Category Archives: The Great Anti-Antidepressant Experiment of 2011

The elephant in my head is back and this time she is a little snarky, to be honest.

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[Warning:  So.  I’m finally back to writing about what is really going on with me. If you’re new here — you should probably go read one of the funny posts…  This one is uncomfortable and itchy and not as funny as the lists, but ultimately better for me, and hopefully my process/floundering around can help someone else out there who is struggling… or just make you laugh, I don’t know.  Anyway.  This was a hard one to write.]

I need to write.

I think this has been established.

Over and over again.

I need to write. It’s what I do. It’s how I process. It’s who I am.
(it makes me laugh, it makes other people laugh with (at?) me, it makes things better every single time)

And, to be honest, somehow, without even really (consciously) trying — I have built the perfect life for a writer who isn’t really a full-time writer yet — I have a job that is basically seasonal — very very busy for 4-5 months and almost deadly slow the rest of the year, I have TONS of free time, my son is in college and, apparently (sniff), doesn’t need me much anymore, I’ve run out of sick/dying relatives to take care of (OUCH), I’m single, I don’t even have a pet to take care of for God’s sake.  There is no reason why I shouldn’t be writing my fucking heart out almost every single day.

Well, there is one reason.

Remember the benevolent and stubborn elephant in my head who tried to keep me from writing when my mom was dying, because she thought it would be too much for me?  She’s back.  She’s big.  And she doesn’t seem friendly…

ME:  “So.  You’re back.  What the fuck?”

ELEPHANT:  (Refusing to look at me, spraying what I can only imagine is delightfully cool water over herself, because apparently the inside of my brain is as hot as my body at this point….)  “Well isn’t this interesting…. she finally notices the blatantly obvious huge mass that is moi.  And we used to think she was so quick.”

ME:  “Who are you talking to?  I’m right here.  I can hear you.”

ELEPHANT:  (Turning to gaze down at me with what I can only describe as a bemused look on her face)  “Who am I talking to?  Who are you talking to?  That is the real question.”

ME:  (eyes rolling)  “Don’t act like I’m crazy, I’m not.  You wanna know how I know? The elephants in real crazy people’s heads don’t like to point out that they are not, in fact, real elephants.  Everybody knows that.”

ELEPHANT: (cocking her head and chuckling)  “Whatever you say, baby girl.”

ME:  “I’m not a baby and it is whatever I say.  I know you’re not, like, an actual “being”.  But you are big and powerful and once again you’re standing right the fuck in the way of EVERYTHING.  I need to write.  I need to write and I need to process and all this Big Scary Stuff is coming up for me and you know it and you won’t move and you won’t even let me begin to look at it.   I thought we agreed that you wouldn’t do this anymore.  Didn’t we have that agreement?  Why are you here again?”

ELEPHANT:  “A.  We did have an agreement. and B.  You broke it.  You’re the lawyer, what happens when agreements are broken?  The agreement is over, that’s what happens.  Law 101.  So I’m here.  And I’ve been here for a long time.”

Me:  “First of all, not all agreements are over if one person is in breach.  It depends on the kind of breach and the kind of contract and it’s all very convoluted and there’s never a simple answer, even though people want lawyers to give simple answers and OMG WHY IS MY LAWYER BRAIN ON RIGHT NOW???  How do you think I broke the agreement?”

ELEPHANT:  I said that I would stop worrying and not get in between you and your creative genius if you took care of yourself and didn’t get overwhelmed and depressed and lose yourself again and you said “of course I won’t do THAT again, look how healthy I am, look how I’m taking care of myself, of course you can stop worrying and protecting me from myself, I will never go down that road again, because I know what it looks like, I’m FINE…”  and you were fine, for awhile, sweet pea and then your mom died and you were still fine because you took care of yourself when you felt the grief turn to depression and you hung in there, but then things started changing and you started to lose yourself again and this time you didn’t see it, honey.  And I could see that you didn’t see it, so I came back to protect you.”

ME:  (trying to swallow lump in throat) “Oh. Thank you.”

ELEPHANT:   “Of course.”

ME: “You seem different.  Bigger.  More…. comprehensive?  I think you don’t just want to stop me from writing, you want to stop me from dealing with, or even looking at, the Big Scary Stuff that is being triggered all over the place for me right now.”

ELEPHANT:  “Yes, that’s true.  It’s too much.  You’re not ready.  If you start writing about it and dealing with it, it will overwhelm you and pull you under again and I can’t let that happen.  Better to avoid it altogether, I say.  Too messy.”

ME:  “I know you want to protect me, but I have to do this.  I have to look at the Big Scary Stuff now and I have to learn new ways to do things and I have to write about it.  It’s time.  I don’t want to keep living like this, I don’t want the Big Scary Stuff to control me and fuck things up and keep me from having what I most want and being who I really am.   Please move, please let me do this.”

ELEPHANT:  “I don’t think so.  You’ve said this before, and look what happened.  No, I think you’re better off avoiding it altogether.  You’re fine now, why change?”

