As I write, it has been only a week and a half since I have been discharged. I still struggle to operate normally at times. My appetite is terrible and I am eating variable amounts every day. On some days, I eat about half what I normally eat, or less. On other days, I binge eat during one meal, and then eat very little for the rest of the day. My wife tries to help me to regulate my diet, but it’s difficult for us both as I sometimes just don’t have the appetite. A lot of food that I used to like to eat holds no appeal, and even makes me feel nauseous.
Sleep is still an issue. I find it hard to get to sleep, but when I do, I manage to sleep well. If I do get up in the middle of the night to use the washroom, I sometimes struggle to get back to bed. A good book by the bedside helps.
The low mood is still the biggest struggle that I have. At times, I still feel really low, and it’s all I can do not to dip my head low and hang my shoulders down. At those times, I fight to remind myself to keep my head up and my shoulders back, so that I can look up rather than down. This forces me to remember to not feel defeated or oppressed, and helps me to look to the sky, especially when I’m outdoors, and take deeper breaths. This serves to calm me down and helps me remember not to keep thinking negatively. The low moods sometimes still don’t need a trigger.
But throughout, the first thing that I must do every morning is to take my medication. I am considered fortunate in that I only have one timing to remember. The medication is what enables me to even have the ability to do any of the above.
I tell my wife that I finally have the ability to be happy. I finally can find pleasure in what I do. The problem is that I have too much experience in negative emotions, that I struggle greatly now to experience that happiness. My “happy tank” as I like to call it, is totally empty. I can now start filling it up, but finding pleasure in what I do isn’t something I’m used to. It’s not like I only see negative things or negativity, but that I simply don’t know what to do with my happiness. I feel more pleasure now, and I sometimes find myself stunned by it, because I’ve not experienced it for so long. Exploring what gives me pleasure also is difficult because I sometimes feel that yawning emptiness, and I am tempted to feel a little hopeless that my progress isn’t there yet.
That is one of the biggest challenges – not to expect too much of myself. I feel guilty for being sick at times, even if I am able to tell myself that it’s not my choice to be sick. I struggle with the slow progress, and when I feel down, I berate myself for not being strong enough, even though I know that it’s not the case. I recently thanked my wife and my friend for not judging me for not trying hard enough. My wife replied that conversely, she felt that I was trying my hardest best, and that I should not be so hard on myself.
The biggest challenge, and yet comfort that I should take heart in, is that I have God to trust, and that I know that He has been guiding me all this while. Despite all my fears and doubts in Him, He guided my steps to the right place at the right time, to save my life and to save me from myself. I know now that He is watching over me, and I am re-learning how to submit my fears and worries before Him. It’s also agonizingly slow, but I know He is patient and loving. I am already forgiven – I need now, to slowly learn to trust again.
The good thing is that thankfulness comes easily to me. I am really thankful, for so many things that this deserves a chapter on its own. That hasn’t changed, but sometimes I find myself even more emotional than normal, in the gratitude that I feel. That isn’t a bad thing, in my opinion, as it reminds me that I’m alive, and well enough to be thankful.
I do worry about the future, much as I should not. I worry about what I would end up working as. I worry about how long I will take to really recover and adjust back to society, especially working life. I still have anxiety now and then, especially in huge crowds. Sometimes it’s better, but I am left very aware of my vulnerability and the fact that I’m still ill.
Nonetheless, I am getting better. The road ahead is long, but I am already thankful to be better. There is hope that I will exit this phase in a few years, but for now, I must take it one day at a time, and pray to learn to trust my God in all things.