Existential Crisis #4372

Ah, once again I find myself questioning everything. It’s been a mad old time, hasn’t it? It feels like I’ve been back at work forever, and my months of furlough seem like a distant memory. Like it happened to someone else and I simply heard the story being told.

Lockdown for me was wonderful. Once we could get shopping delivered and I didn’t have to leave the house at all, I stopped paying attention to the news and happily pretended that everything was fine. I came to terms with my fat body, I had grand plans and ideas, I had so much energy… I was on top of the world!

Once I’d been back at work for a while, I started feeling something like my miserable old insecure self. It would be easy to say it was the harsh return to reality that caused this mood crash, but I don’t think it was that. I stumbled across the term ‘hypomania’ online one day and started doing some (somewhat uncomfortable) research, and the end result is that I believe I had some sort of manic episode.

For weeks I felt absolutely euphoric. I had increased self-esteem, had more energy, needed less sleep and felt generally untouchable. These things all sound like positives, but along with that came other excesses, like food consumption, alcohol consumption and spending. I spent all of my savings (and then some) despite the fact that before Covid one of my goals was to have savings put aside for emergencies. Then I decide to go and spunk it all during one of the most uncertain periods of my life?

Now I’m feeling more ‘me’ again, I can look back and see that I don’t recognise the person I was during that period, and it comes with an enormous portion of freshly-served guilt. I was a better person when I was like that, and I thought I’d permanently changed for the better.

I know I have depression, but I’m not sure if this apparent mania is something that I ‘have’ or something that just ‘happened’ to me, but at the end of the day it doesn’t really matter. Have you ever tried to get the appropriate treatment for anything mental health-related? If you’ve ever been succesful let me know, because right now I think it’s a myth that it ever happens.

When I was having telephone therapy sessions, I was discharged because my ‘numbers were too high’. Each session you are asked a series of questions, such as, on a scale of 0-10, 0 being terrible, how great do you feel? And there’s me saying ‘I FEEL BRILLIANT! I’M A 23 ON THAT SCALE RIGHT NOW!!!!’. After all of my questions were answered, the numbers indicated that I didn’t need treatment and that was that. One apparently good week and you don’t need help any more!

I think talking to a doctor about all this would be a fruitless exercise, so I’ll just keep an eye out for it in future. Apparently apart from certain medications, which I don’t think my symptoms are serious enough to warrant, the treatment seems to be to try not to get too carried away when you feel it coming on. The problem is, it felt great. If I’m honest, before I started thinking properly about the repercussions, I was already willing another episode to come. It’s like drugs or booze though. It feels great in the moment but in the long term? Yeah, not so much. Best to try and stay level so I don’t get the subsequent crash.

Although I thought I’d handed backs my membership card to Overthinkers Anonymous for good, I’ve had to go crawling back with my tail between my legs as I lay awake trying to unpick which parts of how I feel is because of work, a global pandemic, a potential undiagnosed mental illness, general stress, tiredness, hormones, childhood trauma, poor diet or god-only-knows what else. Sometimes getting the words out of my head and into a blog post is the only thing that helps, so here I am after not writing for an absolute age.

When I last wrote, I talked about being happy in my own skin. Now I feel like a total fraud because I’m absolutely going to be getting back on the diet wagon as soon as we have a functional kitchen. Is it true that me feeling good about myself was a symptom of an illness? Or is it being back in society that’s making me feel shit? No one, least of all me, knows the answer to that, but what I do know is that nothing fits and the coldest winter months are going to be hell if I can’t fit into my work thermals. Even though I bought more out of my own pocket that are five sizes bigger. They are getting too small as well and I’m starting to feel desperate.

The last few weeks especially have been insane. My mum ended up in hospital for the week (she’s on the mend now thankfully) then once she was out the council came to tell us we’re having a new kitchen fitted. The works are now going into their second week and everything is up in the air. I’m hoping once that’s done we can all feel a bit more settled again. Until then we’ll just plod along.

I haven’t had much energy for gardening since I got back at work, and now I’m starting to face the reality of how much I can do whilst holding down a fulltime job, my plans for the garden next year have changed accordingly. In my head I’m starting to plan how to get maximum impact with minimum effort, and I have all winter to figure it out.

Since the weather has cooled down the tomatoes survived despite me forgetting to water them, and they just keep coming and coming. The tomato season is almost up, but it was well worth growing all of those plants. As far as tomatoes go, I’ll be doing the same again next year.

Remember the squash that Newton took a nibble of? Amazingly that’s still going strong and it’s even starting to get a tinge of orange. I’m going to go mad on squash varieties next year, they have been a joy to grow.

I must take a new photo tomorrow as the colour has changed since then, but I thought you’d appreciate the dog-proof squash cage!

I have many more updates to share, but since I’m feeling better having put my thoughts on to the page, I reckon some sleep is in order.

Thanks for reading, people of the internets.

Hayley x