Seven and a half hours in the ER with my mom today . . . physically and emotionally exhausted.
Seven and a half hours in the ER with my mom today . . . physically and emotionally exhausted.
Tuesday afternoon. Cold and rainy, 39 degrees.
Well, I slept a bit better last night but still awoke with a migraine. I wonder if the Botox will ever kick in, or if my body will continue to do what it will regardless of treatment.
It’s a beastly day outside, the kind of day that causes the dogs to peer out the door and then turn around, choosing instead to wait and wait and wait. I have so many thoughts bouncing around in my head about so many different things that I thought I might just do a random thoughts post today. So here we go . . .
A few personal things:
On time marching inexorably on:
Things I still want to do, see, experience:
Enough of that. Today’s image theme is . . . cold, as in I am.
More later. Peace.
Music by Thriving Ivory, “Angels on the Moon”
A Good Sky
I show you a good sky.
It could hold a fleet of geese
above a kite, sipping in a breeze,
or foliate the wind
with leaves of cherry wood
It will blanket your sleep
with mirrors of stars
in the soft undressing of night.
It will love you, soley,
through the Venus dawn,
rubbing your eyes awake
a moment before the day’s
light hangs its spars.
I show you a good sky.
It will rain its reflection
on your one troubled eye,
the one that blinks
each time a hawk rants by.
I am no one’s romantic.
No. I am the sky’s shadow-wish
writing this only
to breathe its light.
I show you a falling sun,
passing like a lover,
to be near you, allowing
no star, no bulb on a corner lamp
to possess you as you are.
Look. Here I am, the sky’s moon
down. I will shave
a horizon out of peaks
like none your memory
has ever carved.
I show you a good sky.
Its broad blue ribbon will wrap
its mind around your eyes’ imagination
and tease you into smiles—
Now, be patient,
let your grieving rest awhile.
~ James Ragan
Peaches in November
On the peach’s wide sieve of branches
the buds crouch already in whitish caterpillar fur.
All winter they must hold tight, as the supple
limbs are strained wide by the snow’s weight,
as the ice coats them and turns them to glinting
small lights that splinter the sun to prickles.
Must hold tight against the wet warm tongue
of the thaw that lolls off the Gulf Stream
smelling of seaweed and the South, as if
not spring visited but summer in January.
Hold tight against the early March sun
with the wild tulips already opening
against the brown earth like painted mouths
when the ice will return as a thief
to take what has too widely trusted.
The news they carry can only be told once
to the bees each year. The bud is the idea
of sweetness, of savor, of round heft
waiting to build itself. As the winter
clamps down they hibernate in fur,
little polar bears on red twigs
dreaming of turning one sun into many.
Music by Rosie Golan, “Can’t Go Back”
Friday early evening, 80 degrees. Tropic Storm Andrea warning in effect.
I know. I know. The time between real posts seems to stretch on inexorably. The truth is, writing is hard at the moment. The truth is, I find myself in the midst of a major depressive episode, the likes of which I haven’t seen in many years.
If I knew, I might be able to find some kind of resolution, but there really is no why. Not really. I’m just kind of empty, kind of numb, kind of unable to string together words to form sentences, sentences to form paragraphs. Mostly, I can write about why I can’t write, and I’m not really sure what kind of post that will produce, but I thought that I’d at least try.
If you’ve never suffered from depression, you simply cannot relate. You might try to understand, but it will be hard. It’s hard enough for the person who is suffering from depression. And because it is to hard for her or for him, it is hard for anyone who might happen to be in the vicinity.
I can only say in advance, that I’m sorry.
I think that this started about six weeks ago, but to be honest, I’m not sure. I know that it started while Corey was still at sea. It didn’t abate once he returned home, and it (the depression) took a major hit when I held my small dog Alfie’s body in my arms as Brett dug a grave beneath his bedroom window.
