It’s awfully noisy in here. No, it’s as quiet as normal at work. The nature of this job is primarily emails and documentation, and except for the occasional phone call all I hear is the sound of typing. The noise is inside. It’s mentally loud and emotionally loud to the point of being overwhelming.
There is a storm of noise going on inside my brain. There’s always a song playing inside my head, and today is no exception. On top of that the morning alarm sound had made it into the mix, so I have both the song (The Beatles “Penny Lane”) and my phone alarm competing for space. The volume of both is much higher than normal today too, trying to smother the conscious thoughts. I have the repetitive thinking going on as well. There’s just a line of a song “Mystery” by the Indigo Girls that keeps playing over and over in my brain. The melody of the song doesn’t interfere with the music I’m hearing, just the lyrics.
“You set up your place in my thoughts, Moved in and made my thinking crowded”. That pretty much sums up what’s going on inside my head.
It’s not actual music or voices I’m hearing; I’m not hallucinating. It’s just the active and inactive thinking that I can’t seem to control.
Somehow in all that noise there’s the worry. I am dreading my new job that starts on Thursday and keep thinking about how I’m going to survive on the lower pay. I worry how I’m going to buy my medications. What if the change I’m making in my medications isn’t going to work, or bring on new side effects that I won’t be able to tolerate. I’m scared to death that I don’t have any health insurance. What is going to happen if I get really sick? I’ve already got a tremendous amount of debt from my emergency room / hospitalization following my overdose, how am I going to pay for all of that? For the first time in years I have LP gas instead of Natural Gas, which means I have to be sure to check the levels in the tank before I run out. And I have to pay for the gas in advance; what if I run out in between paydays and don’t have the money?
My thinking is crowded.
There’s a lot of emotional noise too. The depression I’m struggling with is screaming at me; throwing lie after lie at me, trying to convince me of my worthlessness and despair. The darkness is trying to smother me. It is robbing me of my energy and my ability to overcome the out of control thinking. It keeps telling me how isolated and alone I am. A feature of my depression is anxiety and panic attacks. It’s difficult to breathe, causes chest pains and at the worst makes me feel like I’m going to die. And afraid I’m not going to. Even the physical aspects of this illness are creating havoc. I can almost hear my muscles’ creaking as the tension gets tighter and tighter. My chair squeaks as my legs bounce with nervous energy. I feel like I’m in the vortex of a storm, mental and emotional and physical chaos swirling around and around me.
I just want some peace.
I have to be very careful here as my overdose was started in a very similar situation. My thinking was out of control, and I remember I just needed to stop for a little while. I started taking tranquilizers to quiet the noise, and one thing led to another and almost killed me. (See: Anatomy of a Suicide, Part II posted 9/6/12). I want to control all that’s going on, but I know I can’t risk self-medication. I am working with my Doctor to address this and I can already see a change with the reduction of my atypical anti-psychotic as my energy level is rising and my thinking is getting clearer. And I have to believe that the new anti-depressant I just started is going to help overcome the depression I’ve been going through the last few months. But in the meantime, I have to deal with all this noise.
But there are things I can do. I stop and force myself to relax. It only lasts a minute or so, and has to be consciously repeated as the tension levels start to rise again. I try to clear my brain with deep breathing and meditation. My mantra is “I will have Peace”. I get up and walk around the office, burning up some of the excess energy. And at lunch time I take a brisk walk around the campus. I stop to eat. I don’t eat a big lunch, but bring small things that I can ‘graze’ on during the day. It helps to break up the day into more manageable chunks and keeps my blood sugar at a constant level. I can email friends, giving me something to think about other than the negative thoughts.
I can write.
It’s very difficult to overcome all this noise. But I have to fight it and use every technique and resource I have to keep it down to a manageable level. I can’t let it completely overwhelm me. And if I can be patient, and give time for the medicines to work, along with everything else I’m trying to do maybe, just maybe I can find that peace I so desperately need.