Post-Chronotherapy #1

It’s been two weeks since Bedlam, and what a rollercoaster ride it has been.

In the immediate aftermath of the initial sleep phase shift, I felt horrendous. Generally, life has been defined by having no energy, sluggishness, old man aches before my time, but for the rest of that weekend I was truly miserable with it.

As a result, I found it difficult to stick with the sleep pattern provided. One major part of the study has been to measure the success of triple chronotherapy in outpatients. It’s been offered to inpatients on the NHS but it hasn’t been implemented as a regimen to follow at home. One piece of feedback I know I’ll be giving when the time comes is that those first couple of days felt impossible when I was in the comfort of your own home and didn’t have someone checking in on me every so often. The first morning, I slept for 90 minutes or so when I got home — something we’d been specifically told not to do — and I was mortified. I hadn’t meant to. I’d simply sat on the sofa and passed out.

I had wanted to take it very seriously and the fear that I’d fucked it up before it truly began did not help things initially. The process was exacerbating my anxiety. But then, after the initial hump, it has worked like a charm. I started going to sleep happily at all these odds times and I started to really enjoy the very early mornings. Waking up at 1am, 3am and 5am respectively over successive days felt like I was gaining back the hours to myself that I’d grown accustomed to — unhealthily — on a night. And immediately I seemed to be converted from a night owl to an early worm. This is undoubtedly down to sitting in front of my new giant wake lamp. It is an incredible thing. It’s better than any amount of sugar on a morning — what I’d usually relied on — and it lasts too. I have not felt this good in two years and it has transformed every part of my life almost immediately.

At home, I’m happier and so are those around me. I feel like I’ve gotten my mojo back. I’m calmer, less stressed, more productive in my day-to-day life (blogging really doesn’t count), better around the house, more willing to do chores and look after myself and cook. I care more about the world around me rather than feeling like a burden to it. I feel more present and more attentive. All in all, I feel significantly less depressed.

But then, today, I’m starting to see how my situation remains fragile. I’ve caught a glimpse of myself from outside myself. I felt that moment that often comes on the road to (or from) wellness, when a good mood stops feeling like a miracle. I’ve been depressed for so long this elation started to take on its own irreality, and then once I saw it as such I started to notice the behaviour I was letting slip through which wasn’t healthy. I started to feel guilty again, embarrassed. For the past two weeks I’ve been, for about 3/4 of the time, erring on the side of mania. Not a clinical “I’m invincible!” mania, but certainly a mania within my usually subdued parameters — a persistent hyperactivity at best. (I’m really fucking annoying when I’m hyper.) As a result, I’ve been oversharing and all too readily engaging with the kind of stuff I’d otherwise ignore. That recent Twitter argument was a long time coming but then it led to others. I let it lead to others. The enforced serenity of “weaponised inattention” lost its potency and I wanted to swat everyone who’d subtweeted me in recent weeks. I wanted to violently shove away all the haters. In that way, I did feel invincible. Twitter invincible. After telling Crane to suck on his incessant subtweets, I wanted to take on everyone else who’d tried to talk shit about me. I felt strong but looked pathetic regardless. The U/Acc Primer was a productive use of this irritation. Recent Twitter activity has not been productive at all.

This was a mistake. I’m left wanting to apologise for being a belligerent bull in a china shop, wading into anything and everything, being constantly on my phone. A weirdly viral tweet set the tone, then hellthreads, then drunk live-streaming, then foot injury overshares, then the paranoia surrounding that weird open letter, then more hellthreads. Individually, they’re par for the course on Twitter dot com, but today I feel exhausted and I think enough is enough. I don’t really know what has been up with me this week. Too much drama all too quickly. Everyone who’s been an arsehole is still an arsehole but I regret engaging with so much of it and I regret opening myself up to ridicule and bad tempers in the first place.

Why am I oversharing about oversharing? I don’t know. Blogger’s curse maybe. Maybe because I’m aware that all this stuff is connected; is a part of what I’m been going through at the moment, but taking half an hour to write this down and be attentive to it feels like a way to take back control.

Triple chronotherapy has been a miracle for me at this time in my life, following a year of increasing desperation. I cannot recommend it enough and I’d like to write a post that offers up something of a how-to. What’s so important to me right now is that the very minimal support given throughout this trial has been simply for the sake of the trial itself, so they can control the data. What feels so good about it is that this has been totally self-initiated, in many ways. I’ve been given the gear but I’ve done it for myself. And the positive effects have been so immediate, I’m left wanting to recommend it to everyone. But still, the truth lurks in the background. It’s not a cure. It works but if you want it to keep working, that takes discipline and self-awareness. That needs to extend to Twitter usage also, no matter how giddy and friendly (or giddy and combative) I’m feeling.


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