ME:  “I’m not fine.  That is the point.  I’m not fine.  I’m very un-fine.  I am tired of repeating the same patterns over and over and over.  Nothing changes if nothing changes, right?  I’m alive. I’m surviving.  Sometimes I’m happy, but I am most definitely not fine.  And it’s not all hormones – some of it is, for sure.  And I’m working with a doctor to help with that.  I feel like everything (ok, most things) that are Big and Scary for me have been magnified and clarified for me in the last few weeks — in a very fucking uncomfortable and miserable way, but THANK GOD FOR CLARITY…. I know what I need to address, finally.  I really do.  And I am ready to do it now.  I really need you to work with me and help me do this, don’t stand in the way.  Don’t steer me away from what I have to do.  Don’t help me numb out, act out, do what I always do…. Help me change.  Please.”

ELEPHANT:  “No.  You’re not ready.  You know how I know you’re not ready?  You can’t even say what the Big Scary Stuff is out loud.  How do I know that you’ve gained some clarity when you can’t even say it?  Until you can say it, it’s dangerous to let you start working with it.  Like, tsunami of pain and shame and sad type of dangerous.”

ME:   “Fuck!”

ELEPHANT:  “That’s what I thought….”

ME:  (pulling myself back together and dusting off my shoulders)  “Fine.  Here’s what the Big Scary Stuff is — I am a huge black hole of needy insecurity.  I don’t even live in my body, I live in my head.  I don’t see what is going on around me because I’m so busy telling stories about it in my mind.  My mind can extrapolate the most amazing and negative stories that you will ever hear from virtually NO information.  [so I should be an AWESOME writer, right?] They are truly crazy and the best part about it is that I believe them….   And all of the stories involve me being unlovable, unloved, alone, doomed, ashamed, scared, useless, lazy, ugly, empty, dumb, a disappointment, failure, a mistake, an imposter and so on and so forth.  And because I believe all those things about myself, I don’t believe that anyone else could possibly value me.  And if they do somehow seem to value me, I question it and tear it apart and suck it dry.  And I don’t know how to give myself what I need, so I try to get it from other people (and, since I’m being painfully fucking honest, “people” = “men”, usually) — and I try to get it quickly because it’s an urgent need at this point — so I manipulate to get it and then don’t trust it when it comes, because of course I’ve manipulated it, so it isn’t real.  And when I can’t get what I think I desperately need exactly when I desperately need it – I can’t tolerate it.  I have to leave the relationship or keep escalating my attempts to get what I think I need and then I become bitchy and temper-tantrumish.  And if I DO get what I need?  I don’t really believe it, because deep down I am positive that I don’t deserve it and that somehow I was just so good at manipulating that I got it.  So I end up leaving the people who do love me, just as easily as I leave the people who don’t.  Because I can’t tell the difference.  Basically, I’m fucked up.  And exhausted.  And depressed.  And I want to learn how to be different.

ELEPHANT:   “Wow.  That’s big.  I know that was hard to figure out, much less admit out loud, sweet pea.  Do you see why I wanted to protect you?  I’m so proud of you.  I will go now, but I can’t promise not to come back.”

ME:  “I know.  Thank you.”

THE END

So.  There it is.  And here I am.  At least I’m writing.

xoxo

kim

p.s.  This was hard to write.  It’s hard to be vulnerable.  But it’s a process and I know it works for me to write/share.  But I’m not asking anyone out there to fix me, so don’t worry about that.  Support is great, though 🙂

p.s.s. or p.p.s. – whatever – Yes, I’m still doing the anti-antidepressant experiment, but am considering going back on them because this hole feels big and it snuck up on me and getting out of bed is hard.  Part of it is the heat.  I’m not kidding — if there isn’t a DSM for heat related depression, there should be.  This heat sucks the life out of me.

p.s.s.  It’s hot and I’ve been inside all day writing (writing!!!!!) – I’m heading to the beach now.  Somehow it always helps.  Look at this cool thing – from Pinterest.  I love Pinterest.

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p.s.s.s.  How is it the end of August?  Ugh.

p.s.s.s.s.  I’m playing with my wordpress theme again…. don’t worry, this isn’t the final choice 🙂

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Filed under My Big Book of Me, The Great Anti-Antidepressant Experiment of 2011, Uncategorized

Dear God, thanks for the preview of the average daily temperature in Hell. And the hormones. Love, Kim.

Hellfire_Wallpaper_auoy3

Saludos from Puerto Morelos, Mexico a/k/a the chosen land for God’s latest demonstration project:

“Here’s what HELL feels like, people.  Straighten up!”

Just kidding.

It’s not even that hot here today. Only like 95 degrees with 10,000 % humidity.  I’m sure it’s more hot and more miserable somewhere else in the world at this very minute. And wherever that is, you can be sure there’s some smug person thinking “95 degrees with 10,000% humidity? Ha! Child’s play. That is the middle of winter for us. We start wearing jackets when it gets below 120 degrees.”

And to that person, I say:

“FUCK OFF”

Because I’m assuming that, even if they do live somewhere with extreme heat (but is it humid?  that is my new question….), they are not also simultaneously suffering from wicked perimenopausal HORMONES. You know, the ones that are totally unpredictable and sometimes decide to heat things up from the inside? Kind of like spontaneous combustion only instead of dying immediately, you get to stay alive and conscious and suffer through the heat.  Also, I’m  assuming that the person in question is a man. And if you’ve been keeping up, you know how I’ve been feeling about THOSE kinds of humans these days.

But seriously.  It’s pretty hot.  And it’s NOT a dry heat.

Which means I have ZERO motivation to do, well, anything.  But also, and more relevant to this discussion, I’ve had no motivation to write.  Yet here I am, apparently.  Let’s do this!

