cripsy13

Musings, mutterings from the misguided.


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Picking myself up off the floor, one inch at a time…

Since my ‘incident’ of 3 weeks ago, things have been…well…frankly, fucking awful.

I’m now on medical leave with yet another bout of severe depression.  Almost one year ago to the date.  Time flies when you’re having fun.  Right.  (That was sarcasm).

I’m now no longer taking Cymbalta (thank GOD), but have had a few set backs since my final dose.  My doctor (bless her) put me on a new medication, which caused me to have serious allergic reactions (swollen eyes, swollen eyelids, unable to breathe properly) and they did NOTHING to improve my quickly dwindling mental well being.  I saw her this past week and she took me off of those and has put me back on a medication that I used to take, but went off of it because of the ‘flat lining’ effect that I get with all anti depressants when I’ve been on them for a long time.

I’m beginning to think that having no emotion whatsoever would be preferable to what I’m experiencing right now.

Usually when I go through a bout of depression, I’m basically just sad and very lethargic.  I work with my counsellor(s) and talk things out and the meds start to kick in and I’m back to the land of the living again.  However, this time, things are much, MUCH different.

I’m madangrysadpissedoffweepyfullofragecryinglikeababyfuckyou!ihatemyselfihateyouihateeveryone – it’s everything; all at once.  And, it’s tiring and scary.

I woke up this morning feeling pretty good.  I had planned to run a few errands (I’ve been away from work since last Thursday and haven’t been out).  I had a coffee, watched the news…the usual.  Then I weighed myself.  And somehow, even after kicking my wine habit (25 days!), eating healthy (for the most part) and even exercising (I’m trying to swim every couple of days) I’ve gained 10 lbs.  The highest weight I’ve ever been and it puts me in that ‘OMG, YOU ARE TOO FAT TO LIVE, SO JUST GIVE UP NOW‘ category (apologies to those of you who find this offensive; it’s about me, not you).  Then an all consuming anger took over me.  I screamed and picked that fucking scale up over my head and SMASHED it onto my floor (which now bears a bunch of scratches).  I saw red.  I started to cry uncontrollable, heaving sobs that were filled with deep, soul destroying feelings and I could barely catch my breath.  In order not to throw the scale (and myself) over the balcony, I paced around my apartment until I could breathe properly.  Then the condemnation came from inside of myself.  “You are disgusting.”  “You are a waste of space.”  “You are so fat and disgusting, you shouldn’t be allowed to live.”  “You will never be loved.”

I sat for a few moments and tried to compose myself and in about 15 minutes, it was gone and I was completely exhausted.  I felt nothing.  I didn’t feel sad, mad, manic, angry – nada.  Something inside of me switched off.  I showered, went out and did some errands, all the while, completely numb.  Some guy cut me off in traffic and I barely flinched.  One of the clerks in the store said hello and asked me how I was and I mumbled ‘fine’ and walked away, when normally I would engage in conversation with her because she is such a lovely person.

I got home and put my things away and sat down and had lunch.  Then my sister called and by the time we were finished talking, I was once again feeling madangrysadpissedoffweepyfullofragecryinglikeababyfuckyou!ihatemyselfihateyouihateeveryone and had to hang up before our conversation was finished because I couldn’t speak.  She was only trying to help; I didn’t want it.

I sit here, right this minute, on the verge of tears for reasons I can’t explain to you – let alone myself.  I sort of feel like that guy in Alien who had that nasty creature explode from his chest:

Alien Stomach

 

I’m just waiting for it to explode from MY chest because then maybe I’ll start to feel better.

I’m very grateful for the love and support from my friends and family and I’m not writing this as an ‘OH, WOE IS ME! – YOU MUST PITY ME!’ because I’m not.  Many people have asked ‘what’s wrong?’ and ‘what can I do to help?’  So, I hope this explains a bit of what’s been going on.

Depression is a bitch.  It steals your personality, your soul and leaves you feeling worthless and unlovable.  It is debilitating, exhausting and will beat you into submission until you can’t fight any more.  It wants to lay you flat out until you believe that you are useless and there is no sense going on.  However, I know – that deep down inside, my soul is fighting to see the good things again.  It wants to enjoy life.  It wants to live, love and laugh again!  It’s in there, but it’s buried deep…it’s like a storage closet – all the precious and breakable things are at the back, safely wrapped and protected, but you can’t get at them unless you pull out all of the shit that’s been piling up for years in front of them.

