Sunday, March 22, 2015

A Ballad to Depression

Dante was a heavy thinker, too. (Image via)

The Waning of Emotions

Crashing like malignant waves of thick, molten tar and shrouded by black, suffocating clouds of soot, my rapidly shifting emotions have lost their tenacious grip on melancholy, stumbled past the precipice of anxious sadness, and have plummeted into the dank, shadowed cavern of depression. Closing my eyes, willing the tears back; holding tight to the shard of hope that, soon, this too shall pass and I’ll find my way back to the light of normalcy.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

With Mood Swings Comes Inspiration

On the heels of my last, less than funny, blog post, things have been....swingy.  I've been content, stressed, anxious, sad, exhausted, spendy, irritated, energetic...sometimes, all in the same day.  I know what you're thinking.  She really should go see a psychiatrist.  No thank you.  I've been through the veritable mental health faction and don't care to return.  Those of you who know me well, know enough about that time in my past to know that I wish for nothing more than for those days to stay just that; in the past.  I am adamantly sticking to the notion (clinging on for life, if you will) that all of this emotional turmoil is the result of wonky PCOS-y hormones and stress from my job.  I STAND BY THAT, DAMMIT!

Anyway...the upshot of my less than stellar mood lately is that I find myself with plenty of fodder for my "book-in-progress".  Although I am convinced that it is gone for good, never to return, as if it had only been a misdiagnosis - careless physicians who jumped all over the "brain sickness of the moment", my medical records will tell you that I had bipolar disorder.  Yes, I am fully aware that mental illness doesn't just vanish.  That there is no cure for it.  You don't just wake up one day, stop your medications, and magically stop being bipolar.  Hence my contention that I was misdiagnosed.  Under the financial constraint of new health insurance, sans drug copay, I took it upon myself to slowly and carefully titrate down all of the medications that had been prescribed to treat my illness...until I was 100% medication free.  I DO NOT RECOMMEND THIS!

I'll leave the origins, details, and ultimate "resolution" of my illness for another time (hopefully, one day, in my published book).  I mention it because my book-in-progress happens to be all about my near decade long (longer if I'm being honest with myself) struggle with mental health.  I do not remember the events of that awful time in my life in linear thoughts.  But when I am in the throes emotional strife, like I have been of late, I can't help feeling like I've been here before.  And that deja vu brings with it the memories of my bipolar journey.  I write 'em as they come to me...scattered, indirect, broken.

I would like to share a recently penned passage of my work in progress...thank you for sticking with me as Big Funny Girl turns morose and introspective.  The following is an excerpt of my book, title yet to be determined, by Sandy Mentecki:

As I was sitting on the worn eggplant loveseat, staring at whatever program happened to be on the television, I heard it; clear as day.  Someone clearing their throat.  As if to get my attention.  Or maybe it was just to stifle a cough.  Whatever the reason, there it was.  I pivot, to glance in the direction of the hallway.  The apartment is small and the loveseat backed against the open galley kitchen; just a few feet from the mouth of the hall.  The hall itself was only about eight or nine feet, from the kitchen and ending at the bathroom door, with my bedroom just to the right.  I craned a bit, scooting my left leg into the crack of the small sofa’s arm; the one the cat had ripped a large hole in.  I narrowed my eyes, squinting to peer into the shadows at the far end of the hall.  I could feel my squint slowly morphing into a wide-eyed stare.  There was a man in the hallway, leaning against my bedroom door frame.
I had been on many different combinations of psychotropic medication cocktails in the months between that first hospitalization and the day this happened.  Anti-depressants.  Anti-anxiety drugs.  Anti-psychotics.  Mood stabilizers.  Sleeping pills.  Most times, one or more of each during any given trial or adjustment.  As I sat there, my heart pounding in my chest, I saw him.  I couldn’t make out any features or what clothing he was wearing.  The nearest light was that which was filtering past the corner of the kitchen from the living room.  It was mostly dark down that way.  How did he get in?  The only way into the apartment was through the one exterior door, which I can clearly see from where I was seated.  Had I fallen asleep, allowing him to quietly let himself in and skulk past me to his current position?  That was a ridiculous thought.  Did he break in through the flimsy screen on my bedroom window?  This complex was all one-story buildings so it wasn’t impossible.  I had to remember to start locking the windows.
I was frozen, transfixed, from the terror creeping into my chest.  He looked to stand somewhere just north of six feet, but he was slouching a bit.  He had a lean build that gave the appearance of physical fitness, strength, somehow menacing.  He cleared his throat again, as if to say, “Yeah, I’m right here.  Now what?”  It was at that point that I realized that the boy was looking at me from where he sat on the larger couch, which was situated to make an L-shape with the smaller one.
“What is it, Mom,” he asked in his innocent ten year old tone.  I had been so engrossed in what I was witnessing, I had all but forgotten he was watching TV with me.  Without turning my attention away from the hall, I asked him if he heard anything, like a cough.
“Uh-uh,” he said as I finally pulled my gaze away from the man in my bedroom doorway.  I looked at my son's face; he had a quizzical look about him.  Before I could think about the words, they spilled from my mouth.
“I think there’s someone in the hall.  Would you go look please.”  Not a shining moment of parenthood.  Asking my ten year old, small for his age, to go and scope out the stranger who had invaded our home.  But, somewhere in my medicated brain, I knew there wasn’t anyone there.  Yet I couldn’t bring myself to go and look.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