LIST OF THINGS I’VE BEEN THINKING ABOUT and/or DOING WHILE SIMULTANEOUSLY BEING SUBJECTED TO EXTREME HEAT AND HUMIDITY AND HORMONES:

1.  As a preliminary matter: I know you’re not surprised that this is a list.  When was the last time I was able to post anything that wasn’t a list?  Oh wait — I guess we know when that was….  Here.  The very last thing I posted….  What is wrong with me?

2.  Is it just me, or do other people constantly wonder if they are losing their minds?  I’m pretty sure I have early onset Alzheimer’s.  Well, I was pretty sure that’s what I had, then I looked into it (on the internet, naturally) and decided that I might not have that exactly.  I mean, I have a LOT of the symptoms, but not all.  So I only practically have early onset Alzheimer’s.  Anyway.  Something is up.

3.  And I’m not kidding or minimizing Alzheimer’s disease.  It’s awful.  I really don’t want to have it.  But I do seem to forget things a lot.  Turns out some of that can be attributed to this whole perimenopause thing that I’m apparently caught up in.  Thanks again for the hormones, God.

4.  And then there’s a whole swath of my life which I can barely recall.  I call it the “Lost Decade”, but it might’ve been a bit longer than that…  But Lost Decade sounds dramatic.  I remember some things, but mostly it’s just fuzzy.  That has been really bothering me, so I looked into it and, believe it or not, actually talked to a doctor about it.  Heavy sigh.  It turns out that I can’t remember the Lost Decade very well because I was seriously overmedicating with clonazepam (like Xanax, only longer lasting).

Clonazepam is great.

I liked it, a lot.  But, apparently, you were only supposed to use it short term for acute anxiety and then you were supposed to learn other ways to deal with anxiety….. What?!  I used that drug for years and, consequently, didn’t even try to figure out how to deal with anxiety because the instant I felt even the little tingle of a teensy bit of anxiety (or any other emotion, if I’m honest)  I popped a clonazepam and numbed right back out.  Problem solved!  NOT… Anyway, it took me a full year to get off that medication and I’m still learning how to deal with anxiety/emotion without it (or any substance/person/activity, for that matter).  And the long-term effect of abusing clonazepam is (you guessed it!) MEMORY LOSS.  Apparently it interferes with the mechanism for making memories and with the mechanism for recall of memories.

5.  Heavy sigh.

6.  Once again, I’m writing about stuff that I had no intention of writing about.  At least not today.  But there it is.  I was a SUBSTANCE ABUSER.  It’s been hard to wrap my head around that and actually admit it.  Especially out loud.  And it makes me sad.  My son was growing up during those years and, although I was there physically, I certainly wasn’t all there emotionally/mentally.  Which was hard on him.  And everyone else who loves me or had to deal with me.

7.  Or maybe I’m just losing my mind because I’m getting OLD.  That’s possible, you know.  I’m practically FIFTY.

8.  And my baby will be 21 in just a few weeks…. WTF?  How does that happen?

9.  How am I almost 50 though? (I realize I’m only 48.  And a half.  But time is slippery and 50 will be here soon and then what?  Why is this freaking me out so much?)

10.  Oh.  Well.  In other news related to my early onset Alzheimer’s + HORMONES (and/or me just being a Horrible Person) – THIS will make you laugh/cringe….

Remember when I blamed Mercury for my bitchy behavior towards the Nice (well, mostly nice) Man a few weeks ago?

Well, after I wrote about what happened, I felt pretty bad (duh).  So I apologized.  And for some reason the Nice (well, mostly nice) Man forgave me.  AGAIN. (Surprise, surprise, that little episode was not the first time I had acted irrationally and unexplainably bitchy towards this particularly lucky fellow)  Which totally shocked me.

Anyway.

Almost immediately after the forgiving, the following exchange happened:

[Sitting with some friends, having wine, talking about relationships and how they are difficult under the best of circumstances, and even more difficult with cultural/language/age differences….]

Nice (well, mostly nice) Man:  “Sometimes Kim has these reactions that are crazy!  Like, it’s not normal….”

Me:  “What do you mean?” (instantly defensive and truly shocked that this has been said…)

Nice (well, mostly nice) Man:  “Seriously?” (truly shocked and a bit taken aback at the fact that I appear to be truly shocked…)

Me:  (up in arms) “What do you mean “not normal”?  What does that even MEAN?  Give me an example!” (thinking that obviously there’s some kind of weird cultural difference thing going on here, maybe the women he’s used to just aren’t allowed to have OPINIONS or something like that and he can just kiss my ass if that’s what he’s looking for because I will be DAMNED if I….”

Nice (well, mostly nice) Man:  “Kim…?  Really?” (genuinely confused and starting to wonder if I’m kidding…)

Me:  (really getting defensive now) “I’m serious.  Give me an example?  How are my reactions not normal?” (apparently I’m totally triggered by the words “not normal”)

Nice (well, mostly nice) Man:  “Sometimes you get a little bit crazy, Kim.  Like your reactions are way out of proportion to what has happened.”  (note: he’s very calm, and there is a hint of laughter in his voice, which is only pissing me off even more than being called “not normal” — which is , in itself, hilarious because, in general, I would be offended by being described as “normal”, but here we are….)

