A Week I Will Hopefully Forget

John McManamy Health Guide
  • Thanks to all of you for your support. To briefly recap:

    In my previous sharepost, I described my perfect storm of events that placed me at risk of slipping into a bad depression, and how I was applying mindfulness and various cognitive behavioral therapy techniques and other tools to manage my way through the situation. The two major things I had to deal with was a depressive trough that is part of my cycling and rather intense sciatic pain shooting up and down my leg.

    Taking it from there:

    Last Saturday, I literally forced myself to get out of bed and drive 40 miles to my weekly rendezvous with water volleyball. I arrived miserable and out of sorts, but by the end of the day I was laughing and joking, feeling only slight pain.

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    I woke up Sunday in total agony, unable to walk. I spent the entire day flat on my back, looking up at the ceiling, breathing through the pain. This went on through Monday and Tuesday, with occasional warm baths as my only break in routine. As if in self-defense, my brain went into a kind of hibernation mode, numb and listless and unable to think.

    Oddly enough, I was not depressed. Miserable, but not depressed. Hmm. Interesting.

    Of course, if I stayed miserable long enough, I would wind up depressed. I could measure my sleep in minutes - I was getting maybe a total of an hour or two a night, tops. Did the sleep deprivation have something to do with the fact that I wasn’t depressed? Sleep deprivation can temporarily lift one out of depression, but it is also the quickest way to bring on mania.

    At least I wasn’t depressed. But, trust me, I would have traded away my sciatic pain for a nice severe major depression any day of the week, Of course, next time I’m badly depressed, my sciatic pain will seem like a piece of cake. Life is like that. We relate to the state we are currently in. Previous states - we thankfully tend to forget. Nature is kind to us that way.

    On Wednesday, a friend drove me to a chiropractor. The walk to the car and being forced to sit the whole way there constituted the most exquisite torture ever devised. The chiropractor, Dawn, quickly ascertained no slipped disks or anything disk-related. Whew! Something about the piriformis muscle, which sits atop the sciatic nerve. She dug in her fingers and elbows and got to work.

    I arrived back home feeling some relief, and got my first approximation of a decent night’s sleep in days. The next evening, my racing thoughts proved to be the big sleep-buster. There was something about the physical ordeal I was going through that opened the portals of all my lifelong resentments, real and imagined.

    Dark, really dark, resentful angry thoughts, turbocharged by my racing bipolar brain. I even wanted to kill my mother.

    Friday, back to the chiropractor. Dawn prodded and poked and noticed definite improvement. My piriformis muscle is moving back its proper spot. After the appointment, I was actually able to sit in a booth at a diner. The burger did wonders for me, as did the stimulus of being out and about. I returned home and slept like a baby.


  • I will be fine, but I won’t be break dancing any time soon. No water volleyball today. More bed rest. But a healing bed rest. The pain is receding. My brain is emerging from its protective hibernation. My energy is returning.

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    Deliverance ...

Published On: July 18, 2009