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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?