I was thinking last night that it is time to draw a line in the sand and say that I am pretty much done here. Everything is looking good, and I think it is more accurate to say now that I am recovered, rather than in recovery. Here's a quick rundown of where I stand on the various issues.
These days I am happy and satisfied for most of the day, every day. My various craft projects give me a great deal of enjoyment, and I will probably be starting a craft-based business down the road. There is definitely a positive feedback loop that goes on with my crafts. If I'm feeling good then I want to make something, and if I make something then I feel good. I definitely remember though, how it was when I was depressed, when nothing gave me any enjoyment. So I am not suggesting that knitting is the ticket to happiness, or anything. But I do think that if you can find something to appreciate, however rare or small, and then keep looking for more, it is the ticket to start spiralling up instead of down.
This is probably where I've made the most progress since my one year anniversary post. These days I enjoy being busy and working on various projects throughout the day. Things that used to seem challenging are now easy to take on. It is not the same as the frenetic drive to keep going that I had with hypomania, everything is easy and balanced. Really, the improvement in this category has been massive. But it came late, well after the one year mark.
These days, there are only 3 or 4 days a month when protracted withdrawal is at all an issue. I take one 500 mg capsule of tryptophan every morning to start off the day right, and if I am very active I will take 1 or 2 more during the day. This keeps my symptoms at zero, except for the two to three days before my period, which is when I still may get some breakthrough symptoms. The symptoms I get are usually headache or neck and shoulder pain, and sometimes fatigue. Sometimes also I get very hungry, which is a sure sign that the drugs are back in my bloodstream. An extra tryptophan takes care of that.
I can say now that my sleep pattern is completely normal. My alarm is set for 8:30 am, and most days I am awake before it, even in the winter. I have a long relaxation/meditation routine in the evening, so I spend 60-90 minutes unwinding and preparing for sleep, but when I decide to go to sleep I am asleep within 5 minutes. I sleep well and I am never tired in the morning.
I have not yet started to exercise just for the sake of fitness, but I am gradually being capable of more and more activity during the day. If there is one area with the most room for improvement, this is probably it. But, it doesn't worry me, I am able to do everything I want to do now, and if I want to do more in the future, I'm sure I'll be able to build up to it.
Except for a day or two a month when the protracted withdrawal makes me hungry, I would say that my appetite is back to normal as well. I'm not plagued by cravings any more, and I enjoy a pretty balanced and light diet. What I am noticing is that I am not thinking about food all the time, I think I have a much healthier relationship with it. I can eat an apple without wishing I was eating chocolate cake instead. I enjoy my food.
This fall I promised myself that I would stop weighing myself, so I don't know exactly what I weigh any more. My clothes still fit though, so I don't think there has been much variation. People tell me I look slimmer, but I think what they are really seeing is that I am much happier, so I look better.
As I mentioned recently, I am taking 10 capsules a day now. Because the Empowerplus somehow gives me thyroid support as well as mood support, that seems to be the right level for me. It may be that in the spring, which is traditionally a more "up" period for me, I may need less.
I think I will be taking a break from posting here for a while. If anything really interesting happens I will be back, but for now, I'd much rather be writing about my crafts than my health. I will respond to comments, and I am still on the Truehope message boards most days. I wish everyone the best in their own journeys to recovery and health!
Where it all began
One year anniversary