So, patiently, I will take out each box and put it aside until I find the hidden treasures of my soul again.

 


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Greener pastures…

I have a wonderful friend who suffers from debilitating depression.  So much so, there are days she winds up in hospital because she’s scared she’s going to do something to herself.  She is a lovely woman, a beautiful soul and every time this happens, I just wanna pick her up and squeeze her until she feels better.

I wrote her an email yesterday and I tried to differentiate our journeys through depression and it went something like this:

“We have both battled through this our entire lives (sometimes at the same time, sometimes not)…yours seems to be so much more awful than mine and I know that’s your journey – your path, if you will.  It seems to take on the flow of a river, that breaks into streams and occasionally you will take the right stream.  However, that stream sometimes leads you further into the forest of darkness and so you backtrack – but the light is gone and you’re mired in sadness.”

“I get that.  Mine is more like an ocean – it overwhelms me quickly and then it leaves little tide pools behind.  I pick and choose which tide pools I want to explore.”

Interesting.  I guess it’s like having a broken leg – no two breaks are the same, one might be worse than another, but they’re equally as painful to each person.

The one common denominator, I believe, for most folks with depression, is to try and figure out WHY.  WHY they are depressed.  WHY they are so sad.  WHY they feel the way they do.  Some people talk, some people write, some people sit and think.  It can be all consuming, in that it is all that person thinks about.  Yikes.  My friend journals; it’s how she expresses herself – to herself.

Half way through the email I sent, I had an epiphany of sorts…if we spend so much time with all the wondering WHY we are depressed – would that not lead to even more depression?  Sitting there and picking apart our lives, our personalities, our traits that make us who we are – and analyzing them to death – has to be counterproductive.

I’m not saying that we should just all suck it up and carry on like nothing is wrong – but what if we were to subliminal message ourselves?  For every sad thought we have, we try to insert a positive one?

OH LOOK, I’VE CURED DEPRESSION.  Yeah – NO.  If it were that simple, all the psychiatrists of the world would be out of business, as would the pharmaceutical companies AND all of those ‘cheer up’ Facebook posts would disappear.

So does ‘wallowing’ in depression make us better people?  No, not really; it just makes us sadder people.  By spending 24/7 trying to figure it out, we are only feeding the monster of darkness, allowing it to manipulate us and fester within us.  It loves nothing more than to tell us how awful things are, how they are never going to get better and how (in some cases, sadly) we’d be better off dead.

My mother was one of those people who lived her life through her depression; and God forbid should that have been taken away from her.  It was her weapon of choice; we were all taught at a very young age that mom was depressed; therefore, she should be forgiven for every transgression she made.  She never made any attempt to fix it; she thrived on the fact that she could blame everything on her depression and if she didn’t get her way, she’d threaten us with ‘DEPRESSION’ and so we shut up and carried on with life the best we could.  Most of us don’t WANT to be like that; I know I sure as hell don’t.

I try to be positive.  I get up and go to work every day.  I sometimes even make it out for visits with friends, but it depends on my energy level.  I see a counsellor.  But when things overwhelm me, I shut down and don’t talk to anyone.  It’s not that I’m sitting there thinking about how awful things are, I just don’t think about anything.  Which isn’t a good thing.  My friend does the exact opposite and analyzes and talks until she’s found herself sitting in emergency.  Which isn’t a good thing either.  There simply has to be a happy medium. We are in the same county, reaching the same destination, yet our journeys are entirely different from each other.  Here is something else I wrote to her:

“I think you and I are common in that we were raised in dysfunctional families (that’s just a given!) – however, they were complete opposite ends of the spectrum.  Your mom and dad doted on you and your sister and smothered you with love and affection.  I just got smothered (heehee!)…what I learned was that I knew how to take care of myself, a very strong work ethic that my father instilled into me and that if I wanted something, I had to be the one to get it for myself.”

So, I made a challenge to her that I too shall endeavour to work on:  When that black monster starts getting hold of me, I’m going to do my very best to tell it that I’m not interested, and I need to focus on something more positive.  I will always want to learn about myself and who I am and why the way I am, but from now on, I’m going to spend more time on the greener side of the pasture.

lilacs and poppies


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This Thanksgiving, I’m grateful for…

As we draw near to Thanksgiving here in Canada, I have been reflecting on what I’m thankful for.  In as much as I bitch and complain about my weight, the government and various assorted other things, I am very lucky have a beautiful home, a great job and good friends.

