2018 year in review: Health

2018 in gold numerals

BiljaST on Pixabay

Depression does a number on my recall ability, so I turn to my bullet journal to help me look back on 2018 from a health perspective.  The chances of my illness ever going back into full remission seem very slim at this point, so I think it’s probably better if I set aside hopes of that and consider it more in terms of managing a chronic illness.

Mood

September was my hardest month of the year, and it was the time when I had the most sustained suicidal thinking.  There have been a few days scattered through the year when I rated my mood as neutral, but nothing above that.

Cognitive symptoms

I get overwhelmed very easily, and have a hard time with concentration.  My memory isn’t too bad, but my recall tends to be slow.  These symptoms have fluctuated in intensity, but over the last year they’ve always been there to some extent.  I’ve worked hard at having a system to be organized to compensate for that, and I give myself credit for that.

Anhedonia

This has been steadily present throughout the year.  It doesn’t necessarily affect my level of functioning, but I feel like my quality of life takes a considerable hit because of it.  Going on a couple of vacations reminded me that this aspect of my illness doesn’t take a holiday break.

Physical symptoms of anxiety

I haven’t had a lot of emotional/cognitive anxiety, but I do sometimes get the heart pounding and chest tightness kind of physical anxiety.  Sometimes it seems to be attributable to situational factors, but sometimes it feels totally random.  I also struggle sometimes with feeling like I’ve been overloaded by environmental stimulation and I’ll start to have mild panic symptoms.  That hasn’t been as much of an issue this year as it was the year before.

I’ve had vertigo on and off throughout the year.  Some of the time it coincided with tension headaches, and my massage therapist thought this might be related to me carrying a lot of tension in the sternocleidomastoid muscles in my neck.  Other times, the vertigo seemed related to anxiety or feeling overstimulated.  When I was travelling in Italy I had what is apparently called “rocking vertigo”, and I felt like all of the time I was on a boat bobbing up and down on the waves.

My tremor  is primarily related to taking lithium, but it gets worse if I’m anxious or overstimulated.  That’s fluctuated a lot during the year and there doesn’t seem to be a clear pattern.  Sometimes it gets bad enough that it’s quite noticeable to other people, and I hate that.

Gastrointestinal

My GI system tends to act up related to what’s going on in my head, and I can see that it tends to be most problematic in the days following stressful events.  Overall, though, it hasn’t been too bad this year.

Alcohol

I used alcohol for numbing more than I should have, although it was a sporadic thing rather than something I did regularly.  I seldom drank large amounts, but it’s still not the greatest choice of coping (or non-coping) mechanism.

 

Well, that’s me for the year.  Having a bullet journal that I’ve made regular entries in definitely makes it easier to see what’s been going on with my mind and body throughout the year.  As for patterns, I see some, but there also seems to be a lot of randomness.

Do you keep track of things related to your health?  What have you noticed from 2018?

20 thoughts on “2018 year in review: Health

  1. Luftmentsch says:

    I do monitor my mood and activity, but as I hardly check it these days I’m not sure why I bother. I used to look over my records before meeting with my psychiatrist or therapist, but I’m not seeing either regularly any more, so I don’t really look at my journal. Possibly I should do a monthly

    I also have lithium tremor and hate it when people notice.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Luftmentsch says:

    Sorry, sent that too soon. Possibly I should do a monthly check over my journal (I think a year is too long to do in one go).

    Anhedonia is hard too. I find that it can be the hardest thing because the people around me will give me more sympathy if I’m visibly exhausted or suicidal, but if everything just seems meh, no one really cares or even knows that I’m sitting there not enjoying things that in the past I would have liked. To make it worse, I suspect I’ve had anhedonia since my early teens (at least) so it’s difficult to remember by this stage that I used to enjoy stuff a lot more.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Invisibly Me says:

    I think this is a great way to look back and get a general overview of things, and I can see a bullet journal being helpful in keeping track of different aspects of health overall. I think I get a lot of randomness too, which I find most frustrating because you don’t necessarily know what triggers something or how to make it better then. Maybe I should give this review jazz a go too. xx

    Liked by 1 person

  4. howikilledbetty says:

    This is a really good idea … I have to remind myself that it’s ok to not be bouncy, happy all the time. That’s normal. I also have to remind myself to actually try to enjoy a moment when it’s good. To physically say to myself, “this is lovely.” My year has been extraordinary. A mixture of extreme highs and lows. I think however that I’ve had enough troubles on the home front that will now allow me to have a slightly calmer 2019. Here’s hoping. Good luck to you my friend for a better 2019. X

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Meg says:

    I’m sorry your year has been so bleak!! 2019 must be better!

    I get shakiness and weak hands, too–pretty tremory–for me it’s from taking Prozac! It has a long list of neuro side effects for me!!

    I wish there were a way for you to feel happiness! (Anti-anhedonia? Hedonia?) Let’s look for a way!! I bet there’s a way, and it’s hidden somewhere in 2019! It must be sought out! And we will find it!!

    Let’s see, 2018 for me, mental-healthwise…

    My paranoia was really bad last winter, in the first months of the year. I’m taking extra Prozac right now for that reason, preventively because my issues always start on January 1st. You can schedule it–uncanny. April was hard, because winter lasted overlong. A lot of paranoia and obsessiveness. Things were looking up by my birthday, which comes in early May and always rids me of the winter issues. Summer was good, but I had a lot of stress due to my mom’s recurring health issues. Then I went to Prague, came back, and had some sort of existential crisis, which might have less to do with my mental health than my psychological health. What a crazy year!

    I would say, pattern-wise, that summertime is always my best time of year. The heat fatigues me, but that’s more in a physical sense. Emotionally, the warmth and heat and sunshine make it possible for me to feel “normal” as per how well I function, happy even, and that frees me up to work on creative projects, try to have closer relationships, and so forth. Usually the happy lasts straight through to the end of the calendar year. So the fact that I’ve been massively stressed out for the past month is a bad sign, because I’m usually going strong into January. Oh well. [Rolls eyes and prays.] I can take more Prozac for winter, and I might, and I should call Dr. Phlegm and make sure I have an appt to see him sometime soon.

    It’s certainly interesting to look back and take notes!!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Alys says:

    Sounds like it’s been a challenging year for you. I think 2018 has been a bit of a rollercoaster on my end of things, many extreme ups and downs. I hope 2019 is a calmer/brighter year for us both!

    Liked by 1 person

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