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myself, as usual

I suppose that when months go by, and circumstances in one’s life have by any objective standard improved in more than one area, then good sense dictates that continuing despair is a symptom of something other than just shitty circumstances. At that point, one should do something about it, goes the common wisdom. Intellectually, I can admit this; I have been on this merry go round enough times to recognize it. But I have no faith in any of the options, all of which are difficult, time-consuming, risky, and expensive at a time when my tolerance for difficulty is extremely low and I have little time and even less money. One of the biggest contributing factors to my financial difficulties at this exact moment is the cost of insurance, and the need to pay for one semester of coverage for my daughter on top of my own tuition+insurance bill was a large contributing factor to my maxing out a fresh Amex with a horrible interest rate over the last four months (an Amex balance it will take me ten years to pay off the way things are now). I feel trapped by the two areas that make me feel the worst/most helpless and hopeless – the whole depression/meds/psych thing and the income/work/massive debt thing. There’s a limit to what the psych industry and their meds can do though anyway; I have already taken all the pills and done all the therapy. Nothing sticks. At least some of this is just my personality, or my soul, or something. So it doesn’t seem like a good use of my time or money.

Money is a constant preoccupation and I can’t enjoy anything while I’m preoccupied with it, and I can’t afford to do anything but work and work and work. I do a lot of work from home, so I am isolated, as usual, and when I am around my family, it’s my job to put on a good front. I don’t have any support. I do this to myself because I withdraw when I feel like this, and really it’s not my imagination – depressed people really aren’t any fun to be around and everybody really does have better things to do and my shitty outlook really does spoil the atmosphere and frustrate people who do not, themselves, suffer from this particular flavor of crazy. I actually tried to do things a little differently, in terms of withdrawal and isolation, but that didn’t work out and now I am still all by myself with this, crying in the kitchen every night while the water’s running, but now with the added sting of having taken an emotional risk that didn’t pay off (but it only didn’t pay off after I got a taste of what it must be like for people who do *not* keep absolutely all the balls in the air all by themselves with no support. And it was infinitely easier to do all this without having tasted that. To have a glimpse of that and then lose it has been nearly unbearable).

It hasn’t done much to mitigate my sense that the last ten years of my life have consisted of a long series of bad decisions informed by practically criminal naivete. I feel like that person who used to have some passion about her activities and interests, who was energetic and bold enough to set out on the admittedly insane path I set out on because I thought I could beat the odds, is long, long gone, dead and buried. Actually dying would just be a formality, a technicality, a slight shift in horizons that has the one major distinction and benefit as compared to the present of involving a lot less misery for me. I don’t recognize in myself the person that used to have some fight left and I haven’t seen her for a long time. The future just looks like more of the present, and I find the idea absolutely unbearable. Something has to change. Except I keep saying that, and nothing changes.

But I genuinely do not believe there are any legitimate options for being able to get off this merry go round short of pretty extreme things like shock treatment, bankruptcy, or my own death. And I’m pretty ok with that, really, for now. I cry in the kitchen at night with the water running, as usual, and I adjust my brain chemistry with other chemicals on the very worst nights, as usual, and I do some mildly self-destructive things that I can keep mostly secret as usual, and I keep trying to fake it as usual, and I often manage, which is also as usual at least since I started Wellbutrin.

And since I know I won’t do anything except carry on in misery until some things have changed with my family — my daughter, for instance, must be grown before I will seriously act on an escape plan, and that’s still at least two years off, and then I have to make it look like an accident — I figure that continuing to put one foot in front of the other is the best thing to do, and there’s a slight chance that something I can’t anticipate might change or happen, and maybe there really will be some change that offers some additional options. I know intellectually that this is possible. But I have no faith left at all. I’m just keeping up appearances and trying to squeeze in what distraction I can manage when I can manage it. It’s been a long time since I had this many people around me who actually care, but it’s been a while since I felt this utterly fucking alone.

an unfair fight

Lying half-awake early this morning I realized something.

I’ve struggled (hard) with depression my entire life, since I was about 8.

That’s not what I realized. That’s not news.

What I was realized is that one day it’s going to win.

There is absolutely no doubt in my mind about this. It’s not because I don’t try. I’ve been trying for more than 30 years. It’s because I’m finite, human, can only be in one place at a time, and get tired. It, on the other hand, is infinite, eternal, omnipotent, and omnipresent. It has never been a fair fight.