But the biggest thing I’m thankful for is my big sister.

I should start off by saying that there is a 10 year difference in age between the two of us and we’ve not always been close or seen eye to eye.  We didn’t spend much time together over the years – with that gap in age, we had nothing in common – except for our parents.  When I was born, she was 10.  Trust me when I say that over the years, at some times it felt like a complete generation gap.

As an oblivious teenager, I didn’t pay much attention to my parents or my sister.  It wasn’t until I was in my mid-20’s that I sort of understood the family dynamics.  By that, I mean how manipulative my mother was.

I was the one that was always close to my parents – for a few years, we actually lived in the same apartment complex.  I visited nearly every day, called EVERY DAY and did general errands if they were required.  My sister kept her distance (for reasons I understand now; but I certainly didn’t back then).  I felt like it was always me that was helping out.  Me that was the one they turned to when they needed something.  I was also the person that was caught in the middle; if my sister hadn’t called or visited in a reasonable amount of time (in my mother’s mind) I was sent forth to contact my sister to tell her to contact mom and dad.

(Yes, I actually did that – it never went over very well).  I resented my sister for not visiting as much as I did.

My mother had me brainwashed into thinking that my sister was a BAD person because she never called or visited (she would call and/or visit, but not ‘enough’ in my mother’s world).  Then I’d have my father asking me to ask my sister to call because it was upsetting mom (you see where I’m going with this).  IT WAS ALL ABOUT MY MOTHER.  It didn’t matter if my sister was busy.  It didn’t matter if she was going through some sort of crisis.  All that mattered is that she HADN’T CALLED MY MOTHER FOR 2 DAYS – WHAT AN UNGRATEFUL CHILD!

As I got older, I started to ‘rebel’ against wanting/needing to call my mother every day (as should most normal adults).  I LOVED talking to my dad – he had no agenda, he was just happy to chat.  She’d call me at work and start in on what a terrible child I was – after all the nice things they’d done for me – I couldn’t even take the time to call them?

One particular time stands out in memory – I was working for an organizing committee for a worldwide event that was taking place in my city.  I had been working 12 hour days with no breaks for about 4 weeks.  One day, as I was in the middle of a very high level meeting, she called me.  And, she began yelling at how awful I was, how self centered I was and that I was basically, an ungrateful little bitch (her words, not mine).  You see, I’d nicely asked if they would mind looking after my parrot while I was working ungodly hours and they said that it would be no problem.  All of a sudden, it became a HUGE problem and I was told to immediately come and pick him up.  All because I hadn’t been able to visit for a while.  Forget the fact that I was working stupid hours; I barely had time to eat, sleep and pee.  I remember walking out the door of my meeting and calling my mother every name I could think of (and some I think I made up on the spot).  I don’t think I’ve ever been that angry in my entire life.  The event was a huge success and the final day was on my birthday.  I had to be at work at 3:00 am to assist in getting 40,000 people out of the city.  We still weren’t speaking; and at about 8:30 in the morning I got a phone call from my dad – who had snuck out into his parkade – to wish me a happy birthday.  Then he wanted me to apologize to my mother and well, that was the end of that phone call.

(I know now that it was because she was making HIS life a living hell all because of OUR fight).

I was beginning to understand my sister and her reluctance to call/visit.  A few years later, my beautiful, wonderful dad died of cancer – which was the beginning of my downward spiral into the depths of hell.  However, my mother, she needed to follow me.

My sister and I had to team up.  Mom would call and say ‘she said this’ or ‘she did that’ – pitting us against each other in order to get her own way.  This was the first time that my sister and I really started to get to know each other as people, not just as sisters.

While the event that brought us together was the worst thing that has ever happened to me – I’ll always be grateful for it allowing me to my sister as a human being.

After dad died, my mother became even more of a challenge.  My sister and I were put through the ringer.  Spending time with my mother was painstaking, soul sucking and emotionally draining.  Nothing we ever did was good enough, fast enough (don’t get me started on taking her into restaurants).  We didn’t call enough, visit enough, and when we did, it wasn’t long enough.

Mom passed in 2010 and shortly thereafter, my beautiful sister, who I’d come to adore, learned she had Parkinson’s.  WTF?  My sister, who’d sat on the International Rowing Committee, who’d traveled the world to different rowing events, who’d effectively created a rowing program strictly for disabled rowers – had a neurological disease that caused her pain and suffering.

