Dreams

Last night I had a dream about my old job. I dreamt that we had taken on a project to inject pizzas with water. That was the project – to fill syringes with water and inject the water into pizzas. I went along with it to start with but after a while I started to question what exactly we were trying to do. I don’t think I got an answer.

I woke up feeling confused and looked at my watch, which said “05 04”. I looked at that for ages (well, probably less than a minute) trying to figure out what it meant. What is 05 04? It can’t be the time because it doesn’t start with “07” (yes, I remember thinking that). After a while I realised that 05 04 was a real time after all.

Then I went back to sleep.

Disney

I have recently got a Disney+ subscription and I’ve been watching…

The Simpsons! I started at the beginning and I’m enjoying it. I think this could keep me entertained for a while…

The Mandalorian. I wasn’t sure what to expect with this, but I’m enjoying it. It’s kind of like The Witcher (minus the nudity) meets Clint Eastwood westerns. In the Star Wars universe. I’m sure there’s a conscious spaghetti Western influence. It’s surprisingly minimal in terms of plot and characters, but it works. One of the things I really did like is that when they introduced a female action hero type character, she was believable. Turns out the actress is a 38 year old MMA fighter, which might be why.

And I watched Solo, the Star Wars film yesterday…

I don’t think anyone really wanted a Han Solo film (myself included, hence why it’s taken me this long to see it), but it’s pretty good! The characters are very good, ironically with the exception of the two main characters. I don’t really know how you can replace Harrison Ford’s charisma as Han, and this film doesn’t. I mean, he’s not bad, but he’s just not Harrison Ford. But then that’s kind of the problem with the idea in the first place. Han from the first film works so well because he’s old enough to be cynical and arrogant. That’s his charm. Take away the life experience and I’m not sure there’s much left for an actor to work with. A cynical and arrogant 20 year old is just annoying, but what’s Han Solo without the cynisim? He’s just someone waiting to mature into an interesting character.

His girlfriend is also questionable, but the writing around her character isn’t very strong. It’s “tell” rather than “show” and she’s not really believable as a result.

But all the supporting characters are great. Donald Glover as Lando is especially good, as is Woody Harrelson, and so is Phoebe Waller Bridge (fleabag).

Overall it’s far better than the newest trilogy, but not quite as good as Rogue One.

Feelings

I have felt a bit better today but my watch thinks I’m more stressed today than I have been for months.

I think I got triggered. Shortly before my mental health slid I was reading about the fact that an actor from The Expanse (Cas Anvar, or Alex Kamal, the pilot) has been accused of some sketchy behaviour on Twitter. By quite a lot of people. I don’t quite know what it was about this, but I read quite a few statements by people saying they felt traumatised by it. Cas Anvar’s behaviour is not something I really want to discuss here, but I think reading about others’ experience through trauma and their ways of dealing with it and the ways it affected them reminded me of my own trauma, which I’d been successfully not thinking about at all lately.

Hmm. I guess I will be ok in a few days.

Holism

For the last few weeks my running effort has been consistently quite high, which sounds good, but I’m not so sure. I did a couple of long runs last weekend and then I remember feeling ’empty’ Sunday afternoon. Not tired, more drained.

This last week was better, but I seem to be having a bit of an anxiety relapse at the moment. Maybe it’s also because I’m still gradually coming off the tablets, but I feel very bleh today. I woke up at 4 AM and felt quite stressed, which is something I used to experience all the time, but I haven’t had it lately. I feel tired now because of that. I don’t know if I feel worse now because I’m tired. I want to wake up tomorrow feeling well rested and content. I think whether I am awake at 4AM is a good barometer for my mental health.

I don’t really feel like I’m running any more than I have been doing, but I have various apps tracking my running intensity using various methods and they’re all saying I’m training the hardest I have been since I got a heart rate monitor just over a year ago. I don’t feel like I am, but the numbers say I am. Maybe I am over training a little. I don’t know.

The other thing is that I have something called a neuroma in my foot. Or at least, something with the symptoms of a neuroma (I had an ultrasound a few years ago which didn’t show anything, but the podiatrist I was subsequently referred to thought the ultrasound was probably not significant. And after trying to look at ultrasound images of neuromas myself, I have to agree with him).