“Happy” Veteran’s Day

‘Fallen 9000’ Project: Thousands Of Stenciled Bodies In The Sand Serve As Poignant D-Day Tribute

The colonel’s war against PTSD: “It’s also the reason Welsh spends his Saturday mornings at the Salvation Army shelter. He lost soldiers in combat; he cannot abide the loss of more in peacetime. Welsh cannot save them all, but he has to try.”

After returning home, many veterans get into motor vehicle accidents: “A study based on 2006 data showed that returning veterans were 75 percent more likely to die in traffic accidents than civilians of comparable age, race and sex. They were 148 percent more likely to be killed on motorcycles.”

Scores of recent Texas war veterans have died of overdoses, suicide and vehicle crashes, investigation finds: “…an alarmingly high percentage died from prescription drug overdoses, toxic drug combinations, suicide and single-vehicle crashes — a largely unseen pattern of early deaths that federal authorities are failing to adequately track and have been slow to respond to.”

Which veterans are at highest risk for suicide?: “PTSD, injuries combine with everyday stresses; studies also say women especially vulnerable.”

“I Am Sorry That It Has Come to This”: A Soldier’s Last Words: “I am sorry that it has come to this. The fact is, for as long as I can remember my motivation for getting up every day has been so that you would not have to bury me. As things have continued to get worse, it has become clear that this alone is not a sufficient reason to carry on. . . . I am left with basically nothing. Too trapped in a war to be at peace, too damaged to be at war.”

‘Like an airborne disease’: Concern grows about military suicides spreading within families: “Some suicides and suicide attempts — like those that ravaged the Velez family — are spurred by combat losses. Others may be triggered by exhaustion and despair: As some veterans return debilitated by anxiety, many spouses realize it’s now up to them — and will be for decades — to hold the family together.”

Capt. Peter Linnerooth, Iraq War Veteran Who Counseled Vets, Commits Suicide: “‘Sometimes he felt he was putting a Band-Aid over a bullet hole,’ McNabb says. ‘It would be, `I got you to where you can sleep through the night … but guess what? You have seven months left in your deployment.'”

“happy” Veteran’s Day…

Lives During Wartime, Vol. 4 at The New York Times

drowning

I don’t really know what to do. On the surface of things, life should be a lot better right now than it has been in a good while. I did the almost impossible – I got a job in my field in this economy, using my degree and training, and I got it in an area of the country where I have family and connections, in fact in the same town where I grew up and where my parents and much of my family still live. It’s a job with benefits. It doesn’t pay much but it should pay enough to live on, or it would if I didn’t have crushing debt that I can’t ever seem to dig myself out from under (as it is, I’m drowning with unexpected expenses and debts related to major life stuff like moving out of state on short notice, having to pay insurance premiums for dependents up front, having to pay tuition at my degree-granting institution because I have to be enrolled but haven’t completed the work to graduate yet; each check is swallowed before it even hits my account, and I am always short of the bills and the grocery budget).

I tried a new psych med earlier this year, and lo and behold, it helped, for the first time ever. I also got diagnosed with a severe vitamin deficiency; between getting that treated and starting this new med, things were – are, ought to be – about 300% better in the landscape of my mind.

But I’m drowning. I’m drowning and I have no idea what else to do. I have always told myself to just hang on, that there was light at the end of the tunnel of school, military training, crappy jobs, problems with the offspring, whatever the trial or burden was. I told myself that the liminal stuff would eventually be over and all my hard work would eventually pay off. I would be able to catch my breath. It would all be worth it.

I am now faced with the horrifying possibility that I was wrong, that all the liminal spaces I lived in where I struggled and fought to keep my head above water were not the cause of my existential crises, irritability, malaise, depression, anxiety, whatever. I am the cause; my broken brain is the cause. Or else my life is the cause, the path I set out on. It comes to the same thing at this point; here I am, and the medication lets me fake it, and the other medication takes the worst edges off the really bad, prickly bits, but I’m faking it. I can make my face smile but it never reaches my eyes. I can make my words sound sincere but they aren’t connected to my heart. If they were, if I really said what I feel and answered questions truthfully, I wouldn’t be allowed to walk around in the general population, I wouldn’t be allowed to teach people’s children, I wouldn’t be allowed to raise my own.

It’s unbearable. Everything – absolutely everything – feels like a burden. Pretending to care is a burden. Getting out of bed is a burden. Forcing myself to make eye contact is a burden. Nodding and smiling is a burden. What isn’t a burden just yet will end up being a burden, because I got stuck on the satanic merry-go-round again in a bad way, and I don’t know how to get off. All the toil and effort, all the hopes and bursts of optimism, lead me here. And it’s untenable. Ironically, the only thing that doesn’t hurt is physical pain.