It was like the universe was watching and waiting before it unleashed the hell that is Parkinson’s.  But, why?

I’ve watched my sister over the past few years fight this horrible disease with grace, dignity and even some laughter.  She doesn’t let it stop her, nor does she sit back and let it consume her.  She continues to work a full time job, have an active social life and volunteer her time for rowing events.  She is a dynamo, she lives life to the best of her ability and she is always, ALWAYS there for me.

To add insult to injury, she suffered a broken femur earlier this year (riding tandem with her husband – yep, she was entering a tandem bike race – she’s also a bit on the crazy side).   She was wheelchair bound for a couple of months and has graduated to using a cane.  During this time, she’s once again proven that she is made of tougher stuff than most people.  While she has her moments when everything just crashes in around her and she needs to just cry it out, she is strong, determined and most of all, she is still grateful for everything and everyone in her life.

This past weekend we made a trek to the Rocky Mountains for a quick visit and we had a wonderful time.  It was, however, hard for me to watch her struggle, as I knew she was in serious pain, but not ONCE did she want to give up or give in.  We walked, talked, laughed and cried (well, I did – when she wasn’t looking).  We learned that we each had a completely different upbringing – and that was insightful, as it helped me understand her better and vice versa.

So, thank you universe.  Thank you for giving me my big sister.  Thank you for providing the life experiences we’ve had apart and together – that has brought us both to the here and now.  Thank you for showing me love and for letting me see how wonderful a sister can be.  You’ve given me my best friend.

Image


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EXTRA! EXTRA! READ ALL ABOUT IT!

I admit it.  I love Little House on the Prairie.  It was my favourite show as a kid and as an adult, it’s a show I use to escape from the age of instant everything.

Which poses my question – is the internet something good – or something not so good?  I guess I should explain.

In today’s age, we have instant access to anything and everything that is happening around the world.  Now, I’ll also admit to being a self imposed news junkie – I remember in Grade 7, going to school and expressing my shock that Anwar Sadat had been assassinated (which started me on my long career of nerdiness).  And, how I tied yellow ribbons around trees when the Iranian hostages were freed.  I enjoy reading the news, I peruse many different publications and I believe that we should all be interested in the world around us.  I actually get rather annoyed at people who don’t know what’s going on, outside of their own neighbourhood.

However, with the invention of the internet – sometimes having access to the news (and everything else) 24/7 can be a bit overwhelming.  This past week is a prime example.  From the horrific aftermath of the tornadoes in the US, to the disturbing news about a fellow from the military being beheaded in the UK…and locally – a young child was mowed down by a drunk driver, while sitting on a restaurant patio. Can knowing all of these things really be good for our own mental well being?  Does reading about horrendous murders, complete with graphic detail – make us superior to those who don’t know?  Do we REALLY need to know?  An even bigger question is – why?  Why do we continue to beg for more?  More graphic details, more political scandal, more death and starvation.  How do we read these stories, day after day and not be impacted by them?  Do we just stop reading the news?  Is it that simple?

Now, I’m not saying I’m going to stop reading the news and stick my head in the sand and pretend that the world really is a lovely place where butterflies rule and politicians are all forced to work the midnight shift at Walmart.  But I find that there are days that I become numb to what’s happening.  I’ve stopped feeling that gut wrenching sense of horror when I read about people in a third world country starving to death or being slaughtered for religious reasons.  I read dispassionately about suicide bombers, terrorists and women who are stoned to death in public.  Yet, I can’t stop reading these stories.  I don’t know if it’s that deep down inside somewhere, my empathy is still there or if it’s just a sense of morbid fascination to know that these stories are on the news, and not in a movie.

I recently took a vacation to a place where there was no internet, no phones, no computers, no television and no radio.  For 3 days, it was just me, some good books and the sea.  I hadn’t heard about the Boston bombings until a week after they happened.  Did it impact my life?  Did I miss something in that week because I didn’t know about them?

No.

In fact, not knowing about anything happening in the world for that period of time was soothing.  When I did finally hear about the bombings, I felt something I hadn’t in awhile – empathy – sympathy – a sense of sadness that because of someone’s twisted religious beliefs, so many innocent people’s lives were altered.  I hadn’t been inundated by news 24/7, and therefore was able to see the story from a human perspective, rather than being  indifferent to the suffering of those affected.