Monday, 17 November 2008
When Life Goes Up And Down
When I wrote this post I described how I felt when I got the phone message to say that my psychotherapy session was cancelled as I was travelling to it. It can be quite difficult getting yourself into the right frame of mind to make meaningful progress during psychotherapy sessions and until quite recently I had real problems with anxiety for several days prior to my Friday morning sessions. These days I am able to cope a little better and while I still get quite nervous about the session, this only occurs on Friday morning and is not normally something that I worry about too much. Okay, so the butterflies sometimes take on enormous proportions, but I do not feel physically sick as I used to.
Last week was a bit of an up and down week for me. I had managed to get over the disappointment of the cancelled psychotherapy session, but I still had the demonstration to give to a room full of doctors to get through. In actual fact, this turned out to be a bit of a breeze except for the momentary panic when I saw the sea of faces in front of me. So getting myself up and ready to leave for psychotherapy on Friday morning I was thinking about all the things that I had to talk about. Meeting a There and Back and our chat over a up of hot chocolate, how I had felt when my last psychotherapy session was cancelled, how I had performed at the demonstration in front of the doctors; all of these things would help me to talk about how I had been feeling over the last week.
I got off the bus a stop earlier than I usually do. It was a nice morning, I had time before my appointment, so a little exercise wouldn't come amiss. As I was walking down the road to the hospital I switched off my mobile. Okay, so I don't get many calls on it, but it is a cardinal rule that phones are switched off before therapy starts. I turned into the hospital's entrance gates and walked to the Outpatients Department and in through the doors and made my way to the reception desk to book in. I was told that my psychotherapy session was cancelled again. I walked out of the hospital and cried. It may seem a strange reaction, but from being quite upbeat especially after having done so well at what had been a big step for me with the computer demonstration, I was suddenly plummeting into depression; little things had suddenly become mountains again. I made my way home again and sat down wondering what to do. In the end I tried reading the course book for one of my OU courses.
Friday evening I had an appointment with my GP. Nothing special, just my routine appointment so that he could see how I was and make sure that I was coping with everything. I arrived early, I can't help it, it's one of the things I do; the computer arrival system told me that my GP was currently running 9 minutes late, so although there would be a short wait it wasn't anything too much. Then completely out of the blue I started having an angina attack. This is not an unknown occurrence, but I haven't had an attack for months and I had come out of the house without my handbag because I didn't think I would need anything that was in it; my keys could be put in my coat pocket so a handbag was unnecessary, except that was where my GTN spray was and I needed it now. I decided that as long as I sat quietly the attack would soon pass, and anyway I would be in with my GP shortly. Except I wasn't; I was nearly an hour late getting in to see him and I was still having occasional pains.
Instead of my quick in and out of the consulting room, there were lots of questions about the pain and checks of blood pressure. Blood pressure was absolutely fine, but GP was still considering phoning for an ambulance until I reminded him that I have Prinzmetal's angina. The angina attacks are caused by an artery in my heart going in to spasm and I have had angiograms that show that my arteries are completely clear of any signs of blockage. It is a form of angina that is not that common, so it is quite common for doctors to have to look it up when I tell them about it. Once GP was satisfied that I was okay the consultation continued with me talking about how I felt after having had my psychotherapy cancelled twice, and also about the high that I had after doing the computer demonstration. After a final admonition to make sure that I always carried my GTN spray with me, I left to go home again.
Saturday morning found me travelling to a tutorial for SK277, the second of my OU courses this year. It was my first chance to meet the tutor and although I managed to stay for the whole tutorial I did have some very uncomfortable moments. Once the tutorial was over I decided to treat myself to some lunch in the nearby shopping centre before setting off home again. Saturday evening, still feeling a little low after the morning's tutorial I decided to sit down to do some knitting as it had been a few days since I had done any. It was at this point that my world really fell apart. Just a little thing made me feel like there was no reason to carry on living. The little thing, was pulling on the knitting needle and having about 20 or 30 stitches fly off and everything start to unravel. There was nothing I could do other than pull the knitting off the needles and start again, but Saturday evening was not going to be the time to do that.
So that was why today was one of those days. I had endured more bad stuff than good stuff over the last 10 days and I was finding it hard to cope with. I decided that today would be a day for nothing too energetic, nothing that would unduly tax my mind, and if I did some knitting I would put it down as soon as something went wrong. As luck would have it, my knitting has progressed well this afternoon and evening. I haven't quite managed to do as much as I had before the catastrophe occurred, but I am getting there.
I'm starting to feel a little more optimistic about tomorrow now. I plan to spend the morning studying and tomorrow afternoon and evening I will do some knitting and hopefully I will get to a point where I am once again in virgin territory; that is to a point that I have not reached before on this centre panel for the shawl. I had hoped that I would have finished the centre panel over this weekend, but that didn't happen. I am aiming for completion next weekend now and with it the four-fold increase in stitches that will signify the start of the borders.
Sometimes you know what causes you to fall into a depression, and sometimes you don't. When it is caused by a series of small mishaps, which unfortunately begin to seem much larger than they actually are because of the increasing number of them, it is much easier to find your way out of the darkness. With a bit of luck, by Wednesday I will be feeling fine and wondering why I felt bad at all. I certainly hope that is what happens.