New Year, Same Brain

Happy new year blog readers!

I hope you all had a restful festivemas and enjoyed a break from work or study if you were able to take one.

It’s been a strange few months for me. I had an operation on a long standing (6 years!) shoulder injury at the end of November which meant a frantic month beforehand as I tried to get ahead of various deadlines I had expected to work up to in December and January. It’s the first time I’ve had an operation and whilst it all went smoothly from a medical point of view, I had a slightly distressing experience coming round from anaesthetic getting very confused and argumentative, and the overall recovery from the anaesthetic was very, very slow. Inevitably my mood went right down whilst I was laid up, and the fatigue post-surgery (which the nurse at my GP surgery assured me wasn’t unusual but also not common) and pain mimicked and/or caused so many symptoms of cyclothymia downswing (hypersomnia, lack of appetite, anxiety, spontaneous crying) it was hard to disentangle brain mood and body mood (the latter being how I think of low mood which has an identifiable or environmental cause).

As December drew to a close my mood picked up as my energy began to return and my pain began to ease up, I started feeling more myself and enthusiastic to get back to work. Just in time for my usual new year downswing…!

New year is a hard time for a lot of people, I think, so much expectation that you will launch yourself into a new year full of energy and ambition and achieve something monumental. Come new year there are always so many prompts to reflect on your year gone by, and somehow “survived” never seems a good enough achievement for 12 months of life. And of course there’s the vague fatigue which a week of over indulgence and under activity always seems to cause.

Which I suppose are all good reasons – body mood reasons, as I put it above – for the low mood and vague, self destructive impulses which are gradually swamping me this week. Cause is not the same as solution though, unfortunately. So what can we do to tackle the New Year Dip? All the solutions I can think of end up reinforcing the artificial importance of January as the month of resolutions and change. So I’m thinking small. This month will be more work, more productive use of my time (less mindless games on my phone!), more finishing the stuff I’ve started (like all those drafts stored up on this blog!) and more acceptance of the things I achieve as worthy in and of themselves, and not in comparison to what people around me get done in a week, month, or year.

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4 Comments

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4 responses to “New Year, Same Brain

  1. Ugh I’m such a dick. Already talking about myself before anyone else. I am sorry to hear your surgery got you down, but your attitude about starting small and being positive shows your experience with this thing. I wish you the best new year and look forward to keeping up with your blog.

  2. Oh 2016, how whilst thou be. I was in a car accident on January 4th. Not severely injured, just a lot of muscle spasms. It hasn’t gotten me down, but I am VERY bad at mood awareness, so who knows. The holidays started another spat of financial indulgence. I’m an attorney and people are always in such a hurry to get their cases sewn up before the end of the year.

    So a hectic November and December brought on anxiety and overspending. Low sex drive, etc. My wife feels neglected and gets upset, so I sink further. She is well aware and tolerant of my condition, but she is normal and has a hard time squelching her needs while I’m checked out.

    I managed to piss off and alienate my brother in law yesterday. I asked him to stop saying fuck so much when we go out to eat, so he exploded because he’s looked past a mountain of shortcomings and dickishness by me.

    Anyway, looking forward to trying to start fresh this week!

    • Sounds like you’ve had a challenging start to the year. It also sounds like you’re committed to working out how to manage your moods and, upsetting though I’m sure your argument with your brother in law was, at least you are self-reflective enough to understand that you could have handled things differently – I hope you’re able to mend bridges. I’m sure he’ll appreciate knowing you understood his response in hindsight.

  3. We should team up to take care of all those blog posts in our draft files. ๐Ÿ™‚ Glad your recovery is picking up now. I’m frustrated as hell with my moods, but things seem more balanced than they’ve been in a while. Here’s hoping for a great 2016! ๐Ÿ™‚

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