Me:  (pouting and wracking my brain for any behavior that might justifiably be called “not normal” or “crazy” and finding NO EXAMPLES…) “I have no idea what you are talking about!  (and now I’m on the verge of tears, probably because HORMONES) “And furthermore,  if I’m such a (using air quotes, because I’m an ass) “crazy bitch” why are you even hanging out with me?” (Note:  I’m the only one that said “crazy bitch”, he just said “crazy”)

Nice (well, mostly nice) Man:  (laughing, because what else could he do?) “Maybe I like the crazy bitch…”

Me:  “Hmmmmmmph!”

THIS. ACTUALLY. HAPPENED.

Yes.  In that moment, I was positively MYSTIFIED by his description of my behavior.  “How could he think that my reactions are not normal?”  Granted, wine consumption may have played a role in my failure to appreciate the humor of this situation, but it shouldn’t have been THAT hard for me to remember that I had JUST lost my shit on this poor guy, for pretty much no reason, a few days prior.

Alzheimer’s?  Hormones?  Horrible Person?

12.  And he’s still speaking to me, so I guess I have to change his name from “Nice (well, mostly nice) Man”.  To, at the very least, “Nice Man”.  Until further notice, of course.

xoxo,

kim

p.s.  OMG I GOT A CAR!!!! I can’t believe I didn’t tell you guys (fucking Mercury….) – yes, after a year of living without a car (remember that pendejo who stole it?  he’s still around and totally NOT incarcerated) I was finally able to buy one.  You’re going to laugh – I am ridiculously happy about this car, but it’s even older than the one that was stolen — it’s a 1999 Blazer — and it has a zillion miles on it and I say a little prayer every time I start the car asking her to hold together for me one more day and so far she has been perfect!  Her name is Blanquita.  And she’s mine 🙂

p.p.s.  I don’t really want to talk/write too much about the man formerly known as the Nice (well, mostly nice) Man because I might jinx it (hello) and also because there’s like a zillion reasons that it will probably never work out (whatever “work out” even means…) and I’m fully aware of all of them and still I’m kind of drawn to the fact that he hasn’t run away screaming and he doesn’t let me get away with much.  At all.  Which scares the shit out of me, but also is pretty good for me.  I think.  But seriously…. who wants to get involved with a woman on the verge of menopause?  I AM CRAZY.  He’s right!  Regardless of whether or not I was crazy before my hormones started flipping the fuck out (ummm, I probably was) I am nuts now.  My emotions are everywhere.  My body is weird.  I never know if I’m going to bleed/not bleed/ cramp/nightsweat/etc.  And I’m enormous.  Also – (WHEN DOES THE DEGRADATION OF WOMEN END, GOD??) – I’m hairy.  What could he possibly see that is at all attractive about me at this point?  I don’t get it.  And so I have a hard time trusting it.  Which is probably the exact wrong thing.

p.p.p.s.  OMG is my blog now about menopause?  How do I not have a post called “Because Hormones”?

p.p.p.p.s.  you learn something new every day — I always thought it was “racking my brain” – but the internet says it’s “wracking my brain” – huh.

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Filed under Oh Mexico..., The Great Anti-Antidepressant Experiment of 2011, Uncategorized

Sue (the pretend-Buddha iguana) is into games, apparently…

(Preliminary note:  I’m blogging from Starbucks.  In Cancun, Mexico.  I love the internet!)

Actually, Sue (the pretend-Buddha iguana who lives on my wall) is totally fucking with me, but I didn’t think I should use the “F” word in my blog title.

In short, Sue completely disappeared for a few days.

He wasn’t just missing from his usual spot on the wall.  He was nowhere to be found.  He wasn’t anywhere on the entire wall.  He wasn’t on the roof of the bodega.  He wasn’t in the bougainvillea tree/bush.  He wasn’t on the roof of my house.  He wasn’t in my house.

I was concerned.

This iguana (or one who looks a lot like him) has hung out on this wall for years.  And then, right after I wrote about him (and blew his pretend-Buddha/pretend iguana cover?), he disappears into thin air?

Coincidence?

I think not.

There’s really no reasonable explanation for his sudden disappearance other than the one my brain came up with:

Sue is mad at me.

(It has to be about me, obviously) 

Perhaps he doesn’t like the name Sue?  Maybe he didn’t enjoy how I described him as icky and not cuddly at all?  It’s possible he is upset that I doubt his Buddha-nature.  Maybe he was freaked out by all the attention?

Anyway.

I’ve spent more time than I really want to admit looking for this damn pretend-Buddha iguana.  Missing our little unspoken connection every time I looked out the living room window into his creepy peeping-Tom eyes.  Wishing I had not gotten so close trying to get a better picture of him.  Wondering if I had ruined his happy home on the wall with my attention/staring contests.

Mourning the loss of the imaginary relationship I had created in my mind.

(Hmmmm, this seems familiar….)

I went out at dawn this morning, thinking perhaps I could catch him on the wall before the day warmed up too much.  No sign of Sue.  I checked again at 8:00 a.m. when Carlos the construction guy and his sons came by the house.  Nada.  I looked around again at 10:00 a.m. as I was leaving to pick up a friend to take to the airport in Cancun.  No Sue.

Then, about five minutes later, I returned to the house to get the sunglasses I had forgotten to bring. 

And there he was.

Sue.

Just sitting there.  At his usual spot on the wall.  Pretending not to notice me.  Acting like nothing has happened.

WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN, SUE?!  WHY ARE YOU TOYING WITH ME LIKE THIS?  LOOK AT ME, DAMMIT!

