It’s Sunday afternoon as I write this, sitting on the sofa in my pyjamas and swaddled in a fleece blanket, watching the Christmas lights twinkling and trying not to go out of my mind with boredom and frustration. Tomorrow will be the start of my third week at home and I’m right smack in the middle of the “getting worse before it gets better” phase.
I really honestly thought I would be feeling better by now. I foolishly assumed that getting worse before it got better meant a few days of feeling a bit rubbish but that would pass and then I’d be fine. If only. I don’t know if it’s the stress or the fluoxetine, I’m guessing a mixture of both, but for most of the last week I’ve been averaging about 2.5 hours sleep a night in fits and starts, usually around 6 in the morning. I’m physically exhausted. The full body tremors are still going strong and I am still unable to paint or craft or anything remotely resembling fun that will engage my brain. I’ve spent 2 weeks binge watching TV shows. I can’t seem to control my body temperature, swinging from hot to cold and back again, although my favourite (insert sarcasm here) are the cold sweats that I break out in at least three or four times a day. I still have a headache. Some days, like today, I’m nauseous although that seems to depend on how much sleep I get. I caved and took a sleeping pill the other night out of sheer desperation and actually got a solid 5 or 6 hours in and didn’t feel quite so rotten the next day. When I do sleep I have these insane dreams. The hypnagogic hallucinations are back and longer than ever before. Last night I lay and watched the lines on my boyfriend’s pillow gently strobing and waving in the moonlight like some stranded sea creature from the deep for a solid three or four minutes. My memory is also getting worse. I forget so many things. I’ve completely lost my appetite and really struggle to eat because damn if chewing isn’t exhausting. The only time I get hungry is in the small hours of the morning when I can’t get up because I’ll wake up the beau, and even then I’m half convinced it’s boredom rather than actual hunger. The dizzy spells are still coming and going and the palpitations went away for a bit and then came back again. I feel like I’m making zero progress at all.
It’s finally really starting to sink in that this isn’t going away. I had a long talk with a nurse earlier in the week who finally broke it to me that they’re not expecting me to be back to normal for another month or so. I had assumed that the fluoxetine would kick in and when I go for my review at the doctor on Thursday they’ll give me the all clear to get back in the saddle. Turns out it takes 4 to 6 weeks for the drug to start working and once it has, I have to show clear signs of continued improvement over a period of time before I’ll be allowed back out into the world. I actually took the news really hard. The thought of another month at home unable to do anything just makes me want to cry. I keep telling myself that the shaking will stop, that I won’t be just sat on my ass for all that time, that I’ll be able to paint and make things and go to my family for Christmas. I try and remind myself that I need this rest, that I’ll be better for it, that I’ll be as healthy as I can be. The problem is that I’m frustrated by my current helplessness and I’m stubborn and I keep pushing it too far. I’m angry with myself for getting here and I feel so damn guilty and lazy every day, even though I know I shouldn’t.
I don’t know how I ended up in this headspace where I find it so incredibly difficult to take care of myself. I don’t know why I have to drive myself into the ground to not be seen as lazy when I am so clearly sick I can’t even stand up without trembling. I understand the guilt about not doing my fair share of the chores because no-one wants to be a burden on the people they love, but as for the rest of it…that’s all in my head. It’s how I got into this mess in the first place. No-one is judging me right now and, well, if they are, they’re not the kind of people whose opinions I should care about anyway. What am I trying to prove? And to whom?
Part of me is actually dreading Christmas. The noise, the travelling, the food, the visitors… I know I’ll enjoy it when I get there but right now it all just seems so exhausting. I don’t trust myself not to overdo it while trying to be helpful. I don’t know if people will take this seriously and let me rest when I need to, probably because I don’t appear to be taking it as seriously as I should. I’m still in denial about how bad it is. Hopefully by then all the initial side effects of the fluoxetine will have faded away and I’ll be on the road to recovery. Fingers crossed.