Day 26: How is your day-to-day life affected by your mental illness (es)?
It is difficult to pin down any effect mental illness has on me because, depending on the day and the state of my illness at the time, it could have much affect or none at all.
My particular illnesses (depression and anxiety) are always present whether it is to a large degree or small degree. I take medication daily for depression and medication only as needed for the anxiety. I will break down my typical day based on whether or not my illness is triggered (on the case of anxiety) or out of remission (in the case of depression) on a typical work day:
5:15am – My alarm goes off, alerting me to the start of the day
(Well Christine) I may hit snooze once, get up and go to the bathroom to take my morning medication then head to the kitchen to prepare my coffee. When that’s ready I settle on the couch and watch a few minutes of the news before I wake the kiddos up.
Finish coffee/ wake Tabi up first (by turning fan off and light on and then cheerily asking her to get hiney out of bed…this makes her mood 1000x’s better than if I try to snuggle, hug, nudge or even touch her in any form or fashion) then snuggle Lex awake (this makes her mood 1000x’s better than if I just verbally ask her to get up). Go back into Tabi’s room and make sure she is up, threatening to splash her with cold water if necessary. Prepare kiddo breakfasts and any medicine, school papers, lunch money, etc kids need for their day and put on their respective places on the kitchen table.
Get myself dressed and ready for the day.
(Sick Christine) I hit snooze as many as four times, then finally roll out of bed and straighten into a somewhat hunched over/standing hybrid position. I drag myself into the bathroom and splash some cold water on my face. Without looking in the mirror I dry my face off, swallow my morning medication, and then look at my cell phone to see how behind schedule I am. Panic. Rush to the children’s rooms to wake them up snapping on both room’s lights and going back and forth between rooms making sure they are physically getting up, pick out Alexa’s outfit for the day, try to get Tabi up again, then go into kitchen to prepare my coffee/ throw pop tarts on table hoping kids will eat them/ and pray no one needed papers signed or money for lunch that day.
Attempt to get myself dressed in matching clothes, preferably NOT the ones I wore the day before, and put on enough make up as to not scare everyone who will have to come into contact with me that day. Scare myself by finally forcing a glance in the mirror to make sure I am somewhat presentable. I’m not, so I take an anti-anxiety pill in an attempt to relax my already cramping stomach and tense shoulders/legs/brain. Try not to cry because I would much rather just be in bed, or crouched in the corner of my closet with a blanket over my head. Paste a pleasant look on my face as to not scare the children. Dry tears.
6:45am – Head out to school/work
(Well Christine) Shuffle out with kids in ‘ducks in a row’ formation asking that they have everything they need for the day. Hop into car, argue over radio station versus mom’s podcast is listened to on the way to school, let kids win argument, discuss the day’s plans.
(Sick Christine) Stumble out to car dragging kids along, yelling behind me that they’d better have all needed items for school because I am NOT going back home to get forgotten papers or homework. Stuff everyone into car, listen to my podcast to attempt to find my happy place, notice kids plugging in their headphones to listen to respective iPods’, over which I try to let them know that if anyone needs to be picked up from school or taken to after school activities to text me or I will forget.
8:00am – Arrive at work
(Well Christine) Gather purse, coffee, phone, etc and head into the resort saying good morning to everyone I pass. Head up the stairs to my office and turn on computer while I check any phone messages and make my list of things to accomplish today. Log on to computer, reply to emails, respond to inquiries and begin to call and follow up with clients and prospective clients about their events.
(Sick Christine) Hope I make it in to the resort without forgetting anything, hope no one sees me on my way up to my office, turn on computer, glance at phone hoping no one has called, log on to computer, stare at computer blankly for a minute or two, give self pep talk about taking “one task at a time”, try not to cry as I call clients and prospective clients about their events hoping they do not answer their phones so I can email them instead. Arrange task list in priority order and give self pep talk again (possibly listening to a podcast about mental illness or a ted talk on new innovations in the medical field, or resolving custody conflicts/successful co-parenting tips, or Dr. Drew).
1:00pm – Lunch time
(Well Christine) Head down to employee lunch area, run any close and quick errands or go to lunch with work friends.
(Sick Christine) Skip lunch. I suck and am far enough behind already. This stresses me out more so I may have to take another anti-anxiety pill. Now I feel guilty for having to take more medicine and have moved on from thinking I suck to feeling entirely disgusted in myself. I don’t deserve lunch anyway…
3:00pm – Mid afternoon coffee/ Ladies Room/ Check FB/Text break
(Well Christine) Get up from desk and walk around resort areas to get blood flowing and refill beverage/coffee while checking my phone. Stroll by front desk to see how things are going today and say hello to associates. Check on rooms and banquet space if I have any site visits that afternoon. Text kiddos to see how school went. Check FB to see how ‘friends’ are doing. Respond accordingly. Get back to desk and wrap up tasks for the rest of the day.
(Sick Christine) I don’t deserve coffee or a bathroom break but I should see if there is anything left in employee lunch area because I now have a headache. Hope no one sees me. Check FB to see ‘friends’ hoping someone has posted something to make me feel better. Or even feel worse. Or just ‘feel’. Post quote to try to make me feel something enough to get through the rest of the day. Get back to desk and scramble to complete enough tasks to make me feel as if I deserve to even be here at this job. Pray boss doesn’t decide to fire me today.
5:00 – ?pm – Leave work and head home
(Well Christine) Close up shop and head down to my car. Crack window just a bit to feel the nice lake air. Pick up kiddos, if needed. Chat with Mom and Dad if they are around. Drive to track or run with my marathon training people (if Monday or Tuesday) or run in neighborhood once I get home. Make dinner, or have what Jonathan made if he’s home, or go out for dinner. Play with doggie/ get kids situated for bed/ get self situated for bed including taking night time medication. Clean up kitchen area, read or watch tv until tired, go to sleep.
(Sick Christine) Take computer and work home with me because I haven’t done nearly enough today. Pick up kids and head home, grabbing drive through for kids on the way. Get home and head back to my room and re-boot computer while kids eat dinner. Stare blankly at computer screen for a bit. Get off bed and yell out for kids to get baths/ clean up kitchen/ prepare stuff for tomorrow. Go back to bed, continue staring at computer screen, give up and shut off computer and turn on television. Stare blankly at whatever comes on. Notice it is kiddo bedtime, tuck kids in, stumble to bathroom and take night time medications. Splash water on my face, brush teeth, put on pj’s, go back to bed and lay down to stare blankly at the television. Make self calm by thinking of differing scenarios in which I could disappear, get a fast moving cancer, hit by a car, have an aneurism…drift off to sleep and pray tomorrow is a better day.