Changes: Ever in search of balance – A reflection

I don’t know when I ceased to exist, or how I fell off the face of the earth. 

I wrote this line in my journal on July 15 of this year. I’d been plagued by a persistent emotional heaviness for months, but over the summer that weight seemed to intensify. I began to look to the future with anxiety, to wonder how to find the will to keep existing. I had not written a single creative piece in the better part of the year. I struggled to read. I had given up editing because the necessary focus was gone. The only thing I could manage consistently was to put on my shoes, head out the door, and walk and run.

I have not missed a day.

Calgary, Alberta: Bow River Pathway

Of course, these days everything  is tinted by the pandemic. Normal is a nebulous concept. Where I live, our fourth wave is rising fast, we are once again leading the country in all metrics except vaccinations. Hospitals are beyond capacity and those who work the frontlines are exhausted and demoralized. All for lack of political will. The situation fuels stress, anger and concern. But I’m not alone in my reaction—in fact to feel less would be worrying.

My own condition has held firm no matter.

Calgary, Alberta: Bow River Pathway

A few weeks ago I made two decisions. One after extensive consideration, the other under relentless pressure. First I decided to go back onto the medication I went off a year ago last July following a diagnosis with bone loss. I’d taken that drug for twenty years and it seemed that a change might be good. But the transition onto the new (to me) treatment was extended, difficult, and, as I discovered, cost a vital aspect of my creative spirit.

Second, the day after beginning to add the target med, I agreed to take on a supervisor role at our unnecessary federal election—on the first day of confusing new COVID restrictions. When I expressed my concern about side effects and a sixteen hour day requiring some ability to focus, my worries were waved off. I made it through the day but it was blur. Somehow it seems that if you have a mental illness but can still tie your own shoes and drive a car, your symptoms are disregarded either at the beginning or during treatment. And it seems like this medication change is shaping up to be another. I was so excited when I finally decided to return to my old treatment. I was looking forward to catching up on reading and reviews. I had not factored in letters that would appear to dance across the page  or the associated nausea and instability.

I sure hope I can still read when I get to the other side. And run too.

Calgary, Alberta: Douglas Fir Trail

Meanwhile autumn has settled in around here. There’s a chill in the air and the trees are bursting with colour but a certain sadness lurks in the vibrant leaves. All those branches will soon be bare. Life is but one change after another, seasons tumbling down the years.

All photos by Joseph Schreiber

Author: roughghosts

Literary blog of Joseph Schreiber. Writer. Reader. Editor. Photographer.

14 thoughts on “Changes: Ever in search of balance – A reflection”

  1. I’m liking this because I see it as hopeful that you’ve been well enough to write.
    And I’m hoping that if you can stay the course that you will recover from the stress of the election and that you will make your way through the transition to where you were with medication last year.

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  2. I hope things will settle soon, Joe, and that the meds will do what they need to. The so called normal, which is not normal at all, is having such a detrimental effect – and we are nowhere near any kind of ending of the pandemic. Hang in there and know that you are in the thoughts of all your blogging friends. Sending you positive vibes. xx

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    1. Thank you, Karen. Normal has become a term devoid of meaning I fear. But at least I found out that the effects I was experiencing are not normal so doses have been cut back a little—a reason for hope.

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  3. Of all the provinces to be trying to find peace in, right now, you’re in the most challenging position. Whenever I hear the news, I think of you over there, keeping on keeping on. Transitions are always hard and without the aid of words and writing while you are adjusting to new circumstances,you’ve got an even harder job. ❤

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    1. Alberta is in very poor shape and the government seems to have accepted defeat, patients and healthcare workers be damned. It’s beyond belief. Fortunately, I feel more emotionally and creatively open every day which is not only personally encouraging, but it helps channel the political anger as well. What I miss most is the physical balance and power I was enjoying but that should come back (notwithstanding the arthritis I now have in the mix—sigh).

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      1. And today’s news is no better. There’s a point at which the double-down tendency seems impossible to comprehend. When you’re not feeling totally yourself, it’s even harder to redirect that energy into positive directions. I think of Timothy Findley’s “Against despair…” often. But sometimes I get stuck in that thinking stage and never get to doing anything against-y. Heheh

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