I'm down almost 16 pounds (possibly more) from what I weighed this time last year. The last five pounds, which I lost July - now, I haven't minded losing - it's been pretty controlled and balanced out with lots of exercise. But the first ten made me really unhappy, as I had just lost the desire to eat, and it was just a symptom and reminder of being ill. Bah.
I took what I think will be my last dose of sertraline (US name Zoloft) yesterday. Now let's see how I deal with unfiltered reality, if I can manage to not break out still. If over the summer the sertraline has managed to get me from breaking out every day to only having tiny spots after stressors, that will have been a real improvement and I have to say that it will indicate a genuine uptick in my urticaria situation. Maybe the skin doc is right and by December I'll have just kicked it. I can tell it's still there, but I haven't had my face swell up since Italy so my fingers are crossed. Plus the trip to Australia next month has got to help - two weeks of NO stress, sunshine, and swimming every day seem guaranteed to reduce my stress level.
Meanwhile the financial situation is tight - thank goodness I socked away my entire bonus Il Postino paid me in 2012. I've been working through my savings month after month since June and even before November has started we aren't going to be able to make the bills for the month without pulling from savings again (or getting another housemate). Maybe we should have cancelled the trip to Italy; maybe we should stay home for Christmas - but we did the budget after we bought the tickets, instead of before (oops). J has cancelled his gym membership (mine was canceled long ago), we've both got new phone contracts, I've moved our electricity to a cheaper plan; we might want to look at not going to counseling any more. But I can't help but hope I'll get a job before too long and the things we've been doing will all have been good things for us and my health; for example, the dehumidifier we bought yesterday, which I'm hoping will mean this winter I don't spend four months with a cold/lung infection like I have two of the last three winters. 160 pound savings for November versus being sick? I'll take the hit to savings, thanks.
Job wise I got calls on two things last week, one a permanent position at a games company (I think the one Leia used to work at), the other a contract job. The rate on the contract job is great but I think they won't want me because of the upcoming trip. On the other hand, with luck there will be more jobs like that in January, and I should be in super shiny good shape then.
I think I'll see about monitoring my skin on a daily basis for the next few weeks to see how I'm doing for spotting. If I go for three weeks (after ending the sertraline) without any breakouts, I'm going to feel really hopeful that, a mere year after it started, I may finally be seeing the end. I feel like a lot of people I knew took this whole thing as a kind of a joke that I was overreacting to, but it really has made for the worst year I have ever had and the most tremendous changes to my life. I couldn't have anticipated how much it was going to overthrow things in December and January when I was flailing around trying to find a path forward. I know my decisions seemed wild at the time, but in retrospect I know I did the right things to make my life one I might be able to survive; retrospectively, I've had to do it with even less support than I thought I would have. But I may finally make it through. And this, truly, will be the real start of what I will consider my middle age - new priorities, new friends, and in some ways just trying to hunker down and figure out what to do for the next forty years to make it livable.
By the way, I know I thought I might move back to the states in May, but then J and I moved back in, and he doesn't want me to go, not now, anyway. So I'm here, still, and he's the one who's calling the shots since I'm not making any money. If I were well and felt sure that I could go somewhere and GET a job, maybe I'd look at just running off (like I felt like doing after week 1 of sertraline reduction), but it's really not great when I am looking at a situation where I would go going somewhere and be at someone else's mercy because I'm not well enough to hold down a job. It's not like I have a a mom or a dad or an uncle or even a sister i can live with for six months while I hope I get better. At least here I have access to medical care, so here I'm staying. We'll see what happens when I finally am well enough to work, hopefully no later than January, but my thought is that I'm probably going to try to hold down the fort for another year here and get my savings built back up again (and try to send money to my sister to help her with things - I'm feeling a lot of pressure to try to get back in the money game so I can help her). So I'm here for now. Hopefully in a few more months either some of the people who walked away from me will have changed their minds about being friends with me or I will well and truly be over the whole thing and will be feeling stable enough to get through another year of living here. Right now, I like it would be really easy to walk away from life here as the reasons I moved here - the community I moved to be a part of - doesn't exist for me any more, and it's just having a job and health care that's keeping us/me put. And when I think the weather here has been making me sick year after year, and about missing being around my sister and her kids, I think, really, why am I in the UK? So maybe in winter 2014 I'll be on our way somewhere sunnier. Perhaps Australia - bushfires and giant spiders seem more welcoming than the England I've experienced this year.