If You're Looking for Funny Today, Keep Looking

When I logged onto Blogger to make this post, it was staring me right in the face...I haven't posted since the end of January.  I knew it had been a while but I guess I thought it had been more recent than that.  Probably because I've written a number of things but decided against posting them.  Every time I sit down to write, all that pours out of me is crap about work.  Words that may be "frowned upon" should anyone of consequence happen upon them.  Nothing malicious, just....well, anyway.  I depend on my continued ability to earn a paycheck, so those words will remain between me and my computer.
This week at work was, by far, the most stressful since moving into my new position several months ago.  However, when I signed off that work computer yesterday afternoon, I tried my best to leave it there.  And then everything started to fall into place.  I dyed my hair and the color turned out just like I wanted.  The last of the items I had ordered online for my bedroom redo were here and I was looking forward to getting my room finished.  The boy helped with the heavy lifting and even helped with some other house cleaning chores.  Together, we got all of the boxes that had accumulated in the three season room over the winter broken down and shoved in the recycling cart, leaving that room clean enough to allow the kitties to venture back out there for the first time since we closed it up in December.  My bedroom looks better than I had imagined it would and the cats love all of the new surfaces to explore.  I scored a bunch of super cute tchotchkes at TJ Maxx that totally complete the new look and feel.  My very first Ipsy Glam Bag was delivered today.  After over 9 months, I finally connected with a tech guy at Xbox that worked with me to get my email address removed from the random bitch's account that refused to admit she screwed up and entered her email address wrong when signing up (seriously, I've never encountered so many roadblocks when trying to be honest and do the right thing - I was getting this chick's personal account and purchase information and knew that it was the right thing to do to report it so it could be fixed).  The tow truck guy finally came and picked up that decrepit car taking up valuable real estate behind my garage.  The pooper scooper crew came a whole week early and did a stellar job with the Spring clean up in the backyard AND it cost less than the estimate.  The weather has been beautiful, most of the snow is gone, and it's just a matter of time before nature starts coming back to life.
Like I said, it's all shaping up wonderfully.  I've been posting cheery crap on Facebook and Twitter and Instagram, building the fa├žade of blissful happiness.  So, why is it that I find myself struggling with sadness this evening?  Was the stress of the week more than I thought?  Has it just been compounding over the last few months and I haven't been properly acknowledging it or dealing with it?  Could it be because I've been feeling stifled by choosing not to post those other blogs I wrote?  I kind of got used to feeling like this blog was my safe zone, where I could say what I wanted.  Coming to the realization that, in this day and technological age, it really doesn't mean squat that you don't directly acknowledge your employer in social media, anyone can stumble onto this page and there can be real life negative consequences to the words I put to the page if someone reads something into it - regardless of my disclaimer that these thoughts are solely my own and make no representation to or for anyone or anything else.
I'm sure part of it is the hormones of PCOS and my period, but this month didn't seem too bad in that respect.  I had more good physical and emotional health days this cycle than I have in quite a while.  I've been enjoying my return to freshly juiced green juice in the mornings, taking my prescribed PCOS medication and have been sleeping well.  I just don't know why or how or what to say to myself about it.  I don't want to rehash my feelings about seeing the doctor because far too many of my posts end up being a rant about it and I just don't want to go there tonight.  I guess, tonight at least, I'm feeling a bit....alone?  I don't even know if that's the right emotion but that's all that came to mind.  Which is weird, because Mom came for a visit today to see my "new" bedroom.  And we had a nice visit.  We ate Panda Express and watched Rosie O'Donnell: A Heartfelt Stand-Up (which I had seen before but I knew she would enjoy it and she doesn't have the luxury of HBO).  And the boy has been helpful this weekend, and without lip or sass.  Yet here I sit....feeling sad.
I can only hope that it is purely hormone related and it will pass quickly.  Because this is yucky.  And hey, if you read this even after the title...thanks for the ear, I needed it.