How Much Longer?

My children are living without me 3 days a week, now. They miss me, they really do, and in some ways, they are marginally less well-looked-after than if I looked after them. But they won’t die of it. Even my daughter can speak, now (she doesn’t do it often, but she does) and they are both much better at asserting themselves than they were, in 2011.

My sister will have her second baby soon. I wish I could be there for that–they’re going to name her after me, kinda. (Same middle name.) I like my middle name. I like my sister and her husband and kids.

My eldest younger brother will graduate soon, ish. He wants to be my favourite male character from literature when he grows up (Atticus Finch). I wish I could come see that. I wish I felt like I really know my youngest siblings, but I don’t. They grew up without me. I left home and never really came back, and they’re teens and adults and they haven’t regularly seen me since they were babies/toddlers.

I’m supposed to be doing a psychology degree, now. 3 days a week–the 3 days I’m away from my kids, essentially by myself, trying to study and mostly failing–I sit in lectures and tell myself that in 2 more years, I’ll have a degree and it will be worth it and I’ll look back on this time fondly, with a sense of accomplishment, and I’ll be so glad I did it.

9 days in a row, now. 9 days, where I’ve sat in front of my pc and tried to listen to cheerful songs and read webcomics and make myself do my uni work, as tears run down my face for, oh, no particular reason.

It’s my birthday, soon. I’ve already had a lovely celebration–I met Weird Al, and told him I’ve got my own parody group (I don’t, really, I thought I did, but it turns out I don’t) and he was one of the nicest people you could imagine. It was great. I met someone I absolutely idolize, and it was *better* than expected. Who gets to say that? Not many people, I bet.

I suppose I’m just ungrateful. If I loved more, or worried less, or tried harder, or had upped my meds sooner, or had never left home, or had gone to uni when I was younger… *sigh* Bad decision follows bad decision follows bad decision, and I don’t even remember what the good decisions would have been.

Falling in love. There’s a slippery slope. You can actually love people *too* much, you can frighten them away with the intensity of your feelings, you can force them to admit that they’d actually be happier without you… and *then* what do you do? When you love everyone and no one wants you to…. ?

I’m too much even for the people who love me. That’s not hyperbole, it’s demonstrable fact. No one can put up with me, at the levels I need, to feel secure/loved/happy/stimulated/valued.

I understand that starting university is a big change. I get that sometimes, people let you down (I was meant to be a little less isolated, I have friends in my uni town, but… well, shit happens, I guess). But when you have to go on psych meds just to be able to handle speaking in front of your classmates, and you’re spending all your time waiting around for people who are meant to be your friends to have time for you (not their fault that they made better decisions than I did, and they have jobs and uni of their own, by the way) and you miss your partner and kids (but not that much, you actually miss the people you’ve turned your life upside down to be near even more than you miss your partner and kids) and every second of every day is spent waiting for the other shoe to drop, for the uni to figure out you’re not that clever, for your partner to realize he’s doing too much of the work, for the person you’re actually in love with to seal the deal with the girl he’s chasing, for your parents to die and your nieces and nephews to be born and your siblings to graduate and you know you’ll never make it back home before any of it happens….

How long are you meant to leave it? How long, until you give in and accept that it’s *never* going to get better?

Daft Poetry

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I’m currently sitting here in my under-things. The house is too hot and no one in the Northeast of England has air conditioning (including me) but that’s not really the reason… really, the reason I’m sat here, half-dressed, is because I can’t be bothered to put the rest of my clothes on.

Or do much else.

However, when I woke up this morning (because I just could not do any more sleeping–and may I just say, 12 hours of sleep is ludicrous, both in general, and in the specific) and went to lie down on the couch (I shit you not) this little bastardization of, “Green Eggs and Ham” was bouncing around inside my brain. As far as I know, in spite of all the rip-offs of that poem in the world, this one is mine:

I do not like this wonky brain,
I do not like it in the rain,
I do not like it in the sun;
It is not fun for anyone.

