Daily Archives: February 1, 2017
Have you ever experienced a moment so intense or unexpected that it feels as if you can feel the vibrations of fear and anxiety? I don’t mean physically, per se, although that might also be true. What I am referring to is like how it feels when you look at this image: Two things are […]
Tomorrow I take off for a three-day art workshop in Taos. I met the artist, Orly Avineri, at ArtFest last year and fell in love with her spiritual ways. We’re going to do strange and wonderful things to old passports.
I’m ready for a change of pace, change of scenery, change of mind. I can’t wait to get in my rental car in Albuquerque and hit new roads in a beautiful part of the country. I can’t wait to see what an AirBNB private suite will provide Taos-style. I can’t wait to be with artful folk. Inspiration wafts in the air like bread rising in the oven.
My friend, Sue, will reprise her role as Cat Whisperer. Now that Henry is in his dotage, I need her gentle cat ways to keep from worrying about his finicky bowels and time away from him when there’s not that much time left. Emmett, as always, will be fine under the bed linens where he feels safest.
Once I’m done sorting the first draft I can see what it is. Is there a heart? Is there a through-line? I’m absolutely great with not knowing. It will come. It always does.
So, in a calm and clear state of mind, I’m taking precautions as I haven’t flown since my assignation with Richard Armitage in London three years ago. I’m chewing a couple of Airborne with my morning Shakeology immunity-booster smoothies. Religiously.
But the cootie-infested air on a plane laughs at such feeble measures. I am healthy and well will be my whistling-past-the-graveyard mantra as I squirt hand sanitizer in a pentagram around my seat.
Whatever. It will be worth any bug or virus.
Adventures always are.
Peter Thiel vs. the FDA
See, the thing is, before a candidate drug is tested on humans, it’s tested for a very long time on animals, usually mice. This tells us what the drug is likely to do in a mammalian system.
It doesn’t tell us what’s going to happen in another species, namely humans. We’re different from rodents (sometimes).
We can extrapolate that if a compound kills a mouse dead, it would probably kill us too. But other things, like cognitive effects or things that might take years to appear, may not show up in rodents.
There are enormous risks to fast-tracking drugs. And there is an alternative: compassionate use. This is an exception that the FDA can use to release a drug from clinical trials early, if it performs brilliantly and is lifesaving.
As this article points out, the driving factor for forming the FDA in the first place was thalidomide, a very effective anti-morning sickness of pregnancy drug. The only problem was that many of the women who took it gave birth to severely deformed babies.
Clearly, we must protect people from untested drugs. Yes, we need solutions to pressing problems. But we’re not going to get solutions by jumping the tracks. Like it or not, science is an exacting….science.
I’m a little scattered and screw-loosey again. Up and down, up and down, sometimes in the same day. It’s not as bad as it was a few weeks ago, and I’m able to hide it for the most part, but I’ve got to watch it lest it turn on me and become a full-blown mixed episode. Those are hell on Earth and if I never have another one, it’ll still be too soon.
I’ve been thinking about Will a lot lately, and doing quite a bit of crying even when the memories are sweet or funny. The feeling of profound loss is pervasive and haunts me in my dreams as well as during my waking hours. All the dreams in which he makes an appearance are good ones—he always looks healthy and happy—but then I wake up and see the empty recliner next to mine, and it all comes rushing back. Especially that last night, when he suffered so much before we got him to the hospice house. In my mind’s eye I still see him as he lay comatose; hear the priest giving him the last rites; watch him slip away right before my eyes.
Thank God I have a wonderful grief counselor from hospice. They give you 13 months of aftercare, and I decided early on to take advantage of their services. My counselor is named “Ginny”, and she’s better than a therapist (she makes home visits too). She knows how to elicit gut-level feelings without manipulating, and we have grown quite fond of each other during the past few months. On this most recent visit, I was encouraged to share memories of my marriage—how we met, what the early years were like, and so on. I felt a lot better after that. She calls me every other week or so, and we make arrangements for the next session. She also reads this blog, so if you’re out there, Ginny, thank you for everything!
On a happier note, I’m getting excited about the next vacation even though it’s still 10 1/2 months away. Especially the Disney World part. My son-in-law is a HUGE Mickey Mouse fan, and his enthusiasm and love for all things Disney is infectious. We’re going to be there on Christmas Day, and it’s supposed to be full of lights, fireworks, and amazing decorations…to say nothing of what else the park has to offer.
This boggles my mind. I’ve been to Disneyland, but never Disney World, which Clark says is so full of wonders that it totally eclipses the California version. (He’s been to both parks, so he knows.) I hope I’ll be up to the challenge, because we’re going to be there for seven days after the cruise and I imagine I’ll be exhausted at least some of the time. The cruise itself is eight days and goes to the southern part of the Caribbean, where islands such as Curacao, Grand Turk, La Romana and Aruba await. I’ve never even heard of three of those islands, but I’m sure I’ll have a good time exploring them…or at least shopping and dipping my toes in the sea. In December.