You can see his response in the photo above.

Nose in the air.  Refusing to acknowledge me.  Evidencing nothing but callous disregard for my feelings.

And now I’m angry.

FUCK YOU, SUE.  I DON’T EVEN LIKE YOU.  YOU’RE AN UGLY, SPIKY IGUANA AND I’M NOT THE LEAST BIT ATTRACTED TO YOU.  FURTHERMORE, WE HAVE NO INTELLECTUAL CONNECTION.  I’M NOT EVEN SURE YOU HAVE A BRAIN.  WHAT A WASTE OF TIME AND ENERGY THIS COMPLETELY PRETEND RELATIONSHIP HAS BEEN.

Again, this seems familiar

And now I’m sensing a lesson.

Fucking pretend-Buddha iguanas.

YES – I see that sometimes I assume things are about me when they totally aren’t.

YES – I may have, occasionally, ignored reality and created a fantasy relationship and then been crushed when the actual relationship bore no resemblance to the fantasy.

and

YES – I’ve probably  “pursued” relationships with people (read: men) who I’m not really attracted to physically/intellectually simply because I wanted to “win” i.e., “not-lose”.

But why this lesson now, Sue?

I haven’t dated in eons (a year).  I’m completely shut-down (I did notice a nice-looking man reading an interesting book on the beach next to me yesterday).  And I’m totally unattractive (I’ve lost at least 10 lbs. since I’ve been back on anti-depressants/in Mexico).

Oh.

xoxo

kim

p.s.  I had no idea where this post was going when I started it…. and that is why I love writing even when I hate it.

p.s.s.  These aren’t exactly new lessons, FYI.  I guess I needed a refresher course?

p.s.s.s.  I love mocha frappuccinos!

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Filed under The Great Anti-Antidepressant Experiment of 2011, Writing and Not-Writing

Hello Grief? Meet Depression. Happy Monday.

It’s Monday again.

Another Monday before another Tuesday that marks another week that has passed since my artistic genius Mom (who had great hair) passed away.

It’s been 5 weeks.

And now I remember about the part where the real grief doesn’t start right after someone you love dies.  No, the first few weeks are just the warm-up – the prelude, if you will – to the fucked up marathon that is grief with a capital “G”. 

Lovely.

The first few weeks after a loss (in my limited experience) seem to be marked by surrealism.  Shock.  Senses dulled.  Inability to comprehend the situation.  Sweet sadness.  The world doesn’t stop, but it does seem to understand that something has happened and some slack is cut.  Understanding.  A pulling together.

Then the world moves on.  Things need to be done.  Papers filed, people notified, accounts closed.  Business taken care of.  Clothes packed away.  Expectations shift.  Cheer up, don’t wallow, life goes on, look on the bright side.

And now the grief sneaks up on me, and it is brutal.  It slices me open.  It brings me to my knees. 

There’s her car, her favorite color, a quote she would love, a funny story that I want to tell her, a baby she should be holding, a celebration she should be a part of, a new year she should be ringing in with me.

Oh, yes.  Hello Grief.  I remember you now.

And then there’s the Depression. 

(Which I’ve written about here and here and here and then I named it “Oscar” here and more here… )

Everyone around me (including me, of course) has been on a sort of heightened alert for “signs” that I’m slipping into depression (Depression Watch 2012?!).  Which is a little uncomfortable, but understandable, given my history and my mother’s history and my grandmother’s history and various other relatives-with-life-threatening-depression history,  plus the fact that my Great Anti-Antidepressant Experiment of 2011 remains in effect.

Anyway.

Yesterday I thought I was fine, “just” grieving.  Today I think it’s not just Grief.  Depression seems to have officially joined the party.

Heavy sigh.

And FUCK.

And why did I think this wouldn’t happen?

Those of you who haven’t been blessed with the gift of debilitating and horrifying bouts of depression might be thinking that it is easy to confuse Grief with Depression.

You would be wrong.

Grief and Depression are two totally different things/experiences/phenomena.

Grief says:  “My Mom died and I’m so very sad.  I miss her.  She was too young to die.  There’s a huge hole in my life.  I can’t believe she’s dead.  Is she dead?  I hate that she is dead.  Nothing will ever be the same.  I wish it hadn’t happened this way.  I want to call my Mom and tell her what happened today but I can’t.  My heart hurts.”

Depression says:  “Your Mom died and it’s your fault.  If you hadn’t asked her to come help you in the kitchen she wouldn’t have tried to get up and tripped on her dress and fallen and broken her hip and you would still be in Mexico and she would be happy and laughing with her friends and probably she would be so happy that her brain tumor would’ve stopped growing, or at least slowed down and she would’ve had more time.  You suck.  Also, you should have brought her straight home from the Dreaded Hospital after her hip surgery instead of taking her to the Awful and Sad Rehabilitation Center, if you had done that she would probably still be alive now.  Plus you suck for being such an emotional wreck — you knew she was going to die so why are you so shocked and upset about it now?  If you were any kind of a decent human being you would pull yourself together immediately and move on with your life and stop using the fact that your mother just died to excuse your incompetence.  But what’s the point, really? It’s all awfulness and doom and gloom from here on out.  It’s just a matter of time until you get ovarian cancer and die.  Alone.”

At it’s core, Grief seems to be complicated, prolonged sadness.  Depression is sadness + self-hatred + other awful things  feeding on each other and spiralling out of control.