I do not like it with the meds,
They make me less fun in the beds.
I like it even less without,
Without, I rant and cry and shout.

I do not like this panic attack,
It makes me tend to over-snack,
I do not like this mood that lags,
I do not like these crying jags.

I do not like these sleepless nights,
But the sleepful ones just don’t feel right.
I do not like my crazy brain,
I wish that I could just be sane.

And there you have it. What I woke up feeling like, today… while off my meds.

Daylight Savings Shit

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I don’t know what it is about all this light; but it really makes me nervous.

It’s summertime, and living in the northeastern UK, that means I get about 4 hours of near-darkness every night. Unless it’s cloudy as well, the light in the sky doesn’t ever completely disappear, though… and at 3 a.m., the vista begins to brighten again.

I feel like I’m coming out of my skin. I feel like people are watching me/something’s in the room with me/bad things are about to happen. I hate this. This anxiety is the reason I bother with meds–mood-wise, I’ve been a little lower than most of my friends all my life, and I’m used to that–but this feeling of impending doom, this certain *knowledge* that I am in danger… this is the suck.

What’s worse, this light-all-the-time nonsense RUINS my sleeping patterns. I have trouble sleeping at night, in the dark; but I can’t sleep AT ALL at night, in the light. Once it’s properly daytime, and the sun is fully up, *then* I can sleep; seriously, I do my longest stretches of sleeping in the middle of the day, when my fella’s at work and my kids are at school and the sun is shining like a beacon of doom at the apex of the sky. What the actual fuck? I’m sure my circadian rhythm isn’t supposed to behave like that. Bizarre Serotonin/Melatonin interplay, fucking my shit up, again.

If I go a bit weird(er) for the next few weeks, you’ll know why… oh, when will Daylight Savings Time end?

Mood Diary–A Recent Entry!

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This started out as a mood diary entry from a couple of days ago, but once I got into the swing of it, I altered it a little for public consumption.

The fact that I even need to *do* a Mood Diary tells me a lot about how this individual affects me; I’ve been regulating my moods without the help of a diary for over a year, now. (By the by–I originally began using the diary not long after “meeting” this guy… again, this tells me a lot. Anyways, the entry:

Mood–a 4, maybe. Alternating between wanting to cry, and wanting to strangle someone with my bare hands.

Mostly the latter, to be fair.

I’ve just been advised (by someone who continually paints me as the villain of his entire life, up to the point of blaming me–someone he’s only ever “met” online–for his poor performance at university, his insomnia, his mood swings, etc etc) not to give in to Karpman Drama Triangles, in which he’s cast as the perpetrator, I as the victim, and my fella as the rescuer/hero.

It’s the hypocrisy that gets me with him, every time.

How can someone who’s blamed me for everything from their life-long insomnia to their recent academic performance actually have the gall to accuse me of casting them as a scapegoat?

In fairness, he has an ASD; and since he refuses to talk about it, get coping strategies for it, or even acknowledge it (even to his healthcare providers) I understand that his mind blindness and lack of self-awareness will be at crazy heights. Additionally, his skills at projection are unparalleled–there’s nothing he won’t accuse someone of, if he’s done it himself. And I get it, at least in theory; if you won’t even glance at yourself, there’s no way you can notice the details of what you look like or how you behave. In practice… I don’t get how anyone can be so blind.

Me, I look at him, and I see what I could have become, if I refused to take responsibility for my actions, refused to accept my own social awkwardness, refused to acknowledge that sometimes I get the wrong end of the stick (and if I were blisteringly, eternally angry about my situation, AND thought it was someone’s fault but never mine)… the one good thing about meeting this person is, and always has been, that he illustrates very clearly the potential flaws in my personality, and gives me excellent examples of how not to behave.

(And after this point, I’d realized I was going to post:)

That, and sometimes he’s so ridiculous, you can’t help but laugh at him. My sense of humour has saved me from despair more times than I can count.

