A free online version of the Maslach Burnout Inventory (MBI) rated me at serious risk of impending job burnout. I can’t say that surprises me.
It happens on the regular: I put off writing about what I need to write about because I have other topics I “should” be posting, like the monthly cataloging of the blooms in my garden, or the annual missive to my son on (or around) his birthday.
Screw that. I keep this blog around for me. It’s no longer the angsty ramblings of a twenty-something who’s trying to keep in touch with all of her friends at once. This is the public journal of a middle-aged working mother. Basically, it’s a lot easier to find references to life events after the fact using an indexed database of words than it is to rifle through a handwritten journal.
The thing is, though, that there haven’t really been very many life events to record this year, with the global pandemic and all. No tropical vacation, no visiting friends and relatives in other cities, no local bands and food trucks downtown, not even any photo walks along the river.
I guess that’s one reason why I haven’t been sitting down and pouring out the contents of my brain lately: there hasn’t been anything that I especially wanted to record for posterity, or to share with others by crossposting to Facebook. I sew stuff, I grow stuff, I work, I pretend to be a badass martial artist, but it all feels like Groundhog Day.
And now autumn is settling in.
The fall foliage is beautiful, and I’m definitely a big fan of hoodie weather… but I’m solar-powered. It must be the string of chilly, overcast days that are getting to me.
Or maybe it’s the sameness of every day working from home and supervising my son’s remote learning. Maybe it’s our geriatric cat pissing on the carpet by my sewing machine, instead of her litter box, making one of my primary hobbies difficult if not impossible for the time being. Maybe it’s that jowly, puffy, saggy, tired, worn-down face staring at me from the bathroom mirror every morning. Maybe it’s my Krav Maga class getting pushed later and later in the evening, so that I leave for class about the time I’d normally be starting my son’s bedtime routine, meaning that a) I feel like I can only go once a week for his sake; and b) when I do go, I’m already tired and not at my best by the time class begins.
Maybe my brain meds need adjusted. Maybe I need more than just brain meds. Maybe I need to get off the brain meds.
Maybe everybody in the world is having a hard time right now, or maybe it’s just me.
It’s been one of those days that reminds me of what every day felt like before brain meds.
Thought maybe some sunshine would perk me up, but no dice. I suspect my constant fatigue may be related to upping my dosage of Prozac — I’ll give it some more time, then give my doctor a heads-up if I don’t feel a boost after the long holiday weekend.
I’ve been eagerly anticipating today’s med check with my doctor for weeks. He put me on Prozac over a year ago, and on Wellbutrin about a year and a half. The meds have been treating me well… up until recently.
For the past few months, things have been going slowly downhill. I’ve gained ten pounds, and my mood has become more volatile in a chicken-and-egg sort of dance. I’m down because I don’t fit into my clothes and I’m jiggly. I either wish I didn’t have to bother eating, or I can’t stop. I get tension headaches. I get irritable easily, to the point of sudden rage. I can’t focus at work. I haven’t been taking enjoyment in my hobbies. I get down on myself. I notice all my flaws, physical and otherwise. They taunt me.
My knees hurt, so I skip my workouts. I go outside for a restorative walk over lunch, only to find it gray and cold and windy.
Doc told me today that he thinks I’m not reacting well to the Wellbutrin, and told me to gradually taper off of it over the next month. At the same time, he’s having me double my dose of Prozac from what I had been taking, which was the minimum dosage available.
He also confirmed what I had suspected for some time now: I have inattentive-type ADHD. This quote from the Cleveland Clinic (emphasis mine) sums things up quite well:
Executive functions of the brain–such as verbal and nonverbal working memory, self-regulation and motivation, and planning–are thought to be impaired in adults with AD/HD. Adults who have AD/HD without hyperactivity can experience difficulties with maintaining attention and focus, using working memory and recall, and regulating emotions. Organizing and prioritizing tasks can be challenging.
As the kids said back in 2015… it me.
Our hope is that eliminating the Wellbutrin and increasing the Prozac will help resolve the emotional volatility and mitigate some of the ADHD symptoms, as well as the depression. If not, though, we’ll experiment with what he calls “real” stimulants.
I should also get myself to talk therapy. I go with Connor to some Behavioral Therapy to help him identify and regulate his emotions, and I honestly get something out of his appointments, too, even though I’m really just there as his handler / moral support / responsible adult. It’s taking that first step and reaching out that’s the hardest.
Aaron always says he can tell when something’s really bothering me because he reads it on my blog. He also told me a couple weeks back that I should act sooner if this mood dip happens again.
Agreed, 100 percent.