haha thanks for the welcome. I can’t say I’m happy to be here! Fractured vertebrae sound awful. I am pleased they don’t give you much hassle these days. I am sure once I am finished with my proper treatment I will be able to say that too 🙂

  5. Ditto to a lot of the comments!! Wendy, I so agree with the journey being discouraging- it’s so easy for me to shut down. One day I want to save the starving children in the world and the next day or two- I can be crippled with fear. Overstressed and/or Overwhelmed, I definitely get that one. In November of 2006, I was diagnosed with Gillian-Bairre Syndrome and gradually became paralyzed and in so much pain, didn’t walk for 3 months(started walking the following May)-stress induced auto immune disorder; because I had a job that I ALLOWED to be all consuming. Employers loved me because I could go a 100 miles an hr in 20 different directions and I could hide the depression with lots sick days. Jeff, older- actually I like “mature” but it still sucks:) When the bottom fell out last yr. for multiple reasons, at the young age of 60, my doctor gave me the test- you know the one that has 10 questions and you ck 9. At that point, she said, I think you have BP- DUH! Of course I could have told her that- I denied it for years!! Now, I have a safe place to talk about it and so grateful for everyone willing to share the their experience,strength and hope:) -to the brave and courageous!!!

  6. No need to appologise…it is infact your readers who should be thanking you. What you wrote, might as well have been a page torn straight from my own life. Having Bipolar is tyresome enough. Having a physical condition that immobalises you can push things to the limit. Fatigue, the need to do what you can’t, the expectation to perform what you are not able to…these are all things I am intimately familiar with.

    At times, it feels like it is futile to keep on fighting as tomorrow just brings even more fatigue and pain but who knows, you might just wake up to a rainbow in the sky and the sun warming your face and that one in every ten days that it does happen, can make all the difference.

    • Thank you Tery for your beautiful comment. Your words made me feel very sad, because of the echos my words had for your life, but also very happy and hopeful, because of your optimism and attitude.

      When I wrote the post, I was feeling so disheartened and sad, grieving I guess. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed. I also think it is equally important that I let myself finally feel those things (I’d been avoiding it I think), because now I feel more hopeful and more able to work to push my new boundaries.

  7. You do not ever have to apologize for your emotions. I am so sorry that you having so much difficulty. I know how it feels. Sometimes, I get down and worn for no apparent reason. I think that’s something extra that people with BP need, is extra down time. It’s a requirement to recharge. I don’t know, I guess I feel like an old laptop battery. I spend most of my time connected to the wall, and when I’m not, I drain fast. It’s not always that way, but mostly.

    I hope you are feeling better soon. Take it easy for your body AND your mind.

    • Thanks Luna. I can definitely relate to your analogy. I feel just like an old laptop battery! I am pleased to say that I am feeling a lot better. I just needed to let myself get upset. But it’s not like the situation is completely hopeless. It just takes time, and time is something that I do have.

  8. I feel for you, and can relate to much of this. I feel tired and overwhelmed, and can barely leave the house these days, and to have pain on top of that? That can’t be easy. I hope you find some relief soon. I don’t know you yet, but am pulling for you. Will be back.

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