Blogging and other writing take up a huge amount of my life, but I covered those in the last couple of days, so this is the assorted leftovers.
I started off the year with two casual nursing jobs. In the spring I started finding that the patient visits I was doing for one of the jobs were feeling really overstimulating, which was making my lithium-related tremor worse. Given that I was doing injections, worsening tremor was a problem, so I decided it was time to leave that job. I was unhappy with the company I was working for anyway, so that was definitely the right decision.
I don’t particularly like the job I’m still doing, but I just pick up the odd night shift here and there so it’s not that demanding. I have a very low capacity to tolerate work-related stress, which can be problematic. Stress from work at the end of November has knocked me on my ass for all of December.
Early in the year I was having a lot of physical health issues with no obvious cause. I saw a rheumatologist for a consultation because of some abnormal bloodwork, but he didn’t see any clear indication of something autoimmune going on. I had a rather horrible ER visit for dizziness and shortness of breath, and at this point I’d have to be having a heart attack to even consider going to the ER. Physically things have settled down in the later part of the year, but there are still a few odd things that don’t have an explanation (at least not yet).
The depression remains ever-present, with the exact mix of symptoms fluctuating over time. It takes little in terms of situational stressors to set me back. I’ve had at least some psychomotor retardation for a significant chunk of this year; it’s not the most severe it’s ever been, but it’s been the longest it’s ever persisted uninterrupted. It seems like whenever it starts to get better there’s some sort of stressor that slows me down again, and the length of time I remain really slow post-stressor has been increasing.
I had some psychotic symptoms earlier in the year, which was odd in that there was no worsening of other depressive symptoms that would have prompted it. It settled down after boosting the dose of my antipsychotic (quetiapine).
Overall my level of functioning has been trending downward over the last year. I don’t see any reason why that would spontaneously change next year, and it makes me wonder how long I’ll be able to continue working.
One of my self-care mainstays was weekly massage therapy. My amazing massage therapist started her year-long maternity leave at the end of October. I had some massages booked with another therapist at the same clinic, but after one visit I decided that wasn’t going to work out. Rather than fuss around trying to find someone I feel comfortable with, I decided to just wait until my regular therapist comes back, although I do miss it.
Things were going so-so with family in the earlier part of the year, and I made a few trips out to visit them. Then I drove out there in the summer and took my boy guinea pigs; I hadn’t had them for all that long at that point, and one of them can get aggressive, so I didn’t want to leave them unsupervised. My dad was a complete ass about the piggies, and I ended up turning around and coming right back home. I haven’t talked to my parents since. My grandma lives in the same city as my parents, so this means I haven’t seen her for several months. I feel kind of guilty about this, but mostly I’m just indifferent. My brother’s wife is pregnant, and again, I’m just indifferent.
I lost one of my guinea pig boys, Squeaky, earlier this year. He was a bit of a curmudgeon, but in the week leading up to his death he became a total cuddlebug. Having an empty boys’ cage just didn’t feel right, so a couple of months later I adopted 2 more boys, Peanut and Butternut, to add to my family. Butternut is kind of a spazz and likes to pick fights sometimes, but most of the time they’re good friends. Most guinea pigs don’t fart, but Peanut is a farting machine. The boys live in a cage in the bathroom, and the girls are in my bedroom. My little munchkins seriously rock my world. I don’t know what I would do without them.
So overall it’s been a challenging year, but enough guinea pigs will make anything more manageable.