Daily Archives: June 12, 2014

Bjork – Hyperballad

This video and song is weird, but listen to the lyrics. This song is talking about a woman having to get up earlier to throw things off a cliff to make herself get through her day.


I feel like her everyday, but I don’t have a cliff…

Filed under: Videos

A Grain of Salt

This week has been pretty bad. I tried to poke my nose out from under the rock where I’ve been hiding from the world.

Bad idea. I was instantly overwhelmed by the crazy-stupid-crazy of various sorts that has been sucking up all the oxygen lately. Read James Thurber’s story “The Box.” I was safe in the box and then I tried to come out.

Mistake. The sheer volume of malignant idiocy in the world seemed to have increased exponentially in the intervening week. I tried to stay away from it, refused to dip my smallest nerveless toe into Facebook threads on topics I have strong opinions about. A friend called to see whether I was okay, and I had a mini-meltdown.

I really thought my brain was going to break again.

It wasn’t just the relentless assault from the outside, though that was more than plenty.

I also had internal stress. My work. My difficulty forcing myself to do it. My exhaustion once I had done it. My total lack of spoons, even plastic ones.

The friend who called suggested a day off, comfort food, a book, cats. All good suggestions, and I tried them all.

The problem was, when I shut off all that other noise, memories began haunting me. Ones from years ago that I’ve never been able to suppress completely. From a time in my life when my psychiatric problems were undiagnosed and untreated, my body began to be plagued with conditions I still live with, my self-esteem was nonexistent, and my soul was being sucked dry by a person who might have helped, but made all of those things worse.

Today is still rough, but I had one good memory return. My husband bought a watermelon and I sprinkled a piece with salt.

This was a thing that my family used to do in the summertime – sit at the backyard picnic table and eat watermelon lightly sprinkled with salt. (And of course compete to spit seeds the farthest.)

The combination of salt and sweet is a trend among foodies these days, with the new sensation, salted caramel. Believe me, we were not foodies. Served with the watermelon were home-made popsicles made from Kool-Aid in Tupperware molds.

But for me, watermelon with just a touch of salt was one of the hallmarks of summer that I have not experienced in years. It was right up there with going barefoot and climbing trees.

My husband tried the melon with salt, but it didn’t do the same for him. It’s not one of his childhood pleasures, and he hates to add salt to anything, even popcorn. But at least he tried it, and listened to my story.

Mostly when a memory leaps suddenly into my mind, it’s the haunting kind. But every once in a while, I get salted watermelon. And I am grateful.

21 Tips to Keep Your Shit Together When You’re Depressed.

I got this from The DIY Couturier . I hope it helps…

1)   Know that you’re not alone. Know that we are a silent legion, who, every day face the solipsism and judgement of Happy People Who Think We Just Aren’t Trying.  There are people who are depressed, people who have been depressed, and people who just haven’t been hit with it yet.

2)   Understand that the Happy People are usually acting out of some genuine (albeit misguided) concern for you, that it’s coming from a good place, even if the advice feels like you’re being blamed for your disease. Telling you these things makes them feel better, even if it makes you feel like shit. (If they insist on keeping it up, see #12.)

3)   Enlist the help of a professional.  See your doctor. You need to talk about the ugly shit, and there are people paid to listen and help you find your way to the light at the end of the tunnel.  

4)   Understand that antidepressants will only do so much. They’re useful, they’ll level you out and give you the time you need to figure out your own path to getting well. They can be helpful. There are lots to choose from. They may not be for you, and even if they are, they take some time to kick in. Conversely, they may not be for you. Work with your doctor.

5)   Pick up a paintbrush, a pencil, an activity you got joy from in the past and re-explore that.  Or, sign up for the thing you always wanted to try. There is a long history and link between depression and creativity. It’s a bright light of this condition, so utilize it to your best advantage.

6)   Eat nutritionally sound, regular small meals. If you’re having trouble eating, try to focus on what you’d like to eat. I went through a whole six week episode of tomatoes and cream cheese on a bagel twice a day. Not great, but it was something – helpful context, I’m a recovered anorexic. Conversely, if all you want to do is scarf down crap, try to off-ramp it by downing a V-8 and doing #9 for 15 minutes, and see how you feel.  Chucking your blood sugar all over hell’s half acre is going to make you feel worse.

7)   While you’re doing #3, get some bloodwork done. If you’re low on iron or vitamin D, or if your hormone levels are doing the Macarena… these can all contribute to zapping your energy or switching your mood to Bleak As Hell.

8)   If you’re in bed and the “insomnia hamsters”, as I like to call them, are on the wheel of your head, watch Nightly Business News on PBS. This has the effect of Nyquil.  Swap out your coffee for herbal tea. If you just cannot sleep, try the next tip….

9)   Learn how to meditate. Start by focusing on your breathing. Not sleep, not thoughts. In through the nose, out through the mouth. Meditation is focusing on being present in your body, not careening around in your brain. It may not be as good as sleep but it will give you some rest and recharge you.

10)                  Face a window as often as you can – at work, at home. Look out into the world. Watch. Observe. Try to find something you find pretty or interesting to focus on. And, handily remember that one in five of those people out there feel the way you do.