In an attempt to alleviate my pain and sorrow, I convinced everyone that it was time to visit the human society from which we had adopted Tillie so that we could find a playmate for her, someone closer to her size. The reality is that it was too soon; I realize that now, but of course, it’s too late as we came home with two new dogs: a hound mix 8-week-old puppy I named Kopi, which is Indonesian for coffee (I had wanted to call her Gilly, but Tillie kept getting confused), and a 17-month-old named Jake, for Jack Kerouac (his name was Jack, but we all kept saying Jake, so that was obviously what he was supposed to be called).
You would think that the adoptions would have made some of the sadness go away, but instead, Jake reminds me of Shakes because he is an obvious mama’s boy who clings to me, and this made me think of Alfie, who was never loved enough because of Shakes, and it made me sad all over.
Add to this that the playmate we hoped Jake would be has not turned out as planned: Jake and Tillie do not get along at all; in fact, they seem to despise one another, but everyone gets along with Kopi.
And all of this has led to more guilt on my part for not waiting longer, guilt for bringing home two new pets without considering that Tillie might not like it even though we took her to the shelter with us, and she played with both of them without any problems while we were there. And of course guilt that life sucks for everyone when it sucks for mom.
Depression is so insidious and unpredictable. It creeps up like a slow-moving fog, or it hits like a mighty nor’easter, all at once and unrelenting. This time, it was a bit of both. There was the gradual descent, and then the sudden appearance of a precipice. I was unprepared.
As many of you know, I am on antidepressants and mood stabilizers, so some of you may be confused as to why I am depressed. The truth is that there is only so much that medicine can do. The brain is a funny thing. Somewhere within mine, a switch didn’t throw all of the way, or a connection was broken, and now, there is this, this nothingness, this painful numbness.
Depression comes from the brain, but it is felt in the heart.
I try very hard not to let mine show too much, but I know that I’m not very successful in doing so. And now we have two dogs and a plus one, for whom a future is uncertain. I know that we cannot return him to the shelter; that would be too cruel, for him to live with a family, get lots of attention, have a yard in which to run and play, and then to find himself inside a cage? I couldn’t do that to my worst enemy. And so we are searching for a family that can give him love. Unsuccessfully, so far. Ideally, behavior modification would be possible, and we could live happily with all three dogs.\
Ideally . . .
Outside, nature seems to be a perfect reflection of my state of mind: It is at once sunny and partly cloudy, and in the very next instant, grey with whipping winds. Who knows how intense this storm will be. We may have a fierce tropical storm or a short-lived thunderstorm, but I’m trying to pen this before everything hits and before Alexis arrives with the baby.
Even though my heart isn’t quite in it, we are taking Olivia for tonight and perhaps tomorrow night. It is going to be a task to continue to try to keep Jake and Tillie separated, try to watch over Kopi to make frequent trips outside for the potty training, and then, add to the mix the curious 11-month-old that Olivia has become, but I haven’t seen her in many days, and I miss her terribly.
Part of me thinks “to hell with it” as what’s a little more stress added to the mix, and part of me thinks this is another bad decision atop other bad decisions, and yet another part of me just doesn’t care enough to do anything about it.
The air outside is like liquid as the humidity is climbing to 100 percent, and my sinuses are constricting with the climb. A smarter person would crawl into bed for the duration, but a smarter person would not have brought home two new dogs so soon after the loss of long-time pets.
If I only had a brain . . .
It all goes back to my first section: Why?
I read an interesting piece about Stephen Fry, who I love in every single thing he does. Apparently, while working on a project in 2012, he had a major episode and attempted suicide by taking a bunch of pills with vodka. Fry, who suffers from bipolar disease, described it better than I could, although I must emphasize that I am in no way feeling suicidal:
“There is no ‘why’, it’s not the right question. There’s no reason. If there were a reason for it, you could reason someone out of it, and you could tell them why they shouldn’t take their own life.”
