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Budburst is about a month off, but the trees are getting ready to shower us with flowers!

Budburst: coming soon to your neighborhood in the Northeast.

Spring is definitely here, even with wildly variable weather. The birds are migrating, the days are longer, the sun comes out a little more often.

I do better in the spring. Even better in the summer. Not as good in the fall. Really not so good in the winter.

Predictably, I’m doing better with February and March behind me. My mood isn’t fabulous, but it’s stable. I’m catching up on my work, managing myself a little more effectively, and while I’m still damn irritable, at least I’m not so gloomy.

I don’t know how much of the improvement to attribute to “seasonal effects” and how much is the most recent set of drug changes. In any case, it’s enough of a change that my supervisor commented on it last week.

I do know that almost immediately upon switching oral contraceptives from Desogen to Yaz, I started feeling better. It’s sort of hard to describe that change, except that I suddenly felt like myself. A return to baseline, if you will. However, I also reduced Lamictal to 150mg at the same time, so as usual, it’s hard to match cause and effect.

Back at baseline, I can now see how miserable and desperate I’ve been in recent history and with that retrospective clarity, it’s a bit disturbing to see how disturbed I get. Blogging throughout the good and bad leaves a trail of evidence that makes it harder for me to deny or delude myself into the “it’s not so bad” trap that I always fall into.

Most of what’s working well right now focuses on mindfulness and lifestyle:

  • Yoga classes have been marvelously effective at reducing anxiety.
  • Practicing mindful living has me in the here and now a lot more often.
  • Trying to create and maintain daily routines smooths transitions.
  • Spending less time working (or trying to) lowers overall stress.
  • Unplugging from computers after dinner helps me wind down for sleep.
  • I cope better when I get exercise, so I take a walk outside most days.
  • Spending serious quality time with my husband always makes me feel good.

Basically, maintaining my sanity is a question of time. I have to take time for myself, for my own wellness – it’s a direct investment in longevity, health, relationships, and happiness. It’s been hard for me to admit it, but this requirement is at serious loggerheads with the career I felt I was supposed to pursue.

So I’m starting to consider looking for work outside of academia. Spending some time thinking hard about that issue has helped bring clarity (for another post) and has taken a little of the fear and panic out of the upcoming job search, despite new uncertainties. I’m poking around a little more deliberately to learn about other job options, but only time will tell.