Two weeks ago I wrote that I was struggling emotionally — and therefore also struggling to keep up with errands and cleaning.
And a lot of it is probably due to isolation.
All by myself (a lot, anyway)
Before this past Friday, I hadn’t seen my friends in person since we’d done our last backyard hangout four months ago. Cases got so high here, I think most of us weren’t comfortable meeting — even outdoors and distanced.
So Aaron has been my main way to avoid isolation. But his availability has been less than it was in the beginning. Partially work, partially a couple of COVID scares. (Though in two instances, I kept telling him those were allergy symptoms. But he wanted to be safe. Sweet but… ugh.)
As a result, Aaron and I have been seeing each other about every seven to 10 days. Which has of course been frustrating and not generally good for my mental health.
That said, he’s expressed concern and is doing what he can to make seeing me an even higher priority than before. And it was already pretty high up there. So that’s promising.
My friend Leila — who lives a 1.3 mile drive or 0.9 mile walk away — has offered to hang out with me outside whenever I need. It’s very kind of her, and I’ll try to take her up on it.
My friend Ryan made the same offer, though she lives 20 miles away and, like me doesn’t love driving. So I’ll probably be more hesitant to ask her.
Playing it safe
Even with those offers and Aaron’s concern, I asked my psychiatrist last Tuesday to increase the dosage on one of my medications. He agreed to go from 100 mg to 150 mg, which was a smaller jump than I expected. But he’s the expert so I guess we’ll see how it goes.
I started the higher dosage on Wednesday night and… I don’t know if it’s doing anything.
Usually, medication changes affect me within a day or two. According to a past nurse practitioner, it’s common with people who are Bipolar II. Or maybe it was just bipolar folks in general.
But Thursday I didn’t feel much different than before. I was more productive — especially with cleaning — but I had people coming over for the backyard hangout. Obviously, they were outside 99% of the time. But they did have to come in to use the bathroom, so I wanted the areas they’d see to look tidy.
Further confusing issue, I saw Aaron Thursday night to Friday morning. Physical contact (and kittens!!!) are obviously mood boosters.
So yes, I was very productive on Thursday and Friday, but my mood/productivity would have been elevated even without a dosage increase.
So what about Saturday? Emotionally, I was fine. But in-person time — even distanced — would have helped that. And I couldn’t judge based on productivity because I was exhausted from the previous two days.
As of Sunday morning, I’m feeling fine and have been a bit productive. I’m even going to attempt three errands, which is usually a lot for me.
But this boost could still be from the recent in-person time. Also, Aaron and I are going to try to see each other tonight, so that elevates my mood. Thus there’s no way of knowing how much the dosage increase is actually helping.
Does it matter?
In the end, you could argue that the source of the mood elevation is moot, as long as the elevation is there.
Aaron’s workload is unpredictable. He hadn’t had two projects thrown at him simultaneously before, but there are sometimes technical issues that crop up that need attending to immediately, keeping him from being available. And he works out hard, so there are days when he’s unexpectedly sore/tired and isn’t up for being/having company.
Meanwhile, the soonest my friends and I can get together again would be three weeks from last Friday. Even that isn’t certain, since one of the gals will be getting her second vaccine shot the day before. So she may not be able to make it, and we try to find times that work for everyone.
So life may soon test where the mood boost is coming from. I’m not looking forward to that. But I’ll try to take Leila and Ryan up on their offers, especially if Aaron gets busy with work again.
Forced to wait anyway
But really, even if the boost weren’t happening, my psychiatrist would likely want me to wait a full month to see whether the increase did anything. So one way or the other, I’d have to monitor my mood for a few weeks.
Not my favorite situation to be in. But unless my mood were to take a supremely steep drop, I don’t foresee him being eager to increase the dosage.
One other hope
Right now, if Arizona residents who volunteer at one of the two vaccine distribution centers will get the the first shot at the end of their shift, plus a card for scheduling the second one.
This isn’t ideal. Depending which facility I got into, I’d be on my feet either six or eight hours (and have to be there an hour beforehand too). Needless to say — even if fatigue weren’t a common side effect of the shot — I will be completely flat for a couple of days afterward. But it’d be worth it.
And of course, the slots are extremely hard to get.
A friend wrote a script to scan one of the two websites for any available slots every 60 seconds. It then alerts us via text. It’s texted us four times, but each time the slot was already filled. One of the times, the slot even showed as vacant and I got really excited. But as soon as I clicked on it, a pop-up message said it was filled. Sigh.
But hopefully I’ll get lucky one of these times. And whole new days will open up at some point, which will give me a better shot at getting an opportunity.
How’s everyone else holding up?