So, a neuroma is basically an enlarged nerve. They can cause a lot of pain (it’s a nerve), but for me it’s been nothing but the odd twinge or tingle for years, possibly thanks to a pair of insoles the podiatrist gave me, which have a metatarsal dome on them to lift the metatarsal bones when I run. Neuromas are not uncommon and they can be removed surgically, and if they’re limiting your life then that makes sense, but for me, I’d like to avoid it getting to that point. (Paula Radcliffe had one removed). I mean, I think inevitably one day I will upset it a bit too much and I’ll have to have it removed, but I’m hoping that’s 15+ years away.

Unfortunately lately it’s been twinging and tingling quite a lot more than it used to. I think I set it off by wearing a new pair of shoes, either because I didn’t have the insole in, or because they were laced slightly too tight (I suspect this option), or perhaps even because it’s been so hot and my feet have swelled a bit and put more pressure on the nerve.

The problem with the insole is I have only one pair and it’s really worn. I have tried so hard to find a replacement and it’s just painful. Most of them are unfit for purpose because they’re too soft, they’re not durable, the dome is so big that it completely misses the point, blah blah blah, maybe there’s the perfect metatarsal dome on Amazon but it’s hidden in a sea of rubbish. The insoles I have are from a German company called but trying to get hold of another set in this country is near impossible (unless you’re the NHS, presumably).

Anyway, I did some research and there is an alternative method people use, which is to cut out the dome shape from a sheet of self adhesive podiatric felt and then stick that into your shoe. I ordered a sheet of felt and I now have a lump of it stuck to my shoe. I’m not completely convinced, because it’s flat and not a dome, but maybe that doesn’t matter. We’ll see.

Work

With work, we are still working from home. Things are starting to re-open and I am guessing they’ll want us back in the office in the near future, which I have to say doesn’t really excite me. My sister’s employer have announced they want her back in her office next week. This seems slightly dubious because the official government advice is still to work from home if you can. More relevant to me, the trains are still running a reduced service so I don’t know how practical it is for me to get to work anyway.

So I’m a little bit apprehensive about that, though I haven’t yet heard anything.

I’m also a little bit apprehensive about the fact I am overdue a salary review. I was contractually owed a salary review after six months of employment, which was the last week of May. So really the review should take effect from June’s salary. It seems unlikely that’s going to happen now as the payroll has probably already been processed. I don’t particularly want to have to bring it up, because it’s hassle for me, and I just shouldn’t have to. I will make sure it happens at some point though and I’ll make sure it’s backdated to June, too (easily done since it’s in my contract). So in that respect there is no real urgency, and, of course, with the uncertainty of the pandemic, it might be better to wait a bit anyway until some of that uncertainty has passed before putting them into a position where they have to decide whether to be generous or not.

But… the main thing I learnt from my last employer is that I should seek quickly to terminate employment relationships where I can’t trust my employer to behave as they should. Things are strange right now with the pandemic, but when things start returning to normal, this is the kind of thing I’ll be thinking about.

Solstice

So, the thing is that I like sleeping. Lots of people don’t get enough sleep. I’ve been there and done that too. It doesn’t kill you, and actually, you start getting used to it so you don’t really ‘feel’ tired. But it dulled my cognitive abilities without me really noticing, and, overall, it’s just not great.

So I try to get lots of sleep. Especially with all the running I do. Recovery is good, you know?

But it does feel a bit weird at this time of year. Lying in bed at 9:30, trying to feel sleepy, but it’s still daylight outside. Hmm. For most of the year it feels very natural to be in bed at this time. At the moment though… it doesn’t. Maybe I should move to Scotland.

Dreaming

I have had a recurring theme in dreams lately of being back at university and not knowing my timetable. The setting changes a lot, but the detail that I am not in full knowledge of my timetable is persistent. I kind of resign myself to not attending all the lectures and think it’s probably OK because I’ve done well enough in other areas that it won’t affect my grade, but I feel quite anxious about it. I’ve dreamt variations on this theme four times that I remember in the past month or so.

I don’t know why this keeps coming up. It’s been over ten years since I was at university.

