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So High, So Low

Bouncing back and forth between extreme ends of pain and emotions has drained me. My pain is worse than usual at times and better than usual at others. When I feel good, I’m energetic and elated; when I feel bad, I’m despondent and grouchy. It’s true that I’ve never been one to settle near the middle of the continuum, but I’ve felt particularly immoderate the last couple weeks.

Last night I assessed my environmental impact (not pretty even though I try so hard) then caught up on the news. I read about mid-level fashion designers whose work is lost amid the costly designs of their high profile peers. Learned about a little-studied part of the brain that appears to have greater significance than previously thought. Saw the current death toll in Iraq. Watched a slideshow and listened to commentary on children in sub-Saharan Africa who are in adult prisons.

Then I went upstairs to tell Hart how I’d antagonized myself and asked the rhetorical question that’s my common refrain — “Is there anything I can do to make the world a better place?” In tears, I gestured around our office, saying that I’d give it up our comforts if it would make a difference. I felt so helpless.

That’s when I realized that I have classic depression symptoms. I can’t concentrate, I don’t feel like blogging (which normally brings me great pleasure), I’m tired, I despair the inequities in the world. Except, of course, when I’m going full speed at the opposite end of the spectrum. This deviation throws me for a loop.

I’ve landed at the irritating place of watching myself to see how my symptoms progress. Maybe it’s just a blip accompanying a particularly bad headache spell. Or perhaps it’s time to get my meds adjusted. My psychiatrist told me that I’m a person who tends to backslide quickly, so I know I need to be vigilant.

So much in the treatment of headache and depression requires a wait-and-see approach. I just want to feel better, damn it.

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