Tag Archives: mental health

Not About Sportsball

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This post is a little different.  From time to time, I actually do talk about other things, and some of those are serious. This is one of those.

Instead of posting a doodle and telling you how I think we should re-name “tennis” to “fuzzyball smackracket” because it makes more sense, I want to talk about this. (We may get back to fuzzyball smackracket another time, though. Dunno.)

This is National Suicide Prevention Week. I thought about making a smart-alec post about the 5 most epic ways to snuff it (number 5 was spacewalking without a suit, but Kubrick beat me to it) with the overall point being to give better alternatives, that suicide isn’t the right choice. But some things are just too big to fit into silly pictures and stupid hyperbole. Like this.

I’m going to tell you that if you are depressed and if you are considering suicide, don’t. Suicide is not your best option.  I’m not going to tell you it’s not a logical thought. I’m not even going to promise you tomorrow will be better.  Why? Because I know what it’s like to believe it IS logical and to have faced so many “tomorrows” that I no longer believed it could get better.

It does get better. But it won’t be tomorrow.  There’s no magic way you’re gonna wake up and everything will be perfect in the morning, but you know what you will have? The rest of your life, a life that will get better.

If you are suicidal or dealing with self-harm, go to the ER. If you can’t, call a friend. Call a doctor. If you can’t do those or you don’t think that you can talk to someone you know, there’s still someone to call.  Toll-free, private and 24/7, you can call 1.800.784.2433 or 1.800.273.8255. If you are hearing impaired, you can call 1.800.799.4889.

I have dealt with clinical depression most of my life. I have been suicidal for the majority of it. I’ve been hospitalized more than once. But you know what? I’m still here. And it’s been years since I wanted to kill myself. And no, my life isn’t perfect, but it’s so much better.  And it keeps getting better.

Suicide is a decision you can’t take back. It’s an act you can’t reverse.  Everything else in your life is something you can change or improve – unless you end it. Suicide is stopping your narrative cold. Please, don’t do that.

Every breath you take is another time you told depression to suck a bag of rotten weasel dung. It’s another battle you won. Every day you wake up, you’re a HERO.

Not everybody deals with depression. There are people who feel pretty good most days and live typical lives. They don’t know what it’s like to struggle to find meaning, to find a reason to go on. You know what? That’s great. I’m happy for them. But the resilience I see in those who’ve stared at the darkness of depression and decided to fight is incredible.

You don’t have to do it alone. There are people to talk to and programs available. If you are prescribed medication and can’t afford it, there are programs by manufacturers that can help with that, providing low or no cost meds. Finding the right meds is no fun. But the first time you realize it’s been weeks since you thought life had no point, since the end of everything seemed like the best idea? That’s actually a rush. And it can happen for you, too.

I wish this was something that could be sorted with easy platitudes. I wish there was a button to push to change it all. But it’s hard and it takes work. But more than anything, I want you to hear this: it is worth it.

I’m going to say that again because it’s true:  it is worth it. YOU are worth it.

Don’t take the step you can’t take back. Don’t let the darkness win.

Live.

And tell depression to suck a bag of weasel dung.

 

Dead Fish

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I noticed something was off this weekend but it really hit me Sunday night.

Allie Brosh of Hypebole and a Half did a brilliant article about depression and gave the world dead fish.

Basically, being depressed is like having dead fish that no one else admits are dead.

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I noticed that lately, my fish were kinda dead.

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Not just dead. Stinky dead. I’ve had dead fish before, though, so I tried to think…what had I missed?

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I’d taken my meds, written, been social when possible… Why the hell were all my fish dead? But I noticed something I sometimes overlook: if I care enough to wonder why the fish have died, all the fish may not be dead…

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Sure enough, one fish was still swimming. Still trying. So I did what anyone would do in that situation:

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We suited up. C’mon, fish. It’s you and me against the whole damn river.

PMDD (Once More, With Feeling!)

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PMDD (Once More, With Feeling!)

I was going to write about the incredible trip with my best friends to Eureka Springs a few weeks ago — which was awesome. But it was a 4 day trip and that’s a lot of work and I just don’t feel like it, but I did start it. Then I was going to write about politics because I *totally* solved the problem of North Korea (you’re welcome, world). But I wrote about half of it and realized that it was just making me mad, so I checked my email and found a company telling me how I could advertise for them (for free) because that’s apparently a thing they feel entitled to now and then I popped my knee and decided I hate everything and everything is stabby.

And then I remembered that I lose my mind sometimes, so I checked my calendar and, yeah, I’m crazy right now.

I was Dx’d with PMDD a few years ago and if anyone even hints that it’s PMS, I will find you and slap you, so shut up. It is NOT PMS. PMS is maybe you feel cranky and bloated and you have cramps and it sucks enough. PMDD means you lose your damn mind.

Seriously. I already knew I was crazy because I’ve dealt with depression most of my life. But then I started taking medication for that and I was substantially less prone to kill myself most days. But for a few weeks out of every month, I would lose my grip on rational thought, cry or rage (or both) over everything, including microwave directions, become convinced that life was absolutely HOPELESS and anyone who said differently was a liar and I hated them.

It was kind of like having the worst years of being a teen compressed and shoved into my brain through a convenient opening for maximum crazy.

It made me think I was beyond help because I was taking the medication for depression and it obviously wasn’t working, except when it did, but that didn’t count because it wasn’t working now. (If that made sense to you, you should probably see a psychiatrist.) Once I could convey that yes, I was taking my meds, but I was still flipping out every month, I had a doctor ask me if I’d heard about PMDD and I said I thought maybe it was something in one of those commercials that I never paid attention to because it made me homicidal. She said that yeah, we should probably treat this before I became a felon.

