You might think that I haven’t been posting because I have been too busy writing my thesis or that maybe I went on vacation or some other, positive reason. You would be wrong.
Inevitably, when I fall off the face of the earth it is because my mood has taken a dive and I’m either in the midst of a serious depression or I am trying to recover from said depression. This recent disappearance from the blog is no exception. Fortunately, I am now on the mend.
I can trace this most recent relapse into depression to a very specific cause: decreasing my medication. As you know, I have been wanting to get pregnant. So, with my doctor’s approval, I started tapering down on my medications in preparation for that. I peeled back one medication after the other until, suddenly, I went a little too far and I collapsed. This collapse was somewhat different from my previous breakdowns because instead of being confined to bed and sleeping all day and all night because I couldn’t face getting up , I was consumed by anxiety and paranoia and couldn’t sleep at all (mostly due to a horrible, horrible attack of restless legs syndrome which limited my ability to sleep to about two hours at a time which probably contributed to the crazy). Which then made me depressed because I was scared to leave the house and I know this is not a normal state of being.
In fact, I was in the middle of writing a post to the blog describing the anxiety I was feeling and what went through my mind everytime I tried to leave the house and how I was feeling like I had accomplished something pretty major since I had managed to go to the pharmacy to pick up the one medication I was still taking when I realized how absolutely off my rocker I sounded and I contacted my doctor and said, “We’ve got to fix this. NOW.”
So, back on the medications I went. And, here I am–mostly stable, frustrated with my brain chemistry, and with very little progress on my thesis since last I wrote because the funny thing is, when you are feeling like you lack the wherewithal to make it five minutes in the world outside your apt., you don’t spend much time writing your thesis because it is simply a given in your head that you will never pass your defense. So, why bother?
Now that I’m stable, I’ve been working on my thesis about three hours a day on the weekdays. Which is pretty damn impressive considering I was only managing about a half an hour a day prior to this most recent breakdown. Which also indicates that I wasn’t doing so hot before the breakdown anyway.
So, what does this mean in terms of getting pregnant? It means the baby-making is on hold. If you’ve never tried to get pregnant, you might not realize this but trying to get pregnant is stressful. You’d think it would be fun, at least in the beginning, if it doesn’t take you too long to get pregnant. And, maybe it is for some people. I’m just not one of them. I’ve wanted a baby for too long, and, at 35, I’m worried that my window of opportunity is narrowing (please don’t tell me that 35 is still young, the fact is that the older you are, the harder it is to get pregnant and the greater chance there is of something going wrong). So, right off the bat we were planning sex according to when I might be ovulating and getting my period seemed like the end of the world.* Finishing my degree is stressful enough without the pregnancy stress on top of it. And, while I won’t be going off my meds in preparation for pregancy the next time, I might try going off of them for the first trimester and that really will not be conducive to writing, as I have already discovered. So, we are waiting for a few more months.
As for thesis writing, I’ve set a deadline for myself. The thesis has to be done by mid-Feb. at the latest. By done I mean ready to hand to my committee. To do this, I think I need to have a first draft to my advisor by mid- to late Jan. I think I need to make this deadline in order to push myself to have a hope of ever being finished. Without a deadline in my head, I haven’t felt the need to push myself to work more and harder. Consequently, I have just been floating along. The reward structure I set up helped me a little, but it wasn’t getting me in front of the computer enough. I find I’m much more productive now that I have a deadline for myself.
So, that’s where I’m at. Now that I’m feeling better, I suspect I will be posting to the blog more frequently (probably bemoaning how I hate writing my thesis).
*I may have said this before, but, I really, really wish we had started trying to get pregnant earlier in our lives because then we could simply stop using birth control and not try to plan so much and maybe be a little more relaxed about getting pregnant.