Anyways, I think I’ll be posting about this guy a few more times. In the interests of protecting his privacy (he once threatened to sue someone because they’d told me he has an ASD) I’m going to give him a pseudonym. Henceforth, in my blog, he shall be known as “Peevin’ Larvae”.

That’s because he’s always peeved about something, and he’s emotionally stunted, ergo, a larva; but he has mood swings so often, the plural makes more sense. So. Peevin’ Larvae. More on him to come soon… I might do a comic strip, if I can figure out a way to condense one of his 2-page-long monologues into 4 or 5 sentences.

And if I learn how to draw. Lol.

PS In a Karpman Drama Triangle, I’d cast myself as the rescuer, just for the record. It’s something I’m working on.

http://coachingsupervisionacademy.com/thought-leadership/the-karpman-drama-triangle/

Favourite Songs–Elton John

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I’ve already posted one entry in which I quote an Elton John song; that’s not surprising to me. The Elton John/Bernie Taupin duo possibly literally saved my life when I was 16-17… oh… 25 years?… after releasing the material that had such an impact on me. Their music certainly altered the shape of the life I was living, and the life I’ve lived after that point.

As I’m currently a little under the weather (in a once-a-month style of unwellness) and not up to doing any hard work, I’m just listening to music, and amusing myself by making lists of some of my favourite songs. Who knows, I might need a new mix-tape soon… at any rate, it keeps me out of trouble.

In the case of Elton John, I’m up to 5 faves, so far: “Levon”, “I Guess That’s Why They Call it the Blues”, “Honky Cat”, “Tower of Babel”, and “I Feel Like a Bullet in the Gun of Robert Ford”. Not the most obvious choices, maybe–a rarity, for me?–but all excellent songs. Especially the least obvious of my choices.

If you want to listen to a great song, with some of that biblical imagery I love so much, here you go. If you don’t enjoy it… there could well be more wrong with you, than there is with me 😉

Or not. But I don’t see how anyone could actively dislike this song.

Prayer vs. Medicine (“Mature” Language Warning)

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Browsing my Facebook page the other day, I saw a little notice someone had posted. It was a fairly standard, please-pray-for-such-and-such-who’s-been-hospitalized request… at least, it was until I got to the part where the woman asking made the statement that her dad “had issues” with his prostate a couple of years back, and instead of having medical treatment, he “left it in God’s hands”.

To that I say–FUCK OFF. You may think me harsh, but there is no chance on God’s green earth I’m going to waste my breath/God’s time praying for someone who didn’t have the common sense to address their medical issues AT LEAST 2 years ago when they presented themselves. Everyone can miss things about their own health; don’t get me wrong, I’m not advocating extreme hypochondria and life in the doctor’s office; but for his daughter to know that his trouble was linked to his prostate indicates that he *did* go see a doctor, he *did* get some sort of diagnosis and/or treatment plan, and then, he just chose to ignore it.

Fuck you. If you, living in a “1st world” country, want to die of a complex-yet-treatable, virtually curable disease, while millions of people in developing countries are slowly dying of malnutrition and unsafe drinking water and diarrhoea for fuck sake, then I fucking hope you do so.

To be perfectly blunt, I don’t give a good goddamn that you have blood in your urine, and a BP high enough to cause a stroke, and a mass in your bladder. Do you wanna guess what that mass is? My money’s on cancer! Congratulations, genius–by “leaving your health in God’s hands” you have effectively killed yourself! Do you feel better, now? Do you feel that you, and not some meddling doctor, got to make all the decisions about your (lack of) treatment? Do you feel good and pious? Are you pleased that your wife and daughter are going to spend the next months or years EITHER giving you spongebaths, and wheeling you around when you get to weak to walk, and slipping oral narcotics under your tongue as you grunt and writhe in pain, OR mourning you and blaming God for your death and depressing the shit out of everyone around them as they relentlessly pine for you? Are you glad your grandkids won’t really remember you, in 10 years time? Does all of that make you happy?

If not–then WHY THE FUCK DID YOU DO IT?

