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.


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:
(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
(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
(20:01:01) Friend:
(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: 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