Aaaaand crash.

The last couple of days have been really hard. The suicidal despair is back in full force, enough that I asked Jenny “The Bloggess” Lawson over Twitter last night what she does when “you know depression lies and don’t care? When loved ones aren’t enough and meds feel like the lie?” At that moment, I couldn’t think of anyone else to ask. I couldn’t think of anyone better to ask.

Her reply, which I read in the morning: “I call the suicide hotline. I talk to my shrink. I find friends who understand. Hold on. You’re worth it.”

I began tearing up and replied, “Talking’s not working anymore. A friend gave me permission to go after my cats have, but I can feel myself slipping. I’m trying to give myself something definite to look forward to, but starting to doubt I’ll make it that far.”

For context: the “something definite” is a potential feathered companion, specifically a lineolated parakeet (aka “linnie”), one of which I had the pleasure of meeting when I ventured out to a local bird shop on Friday. The shop has boarding space and the linnie in question was one of many charming birds staying there. I’d been entertaining the idea of a blue budgie, but the linnie won me over.

Jenny answered, “[C]all the suicide hotline. Right now. Your mind is fucking with you. It’s hard, I know, but you can do this. When I get like that it’s usually time for a medication change. It’s gonna be okay. Keep fighting.” Two others following her Twitter feed took the time to reach out as well, one with a single tweet, the other with several.

I’d arranged with a friend last week for an outing today, which I managed to follow through on despite myself, and she made sure I didn’t do anything dumb by keeping me sufficiently distracted with food, drink, and shinies from a local “witchery market.” I admit to feeling guilty about how much she spent on me, for all that I can’t deny that the baubles I chose made me feel better when I donned them.

I saw the tweets after I got home, and wrote all three to thank them for their kindness and that I would make it through today at the least. I’m not sure how long this comparatively good mood will last, but I’m definitely going to let my psychiatrist know what happened and will beg her for help.

I just hope she will.

Past me: still relevant.

I wrote this when I was 40. The only things that have changed since are that I’ve gotten older (I’ll be 42 this summer), I’m more actively suicidal, and more disorders have been identified.


I’m depressed.

I’ve been clinically depressed since I was a child. I just didn’t have a name for it then.

I was raised by people from the old country who still believe it’s possible to be successful as part of the machine. They’re too softhearted to be asshole enough to achieve that success in what they’re trying to be successful at. They tell me with one breath how smart I am, then tell me with the next I don’t know what I’m talking about. They tell me to tell them of things I’m interested in, only for me to watch their attention fade while I’m in mid-sentence and begin talking about something else entirely to someone else, usually each other, and all of a sudden I’m reminded I’m important to them only when it’s convenient.

I got my mom’s Asperger’s and inattentive type ADD, which she vehemently denies. I got my dad’s systemic lupus and rheumatoid arthritis, which he not only does not deny, but regrets. The other congenital disorders and comorbids teem about these four, topped with a huge whack of major depressive disorder with anxiety. It’s been a peculiar and lonely kind of hell.

I saw when I was six years old that doing whatever other people wanted wasn’t going to make me happy. I still tried to make everyone else happy in the ways that I knew how and failed miserably. I finally said fuck it in my twenties and stuck to doing whatever I wanted. I was told — am still told — that I’m a failure because I don’t fit in the machine anywhere. I don’t benefit the machine. I chugged on stubbornly anyway because I wanted to be happy for myself. If all this misshapen cog is going to do is roll down a hill, at least I’m free to do so and not stuck believing I have to have a set place.

Now I’m forty, and the other night I said fuck it again — except this time it was the resigned kind of fuck it. I realised I will not be successful as I define it in the things I did that made me happy. I realised that my parents still want to define my worth by how well I fit in some other machine. I realised that the hill I’ve been rolling down is made of gravel, and all the nicks, dents and pockmarks are adding up on top of what’s already made me useless (hello, brand new liver damage). I realised that I have very few friends and very few small comforts, and that these now comprise the entirety of how I pass my days in my peculiar little hell. And I realised that I was less okay and more resigned to that being the case until the day the gravel catches up and I stop rolling.

Everything — every machine the system proudly touts — I tried to believe in has failed me, including the one I tried to make of myself. I can only hope now to outlive my cats.

Some medicare.

I slept another ten hours after my last post, effectively blitzing out Sunday. I’m still tired.

Made it to the doctor. He chuckled a little, winced some, and shook his head at the descriptions of my dementia episodes et al last week, and agreed that it had to be a side effect of that medication. He didn’t think there was a need for Alzheimer’s testing, however, but went to the effort of looking up the med’s information to see if anything about it could cause such effects. Nothing of note came up, so it’s possible I’m just one of the lucky sods who reacts poorly to it.

At my mention of partial deafness, he did a quick check and found some fluid behind my eardrums, likely left over from the wicked cold I got at year’s end rather than the med, so he gave me something for that. I hope it works.

I admit his reactions had me unsure whether he was taking me seriously — I know how ridiculous those dementia episodes sounded — until I told him I was scared. The levity faded at that point, but I think he’ll worry only if I start showing some kind of permanent damage as a result of the one dose I took.

