Daily Archives: December 1, 2012

Blurred Vision

People who know me know that I am an all – weather cyclist, all year round.

I was out on my bike for a 4 mile round trip today in the pouring rain.  The kind of downpour when the rain bounces off the ground and I have to take off my glasses to see where I’m going.  Today I discovered that my rain coat that has served me so well for  more than 12 years is no longer water – proof.  Underneath the arms of my dark blue rain coat the arms of my jacket and then my shirt were soon soaked through. I arrived at the traffic circle nearest to where I live to find that there is a four-way control traffic light system in place due to gas pipes maintenance.  So I stood astride my bike and waited as the rain crashed down about me.

Cyclist in the Rain

We were all waiting.  Me, the cars in each different approach to the traffic circle.  But I was the only one who was soaked to the skin, and could not move.  And then as the lights changed we moved off in the same direction.  I rode slower than usual, and with a heavier heart, too.

My rain coat has accompanied me on longer, and more difficult, journeys than today’s rain – sodden ride.  I wore it in all weathers, extendable hood up from 2001 until….until I don’t know when. There was a time when I couldn’t leave the house without it.  Under the hood I was safe, in danger, at ease, petrified.  But I was dry.  Bone dry.  In a previous post entitled ‘Tears’ I wrote about how through the years of  my depression I never cried, and then one day, as I rode down the hill where I live the tears came.

This time the tears are ready.

I know they are part of the pain, and part of the comfort, that heals.  I know that they represent the unwanted visit of a friend at a time when friends are better than any tablet.  But they are a legion of accusers, too.  Tears are masters of remembering.  They will never let you forget, never really let you – me – recover. 

Do I sound like a Stoic?  You can read about the approach of some philosophers of ancient Greece and Rome in a previous post.  Tears are a bad thing.  Stiff upper lip and all that stuff. Not quite what the Ancients were thinking.  Their approach was a bit more like – you cannot control all of your environment and the impact it, and those around you have on you, but you can be the master of how you react to circumstances; even in the most extreme circumstances.

That’s a discussion I will return to another time.

For now, forgetfulness is on my mind.  It’s a common symptom of depression.  How many times have I walked into a room with intention and stood there without the faintest idea why, a minute earlier I had a reason for being there?   It’s a bad thing, right? There’s a whole load of Good Advice about how to cope with forgetfulness.  Write a list! Tell some one else what you want/need! Tie a knot in your handkerchief! (That’s one for er, older readers – like me.)

Sir Thomas Browne (1605 – 1682) didn’t think so.  He lived long before the invention of the bicycle but I like to count him as a fellow traveller.  He wrote medical texts, and, as was the style of the times he was described as suffering from ‘melancholia’.  He wrote the following: ‘To be ignorant of evils to come, and forgetfull of evils past, is a merciful provision in nature, whereby we digest the mixture of our few and evil dayes, and our delivered senses not relapsing into cutting rememberances, our sorrows are not kept raw by the edge of repitions.’

Did he have it right?  If we can’t remember how can we ever learn from experience?  That’s the equation isn’t it?  But when I remember it just forms a crust over the wound that my memory picks and picks at until it’s raw once more.  Sure I have learned lessons and hold fleetingingly onto insights, which I all too keen to share.  The American writier winner of the Nobel Prize for literature in 1949, William Faulkner (1897 – 1962), put his finger on it for me: ‘The past is never dead. It’s not even past.’ 

The Ideal

This is where I come from

I passed this way.

This should not be shameful

Or hard to say.

A self is a self.

It is not a screen.

A person should respect

What he has been.

This is my past

Which I shall not discard.

This is the ideal.

This is hard.

James Fenton (1949 – )


DBT Weeks 22 & 23

I just plain didn’t get to writing up separate posts for the last couple of weeks of DBT, so today …

Continue reading »

Socially exhausted

I never cease to be amazed by people who seem to spend almost no time by themselves, they are constantly surrounded by people, out and about, running here and there. And they CHOOSE THIS AND THRIVE UPON IT.

I, on the other hand, have precious little excess emotional energy to expend dealing with the niceties and stresses of socialization.