Strangely, last night all the people in the dream were from secondary school. The main one is a girl I probably never spoke to and probably haven’t thought of once since I left school. Yet, there she was in my dream, getting annoyed with me for not knowing my timetable(!).

Life!

I haven’t posted for a while because I haven’t been spending much time lying in bed with my laptop. I don’t know if that’s a good thing or not? We’ve been spending evenings doing things instead, like watching Downton Abbey from the start, playing a ridiculous computer game called Overcooked, and trying to protect my poor plants from Very Hungry Caterpillars 😟. Also, with working from home, I suppose I just don’t have quite as much interest in spending my free time at home on my own with a computer.

I’m still reducing my Citalopram but very, very slowly. I went down to 15mg (from 20) by alternating 20 and 15mg doses then kept it on 15 for a while. That seemed OK, so now I’m going down to 10 by alternating 15 and 10mg. It seems to be working because I don’t notice any withdrawal issues apart from occasionally being a bit irritable. I’m not entirely sure how I expect to feel when I’m off them; will I continue feeling how I’ve felt for the past few months, or will anxiety start creeping back? Although I started on them because I was having trouble with life circumstances which have now passed, the truth is that I’ve always had more anxiety than was healthy or desirable, and it’s only been in the later part of my life I’ve really understood that it was a medical issue that was treatable.

Maybe the medication and all the counselling I went through will have reshaped my brain and my thought patterns enough that that’s no longer who I am. I won’t know until I’m off the medication, but it’s possible that in a few months I’ll want to go back on it. We’ll see.

When I was prescribed the last set, the Doctor put it on repeat and I think she said that I’d need to go back for an appointment after two issues. Confusingly, the app has still shown it as being available for me to request, so I have tried it… but it doesn’t tell me when it’s ready. It just says “you can collect it from your pharmacy in 48 hours, your GP will contact you if there’s a problem”. And tomorrow morning it’ll be 48 hours. I’ll probably give it a few more days. I don’t need them for a few weeks anyway, I just wanted to figure out if I need to arrange an appointment or not.

In other medical news, I have something called a fixed retainer on the back of my teeth (a brace, basically), which I’ve had for many years, since I had my actual braces removed. Every few years the glue comes off on one of the teeth and I have to go to the orthodontist, who charges me £40 for the thirty seconds it takes him to glue it back on. He always remembers me though.

JUST MY LUCK that while dental care is severely disrupted due to COVID that my retainer happens to break. It’s not that the glue has come off, it’s that the wire is in two pieces. This has never happened before! I keep catching my tongue on the pointy ends. Then some food gets jammed underneath the end of it, which is very uncomfortable. I phoned them up last week and they said they’d put me on the emergency waiting list… but that’s probably quite a long list when they’ve got patients who are months overdue for brace adjustments. The receptionist advised me to try filing it down with a nail file if it causes me problems. How I’m supposed to get a nail file on something behind my front top teeth I am not quite sure… It’s not really causing problems though, it’s just a bit annoying.

15

The update on my citalopram situation is that I’m now down to 15mg per day. I was alternating 15 and 20 for a week or so, and as of the past five days I’ve been on 15.

I feel… Mostly the same but definitely more irritable. I don’t feel unhappy at all, just sometimes more easily agitated. I should probably keep it on 15 for a few weeks and see if it settles.

Withdrawal?

So I have been alternating 20mg and 10mg doses of Citalopram for the past four days, which means I’m now averaging a 15mg dose. I was thinking I’d do that for a week and then go down to 10mg daily. I think I’m being too optimistic though. I think I should slow it down, which I can only really do easily by taking a half dose every 3 days (so two days of 20mg and one day of 10mg). But I’m not really sure because I know that citalopram has a short half life (36 hours from memory?) so I’m not sure if spreading variations over three days really has much effect.

The reason I think I might be dropping it too quickly is that I got really frustrated with something earlier and had a (private) tantrum about it. Now – a few hours later – I’m feeling quite emotional and teary about nothing in particular. This is all quite unusual for me lately, so I think it’s a withdrawal effect. Hmm. I think I’ll try the half dose every 3 days approach.