At the risk of boring my potential audience, I’m going to repeat again–I will not be wasting my prayers on this man. I *do* believe in the power of prayer, positive thinking, good vibes, whatever you want to call it, so I *will* pray for his family (mostly that they’re not emotionally destroyed by his stupidity and carelessness and lack of respect for his own life/the lives of his loved ones). I’ll pray that they come through this alright, and since they’re fundamentalist Christians, I’ll pray for God to send his Holy Spirit to comfort them, and to be with them in their time of loss; and I’ll mean every word. Even if my beliefs don’t match up with someone else’s, I can hope that their beliefs are right enough to provide them with some help and comfort; and I will give as much of those things as I can, which includes leaving a post on a Facebook Wall saying, “I’ll be praying; good luck”. I *will* pray. I *do* wish his family luck.

However, I will leave the man in question out of my heaven-bound petitions, because if I say one fucking sentence about him, it’ll probably be a request for God to just fucking kill him now and spare his family the hassle of looking after his selfish, narcissistic ass.

Depression Poem (from long ago)

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I wrote the original version of this poem when I was… 13? 14?… before my first religious flip-out, anyway. Before I became frightened of using biblical imagery and metaphor, and when I still thought King David was an aspirational historical figure.

Those days may be long gone, but I’m glad my memory of the poem survives enough for me to create a passable, new version of it.

God I used to be cheery.

Mothers weep on days like this,
When the house is empty and the heart is dark,
And no little children run out to play,
Mothers weep on days like this.

Fathers rage on days like this,
When there’s rain aplenty, but nowhere an ark,
When there’s nothing to do and less to say,
Fathers rage on days like this.

Children cry on days like this,
When the sky is black and the heart is blue,
And the stories of monsters turn out to be true,
Children cry on days like this.

Will I ever give up on a day like this?
When my feet are stuck in the miry clay,
And the cavalry’s not coming over the hill,
And nobody’s going to save the day?

I may.

But not today.

If you’ve got a good name for it, please, I would welcome your suggestions. Super-Depressing-Poem-with-Biblical-Imagery is about the best I’ve come up with, on my own… that’s a *bit* of a mouthful.

Medical Tests

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Probably because my depression is so tied up in feelings of anxiety, paranoia, and overwhelming terror, one of the things that makes me feel good is having medical tests done. I wanted to post an entry today that was a little cheerier than the last few, and going through old mood diary entries, I found this:

10th February:
Amazingly for the situation, I am in an excellent mood. 6/7? I have an embarrassing medical examination today (imagine a cervical smear that lasts 20 minutes, and examines the front AND back, and you’ll kinda have the idea) and I haven’t eaten since about 9 last night, and then it was only tea and toast, and yet, I am all sunshine and happiness. Bizarre. Will probably fade once I’m actually at the hospital.

But no! I just had x-ray dye inserted (via catheter!) into my bladder, porridge-like Barium inserted into my colon, and x-rays taken while I relaxed and tightened my pelvic floor muscles… and I was smiling and chatting the whole time. I mean, there was an element of nervous chatter to it, but… you could tell, they’d never seen anyone so happy to be having that particular examination. But it didn’t hurt, and there’s nothing hideously wrong with me (over-active pelvic floor, that’s all, I just need to learn to relax my internal muscles–big surprise, for the Queen of Anxiety…) anyways, it was good news all round, and I’m not squeamish about medical stuff at all (I just love being examined, it makes me feel safe, like if there was something wrong they’d catch it… hypochondriac). But, however, scooting right along, mood an 8 or even a 9, and now, I get to have Taybarns (for being brave and not complaining about being STARVED–it was fine, but Douglas overflows with sympathy at the horror, haha) and, well, just yay.

Maybe all those people who think I’m a weirdo are right, lol.