At the end of most days, just going to the shop, running errands and caring for my kid, I want to tap out. Stick a fork in me, I am done.

And tonight I threw in some extra punishment for myself because I thought Spook needed a playdate and she really wanted to see R’s granddaughter. They invited us over tonight, and we went, and I kept telling myself it was in her best interest even though homebody mommy wanted to just stay home in her comfy pajamas with her best friend Laptop N. Internet.

I adore R. I can handle his wife in small increments. Very small increments. She’s not un-nice to me. She’s just…well, you can tell she looks down upon me, and it sort of irks me. So a little making nice goes a looooong way for me. I’m sure she feels the same for me. Plus, I am a social nitwit,so anything beyond basic hi and bye interaction is a bit difficult for me. (Especially when you’re having anxiety attacks and can’t hear the conversation going on around you over the pounding of your own heart. Tis fun. NOT.)

Needless to say…it just drained me further having to paste on the functional friendly societally acceptable mask even longer. Now I am home, and I just want to close my eyes and cease to think about child support, insurance claims, getting a different car, buying Christmas, etc etc.

My mind is so clouded now from the medi go round I don’t know what’s fucking side effect or withdrawal or some blossoming new neuroses or personality disorder. The brain zaps are irritating and disorienting, I give you that. The only way to explain it to someone who has never had to go off a mediation like Effexor is like wearing a shock collar on your brainstem and receiving random jolts at various points of every hour on the hour. Your head swims, and you just…have no clue what’s going on. Are you mad at the guy who just cut you off in traffic? Or are you mad that he had time to pull out and because your brain is wrapped in electronically charged gauze zapping you at random intervals that your reaction time was a little slow?

I do not know, I do not know, I do not know.

One the primary reasons for going off my meds every single time. You start to wonder if feeling crappy sans meds could be any worse than feeling crappy with meds. You forget what it’s like to not be riddled with side effects, to the point the crazy unmedicated thoughts almost seem a welcome change from uncertainty. It’s an easy trap to fall into, wanting to “cleanse” your system of all the chemicals that have been prescribed and failed you. Hoping every time that maybe you’ve “outgrown” whatever was wrong with your brain, or that you’re finally “cured.”

True love and other fairytales.

I noticed one thing today and it wasn’t happening before the first dose of Cymbalta.

I was yawning incessantly and just so sleepy all the way until noon today. Could not shake that damn mental fog for anything. It pissed me off. This had better be a temporary side effect or otherwise Cymbalta and I are not going to be friends.  Geesh, I felt like I was stoned, without the high. Just…awake but wrapped in sleepy cobwebs down a tunnel.

Was weird and sucky.

I know I have to give it time but I am not patient. I don’t have that virtue. I don’t know I was born with any virtue, come to think of it.

Sigh….

Finally…I can breathe. My heart rate is calming. My mind is still reeling but I know tonight I can fall into bed and other than the Spooky alarm clock, I don’t have to jump out of bed in the morning and rush about pretending to enjoy life. I can vegetate. I love to just be broccoli.

Dealing with the outside world is just too much for me at times. Wearing that mask of “I’m okay, totally functional” is exhausting. I even told a lie today, although I don’t know if it was entirely a lie because people can’t handle the truth or if it’s denial or wishful thinking on my part. I told R that I was “doing better mentally than I ever have before.”

Um…

Not exactly true.

But what choice do I have? No one wants to hear the truth, that I am struggling.

But as the sunshine spewer always says, I am up and functioning so all must be great.

What a crock of bullshit.

The doctor, as always, asked me if I had suicidal thoughts. I told her no, because that is true.

Also true, and I flat out told her, is that there are days when my mental status is just so wonky, I feel absolutely apathetic about living, like if I died in my sleep that night…I just wouldn’t care.

But since I don’t die in my sleep I keep getting out of bed and doing my job, being a mom to my kid, and trying to make ends meet and presented the functional fake happy face everyone expects and basically demands.

Who wouldn’t find that a worthwhile way to live?

Blah.

I’m alive. I have a great kid.

If I could just swap out my brain for one that doesn’t misfire, I’d probably be golden.

And again…

True love and other fairytales.