Being a Little Better

“You seem better since the pioneer trek.” My sister said. I was surprised to hear it, because I hadn’t realized the shift was visible from the outside. Possibly my sister is particularly attuned and able to discern how I’m doing. Yet I can see dozens of things each day which are easier now than they were before. Some of this is because I don’t think that anything else this summer has to offer will be as difficult as the trek. Some of it is because I’ve started taking medication for depression/anxiety.

Today and yesterday weren’t great days. Nothing bad happened in them, but I found it difficult to get things done because in order to engage with tasks I had to push through a cloud of thoughts. Most of them were about how I’m not good at [task], how I’d fail at [task], why [life thing] will only get harder, and how much work needs to be done. For several weeks I’ve not had that fog of negative thoughts. Before that it was thick, dark, and constant. What I don’t have today is the pervasive fear that causes me to over react to small things. When Patch begins to ratchet up in anxiety because something is wrong in his world, I’m able to observe and offer calm guidance. This is in contrast to me crashing into tears because I’m afraid his anxiety is evidence that nothing we’ve done has helped or will ever help. “Doomed forever” is not a very comforting world view and it landed on me a lot.

Naturally part of the brain fog is the thought “see, even medicine won’t help.” Which is a ridiculous thought, because even though I’m having a slog-through-it day, I’m not crying. Since starting medication I’ve had entire weeks without crying in them. I’d stopped believing it was possible to have non-crying weeks. Today’s ambient mood has more to do with some conversations I had in the past few days. The conversations churned up some feelings and thoughts. They reminded me that while things are better, our family still has emotional work to do, and most of that work is outside my direct control. I can encourage my kids to grow, I can’t make them. Even with the emotional churn, the conversations were good to have. They are part of the emotional work that must be done. Also affecting my emotions is the fact that my two daughters are off in California to visit grandparents. I know they’re safe and having good experiences, but the portion of my brain that tracks the status of my children keeps pinging me to tell me that a couple have fallen off the radar. That raises the ambient tension level in my brain.

Despite the brain fog I’ve managed to get quite a bit accomplished today. I focus on one thing at a time and work my way through. And every time a portion of my brain begins to fret about the next thing or things of next month, I reign it back in. One thing at a time is plenty. Or at least a way to get the necessary work done. The trouble is that I need to figure out how to sort and banish the fog. That’s about as easy as it sounds. I’m not even sure where to begin, except to keep taking the medicine for a while, and to feel grief when it occurs rather than to shunt it aside for later. Maybe one thing at a time will gradually make the fog disperse. For this week, I’m preparing for GenCon.