11)                  Cry. Better out than in. Sometimes it’s not convenient or career-enhancing to cry, so find a private place as best you can and let the tears go. Carry Kleenex and face wipes and extra concealer if you wear makeup. You can always claim allergies.

12)                   Any “friend” who resolutely believes that your depression is because you’re lazy, because you’re not trying hard enough, who blames you for not bootstrapping out of it- that friend needs to be cut off. Polite (#2) is one thing, but there is a limit. You don’t have to explain, you can just not respond. You feel badly enough, you don’t need their “assistance”.

13)                  Limit your time with people who drain you. You know who they are. Often you don’t have a choice- but you can put the meter on. And, subsequently, be aware of what you’re asking of those close to you.

14)                  Everyone has shit they’ve got to deal with. What you have been saddled with is your shit. Recognize, just as you’re not alone, you’re also not unique. The grass may look greener, you may be jealous or envious of others who don’t have to deal with depression, but you likely do not know everything that’s going on with them.  

15)                  Let go or be dragged. This is an old Buddhist saying. It’s a very useful way to frame aspects of depression. Betrayal, anger, fear… letting go is a process – often a painful and difficult process – but it’s ultimately going to show you the path out of this terrible place. Repeating the mantra can help when you’re feeling gripped by these feelings.

16)                  Wear clothes that make you feel confident. It takes as much time to put on nice clothes as it does to put on sweatpants. You will want to wear the sweatpants. Fight the urge. The whole “look good/feel better” campaign isn’t limited to cancer and chemotherapy. Or women.

17)                  Avoid fictional drama and tragedy like the plague. No Grey’s Anatomy, no to The Notebook, or anything that won a Pulitzer prize. You’ve got enough going on In Real Life. Comedy only.  Or trashy stuff. Old episodes of WonderWoman? I’ve got the box set. Mindless drivel, like the latest CGI blockbuster. Or clever, funny books. David Sedaris. Jenny Lawson. Fiction exists to elicit emotion, and the emotion you need to express most right now is laughter.

18)                  Simple exercise, if you can. It can be something as simple as taking the stairs up a flight, or walking around the block. It doesn’t have to be elaborate, it doesn’t have to involve climbing a mountain or running a marathon. Baby steps.

19)                  Depression will lie to you. Depression will try to tell you what others are thinking.  That you are unloved and unworthy, that others think little of you or don’t care – or even wish you harm. You are not a psychic. Keep repeating that. “I am not a psychic”.  Repeat. The only way to know what another person is thinking is to up and ask them.

20)                  If you are well and truly losing this battle, reach out to someone. I’ve been the random friendly-but-not-close person who has fielded the occasional outreach. I like to think I’m not judgemental and generally resourceful, and others have thought the same, so they called and asked. You know someone like me. And they will help you.

21)                  Forgive yourself.  I’m writing out all these tips, and I can’t always muster the strength to even stick my nose outside, or walk up the stairs, or eat my vegetables. Today, I got outside for ten minutes. I will try again tomorrow. And I will try again the day after that.

Filed under: Ranting

Back To Life

OK, today’s been a much better day. I got some serious sleep last night and woke up this morning feeling perfectly fine, as though yesterday had never happened. Gone is the restlessness that had me tapping my feet incessantly and made me pop up from my computer chair to go see what was going on outside, or take something to the kitchen, or go through the mail again, or deadhead the petunias.

Gone also is the feeling like everything is out of control. Yes, our situation is just as shitty as it was yesterday, but half the month’s rent is paid, all but one of the bills are paid, and we have food and medications in the house. The pets are fed; there’s gas in the car; we still have cable and Internet. First World problems, I know, but when you’re thisclose to disaster, everything that puts off the day of reckoning—even by a little bit—helps.

I can’t believe that a single night’s quality sleep makes THIS much of a difference. It didn’t hurt that I was worn out from a visit from my grandkids, who aren’t the most physically active kids I’ve ever known, but they are talkers—I can barely keep up with them even when I’m on a roll myself. Inevitably we each raise our voices to talk over the one who won’t shut up until we’re practically shouting to be heard…..yeah, it gets pretty noisy around here!

But it was good to feel tired, not wired, when bedtime arrived, and I was asleep within minutes after Will turned out the light. Didn’t wake up during the night, didn’t have bad dreams. I slept so well that when he got me up at 8 AM, I was ready to face the world. It was so wonderful to feel normal that it didn’t even occur to me to think “Here we go again” when I took my morning meds.

This good feeling does not, of course, negate the difficulties in which I find myself. I’ve been summoned to a meeting at the unemployment office to discuss the reasons why I’m still unemployed after six weeks, and I’m at a loss. Maybe they can give me some creative ideas about how to get around the fact that I’ve had three jobs in 13 months, or some tips for bullshitting interviewers as to why I’ve been let go twice in the same period of time. The truth certainly isn’t an option, but neither is sponging off the government for 26 weeks and starving to death anyway while I try to re-invent myself yet again.

But I’m back to life as I know it, and I’m calm…..yes, I am. Calm, cool, and collected. And if I can get another good night’s sleep, I just might find some of my confidence again. Go me!