So we did. And for the last couple of years, the meds I take mean that I experience something less like “batshit insanity” and something more like what I imagine bad PMS must be, what with the cramps and bloating and cranky-kind-of-emotional, but I don’t automatically assume that I’m responding absolutely logically and that the best thing for everybody is for me to die so the world can go on.

And while I’m writing this rather tongue-in-cheek, it’s not a tongue-in-cheek kind of topic. PMDD is actually really serious. (And yeah, I’m dropping the smartass for a minute to say this). If you find yourself flipping out and nothing in the world makes sense anymore but it all makes you angry or depressed, seek help. It can get better.

And maybe, some day, you can not stab people too. We’ll not stab people in solidarity. But call me after you’re drugged because I don’t want to be that last person you stab before treatment. I love you, but there are limits. Also, if you want to read something by someone who isn’t currently blogging weird stuff and tweeting irrational hatred for stupid marketing moves by major corporations, you can click here. I hear these people have medical training and stuff. Show offs.

And here’s a picture to take your mind off stabbing things:

If this makes you feel stabby and you're not female, you might be a sociopath. Either way, I suggest you ask a professional. I'm a blogger. They're not the same.

But if you still feel stabby….

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Don’t worry!

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Despite the last few serious posts, this blog will remain primarily random thoughts about aliens, Cthulhu, terrible lessons from children’s lit and spambots.  Some serious things will creep in ’cause, well, I’m me.  But the bulk of them will be over at Hazardous Thinking, where I try to think seriously, which is hard, and things don’t end with exploding goats (usually).  There will likely be more of the mental health/theology stuff over there.  Here, it’s still the internet making me lose faith in lollipop makers.  Promise.

So that’s what Wednesdays are for: Self loathing, apparently. (But not really)

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So occasionally the Web will barf your past back at you when you least expect (or need) it.  But it does anyway, because, well, that’s how the world works.

I have been writing a lot about mental illness lately and how it gets better.  That may seem like something really easy to say and easy to write off.  Thing is, it gets really ugly before it ever gets better.  Wanna hear how some of my crazy broke things I still can’t fix?  Okay.  (Note:  Despite the normally hilarious tone of this blog, this post probably won’t be all giggles.  Sorry. I’ll try to write about groundhogs attacking my idiot adopted dog another day.)

In 1997, I went away to college.  I’d dealt with depression most of my life, but didn’t have a name for it and never knew there was treatment.  I sought to suck it up, ’cause that’s what you do.  Oddly, enough, this didn’t help at all.  When I could feel anything, I felt anxiety and exhaustion.

Being at a school where I paid roughly $28,000/year just for the privilege of going, I figured I should at least see if the counselor laughed me out of her office.  She didn’t, but she also said, “Well, there’s no real point in referring you to anyone else — not for *depression.*”  The derision dripped from her mouth like the first bite of a food gone off.  Of course I agreed.  What did I know?  Positive thinking was all I needed, right?

We talked through my abuse history and the issues my depression seemed to be causing and after 3 sessions, she said she’d given me a toolbox to help myself and bade me farewell.

So off I went into the world.  I barely scraped through university and moved to a new city (Memphis, TN)  with a friend who’d never lived with a depressed person before.  My world made no sense to her anymore than hers did to me.  I didn’t know how to explain my world and she didn’t know how to engage with mine.  So my depression worsened and I lost that friendship because it was hard to admit that I had failed and that I needed help.  Before she threw me out of the apartment for missing my rent payment (after losing my job), I went into the mental hospital for a week.

If I’d had the courage to do it before, perhaps some of the pain could have been avoided.  But I was terrified.  It took two people I trust with my life to take me to the hospital and sit with me through the intake process.  I would have cried, but I didn’t feel anything.

After leaving, I was afraid to return to my apartment, to the friend I’d hurt with all my screwups.  I didn’t want to face the trust I knew I’d lost.  I sat in my car for 6 hours until I was fairly certain she was asleep or away.  Then I snuck up to my bedroom.

At this point, I didn’t realize I had a separate anxiety disorder that wasn’t being treated.  I couldn’t face my friend. After all, I’d nearly gotten us evicted from our apartment for non-payment.   Through a number of passive-aggressive post-it notes and strategic avoidance of each other, she made it clear that she wanted me out.  I didn’t fight.  She had every right to want a more stable existence for herself.

I didn’t know where to go.  I lived in my car for 2 days while I tried to figure out what to do.  I had no job, no place to live.  I took a room in an extended stay hotel, which was terrifying.  I was groped by a neighbour more than once.  I found a job that paid almost enough to keep the room (which was $225/week) and after a while, one of the same friends who took me to the mental hospital found out what my living situation was.  She let me stay at her home, in a spare bedroom.  (To this day, this woman is still a mother to me and a friend.)

I’d like to say I got my life back together then.  But I didn’t.  It was a chain of mishaps for quite some time.  Ultimately, I rented a share of a house with a friend from church, broke up with an emotionally abusive boyfriend and then, feeling like an utter failure, moved back to Jonesboro, AR.

My story did get better.  I’ve done some things I’m proud of.  I’m far more stable, mentally.  I have wonderful friends and family and I’m living instead of going through the motions.

But I’ll never forget the pain I caused or the people who, for good reason, cannot forgive me to this day.  I have to own that to keep going forward.  I’m grateful for those who stood by me and I mourn the loss of friends who couldn’t.  But I keep going.

You can, too. And I am so damn proud of you.