Saturday, June 21, 2008

DIARY 62 - Pills, Pain & Future Prognosis

I'm coming to the end of my months supply of Amitriptyline, and I must say the benefits have been mixed. It does allow me to sleep, until it wears off around four o'clock in the morning that is. If I'm particularly over stimulated, agitated or, damn it, over tired, it doesn't work at all. I lie there, so aware of being awake, every second becomes a source of pain in itself. Initially, during the day, I could be a bit lethargic, and found focusing on detailed work quite disorientating. This effect did wear off after about a fortnight. Now, as I approach afternoon tea, my energy levels can plummet, and drag my mood down with it.At this point I find a mordant, weary depressiveness emerges, as the pill wears off. The pill itself is minute, about half the size of a split lentil, and pastel blue. Apparently, if taken in prolonged and large doses, it is addictive, and the withdrawal process can be horrendously protracted. As Amitriptyline was originally devised to treat depression, it seems an odd paradox that it also can cause it. It was eventually found to be more effective for insomnia, which is also linked to depression. My persistent shoulder pain continues, though it is gradually improving. I have regained some mobility, and it doesn't catch me out with a sharp painful reminder, every time I put my shirt on in the mornings. So the various therapies are working. David has been very supportive, buying massage oils and massager, and regularly uses them on my back, and he is getting quite good at it too.

The chosen focus for my bodily pain is invariable a good indication that I'm exceeding my capacity in some way - in this case it maybe I've taken on, or I'm shouldering too much. With my mood being so chemically adjusted, it has been hard to assess what has really been going on. Do medicines create or act as a release for our underlying mental states? For the last month I've felt more drained than usual, with less engagement with my work in Customer Services, which has never been good at the best of times. I realised, whilst talking to a friend recently, that my heart is no longer behind this job. Which would explain the depressive mood swings. Though I'm no doubt being a real Bodhisattva, by helping others in my team, I'm getting no sense of personal fulfillment or satisfaction from doing so. I seem to be spending my time working on overcoming areas of weakness in my character, and not acting from a pre- established position of strength and confidence. Despite this high level of internal disaffection, I know I'm doing my job OK, slowly moving things on, and the teams morale is improving. But it does appear to be being done at a personal cost, as my own morale staggers along behind in self inflicted bindings. Meanwhile, the levels of psycho/physical tension are an enduring reminder, that all is not well. Quite apart from the additional financial expense of Deep Tissue Massage and Osteopathy, my sense of well being is being expended. Can I take this physical cost being exacted on me, day in, day out? At some point I am either going to have a profound breakthrough, or a profound breakdown. So I have to ask myself what it is am I trying to prove, or overcome here, by devoting my every working hour to what can seem such a thankless task? I'm either being;truly heroic, really stupid or deeply deluded, I have yet to finally decide which. I'm giving it provisionally until Christmas 08, when I'll see whether I'm now engaging and enjoying my work, rather than forbearing and enduring it, as I currently am.

Just when you think you might be done with upset and turmoil for a while, something else comes along to remind you of your naivety about impermanence. We've just taken on a new member of staff in Customer Services, who will, I think, prove to be a positive and stabilising presence in the team, with a great deal of experience and maturity to bring to it. But, then the weekend after she starts, a much loved former member of the team, took his life. So most of this last week we have all been ploughing on, whilst we internally grieve, and work our way towards the funeral, which was last Friday. It was a week where we constantly found ourselves bringing him to mind, recollecting his presence and character, and trying to construct a logic, that made sense of his death. I regret that he's no longer around, but I cannot find it in my heart to condemn him for what he did. He'd had a difficult life, almost from the moment of birth, through which he remained largely positive, spoke cheerfully and with wit, yet with a remarkable honesty and frankness. He even reported in to us, in his usual lighthearted manner, about his last attempt at a suicide, barely a few months ago. But then we all have our public face, and perhaps none of us realise we have a limit, until we reach it. We're like bridges with an in built weight restriction, sometimes everything is fine until conditions change, when just one pebble cast upon it will cause the complete structure to collapse. None of us know what it is that will break our resolve to just keep on living. The funeral was at the Crematorium, my old place of work, which felt OK actually, very familiar place, faces and format of services. It was still an effective way of parting and moving on, for me and everyone else.

I'm off work this week, with no plan for what I want to do with it. Finances are a little tight, with all the therapies I'm paying for, so I can't afford to go anywhere, really. But then, in my current mood, it wouldn't be good to spend all my time indoors either. So, I find myself launched on this week off, not quite sure how I should approach it; as a time for rest, study, practice, writing, walking, cycling or idling? A high degree of anxiety circles like a vulture around my indecisiveness. Oh poo!!!

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