Tomorrow, I get to see an anaesthesiologist for pre-surgical screening. I go under the knife in three weeks to extract bits that have been making me sick for decades, and it’ll be a relief to finally have them gone. I know I’ll be in good hands for the procedure, so I’m trying to tell the anxiety to shove off until it’s actually time to be anxious, but it never listens.

At least it won’t cost me anything. Hurray for this aspect of Canadian healthcare.

The insomnia-hypersomnia cycle.

Insomnia: when I’ve been awake so long that the fibromyalgia and rheumatoid begin screaming along every sinew and joint; when my brain insists on plodding on further through activities I don’t recall performing; when 3 am is suddenly 10 am and how I got there is a blank; when I know I should be incoherent with fatigue and the sustained ache.

And yet I’m not, because fresh, sharp pain is more interesting to inflict upon myself despite my throbbing joints. The fingernails I’ve partly torn off can attest to that.


Slept 15 hours so far. My right hip is bruised from lying on it. I did manage to wake and feed the cats, though I almost didn’t. I readily admit that I’d be sleeping a lot more in general if I didn’t have them — assuming I was alive at all; one is a therapy cat — and yet I know I’m not doing them any favours. I shouldn’t have pets by this reckoning, but if I didn’t, I’d definitely be dead.

What does one do in such a situation?

This one, at least, is now going back to sleep.

Rollercoaster.

Things I did today:

  • Woke up and stayed awake.
  • Managed to take meds.
  • Washed dishes.
  • Cleaned litterboxes.
  • Started cleaning up my Internet footprints.
  • Finished reading a book.

 

I also finally told my closest friend that I’d hit suicidal levels this week and apologised for piling it on her. The reaction was an understandably mixed one of “I’d rather you told me” and “oh god I don’t want to hear this”.

I really do feel it pointless to burden what friends I have with depressing shit they can’t fix or otherwise help; thus far, two of them have said it doesn’t seem fair, that I should be able to talk about it. I’d discuss it if it helped me feel better in some way, but it doesn’t. It feels more like an inevitability at this point.

I guess that’s what this blog is for: letting me spew quietly into the void rather than asking my friends to catch the rocks I’m throwing. I don’t want to hurt them.

Part of me is intent on keeping my promise to my cats, or at least the one that proved to be my therapy cat. Part of me just wants to leave already.

I realised recently that my situation is not unlike the Rat Park experiment. I’m mentally and physically incapable of getting out of my current circumstances, which results in a lot of crushing despair, to put it mildly, and I end up engaging in self-destructive behaviour — either drinking alcohol or things that result in me bleeding — because I have nothing else to do. I’d definitely be drinking a lot more if I had the money to.

Ironically, I wouldn’t be drinking if financial stress didn’t comprise a large chunk of my despair. My various illnesses prevent me from keeping a regular job, and any money I’d earn via self-employment would be deducted dollar for dollar from what government income I have now. There’s just no way out except the permanent one.


I feel like such a hypocrite trying to help my friends when I feel this way.

 

And I did it again.

This time I poured fresh coffee grounds into my bowl instead of the oatmeal I meant to have. Realised what I was doing when I saw dark brown instead of pale brown and white.

I’m now seriously wondering if the new medication I took is responsible for this as well as the thing with the jars, and maybe the strange, narcoleptic-like sleep I’ve been having. If I can manage to get myself out of bed tomorrow, I’ll go to the doctor and get myself tested for Alzheimer’s, or at least be assessed for induced dementia.

One way or another, this can’t continue.


Appointment is Monday. It was the next available one he had.

I’m so tired.

A conversation.