I just went back over this post to polish it and make it presentable for publication (how do you like that bit of alliteration?), and gosh, I really AM all over the map. Literally. Oh well, this too shall pass, and if it doesn’t I’ve got an appointment with Dr. Goodenough next week. It’s all good.
for me to get into this screen to type. I kept trying and it kept hanging up on the New Post option and letting me just sit there. SO I finally gave up and that’s why this post is so late.
Busy day more or less. I did my schoolwork responses to what my classmates had submitted for evaluation this week. I had a VERY hard time with them. But I prayed and got it done as well as I felt like I could. Hopefully I won’t give anyone as hard a time responding to mine next week. We will see how it goes.
Cleaned house and did laundry. Didn’t do much otherwise until tonight when I did supper, a fajita dish. I’m about ready to go ahead and go to bed. I’m sleepy.
My mom is having cataract surgery next week Monday. And they’re sending her here to do it instead of Tupelo, so I’m going to try to be there. It will take some doing, but I’m going to work at it. It’s at 8 in the morning, so it shouldn’t take all day for them to do it.
I realized today that when I said I wanted to start living instead of just coping that I don’t really know what that means anymore. I want to go back to work but I’m scared to try. I know I don’t want to teach composition at the community college I used to work for, but I can’t see what else would really be easy for me to slip into that I could continue doing until I finish. I still feel like I’m being led to wait, but I don’t like it.
Pray for me as I continue to wrestle with this issue.
I don’t know, in actuality, what it’s like to be set on fire.
The closest thing I have – which I am convinced must be similar to burning alive – is my most recent bout of depression, in which I was in such agonizing and relentless pain that I became the emotional equivalent of a rotisserie chicken.
I felt certain that this would be the episode that pushed me to end my life. And then before I knew it, I was in the emergency room (again).
I had spent the weeks leading up to my hospitalization confined to my bed, promising my friends that tomorrow would be the day I found the strength to stand up – responding to Facebook invitations with a “maybe” and the determination that, yes, I would be at that brunch, I would bring orange juice, I would get better.
But I couldn’t.
Movie nights and picnics and parties flew by without me, the photos popping up on my news feed as a reminder that being mentally ill sometimes meant being trapped, no matter how desperately I wanted to see people, to make connections. Each passing day became a struggle to remember what it felt like to have fun, much less to be seen.
I sent the same message in various permutations: “I’m sorry I can’t make it – I’m just too depressed.” “I’m sorry to bail at the last second, I just don’t have it in me.” “I’m sorry I’m such a flake, my anxiety is just bananas right now.”
I always hoped they could read between the lines, knowing that what I was really saying was, “Please don’t give up on me.”
Every invitation I rejected came with a silent, desperate plea of, “Please don’t let this be the last time you invite me.”
Because the truth is, even though I’d missed ten brunches and six birthday parties and countless invitations for drinks, I didn’t want them to stop inviting me. Their invitation meant that they knew I was still alive, that they still cared about me, that they wanted me to be there, that they were thinking of me.
And what depressed person – or any person, really – doesn’t want to be thought of? Especially in their darkest, most frightening place.
“Maybe” to some is an annoyance or a cop-out when you don’t want to say “no,” but for me, when I RSVP’d with “maybe,” it was my way of saying, “I still have hope that things could get better.”
On the other side of all this, I needed to know there was a life filled with friends and laughter and waffles, and that everyone was just waiting for me, for whenever I was finally ready.
When I left the hospital, those invites were the only thing that reminded me that I could have a “normal” life again.
Those invites said to me that my mental illness didn’t make me less valuable as a friend, less wanted as a companion, and less worthy of support, love, and delicious breakfast foods. I was wanted – not in spite of my illnesses, but exactly as I was. No matter what my struggles looked like, I was still wanted.
I wasn’t damaged goods. I was still… me.
This past Sunday, I got out of bed, took a shower, got on the bus, and finally showed up for brunch. It took countless doctors, a complete overhaul of medication and hormones, and of course, the sweet encouragement of good friends (new and old) to get me there.
But I made it.
It was my first taste of the outside world in a long, long time – and I didn’t realize how much I needed it. The donuts, the video games, the orange juice, and the fluttery feeling in my heart when someone would say that they were glad that I was there, and I could feel how much they meant it.
Because while it’s true that psychiatric interventions have, more or less, put out the fire and tamed my depression, it was being surrounded by good friends that made me finally believe that I could heal.
And with every new invitation, I’m reminded that there are things (and people) worth showing up for.
As it turns out, there’s been no better combination for me than Zoloft and brunch.