I mention this only because of Fry’s phrasing that there is no reason, and while he may have been talking about someone who is thinking about committing suicide, I apply the words to my own depressive episodes: There is no reason. Sometimes there is, but more often than not, there just isn’t. And so people on the outside sometimes think reductively, as in, “it’s all in her head,” and funnily enough, it is—in a way.
I’ll try to put together another post in the next few days, and maybe by then I’ll be able to express myself a bit more cogently, until then,
Image theme: Blues
Music by S. Carey, “In the Stream”
The Truth the Dead Know
For my mother, born March 1902, died March 1959
and my father, born February 1900, died June 1959
Gone, I say and walk from church,
refusing the stiff procession to the grave,
letting the dead ride alone in the hearse.
It is June. I am tired of being brave.
We drive to the Cape. I cultivate
myself where the sun gutters from the sky,
where the sea swings in like an iron gate
and we touch. In another country people die.
My darling, the wind falls in like stones
from the whitehearted water and when we touch
we enter touch entirely. No one’s alone.
Men kill for this, or for as much.
And what of the dead? They lie without shoes
in their stone boats. They are more like stone
than the sea would be if it stopped. They refuse
to be blessed, throat, eye and knucklebone.
~ Anne Sexton
Saturday evening. Drizzle and cold, 45 degrees.
Not feeling that much better, but feel the need to write. I’ve turned down the brightness on my monitor to 50 percent, and at first I thought that might be bad for my eyes, but then I realized what a ridiculous concern that was as my eyes are terrible anyway, and at least the glare from the screen wasn’t so painful.
Today I awoke with a headache again, but very, very dizzy as well. Yesterday I had Corey give me one of those wonderful new self-injections of Sumavel (sumatriptan). Let me pause here: that wonderful air forced delivery method? Jay-zus it hurts, much, much worse than a needle. Give me a needle any day. The first time we did my thigh. Yesterday we used my belly for the injection site, which didn’t hurt quite as much, probably because there is more fat on my belly than on my thigh. Anyway, the headache went away, but the nausea and dizziness . . . egads.
I don’t know if I can do this new regimen, but I’m willing to give everything a bit longer for my personal test period. I have an appointment in about a month for Botox injections for my migraines. I guess I’ll know by then if this new combination of meds is or isn’t working.
Last night I had very strange dreams. In one of them, I was at a department store buying Christmas presents. First I was in the music section, and I was looking for classical cds, only there were still albums on the shelf, you know, vinyl, and I was very confused. Then I wanted to go to the shoe department, but I ended up in the jewelry, and I found all of these great buys on watches. I was picking out watches with different face shapes and different colored bands, but when the associate wrung up my purchase, it came to over $6,000, and I knew that I didn’t have that much in the bank. So I asked what had cost so much, and she said that she charged me $34.95 for each watch, but I told her they were only $9.95 and $13.95, and there was no way I had bought enough to hit six thousand.
Very strange. And then it turned into a Walking Dead dream, and there was a cave, and some kind of sea creature like the Creature from the Black Lagoon and two turtles, and a character from the Harry Potter stories.
Is it any wonder that I awaken with headaches each morning? My brain does not rest during sleep; rather, it appears to go into some kind of overdrive, warp speed of thoughts and ideas, if you will. So greeting the day with pain seems to be the price I pay for a very active, but strange, dream state, and even though I would rather not wake up with pain, I also know that I really don’t want to have boring dreams.
So thanks for hanging in during this latest bout of maladies. I’m still trying to keep the content lively and relevant. You would be amazed what pops up when you enter such a generic search term as headaches in Google images.
I heard from Titirangi Storyteller that she cannot watch the Hulu videos that I post, which are usually my selections from “The Daily Show.” Does anyone know if Hulu has country restrictions? It never occurred to me that the ability to stream a video might be geographically limited, which just reflects my ignorance about these things. In my mind, everything, I mean absolutely everything is connected and interconnected now so that we can all call up the same information, have the same access to things, can link and unlink to our hearts’ collective desires, but I guess not so much.
