Thursday, February 18, 2016

Getting My Head on Straight

Since last summer I have been meditating and doing yoga, trying to reach some kind of solid ground or equilibrium which I can return to after a day's work. It has been helpful, but sometimes desperate. The episodes of tension headaches(which look a lot like a migraine to an outsider) had increased from my usual average of once a year to one every three weeks. Sleep had become a luxury at this point. Although tired I was spending hours in bed not sleeping each night. I stopped reading books, checking email, making things. There was just enough energy for me to ration out for my work day, but not enough left over for life. Finally I came to the conclusion that my attempts at equilibrium weren't working. This is not really a new story for me, but one that has played out over and over again in my life as far back as I can remember, which is age 3. It is no one's fault. Sometimes it comes out of nowhere. Sometimes it is triggered by a life event. I have taken it to the professionals many times, which has been difficult because it makes me feel like I haven't tried hard enough.

So a few weeks ago I found myself on the couch again, in Virginia's office. Virginia is a psychiatric Nurse Praactitioner, who came highly recommended by a psychologist I have seen for counseling. In the small world category, we both attended nursing school in Washington DC. We had some shared hospital experiences. Today she is training a student in the nurse practitioner program at University of Florida. The student asks all the questions, takes the medical and psychiatric history. It is painful and a bit awkward because it is an art the student has not yet mastered. That is why she is here, to learn this art. At the end of our hour we decide to discontinue the Prozac, which I have taken daily for 24 years, with 3 unsuccessful Prozac holidays during which I tried to go it alone. We decide on Cymbalta. So I am 4 weeks in to the Cymbalta. I am sleeping. I wake up in the morning feeling pretty good. There is no longer that feeling of dread when morning arrives.  I am reading Tattoos on the Heart by Gregory Boyle. This time I think I will finish it before the library due date.

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