07 July 2017

Once More for the Guy in the Hot Dog Costume

If you're friends with me on Facebook (which, let's face it, you probably are, because how else do you know this blog exists?), you'll notice a pair of posts today addressing my ongoing depression. In the most recent one, I told you not to be worried, and I want to reiterate that. I'm not in any danger. Much like my anxiety and exhaustion--which are probably part and parcel of one big happy thing called my brain--it's not anything I haven't been walking around with for the past four years or so, so if you've seen me since, say, that one time Matt Nelson dressed up as a bass-playing hot dog, it's about like that, only the horrific anxiety attacks have mostly stopped.

Like you, I have many questions.
 Yes, it's for the most part rooted in Robin's death, which I learned later that week had occurred this same night, while I was in Ohio dealing with this bullshit. As a result, I dealt with this bullshit badly, and a whole lot of other things also didn't go as well as they might have if I had had at least a matching set of wits about me. In the last four years, I've lost relationships because of my grief behaviour (and other people's reactions to it), some of them dear friends and comrades of many years' standing whose (additional) loss I'm still grieving.

In the past four years, I've also learned how to navigate some of my changing limitations. I'm getting okay at saying no and not feeling guilty about it all the time. I'm getting better at asking for help. I'm getting better at opening up about my actual struggle, not just the frantically hilarious theatrics that I sometimes turn it into. I'm getting a lot better at forgiving people. I'm getting a little better at forgiving myself.

So it's not all loss.

This afternoon, my dad called to ask how my shoulder was feeling. (Answer: still about 90% terrible, which is what you'd expect when you've just had a corticosteroid injection in it for rotator cuff tendonitis but can't do anything one-handed and you live alone on the second floor and there are things like, you know, groceries and the vacuum cleaner to deal with.) I ignored him because I was in the middle of ignoring an appointment with my therapist.

Let me back up for a minute. I love my therapist. I mean, I love her. She also happens to be a Buudhist monk, and I genuinely enjoy my time with her and often actively look forward to hanging out spilling my guts all over her office. So when I'm too flattened to get out of bed in time to shower and see her, it's not necessarily the best of signs.

And this isn't the first time it's happened pretty recently either.

So anyway, when I called my dad back, I cheerily told him that yes my shoulder still felt like it's being sporked to death, no I haven't been to the DMV yet, and oh by the way I was going to go in to see about getting my antidepressant prescription increased on Monday morning.

As you can imagine, that went over well.

 It's taken me so long to ask about this (because believe me, Alien Boy has tried to convince me that all of this sleep is depression talking) in part because there are so many damn moving parts to my metabolism right now, between middle age and an endocrine cancer and perimenopause and fucking grad school because did I mention OH MY GOD PEOPLE--anyway, this doesn't feel like the same as any other depression I've ever had, because in the middle of it I'm also content. Much of my life is great. So I figured this couldn't possibly be depression. Because I don't hate everything.


Several of you, over on Facebook, have commented that it helps to talk. And it does. Immensely. It's why I have a therapist I usually manage to get to. It's how I'm functional the seventy percent of the time I'm functional (that, and coffee). My dad expressed a similar worry: "Counseling isn't helping?"

Yes, dad. Counseling helps. It helps immensely. But it can't replace whatever neurotransmitters aren't happening. Sometimes it just doesn't help enough. It doesn't mean therapy isn't working, or I'm not working my ass off at it, or anything else other than sometimes it's physically impossible to spatula myself out of bed for days at a time and nothing else has worked, so maybe it's time to try this. Kind of like how I tried ignoring my shoulder pain for two months, which went about as well as you can imagine, then tried a cortisone shot and a feeble attempt at rest, and next week I'm going to have to sort out the "what's next" of that as well (more enforced rest? Another injection? An MRI?? I have no idea. That's why they make orthopods). Nobody would dream of blaming me that the injection didn't work, or the NSAIDs. And I don't think people are meaning to blame me for this either, but sometimes helpful advice makes me wonder what planet I've apparently been on, that I now speak such a different language from everyone I love.

I know exactly what planet it is, though. It's Planet Dead Guy Who Was My Whole Life, and I'm not back yet. It's been four years, and I'm not over it yet. I live here now, so I guess I'd better start unpacking.

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