Tuesday, December 15, 2009

A New Home

I've received enough feedback about this blog to decide that it's worth further investment. So I've purchased a domain name, "facingthedemon.org," and transferred this blog to a Wordpress platform. To those without a technical background this means little, except that the new platform is a lot more versatile than this one. When you visit it, you'll see what I mean.

Here's the new address.

I've been encouraged by the people who've joined this site through Google Friend Connect. I've installed the same widget on the new blog, so please come over and join up again. I'd sure appreciate it.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Mood Watch - 48

For a couple of years I kept track, intermittently, of my shifts of mood in a series of numbered posts entitled "Mood Watch." All in all I composed forty-seven of these, the most recent one dated April 3, 2008. I've decided it's a habit I ought to resume, partly because it has intrinsic value and partly because, well, it gives me something to post about on a regular basis. I have some "major" posts in mind to publish but obviously, amid the press of other business, I haven't had time to get to them.

Bipolar Disorder varies from one person to another according to individual biochemistry, life style, the level of support received, and temperament (I think people have a temperament that is independent of, though inflected by, their biochemistry). Some people with the disorder have to deal mainly with the manic side: the "highs." I struggle mainly with the depressive side: the "lows." In classic terms, depressions take the form of mainly of lethargy and a sense of worthlessness. The last time I felt this way was in the spring of this year. It lasted for a couple of weeks and was pretty awful.

Since then, however, I've had periods of energy and lethargy but without the other criteria associated with bipolar disorder. Typically I'll have a period of a week to ten days in which I can't sleep for more than three or four hours at a time, and when I wake up I'm wide awake immediately. At such times I'm on guard against an incipient hypomanic episode. I look for things like heightened creativity, inflated self esteem, a temptation to take on new projects, an inability to focus on a single task because of a desire to head off on tangents, and so on. But I don't find them. In everything except sleep I function normally. Even then, I take enough naps that in any 24-hour period I get around seven hours of sleep, which for me is a normal amount. I just can't get them all at once.

When such periods end I quickly dip into a period when, try as I might, I can't get enough sleep. I don't feel despondent, or worthless, I don't lose interest in things that ordinarily give me pleasure, and I don't lose my appetite. I just can't seem to wake up. These periods typically last about four days, seldom more than that. Their onset is abrupt. They also lift abruptly. Last week was such a period. Until last Sunday (the 6th) I felt fine. Sunday evening, though, I went to bed early, and Monday I felt as drowsy as if I hadn't slept at all. It was the same thing Tuesday. And Wednesday. And Thursday. And Friday.

The only other feature I noticed this time was a kind a vague anxiety. I didn't feel like being around people -- though at least in this instance, I didn't mind talking on the phone. I tended to stay away from email, blogging, and so on. I could say that's simply because I'm tired but it felt like something more, as if I connected these activities with something unpleasant.

Saturday I still didn't feel quite myself, but I managed to get up and about and generally had a pretty good day. The one residual effect is a sense of discouragement. I lost a week of productivity. I can't afford that. This is particularly acute in the case of my professional research and writing. It's really devastating in that department. All the same, the worst thing one can do in such situations is dwell upon it. I try to regard these periods as no different than a physical malady like the flu.
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