Lepsylentil vs Thyroid

Tonight is another example of what is starting to feel typical in my battle against my underactive thyroid.

I’m tired. That typical kind of tired I feel a lot – just not quite able to focus or concentrate, with a heaviness settled on my chest that sometimes steps up to making my breathing feel thick. My brain is fuzzy, like I’m thinking through cotton wool. Simple things take more energy to manage, which in turn makes me more tired. It takes me a moment to realise when something outside my immediate subjective field is trying to get my attention. Multi-tasking is a myth.

I could sleep, but I know it won’t really do much. I can either sleep for 5 hours or less, or over 12. Anything in the middle and I just won’t wake up – or will be so exhausted I cannot process anything and basically pass out. I can cross a room to switch an alarm off without really leaving my sleep state (and do, frequently). On bad days the sleep will be more in the 15-17 hours bracket.

What’s worse is the tiredness stays, no matter how much sleep I get. Things are a bit sharper on less than five hours, but it’s unsustainable. Even if I am repeatedly prodded until I drag myself up after 8 or 9 hours, I’ll then spend the rest of the day feeling like a zombie. I’ll normally need a nap at some point.

It gets frustrating when partnered with a sense of impending deadlines or general creativity. I get restless and unfocused, too tired to do anything as useful as actually form words into creative sentences and other endeavours are too big to take up or require a wait time. I can’t even game properly, as trying to concentrate makes it worse.

And I don’t want to sleep. God, I don’t want to sleep. I know what sleep brings – another morning of the slow and painful process of waking up and getting myself moving. Randomly disrupted sleeping patterns, or worse, the long zombie sleep of the more than 12 hours variety. I know once I go there it’s so hard to come back. It’s exhausting on its own.

This isn’t even the tiredness of CFS or ME or any ‘real’ conditions. If I push myself and I get lucky I can leave the house, I have hobbies that I plan ahead for and manage, and although I feel dulled and not-quite-alive a lot of the time, I can function. I’m not bedridden. I feel like I’m being weak.

I need to make a doctor appointment but being up at a time when there’s one available (or getting up to attend one) sometimes feels impossible. I get cynical, too – they’ll test my blood levels, find out it’s not my thyroid or my iron or whatever, and then just go, ‘well, that’s just your life now’. Between mental illness and thyroid and sod knows what else, that’s my life. Suck it up. Three appointments total (one GP to get them to request a blood test, one blood test, one GP to discuss the results). Zero progress made.

This is a grumpy, ranty entry.

Until April

After some careful consideration, I have decided to postpone active writing deadlines until the end of April.

It’s not the only thing I’ve postponed. I’ve also taken a hiatus from WoW, among other things. I’m running one regular game and one huge weekend event with propping to do, and also involved in the organisation and kit-making process of going to a fest for the first time. These things are taking up so much time that I was starting to get really stressed and panicky about all the deadlines, and at that point they cease to be helpful micro-achievement and become another way to punish myself. My mental health is also not at its best, so for now, writing is done when possible (and with much enthusiasm), but I have no formal 10 days targets.

Life carries on. I wish I could talk more about the props I’m doing, but it’ll wait until after April too. 🙂

Mental Health Problems

I’m more than a little frustrated by the fact it seems like every post I make at the moment is about how I’m struggling to catch up.

I believe in myself as a writer, as a person who can set herself goals and achieve them. Well, mostly. Some days more than others. Since November I’ve made some pretty impressive improvements. Sometimes I just have to sit back and think that in the last three and a bit months I’ve written 106,000 words. That’s not something I should feel bad about, by any stretch of the imagination, but it doesn’t really mean much if I can’t keep it up.

One of the things people always say about writing is that you can’t just do it when you feel like it. It’s not about waiting for that inspiration to hit, waiting for the stars to align and everything to be perfect. You just have to write, every day if you can, and push through the tougher days but keep putting work out there and keep moving the story along. Sometimes you come back and find the stuff you struggled with was pants; other times, you can’t tell you were struggling at all. It’s Writing 101 – make time to write and fucking do it.

I suppose the bit I’m struggling with at the moment is when that then interacts with illness and disability.

Take today, for instance. I slept for longer than I meant to – again. It seems like I can either sleep for more than twelve hours or less than five, and any in between is impossible. I slip between days of adrenaline-thrumming tiredness, and days like today where I just feel zombified and unable to focus. I start to forget what it’s like to actually feel awake and alert. Simple things seem to take an inordinate amount of energy. My depression crawls up my back and sits on my shoulders and head and pulls my eyelids down. My thyroid says, ‘Five more minutes…’

I open the document, I get the right music going, but I just can’t focus. It takes me twice as long as normal to read the previous few paragraphs. I start a sentence – just a single word – then forget where it was going and delete the word. I try to think about what might happen next or what my characters are doing but everything seems to be operating through a cloud. It’s not ‘writer’s block’ – it’s not limited to my writing or my being a writer. It’s just that functioning at all seems ridiculously hard.

And yet I’m writing this post, aren’t I? I’m managing to get these words out, through starts and stops to form these sentences and make some kind of sense from it all. Am I just making excuses for myself?

It’s hard. When I feel like this, the world feels oddly two dimensional. Nothing seems quite real, just like looking at a TV screen where a show you’re not really following or interested in is playing in the background. Lighting sometimes goes a bit odd – things seem darker than they should, like there’s a shadowy filter over my vision. Maybe it’s just my right eye being rubbish. Not sure.

I’d like some Relentless – god bless taurine, the only substance I’ve managed to find that can even slightly penetrate this fog (caffeine does nothing, sugar makes no dent) – but it’s late and the shops are shut. Probably. I have to work to remember what day it is. Thinking about the things I did the day before seems so far away, it’s as if I’ve had some ghost time in between. A day where I didn’t really do anything in the meantime but it just put a blank space between me and action. Also drinking taurine makes me a really bad vegetarian but fuck it, I want hard edges and focus and sharpness. I want to feel alert. Besides, maybe drinking that stuff now would be a bad idea – maybe it’d just make my next sleep desperately inefficient and continue the cycle. The cycle that I seem chronically unable to break.

I remember times in November when I was ahead – when it wasn’t about catching up, but seeing how far I could extend my lead. I need days like that, where I can push myself so that days where I’m too busy to get anything done or too fucked to function can happen without scuppering the whole process. When I first started Project 10k I wondered if I would end up ridiculously ahead. Seems a bit naive now, but I was still riding the crest of a very efficient November and feeling pumped and awake.

Definitely need to make a GP appointment. This isn’t a helpful situation.

I’ll make some more tea, put the right music on and give it my best shot. Even a hundred words is better than none.