That being said, I still don’t understand why, with the being that is the world wide web, some parts work everywhere and still others only work somewhere. Obviously, I do not have a technical mind and cannot begin to understand concepts such as coding, applications, and such, and why, when I give it any thought at all, I am so impressed by those individuals for whom such oblique ideas in my way of thinking are as easy as the two column in the times table in their way of thinking.
And perhaps the previous paragraph would best be left alone to suffer its convolution quietly.
I had so many ideas on what I should write about today, but none of them are here at the moment. Could be they are repressed behind my squinty eyes, my half-hearted attempts to block out the whiteness of the page on which I am composing. I will not use the word creating as I don’t believe that I am being very creative here at the moment, merely composing, moving from one word to the next in an attempt to get to the full stop.
All of which is to say that I fear that I do not have much to say, or perhaps I have something to say but do not currently have the wherewithal with which to say it, and all of this reminds me of this terrible phase I went through in the 8th grade in which I composed these tortured missives that began with the following: “If today were tomorrow yesterday, then tomorrow today will be yesterday, and . . .” and I would follow it with any manner of nonsense and then, very pleased with myself, I would force Bobby (one of my male friends) to read these bizarre creations, and because he was nice and he tolerated me, he would read them or at least pretend to read them, perhaps raise his eyebrows, and only occasionally tell me how weird I was.
And I suppose what I’m getting at here is saying thank you for not mentioning very often how very weird I can be.
And the sad thing is, really, that I would just like to sit in bed and eat some Ben and Jerry’s as my eyes aren’t working well enough to start a new book, and I’m craving chocolate, specifically in ice cream form, preferably something with caramel, chocolate, pecans, and maybe peanut butter, but I’m not going to give in to that craving, and before you think I’m being admirable, I will admit that I am not going to give in to that craving only because last night I gave in to my chocolate craving and ate a big box of Raisinets that Corey had put in my Christmas stocking and which I had hid for just such an eventuality. I ate the entire box, and I didn’t give in to my desire to turn over the box and look at the calorie content because that might have prevented me from eating the entire box, and I had already decided that an entire box was called for, especially in light of the week that I have had, and by god I was going to eat it all.
And why, oh why, does my list of suggested related posts contain three about being pregnant and having headaches? Un-pregnant women have cravings, too, you know.
Perhaps I should go back to posting videos and reposts from tumblr, eh?
(Don’t know why, but all images are of rooftops in winter.)
More later. Peace.
Music by Muse, “Madness”
More and More
More and more frequently the edges
of me dissolve and I become
a wish to assimilate the world, including
you, if possible through the skin
like a cool plant’s tricks with oxygen
and live by a harmless green burning.
I would not consume
you or ever
finish, you would still be there
surrounding me, complete
as the air.
Unfortunately I don’t have leaves.
Instead I have eyes
and teeth and other non-green
things which rule out osmosis.
So be careful, I mean it,
I give you fair warning:
This kind of hunger draws
everything into its own
space; nor can we
talk it all over, have a calm
There is no reason for this, only
a starved dog’s logic about bones.
This is the fifth morning in a row in which I have woken up in screaming pain, I mean literally screaming. I am going through a migraine bout the likes of which I haven’t seen in several years. Who knows why, certainly not I.
I just wanted to post a quick update since I haven’t been on in several days. Corey had his interview, and it went very well. The three people who spoke with him were very impressed with his background and training. That’s the good news. The downside is that the position does not come with any benefits, and is not guaranteed for 40 hours a week. Nevertheless, Corey is very excited about it as he would be able to make many contacts if he gets the position.
It was just wonderful to see him so happy, and having a good interview really went a long way in making him feel better about himself. Even though the position itself isn’t ideal, we both think that it would be great for him to take it if offered. The people who interviewed him even said that if something more in his field came along, he shouldn’t feel bad about taking it. So who knows.
