Monday, April 2, 2012

Is this what normal feels like??

So I just realized that it's been two months since my last post; eek! I never meant to go so long as these posts truly help me feel better about the daily struggles of David's illness. Though until the end of February, I was finishing school, so I was pretty overwhelmed. Now that I don't have homework to deal with, I can actually focus on all of the other things in life which have been sitting on the back burner. Thanks goodness, because the laundry situation is out of control, ha!

At the end of January, David started taking Lithium, which was something I had been wanting for years and we were both pretty excited about. Since that time the doctor has continued to "tweak" his dosage and there have been a few hiccups. Though, honestly, this has been the best medication choice we have made by far. It is interesting to see how different his behavior is on a day-to-day basis; he has been generally pretty stable. However a problem we have encountered is his trying to adapt to what "normal" feels like.

For David, there is manic and there is depressed. Never usually much of an in-between. He spent many years on the manic side (not to the extreme, but manic none-the-less) and likes how that feels. For those of you who don't know as much about mania, it's the state in which your brain produces more dopamine than it should creating a feeling of being "high" similar to cocaine use. To him, mania = happy. He likes to feel carefree and upbeat. He had no idea that the rest of the world lives in the state of "normal" most of the time and we're not all floating around on clouds of happy. Frankly, normal kinda sucks. To him, it really sucks. He thinks he's depressed but then realizes that he's not, he's just not manic. This reality took all the helium out of his balloon folks. But he's trying desperately to adjust because that's what he wants to do; live a "normal" life.

He did hit a minor depression last week as he was coming off a sinus infection. It seems whenever he gets physically sick, it takes a mental toll on him as well. Depression is evil. It takes every ounce of enthusiasm and flushes it down the toilet. It make him want to stay in bed all day without the slightest bit of interest in food, people, and activities. It makes me want to shake him until it goes away (FYI, that doesn't work).

So we take one day at a time. He pushes through a lot more than he ever has, which is a huge accomplishment. He doesn't ask me to leave work just to be with him because he's sad, or having a bad day. He usually only wants me to come home when he feels he's a danger to himself or cannot care for K; but again, this occurs less often. He's doing more around the house and found some hobbies that interest him. He takes excellent care of K and constantly reiterates that she keeps him going on the worst of days. Lately he's being talking more about feeling unaccomplished and unproductive. He beats himself up that I work while he can't and thinks he's failed our family. I tell him to shut up (nice, I know). But really, that's how he sees himself, not how I see him, and I can't feed into it or he'll lose it. We live by the motto "It is what it is" - we cannot change the past, we can only try to ensure the future doesn't follow the same course and we bust our asses to do so.

We've also decided that some of the fatigue he feels (while partially due to medications) might be alleviated by better eating habits and weight loss. So we are working together to eat healthier as a family and start exercising more. We'll keep taking each day as it comes and do the best we can to make it all work.

Pray, Hope, & Don't Worry ~ St. Padre Pio