So I sound selfish, and insane, and irrational, and maybe all of that is true. But being asked to stay alive, being expected to live, for the sake of other people feels like another burden, in addition to also seeming ludicrous. I don’t suppose it will ever make sense to someone not blessed with this exact flavor of broken. I suppose I will always sound like a monster to you if you haven’t been here before. I suppose I will seem selfish and weak and lacking in willpower and creativity and stamina and enough of a work ethic to keep on going and to find a fucking solution no matter how many tries it takes.

But that isn’t going to matter ultimately. It isn’t going to matter what you think. I will run out of fucks to give, and I will run out of ways to defer my own exhaustion in order to avoid being a burden to other people, a mess, a trauma to scar my child, a failure to scar my parents, a slap in the face to everybody who ever tried to love me.  My endurance is finite. The string will break. And it won’t be a big explosion or collision, there will be no drama, and there will be no fuss. At least none that I create. I will simply stop. Probably not today. Maybe not tomorrow. Maybe not for a while. But eventually, I will stop.

And it will be an unimaginable relief.

I feel gross – broke and barfy and miserable and like my face is pasted on and i am one breath away from letting out the scream i feel like  i’m holding in all the time now. These bills — esp. tuition and insurance on top of significant debt — are killing me, and generous relatives can’t bail me out for the rest of my life. I don’t know how I got myself into a situation where I have an ok job but still can’t stay on to of my bills. This has to stop, something has to give, and I can’t keep living like this. I can’t. And I don’t see anything that can possibly give except me.

This is unbearable. Nothing in my life is an escape, is something with no element of burden or worry. Everything is a responsibility or has an element of anxiety associated with it – my child, my lover, my job, what used to be my hobbies, what used to be my dreams and ambitions. It happened gradually I guess, but here I am now with nothing for me and nothing left over to give. I feel like if the wind blew just right, I would blow away like the dessicated grey shell of an insect who’s long since rotted away on the inside.

Captured with Momento – http://momentoapp.com

Recommended reading.

JONATHAN TURLEY

article-2346882-1A77BC63000005DC-561_634x472Daniel Somers was a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom and served with Task Force Lightning, an intelligence unit. He ran more than 400 combat missions as a machine gunner in the turret of a Humvee and interviewed Iraqis and insurgents alike. When he returned, he had PTSD as well as traumatic brain injury and several other war-related conditions. On June 10, 2013, he wrote the letter below to his family. A heartfelt and heart-breaking account of pain and memories that he could not overcome. He tells his family that “I was made to participate in things, the enormity of which is hard to describe. War crimes, crimes against humanity.” You may have seen this but if not it is worth reading. It is worth considering the unfathomable cost of these wars that our politicians, including Obama, allowed to continue for years despite little sign of progress. Men and women like…

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PSA

If your pdoc keeps throwing SSRIs at your inability to sleep less than 12 hours a day, find the plot, feel vaguely human, or have any motivation, and the pills never do anything unless they make things worse with side effects, ask your GP to test for factors that might lead to oversleeping, generally living in a brain fog, feeling like everything has slowed way down, and feeling like somehow the sun just never comes out.

Hell, it might be a good idea to do that before you start SSRI Roulette.

Instead of playing more SSRI Roulette, I went to see the GP, and I should have done it a long time ago. It turns out I have low TSH and extremely low Vitamin D levels. I have a referral to an endocrinologist and it’s too soon to say what’s what, including what role my thyroid is playing in all this, but there’s a lot of correlation between Vit D deficiency and all kinds of freaky problems including oversleeping, depression, brain fog, low energy, severity of asthma, general aches and pains, etc.

More studies are needed to determine causality, but there’s some preliminary evidence that suggests that Vitamin D deficiency can fuck your shit up. Since it’s extremely hard to overdose on Vitamin D, and since it’s so hard to get through diet, upping your intake of Vitamin D probably can’t hurt anything for most people without contraindicated meds or medical conditions. That you should make sure your hormone and vitamin levels are in good shape before you assume depression probably ought to go without saying, but I have a history of depression, so several docs just assumed that was what was going on until I specifically made an appointment to ask the GP about bloodwork. And it took me about ten months of living in a fog, during which time I tried three different psych meds, to think of making that appointment.

David Trimmier: “In my humble opinion, this nation does not pay proper homage to those who have served her well under hostile circumstances,” he said.

WWII News

One of last surviving WWII ‘Merrill’s Marauders’ finally receives Bronze Star

 

See a photo of Stanley Sasine with his Bronze Star here.