I’m just happy that it went well and that there is a good possibility that Corey will be working again. I know from experience that having a job in which he is interacting with other people will be great for his state of mind, and also, it always seems easier to find another job if you are already working.
On the down side, we had quite a family scare yesterday: Alexis had a seizure at work and was taken by ambulance to a local emergency room. They ran a series of tests on her, and fortunately, there does not appear to be any physical reason why she would have a seizure. The doctor thinks that one of the medicines that she is on may have caused the seizure: Wellbutrin has a 4 in 1,000 rate of seizures in patients who have been prescribed the medication. I was completely unaware of this side effect.
Alexis is supposed to have a follow-up with a neurologist just to make sure. She spent today at home in bed sleeping. Everyone was at the ER last night, and I have to admit that the first thing that popped into my head was brain tumor. I’m sorry, but that’s where my mind goes. Fortunately, the CT scan showed no blockages or masses anywhere in her brain.
I won’t even get into the stupidity that was the presence of my ex at the ER and what an ass he made of himself. What is important is that my baby girl seems to be fine, none the worse for wear, and apparently just experienced a medication side effect.
It’s funny, but Corey and I always seem to comment on those pharmaceutical commercials that promote new medicines for new ailments as seeming miracle drugs, but at the end of the commercials there is always this list of horrible side effects: heart attack, stroke, death. The cure seems to be as bad as what it purports to fix.
Anyway, Alexis walked out of the ER with an appetite, and she and Mike stopped at a McDonald’s drive-through on the way home, so I’m thinking that’s a good sign.
That’s about all for now. My head is beginning to throb again from the screen. Time for another ice pack.
More later. Peace.
(Had Magritte on my mind, which led to Munch. Hence, the images)
“Breathe In Breathe Out,” by Matt Kearney
I know that I have mentioned my use of prescription drugs more than once in some of my entries, and I have admitted to inhaling as I was no angel in my younger days. I liked to get high, and for about a year of my teen years, I did it quite frequently, but then I decided that that was probably enough playing around, and I got my act together, stopped getting high all of the time, stopped skipping school, and still managed to graduate with honors, and that’s something of which I’m proud, especially since I know that if I hadn’t had a lost year, I could have probably ranked higher (absolutely no pun intended) on the list in my graduating class.
As to prescription drugs, yes, I have a dependency on muscle relaxers. I wish that I didn’t. I don’t take pain pills unless I absolutely have to, but I cannot get through the day without muscle relaxers. My back, shoulders and legs simply will not allow it. I have spasms that are so bad sometimes that I feel as if the side of my back has moved into my shoulder. I get knots in my shoulders that are the size of walnuts, and they have to be massaged out, or I have to get trigger shots to release them.
I also take preventive medication for my migraines, which I feel is a miracle drug. Before I started on the preventive regimen, I used to have migraines that lasted for weeks. Now, a bad one might last for days. I once had a migraine that was so bad that I could only eat jello, and I lost 12 pounds. I looked mah-velous, but what good is that when you feel as if you can only live in a bat cave?
And then there are the anti-depressants. These are a way of life for me. On occasion, I have convinced myself that I am all better, and I have thrown them away. For a while, I feel great. Life is great. The air is great. Everything is great. The birds are singing. La la la la la. And then comes the crash, which isn’t great. People who are clinically depressed do not enjoy being that way, believe me.
People who have never had any kind of clinical mental illness simply cannot understand it. They believe that you can snap out of it. Or will yourself to be better. Or pray yourself out of it. Or take vitamins. Or (and I love this one, my mother used to say it to me), think happy thoughts. Okay. Sure. That works for a while, for some people. But for those of us who are truly, clinically diagnosed, you may as well be chewing sweet tarts for all of the good that it will do you.
