Recovery Part 2: Lists and Being Far Too Tired.

Last month, I wrote a piece about my daily routine before I started a recent course of citalopram. I did say I would update on my progress in a weeks time, yet a week somehow turned to four and over month later here we are.

6 weeks in. Unfortunately I haven’t been taking the medication for 6 solid weeks, they would only give me a 3 week amount and then being away for work made it impossible to get more without a doctor’s appointment. However, I have now received more medication (2 months supply) and I am looking forward to beginning this routine again.

Its 7:00 and my alarm goes off. I have tried to ensure there is some sort of breakfast food in the house, or at least a supply of cereal still in my desk drawer. I buy my favourite cereal (Honey Cheerios) and look forward to eating it in the morning. I finish my bowl with a cup of tea and my citalopram. I have decided taking it in the morning is the best way for my routine.

But oh, I feel so tired. A different kind of tiredness, alike to my post nap paralysis. It’s a fuzzy tiredness which affects me physically and mentally. I’ll shower later, I feel too tired- and as I leave my flat I realise that’s the third day in a row I have said that.

I’m still in the office for this week, and the first thing I do is look at my workplan and write a list. I include minute details, such as drinking water, breaking for lunch and stepping outside for fresh air. I try to break my biggest tasks into manageable chunks. But I also have to make sure I leave enough room for the stuff I didn’t quite manage yesterday. Today it feels like my anxiety is at its absolute worst, and whenever anyone comes near me at work I jump and almost burst into tears. I brush it off, as if I’m just a ‘jumpy’ person. But my heart is pounding with terror and embarrasment.

I work through my tasks, ticking off the small ones and usually leaving the bigger ones until I’m too tired. By lunchtime my brain is completely fried, and I try to take some time to stop. I can’t quite unwind though. I start a new list of all the things I need to do when I go home.

Shoes away, washing in, dry washing away, tidy room, take down dishes, make tea, eat tea, do dishes from tea, hang washing out, change bed.

It may seem excessive, but the lists help me stay focused, when I’m more tired than ever. I start to worry about how this tiredness will affect me when I’m working in the field, having to interact with more people. I have been using diazepam to overcome the tiredness, but I shouldn’t drive or do anything heavily physical which will again make things difficult in the field. I read my medication leaflet which says I simply have to take the tablet at the same time every day, and decide tomorrow I will change to taking it before bed. This helps, especially when I make the move from 10mg to 20mg.

I get in, put my bags down and put my list on the side. If I don’t get it out of my bag, I will likely ignore it. I have a little sit down, scroll mindlessly though social media before looking back at the list. I put my shoes away (tick), and put my first lot of washing in (tick). Today I manage to slowly make it through the list, and I even eat something a bit more than beans on toast. But sometimes I don’t. Sometimes I’m tired and put things off for another day.

However, each day I try to keep my room tidy. I love my room and my space, and find that the state of it really impacts my mental health and wellbeing. When it is messy, I get really down, and when it’s tidy I feel lighter. When I hoover it, and the carpet is super clean I just want to sit and bask in my glory and awesomeness for a few moments.

So it is getting better I think, but it’s not a magic overnight cure. I’m likely using the start of this medication to motivate me to try to help myself in any way I can. And since the first couple of weeks on medication are a real struggle, until you get accustomed, I spoke to a few people about it. I mentioned it to my partner, and my family, so maybe that feeling of openness in my support group is helping a bit too. I’m currently going through another difficult time – so it isn’t always   but I’m hoping that in the long-term this will all gradually start to improve, however long that may be.

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