Together they could destroy me.

So I’m calling on all my superpowers to fight back.  (I’m not sure what they are yet, but I am pretty sure I have some.)

And I’m going to the doctor to discuss going back on an antidepressant.

And I’m seeing my Wise Therapist as much as I can.

And I’ve now exercised Two Days In A Row.

And I just wrote a blog post, dammit.

xoxo

kim

p.s.  So I’m back in Colorado (yay! home!) staying with my Aunt and Uncle for a bit and then I’m going to head to Mexico and then we are going to have a non-Memorial party for my sweet Mommy and then I’m going to miraculously figure out what the fuck I’m going to do with the rest of my life and then I’m going to go do it, somewhere.

p.s.s.  OH, and please, please, please don’t think you need to write/comment and tell me that of course I’m not responsible for my Mom’s death.  I know that is the Depression talking.  Also, please, please, please no well-meaning advice on how I should or should not take antidepressants and which ones I should or should not take.  I just need this to be a safe space to process my stuff.  Out loud. 

p.s.s.s.  Isn’t the photograph here amazing?  I love that she’s not struggling and her face is to the sun.  Even though the sun is muted and filtered and weak from all the water surrounding her.  The photographer is the same woman who took the photo in my Monday pulls me under post, Toni Frissell.

 

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Filed under grief, The Caregiver with the Dragon Tattoo, The Great Anti-Antidepressant Experiment of 2011

All I can say about last week is that it is over and somehow I’m still alive. Also, I’m drunk.

Just kidding. 

I’m not even drinking.  Yet.

It’s still early.  And it’s Sunday, you guys.  I’m not a heathen. 

Here’s how my “when to drink” logic works:  If I went to church (which I never do)  I would probably still be there, or just getting out, so it’s clearly not appropriate to start drinking right now.  However, the Denver Broncos play in a few hours, which totally gives me a socially acceptable reason to drink on a Sunday afternoon in Colorado.  It would be even more socially acceptable if it were snowing and/or this were the Superbowl.  But it’s not.  It’s a beautiful, crisp, cool October Sunday and probably everyone else in the entire state is outside enjoying “nature” while I am inside (and planning to remain inside and in a prone position) trying to determine exactly when I should start drinking.

Perfect.

Going outside to enjoy nature would sound a lot more fun if I hadn’t spent 14 straight hours yesterday trudging up and down four flights of stairs carrying boxes/tape/cleaning supplies/other shit. 

Yes.  THE MOVE happened.  It took three big burly moving guys over 7 hours to move our stuff out of the house and onto the truck.

SEVEN HOURS.

And that, folks, is why you should NEVER move into a four-story rowhouse (with an awesome rooftop deck) unless you NEVER plan to move out.

(It also might be a teensy little indication that my Mom and I need to, ummm, get rid of some stuff….?)

Every muscle in my body hurts.  My hair hurts.  My fingernails hurt.  My back hates my guts.  And my feet simply refuse to cooperate today.  They are swollen and screaming at me and they will not go into any of my shoes except flip-flops.

Anyway. 

The move wouldn’t have happened and I would probably be locked in an inpatient facility if my Aunt Marcia hadn’t read my pitiful post from last Sunday and decided to drop everything to come help me.  Which makes me feel awful and horrible and grateful and cared-for all at the same time.  She was so gracious and helped me through the worst emotional parts of packing up all Mom’s art and art supplies, etc. and kept me moving when I wanted to crumble and climb back under the covers.  Every part of her being here with me was a gift.  Everyone needs an Aunt Marcia.

Everyone also needs a friend Marie.  FYI.

Marie showed up in about hour 6 of the movers trudging up and down the stairs when I could see the light at the end of the tunnel but I knew that I still had things to pack into my car before the day was over and I was hitting a WALL.  I didn’t want to touch another box or make another decision or even move my mouth to make words.  That is how burned out I was.  Marie took one look at me, attempted to have an intelligent discussion with me and then proceeded to just pull the shit together and load it into the car.  And then she took me to dinner and helped me unload the damn car and gave me a Jin Shin treatment.  Is she even human, I ask?  Who does that kind of crap for other people?  Marie.  That’s who.

So.  Now I’m laying on my brother and sister-in-law’s couch with my feet up trying to wrap my head around the fact that the move is done and figure out what else needs to be done before I leave town to go meet up with my Mom in Tampa.

Oh.  And I need to figure out what I’m going to write a NOVEL about before midnight tomorrow, when I start writing it…. 🙂

Totally excited for NaNoWriMo and I actually do have a few ideas “fleshed out” for the novel.  (Get your mind out of the gutter, yo.)  I think it is going to be a whole new genre — horror/thriller/chick lit/romance/fantasy/hilarious…..  which means it would never be published in the “real world” but could be very fun to write.

Big thanks for all the amazing support from the commenters and those of you who wrote me directly.  It’s crazy how very real the love/support/hilarity of  “virtual” friends can be and I’m so grateful!

Game starts in 40 minutes.  Must find alcohol.

Go Broncos!

xoxo

kim

p.s.  OH, totally forgot to mention that Hurricane Rina (which was heading straight for my Mom’s house in Puerto Morelos, MX) kind of petered out before she got to Puerto Morelos (Thank God) and it sounds like the town and Mom’s house suffered from heavy rains and some localized flooding but was otherwise spared the full wrath of a hurricane.  We should be there a week from today!!!!!

p.s.s.  My rules for drinking in Mexico on Sundays are different.  I’ll explain later….