(19:48:44) Friend: have you ever seen Lileks’ “Gallery of Regrettable Food”?
(19:49:28) Me: That rings a horrified bell covered in green aspic
(19:51:51) Friend: MEAT! MEAT! MEAT!
(19:52:00) Friend: my favourite is the 10 PM Cookbook
(19:52:54) Friend: http://www.lileks.com/institute/gallery/
(19:53:13) Friend: Son of Cooking With 7-Up
(19:55:20) Friend: this is my favourite out of all of them. white hetero men masculinity has always been this fragile http://www.lileks.com/institute/gallery/10PM%20/2.html
(19:55:37) Me: AHAHAHA OH GOD
(19:56:40) Friend: not only must you remind them that they’re MEN, but also that they’re still CHILDREN pretending to be grown-ups
(19:56:55) Friend: PHALLIC BEANIE WEENIES, the rutting stags demand
(19:57:43) Friend: nb, nothing wrong with beanie weenies. indulge your inner child all you want. just…. don’t pretend that isn’t what you’re doing
(19:58:05) Friend: and for gods sakes, don’t turn them into penises
(19:58:15) Me: Yes, it’s always been that fragile, as shown by antagonisticouture.com
(20:01:01) Friend: http://www.lileks.com/institute/gallery/10PM%20/1.html
(20:01:15) Friend: MMM YUMMY
(20:02:43) Friend: although i’ll caveat, one of my favourite winter appetisers is James Barber’s consomme
(20:03:33) Friend: you heat canned consomme, then put a bit of sherry or port into mugs, pour the soup in, and float a lemon slice. it’s much tastier than canned cream of chicken soup
(20:03:46) Friend: ah i see you’ve gone to throw up
(20:03:46) Me <AUTO-REPLY>: I’m not here right now
(20:04:46) Me: xD No, I went to get meds. I kind of haven’t been taking them.
(20:04:57) Friend: tsk tsk
(20:06:39) Me: I have a couple of wordpress blogs, one of which is written with a dreamlike quality, the other (which I started yesterday) is a very straightforward, no-punches-pulled chronicle of what it’s like to live with mental illness. Something about the latter gained it an immediate follower whom I didn’t already know.
(20:08:23) Me: It has only two posts on it and the second mostly addresses why I’ve been skipping my meds.
(20:09:59) Friend: *nod*
(20:10:15) Friend: i saw your new twitter nick, Mass Effexor. i thought it was priceless
(20:10:17) Me: https://justmentallyillthings.wordpress.com if you’re up for reading
(20:10:20) Me: Hehe
(20:10:23) Friend: and having been on Effexor, i understand
(20:11:09) Me: It’s what fucked my memory to begin with, or at least started the avalanche rolling a lot faster than it might otherwise have done
(20:13:57) Me: I purposely made the background hospital-scrub green, reminiscent of #hospitalglam.
(20:14:21) Friend: *nodnod* yeah it left me with fucked memory too
(20:14:34) Friend: after the damage already done by the sinequan
(20:15:00) Friend: but it did start to help a little, eventually. turns out that, at high dosages, it starts acting as a dopamine reuptake inhibitor
(20:15:25) Me: It made me feel like a human being again instead of a ball of suicidal misery
(20:15:37) Me: I discovered too late that it was linked to memory loss
(20:16:16) Friend: same
(20:16:39) Me: I’m wondering if I should get myself tested for Alzheimer’s
(20:16:55) Friend: it didn’t help me enough, i felt like a ball of suicidal misery with memory loss
(20:17:26) Friend: i still have memory damage and i compensate as best i can. welbutrin makes me feel human and able to be happy.
(20:18:13) Friend: i’m “okay” with the effexor damage, i did that to myself and it was done with good intentions on all parties parts. the sinequan damage is another story. that was my parents trying to drug me into submission to their abuse
(20:18:32) Me: Wellbutrin didn’t work for me. :/ Brand-name Cipralex does, but only marginally. The psych had me try a new class of drug, saying it’d kick in in about a week, but the next day I woke slightly deaf in my left ear.
(20:18:44) Me: Oh god >.<
(20:19:04) Friend: yikes! no not good
(20:19:46) Me: You know how things sound when you have a cold stuffing up your ears and sounds are a bit muffled? That’s what it felt like, except without the actual clogging.
(20:20:10) Friend: well, if you ever do decide to check out on your own, which i know you won’t do as long as you have kitties depending on you, i just want you to know i will miss you and i will grieve, but i will also understand why
(20:20:25) Friend: and i certainly won’t hold it against you or blame you. i’ve been there too many times myself
(20:20:38) Me: I just got teary-eyed and want to hug you
(20:21:55) Me: Thank you. It’s very likely that I will come visit you after the fact for a bit, or at least that’s my intent.
(20:24:17) Friend: i expect so
(20:24:31) Friend: but i know you won’t go while you have kitties depending on you
(20:24:42) Friend: you don’t trust anyone to care for them properly
(20:24:54) Me: You’re right about that.
(20:25:09) Friend: and the thought of them confused, wondering ‘what happened to our mom? where’d she go? why are we here?” is too hard on you, as it is on me
(20:25:20) Friend: “no empathy” my ass, we have PLENTY of empathy
(20:25:43) Me: Eowyn might adjust to someone else, but Immi wouldn’t
(20:27:04) Me: Though the idea of taking them with me has crossed my mind, it’s horrendously selfish and I could never bring myself to do it
(20:27:55) Friend: yeah no that’s wrong. that’s murder.
(20:28:11) Friend: suicide is one thing, murder is 100% another and then I WOULD judge you
(20:28:29) Me: And you’d have every right to
(20:30:19) Me: I love them too much to do such a godawful thing
(20:33:55) Friend: i know

Me, [20:52] In a strange way, I feel like I got permission
Friend, [20:52] Not before kitties
Me, [20:52] *nods* Not before kitties.
Friend, [20:53] I say things people don’t like to be said but sometimes some people need to hear
Me, [20:53] I will live as long as I have a cat
Friend, [20:53] And my religion doesn’t see it as a sin
Friend, [20:54] Unless your memory loss endangers the lives of the cats
Me, [20:54] Oh, definitely. Their lives come before mine.
Friend, [20:54] Then it’s a hard choice
Friend, [20:54] Hopefully it won’t ever come to that