Posted by: cg00n | January 29, 2012

Quantum of Solace

I’ve been a bit down in the dumps this last week or so, as usual for no apparent reason.  There was no specific trigger that I can identify although there were a few additional straws (new potential lumps) that may have contributed to the proverbial camel’s broken back.  None of this is exactly “news” to any of you who know me well or who follow this blog much but these days I try to use these bad times as an incentive to practice mindfulness and get to know myself better.   This posting is as much for my own benefit as it is for anyone else.   There is some consolation in the feeling of progress this gives me.

Early symptoms of the blues include:  increased irritability, decreased energy, a more crampy gut, a reluctance to go to bed, a reluctance to get up and a more gloomy outlook on life.  I hear some of you saying, “Yeah, that sounds like you all right” and if I ever figure out who said that you will be off my Christmas list!

If I start to feel jumpy, nervous or shaky that indicates further slippage.  My pulse rate will be a bit high, my breathing more rapid than usual and I will have trouble sleeping.  The next stage on the way down gives rise to the “You are summoned to the principal’s office” sensation:  weak knees, shakiness and a sinking “What’s going to happen to me?” feeling.  It requires strong mindfulness and concentration for me to focus on things or make decisions.  This is usually the stage at which I will be taking .25mg of clonazepam from time to time, especially before I go to bed.

If I let that go on for long enough I may sink into a state of total incoherent panic complete with clammy hands and rivulets of perspiration.  Definitely Not Fun.  This last stage is mercifully rare.  The last time it happened, a couple of years ago, I was sending out frantic emails to some of my close friends – and I thank you for your prompt, helpful and sympathetic responses.  It turned out that half a milligram of clonazepam was all it took to bring me back to earth but it was a frightening time.

The most helpful observation is that the blues can descend upon me and depart again for no apparent reason and that the associated feelings tend to come and go in waves.  Just knowing this makes it easier to cope:  I know that it won’t last forever.  Furthermore, these are only feelings:  there is no direct threat to my well being.

Another thing I have noticed in the early stages of the blues is the recurrent thought, “Will someone please fix this for me?”  It is a variation on “Mummy!  Kiss it better!” and is not at all helpful.  Having caught myself playing this game I may be able to avoid the trap in future.

So, there is progress.  Now that I know how little clonazepam it takes to settle me I am much more relaxed about using it.  That coupled with all the effort I have put into mind training means that these episodes are shorter and less serious than they used to be and that I function better even when I don’t feel so good.

When the weather clears in my head the world seems filled with possibilities and interest.

News Roundup

Finally,  I would like to say

thank you

once again to all of you who have contributed news tips, offered encouragement or commented on my turgid prose.  It’s good to know someone is reading this stuff, or at least cares that it is getting written.



  1. You said:
    Another thing I have noticed in the early stages of the blues is the recurrent thought, “Will someone please fix this for me?” It is a variation on “Mummy! Kiss it better!” and is not at all helpful.

    As long as you are not asking for someone to rid you of this meddlesome? troublesome? priest, you’re fine.

    However, were I nearby at such a time, I would prescribe strong heartfelt hugs from as many different people as possible.

  2. Please add me to the list of people who care.

  3. I care too.

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