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Filed under The Great Anti-Antidepressant Experiment of 2011, Uncategorized

News Flash: I haven’t figured my shit out yet and fuck you Buddha, I am the Queen of Resistance!

I know you guys were all “Oh, look, Kim is finally making some progress!” after I wrote that last post re: Me and Buddha Me

Even I believed that I had made a little baby step toward sanity.  And maybe I did.  But since then…?

GIANT STEPS BACKWARD.

A lot of them.

While acceptance sounds good and is probably (absolutely) the best way to go, I’m sticking with resistance and resentment, naturally.

Why practice acceptance and calmness when I can spend every waking hour with anxious thoughts churning in my head and no resolution, ever?

Why indeed.

Except “why” is never the right question, really. 

The answer to “why”, in my experience, is never very satisfying.

I think asking “why” is just inviting pure speculation or, perhaps worse, the actual, horrific truth.

Why did you murder those people?

My childhood was fucked up.

Is that true?

No.  I’m just speculating.

Then why did you murder the people?

I just felt like it.

But why?!!

My childhood was fucked up???

(I have an unnatural interest in serial killers, FYI)

Anyway.

“Why?” rarely leads to a satisfying answer, in my humble opinion.

But I digress.

It doesn’t matter “why” I’m choosing to be the Queen of Resistance (!!) with ninja resentment skills, I just am.

Except it is not satisfying at all, because I’m pretending that I’m not the Queen of Resistance (“It is what it is……”) and hiding my ninja resentment skills (“I’m so happy (insert someone else’s name) has this exciting opportunity right now!)

So, maybe the key is to dive into it, embrace the resistance (Resistance!), roll around with the resentment (Resentment!), feel all the icky, horrible feelings that I’ve been trying not to feel (or at least not admit to feeling) and let loose a hugely satisfying FUCK YOU to all of it.

(I realize that this may not, in fact, be THE KEY to getting past all the resistance (Resistance!) and resentment (Resentment!), but at least it is a fucking plan, and that is more than I had 10 minutes ago.)

(Plus, I’m not at home right now, and won’t be until tomorrow, so I have some time to be with my issues before I have to cheerfully resume my caregiving.)

So.

Let the embracing and reveling begin!

I am the Queen of Resistance! (think french pronunciation, s’il vous plait) and I am Unhappy with the Way Things Are.  I don’t like it!  At all!  It’s Completely Fucked, I say.  I object!  Yes, that’s it, I strenuously object to all this Shit!  Put that on the record, Jeeves.  Furthermore, I hereby proclaim that all the land shall be aware of my ninja resentment skills.  How?  I shall resent all the people, of course!  I resent You and You and even little you.  If you are not having a completely miserable life that is seemingly dictated by events/people beyond your control, I hereby resent the SHIT out of you.  If you’re my siblings who are doing the very best you can to be supportive, I love you with all my heart and I resent every minute that your lives aren’t dictated by Mom’s illness/needs/desires.  It sucks, but it is true.  Are you in love?  I Resent You!  Do you have a group of supportive friends who do girl things all the time?  I Resent You!  A great marriage/relationship?  Oh, How I Resent You!  Do you have a job/income?  Resentment!  Perhaps I would be less skilled in resentment if I were not the Queen of Resistance.  Or vice versa.  Who knows?  Not I.  (Not me?) (I don’t!) 

If I had really made it safe for myself to feel these feelings, I think I would be feeling a little better right now, having gotten some of that off my chest. 

Unfortunately, it’s not really all that safe to be exposing this stuff out loud on my blog, so I’m a little cringe-y and “yikes!” about it all.

I suspect the trick (if, indeed there is a trick) may be finding a truly safe way to express this stuff and get some assistance in processing it from someone who isn’t related to me, or my Mom.

I’m pretty sure that is called “therapy”.

I think I just decided that I absolutely need therapy.

(and oh, how the monsters go wild “but you can’t afford therapy because you can’t have a job because you have to take care of your mom and even if you did have money for therapy how could you fit it in around her Dr. stuff/needs and you’re never going to be able to find a therapist when you live on the farm, which you have no choice about, or do you?  therapy would help to figure that out….”)

SOMEBODY GET ME A THERAPIST!

Stat!

xoxo

kim

p.s.  I got to see my awesome son on Friday and I get to see him again tonight!  Yay!  He loves college!  I love him!  I love being able to hang out at my Aunt’s house and be very close to him without appearing to be a stalker… 😉

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Filed under Cancer sucks., The Great Anti-Antidepressant Experiment of 2011, Uncategorized

I found Buddha on the farm. Or he found me. Anyway, we’re still here.

(view out the front door of Amache Studio on the farm)

(oh, and i probably shouldn’t have posted this, it’s not like i’ve resolved anything here…just revealed more of my horrible, selfish nature and yet another voice in my head… you’ve been warned.)

Here’s what I haven’t been doing since I last wrote, almost a week ago:

1.  Writing.

2.  Driving back to Denver.

3.  Practicing acceptance.

Here’s what I have been doing:

1.  Sitting down to write.

2.  Driving back and forth to town.  Just to make sure town is still there…

3.  Struggling.  Resisting.  Creating constant turmoil in my brain.

And then I started reading “How to Be Sick:  A Buddhist-Inspired Guide for the Chronically Ill And their Caregivers (emphasis added!) by Toni Bernhard, and things started to change.