Really Not Quick Description of Depression–Part 3

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And then one day, the butterflies are gone. The next day, the bee’s disappeared. The day after that, the flowers have all died, and the day after that, the sun stops shining. It doesn’t shine for a week, 2 weeks, 3 weeks, and then one day you go to look outside again, and and the window’s gone. Then the door. Then all the furnishings and electronics and books and music and everything else disappears from your house, which has somehow shrunk to 1 room. In that room, you sit on the floor, with no blanket or pillow, and it’s okay, you’re not cold anyway. You’re not anything. All your food tastes like water and dry bread, or not even like water and dry bread, but that’s okay too, you’re not really hungry. That person there, holding your hand, at least you still have them, and you remember when you cared and were grateful and loved them the way they seem to love you, but you can’t feel it anymore. You can’t feel anything. And slowly, you stop hearing them when they talk; you have earplugs in, permanent ones. Soon, their features start to blur. You realize you’re wearing sunglasses, in an already dimly-lit house, but you can’t take them off. And eventually, you realize you’re walking through water, and it’s okay, because apparently you can breathe under water, or you don’t need to breathe anymore, and some part of you is academically aware that that ought to be the coolest thing that’s ever happened to you, but since taking 5 steps from the couch to the computer–when the computer’s even visible, to you–is too much effort, and you’re sleeping 14 hours a night anyway, you can’t really muster any enthusiasm. And one day, you realize 3 months have passed since you stayed awake for more than 10 hours in a row, since you laughed at a joke, since you made love with your partner, since you did anything other than exist… and after a month of telling yourself not to, you come off the meds.

A week passes, maybe 2, and all of a sudden, you look at that person who holds your hand and you think, “I love you.” This is magic, this is heaven. Another week or 2, and in spite of a dozen mood swings and an episode of self-harming, you feel better than ever. You can hear music again. Your food tastes like whatever it is, not dry bread and warm water. Your chairs and couch and bed and tv all reappear, and you know exactly what you want to do with each of them–you sit in the chairs and talk, really talk, to the hand-holder, and you lie on the couch and snuggle them or watch dvds, and in bed, you do all kinds of stuff you haven’t done in half a year or more, and you record half a dozen things to watch on the tv because it’s all so INTERESTING. Maybe you even start writing a blog, or a book, or you start taking night classes in something you’ve always wanted to do, or you join a gym or get married or take a vacation to the Bahamas. Whatever you do, you can FEEL yourself doing it, and it feels good.

And one day, you go to your back door, and you walk through and onto your patio like there’s nothing to it. You bring some orange juice and a bagel, you sit outside in your dressing gown in the sun and you just ARE. And even without your partner, you’re okay. Better than okay. You’re great. When a butterfly lands on the back of your hand and has a sniff of your juice, you’re careful not to damage it’s wings, and by the time you’ve finished your breakfast and wandered back inside your house to get dressed, you feel invincible. It’s the best time of your life, and it’s made all the better by the memory of what came before. Your mornings on the patio are resumed, and you are pathetically grateful for every precious day you spend sitting in the sun.

And then, one day, you go outside… and you have this feeling. A feeling like you’re being watched, and you don’t know how, but you know the intruder means you harm… and you realize you have 2 choices. Live in constant terror, unable to function in any meaningful way, or live underwater, completely cut off from everyone else, unable to relate to anyone in any meaningful way.

And suddenly you realize that this is your life. Forever and ever, amen. And there is nothing, absolutely nothing, you can do about it.

(THE END)