The advances that they have made in psycho-pharmacology are really incredible. I mean, I remember when everyone was handed Prozac, and it was declared a wonder pill, capable of curing everyone’s ills. Well, I’m here to tell you that it didn’t cure mine; it made me worse. It took trial and error and time to find the right medicine for me. But now, pharmacology has advanced so far so fast, and even though it’s still trial and error in getting to the right medicine for an individual’s body, there are so many more roads to try so that your medicine doesn’t end up turning you into a zombie.
No one should ever feel ashamed to need medicine for being depressed or anxious, and any sect of society that still imposes that kind of stigma is living in the dark ages. Many of these conditions run in families; some are caused by hormones, others by traumatic events that have occurred in life. Some last a lifetime; others just months. With the right medication, some people who are diagnosed with a mental illness can continue to function in society without major issues and without having to announce to the world that an issue exists, because after all, it isn’t really the world’s business. Is it?
But the kinds of drugs that I’m talking about having a problem with don’t come with a prescription. I’m talking about pot and cocaine and meth, or prescription drugs that belong to someone else that are being used for something other than that for which they are prescribed. That kind of drug use bothers me and is weighing heavily on my mind right now.
Let me clarify. You’re probably thinking that I’m being a hypocrite about pot because I just admitted that I smoked in high school, and I didn’t turn out horribly, and everything seems to be fine. However, I’m talking about excessive pot use, as in getting high every day, sometimes, a couple of times a day. I smoked pot once or twice a week, maybe. I still went to school, turned in my assignments, took care of my chores, you know, basic things.
What I’m seeing is getting high on pot, and then abusing prescription drugs, too. The result is a crappy personality, full of smart ass retorts, no respect, and manipulative behavior. An incredibly narcissistic person whose dysfunction is being exacerbated by the drug and alcohol abuse. And I cannot even believe that I am writing about this because it violates his privacy. But how about how he has violated my soul, my essence?
Am I to continue to allow this personal pummeling on my morale without responding to it? Each time feels like a new violation on my spirit. Each time I wonder where the boy has gone that I knew, the one that I rocked to sleep every night the first year of his life. Do I love him less for what he is becoming? Do I beg and plead internally in this ongoing argument with myself to wait patiently, that things will turn around, that this is just a phase, that all parents go through this, that the boy I love is there beneath this arrogant, selfish, man-boy? Do I remind myself that all youth are self-centered, ego-centric, narcissistic, wholly wrapped in the concept that they are infallible, untouchable and immortal?
When I was 17, I was already going to college full time, working, paying for my own car insurance, gas, clothes, and expenses. But I was atypical, and this goes back to my belief that I have already lived a hundred other lives, and this one is but one in which I am already an old soul. I wanted to have these responsibilities at a young age. I was already beyond where he is now. Not everyone is like me.
So how do I keep my expectations realistic? I know that he is not me. That much is certain. But to be on the receiving end of so much disdain, such a lack of common courtesy is unacceptable. My children were not brought up to be heathens, barbarians. That is intolerable. Perhaps the wildness is youth, but the rude temperament is not a matter of age. I can cloak the wounds to my soul for now in the hopes that he moves past this phase, but I will not tolerate shunning the teachings of basic human decency that he has heard since he had ears to hear and a mouth to speak.
So, it comes to this now. I wait. I will put into action the plan to remove the drugs that I have access to from his access. I will try to find within myself some of my father’s stalwart patience, the kind he used on me during my rebellious years.
I just had a fleeting image of The French Lieutenant’s Woman, who went to the edge of the bluff each day to look out to sea, no matter what the weather, even though she knew that her lover would not return. It was an open-ended story, but I always saw her time on the bluff as a way for her way to gather her strength to face the day and all that it held for her, for she knew that it would not be easy. Funny how the doors in the sand castles of your memory open and release something for you to hold onto when you need it most.
There will be more later. Peace.