I’ve flirted with Buddhism for decades.  Meaning (of course) that I’ve read a lot of books about Buddhism, without ever really trying to practice it in any meaningful way.  It appeals to me on so many levels, I just don’t know how committed I am to being that good

For one thing, I seriously doubt my ability to maintain the “loving kindness towards all beings” thing for any significant period of time.

That being said, this “How to be Sick” book is serving to remind me, ONCE AGAIN, that acceptance is much more pleasant than constant suffering + suffering over the fact that there is constant suffering + guilt about wasting time suffering.

Acceptance.

Who knew?

(that is a joke, y’all…. cuz a LOT of people knew, even me, then I forgot.)

Anyway.

So, I’m reading this book (and I’m still not done with it) and I start to notice that there is a new “voice” in the mix, you know, in my head.

Me:  “Hey, Mr. Smooth-Talker, who are you?”

Buddha-Me:  “I am your Buddha-nature.”

Me:  “I start reading one book about Buddhism and all of the sudden I have a Buddha-nature? That seems a little too convenient.”

Buddha-Me:  “I’ve always been here.”

Me:  “No, dude, I’VE always been here, you are NOT a regular.”

Buddha-Me:  “I’ve always been here.  Sometimes you notice me, sometimes you don’t.  You change.  I am constant.”

Me:  “Huh.  Now what.”

Buddha-Me:  “I don’t know.  You’ve been pretty busy struggling and resisting everything this week, it’s been hard to watch.”

Me:  “Sorry my head isn’t a more hospitable place to be right now.  Not only is the Mass of Dark Matter still just sitting out there teeming with issues, now I’m stuck on the farm with my Mom, who is totally depressed and sick and has now decided that we need to move here, like, for the duration, whatever that means.  Which brings up all sorts of crap for me — I know she just wants to be in her house (which she loves) surrounded by her stuff (which she loves) and around some friends (who she loves) but her doctors/clinical trial program are at least a four hour drive away from here (in good weather) and we have to go see the Dr. at least one time a week, which translates to a FUCK TON of driving for me (she doesn’t drive) and my life is there and my son is there (or at least closer to there than here…) and while I could grow to love this place, I’m not smitten right now — I’m really not in love with the constant wind, the dust, the bugs, the smell from the feedlots (when the wind blows a certain direction) the water (it’s very hard water that is treated with some chemicals specifically formulated to Make Kim’s Hair Limp and Unmanageable and Ugly) or the fact that there is no coffee shop with free Wi-Fi and a comfortable atmosphere for writing within 50 square miles.  Plus I have all this outsider fear/anxiety.  We moved a lot when I was growing up and, consequently,  I was always the outsider/new girl/weird chick from somewhere else and now she wants me to do it again.  Here.  Which I’ve already done once in my life and then had to move again.  I’m barely keeping myself out of a Great Depression right now, how is that going to work when I’m isolated on the farm with my depressed Mom?  That scares me.  A lot.  Anyway.  What can I do about it?  I have no choice.  I’m the designated caregiver.  (And don’t you know there are some issues about that….) It’s not like I can just quit.  “OH, now you’re really sick and it’s all downhill from here, I don’t think I want to do this whole “caregiving” thing any longer, work it out with your other kids, Mom…” And, of course, I’m not working (because I’m the caregiver) so my vote on where we should be really doesn’t carry much weight.  Which doesn’t feel good (AT ALL), but pretty much is just the way it is.”

Buddha-Me:  “You don’t have any control over a lot of things that are impacting your life.”

Me:  “No, I don’t have any control and that is the problem!”

Buddha-Me:  “Is that true?”

Me:  “What?  Yes it’s true – you just said it!”

Buddha-Me:  “No, I just acknowledged that you don’t have any control over some things that are impacting you.  I didn’t say it was “the problem”…”

Me:  “Oh.”

Buddha-Me:  “The things you can’t control are just things you can’t control.  They exist.  Your Mom is very sick and needs a caregiver.  You are the caregiver and you’re not willing to quit right now.  Being her caregiver means you have very little control over your time.  So what is the problem?”

Me:  “The problem is that I don’t like it.  Any of it.  I want it to be different.”

Buddha-Me:  “But it isn’t different.  It is what it is.  You know that.  None of the churning and angst and sad and fear going on in your brain is changing anything, it is just making you crazy.”

Me:  (heavy sigh)

Buddha-Me:  “What if you just accepted that this is how things are now and stopped the struggle?”

Me:  “It sounds nice, in theory.  I am just not sure I know how to stop the struggle.  It seems like it should be easy, but it feels like it isn’t so easy to do in real life.  Which is dumb, because the struggle is not good for me or for my Mom.”

Buddha-Me:  “Can you even imagine stopping the struggle?”

Me:  “Kind of.”

Buddha-Me:  “Well there you go.  Progress.”

(Stay tuned.  This discussion is difficult to have, and difficult to write (it’s been 2 days in the making already…) and it isn’t finished.  We’re driving back to Denver tomorrow (for real this time) and then busy with Dr. appointments Tuesday/Wednesday – I plan to write (ha…) from the hospital Wednesday, but no promises…)

xoxo

kim

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Filed under The Great Anti-Antidepressant Experiment of 2011, Uncategorized