Really Not Quick Description of Depression–Part 2

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When you wake up the next day, for one brief moment, you are glad the sun is up. You think you can hear your little honeybee buzzing, and you’re sure you can feel the butterflies’ wings on your arm… And the sun is so bright, it should be giving off heat, but it doesn’t, and it just keeps getting brighter. Soon, you can’t close your eyes, or you DO close them but it makes no difference, the sun is beating down mercilessly and it’s so BRIGHT, and suddenly your head is pounding from the light, but you’re still freezing, and the flowers are giving you an asthma attack and you can’t breathe, you cannot breathe, your chest is heaving like a 3rd rate porn star’s and your body’s trembling with the effort but no oxygen’s getting in, your lungs are on fire, and no, no, oh God, the butterflies are UNDER your skin, they’re underneath your skin, they’re inside you, the sickening beat of their wings is terrifying, and as they itch and tickle and nauseate your nerve endings, as they sicken you down to your bones you realize you can hear the bee again, but it’s not 1 bee, it’s an entire hive, and they
keep getting louder and louder and you realize that the pounding in your ears isn’t your own heartbeat, it’s a swarm of bees and they’re inside your skull, you can hear them and they’re so loud your eardrums are bleeding and they must have ruptured but you can still hear the swarm, oh God it sounds like they’re going to sting you to death, and you fall to your knees and beat at the air and shake your head and froth at the mouth like a rabid dog and, weeping uncontrollably, you fall into the fetal postition and rock back and forth and try to clutch your head, and your stomach, and your arms and legs, all at once because every part of you feels violently ill, you feel like your guts are full of gnawing insects and if you could just vomit your insides up maybe you’d feel better, or if you could scratch your sun-blinded eyes out, or poke out your eardrums with a knitting needle to make the insects stop buzzing inside your ears… and if you’re very, very lucky, at some point someone sees you like this, weeping in psychic pain, and they grab you and stuff a pill into your mouth, and you fall asleep.

The next day, when you wake up, it’s awful. The sun’s still so bright it hurts your eyes, and there’s a swarm of pissed-off bees flying around your head, and the angriest group of butterflies you’ve ever seen keep flying into your mouth/eyes/hair, and you can barely breathe from the overwhelming stink of flowers… and then it hits you. You can breathe, just a little, just enough to get by. And the insects, they’re outside your head again. And the sun, it’s painfully bright, but not blindingly so. And the intruder–you can see him. He’s standing across the street, too far for you to make out his features (which is scary, because you know you won’t recognize him the next time he gets close) and he’s watching you, and you know he doesn’t like you AT ALL, but he’s just holding his ground. He’s not advancing, and he’s definitely not skulking around waiting for his chance to attack. And maybe, if you’re very lucky, someone is sitting there, on the patio with you, holding your hand; and even though you know they can’t see or hear the insects, and they think the sun is fine, and the
flowers as well, you love them more than your own life, for sitting out there and braving this with you. And when they offer you the little/large white/blue/green/yellow pill, you take it, and you almost manage to smile at them, and you hope everything’s going to be okay again.

And slowly, things improve. After 3 or 4 pills, the sun dims just a little, and you can barely smell the flowers. 3 or 4 more, and the bees have all gone, aside from the original pollinator. You’re even thinking about making friends, again. The butterflies have backed off, and they seem to realize that you’re a little delicate, because they’re not landing on you, but they’re flying close enough to let you know they’re there. A few more pills, and the intruder looks at you, sighs, and starts walking away; you know he might be saying, “Next time, Gadget!” or similar inside his head, but at least that means that *this* time is over, and you’ve defeated him for now, and you can relax, just a little, just for the moment. Eventually, the door to your house reappears, and you go back inside, and you resume your mornings on the patio, maybe a little scarred, a little permanently hesitant, but essentially content.

Nothing tangible has changed, but you can handle your life again. So you keep taking the magic pills, and for a while, you’re actually happy. And when happy tapers off to content, that’s fine too. Every life, a little rain, blah blah blah, and this isn’t even rain, this is just a day that’s a little overcast. It’s fine. Everything is very, very fine. And so you keep taking the pills, because you remember with suicidal clarity what it was like just before you started taking them.

And then one day, you go to the back door, and it won’t open. The sun is shining, the 1 bee is pollinating, the butterflies are fluttering, the flowers are blooming, but you can’t get outside. But, hey. Who needs to go outside? Not you. You remember how bad it got, that one time, and you decide that looking out a window at nature is nearly as good as being outside in nature. Your daily mornings on the patio become your daily mornings looking out the window, and that’s fine.

Everything is just fine.

(TBC)