Recovery

Trigger warning: mental illness, depression

Recovery is a strange thing. It doesn’t really seem to matter what it is you’re recovering from – an illness, injury, or loss – the process is more or less the same. I suppose the five stages of grief would apply in a lot of cases, possibly even mine. Anyone who has dealt with the five stages knows that the stages aren’t linear, they aren’t predictable, and you spend a lot of time repeating them. Eventually you come out on the other side, some other side, be it a good one or a bad one, and you learn to live a changed life.

In 2005, I was diagnosed with chronic depression. It was neither surprising nor pleasant to hear. Depression is something that has lurked around my life for a very long time. I have several definitive moments in my life that are filed under I Will Never Forget This Moment:

1. The hell of 8th grade – something I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy
2. The day I was walking to work in college and realized I was depressed
3. The past three months (give or take)

Having dealt with depression for so long has made it a grim sort of companion for me. It is always nearby and it has, for a majority of my life, ebbed and flowed quite gently. Some drops were more difficult than others but they always ended and I could get back to some sort of even keel.

Then the even keel disappeared. Any semblance of balance and rationality left with it. Then my concentration exited the building. All of it, anything I had inside, was then replaced by a very dark fog. I began having panic attacks. I stopped cleaning. Stopped cooking. Stopped caring. I pushed through the week just to get to the weekend, and then I spent the weekend crying on the couch, wrapped in my blankets, and wondering how I’d get through another week.

I stopped sleeping. I went to bed very late, woke up very early. I became obsessive. I listened to the same song for hours on end, all day and all night, for a week. It began affecting every corner of my life. Every single corner.

There was a breaking point, as there almost always is with stuff like this. I am fortunate to be surrounded by supportive and kind people who understand, who help when they can. And then I decided, after another Saturday spent terrified and panicked and fragile on my couch, that I couldn’t do it anymore.

I needed help.

There are many, many layers to this story. Many chapters I could write, many things I could tell you about all of these journeys and experiences, but that’s not my intention for this blog or this blog post. (And seriously, it’s just way too…what’s the word? Depressing.)

The short version: my doctor prescribed me an anti-depressant and it’s working. I noticed a change within two days. I started humming one morning when I got to work. I was putting my things away and what? Why am I humming? Like, I don’t even want to stop! WHAT IS THIS MADNESS.

It was followed by quite possibly the most wonderful feeling I’ve ever had in my life (and THIS, my friends, is finally the point of this blog post). I didn’t hate writing anymore. In fact, I was kind of infatuated with it. Well, not so much the IT of writing but the IDEA of writing, and that’s huge. The tummy tickle happiness and freedom that I used to feel when I thought about writing came back. I don’t know when it left. I don’t know when I turned that corner. I do know that it was like someone had severed one of my limbs. My identity has been, for the longest time, tied up in writing.

I know, it’s weird that I’m that way. The audience who gets to see anything I write is handpicked and even then, you kind of have to pry it from my cold, dead hands. And then there’s that whole I rarely even write anymore, I’ve never had anything published, and I have very little desire to even TRY to get something published thing. Everyone has her process, amirite?

Ah, yes. Writing. Writing! I’ve missed it over the past however many years it has been missing from my life. The void is not completely filled in yet and there is still so much more I need to do in terms of myself and my writing (and a million other things), but there is a spark of hope. A tiny blip of light, like a single firefly in a giant field.

It’s the first step of Recovery. That’s what I’ve taken to calling the gentle breaking in of my atrophied writing muscles: Recovery. It started on Sunday with something horrible and elementary and a moment of sheer frustration where I wanted to throw my laptop out the window, but I took a deep breath, reminded myself that a lot of crappy gunk is going to come out first and that later, down the road a bit, better and cleaner things will appear.

So baby steps into Recovery. It all starts here.

When baseball and reality collide

TRIGGER WARNING: mental illness, anxiety

 

The buzz among the Giants faithful today was the placement of Aubrey Huff on the 15-day DL. The reason? Anxiety. When I saw the first message about this, my heart sank for several reasons. First, because people are douchebags who will be really, really mean about this, and second, because I am intimate with anxiety.

People are Douchebags

It’s common knowledge for most people who use the internet with any frequency, but some people just aren’t aware that you should never read the comments. On anything. Ever. (Except on this blog!) Comment sections are where the lowest of the low go to wield their imaginary internet schlongs around so we all know that they exist. And that vague pronoun is vague on purpose. These are the people who will blatantly ignore an entire article or blog post just so they can submit a dissertation on the exact opposite point of the article/post. Or they submit a dissertation that proves the article’s/post’s point perfectly.

I was surprised when I started seeing mentions here and there about Giants fans and “are we going to be stereotypical or are we going to stop being dicks and start being Giants fans?” Sigh. Cool it with the jokes. This is a serious matter. Which brings me to point numero dos.

I Am Intimate With Anxiety

I will not divulge details but I have dealt with anxiety and panic disorders both personally and with loved ones for years. As I’ve grown to know anxiety and its aftermath, I’ve become more aware of its non-stop presence in my world. Friends of friends suffer from panic attacks, musicians I love experience crippling stage fright, baseball players I get frustrated with crumble under the weight of stress caused by high intensity jobs.

I wouldn’t wish a panic attack on anyone. I had a fairly horrendous one a few weeks ago, and I’m still trying to recover from it. Anxiety is no joke. When people I have a particular interest in – yes, even baseball players – get struck down by something so silent and insidious, my heart hurts. I am a fixer. A caretaker. If there’s a problem, yo I’ll solve it*. I’d love to give Aubrey a hug (I excel at enveloping), make him some tea, and just sit quietly nearby in case he needs more tea or a new movie in the DVD player or someone to talk to. Because I’ve been there and it’s terrifying and you ARE alone, because no one can be in your panic with you, but sometimes people can be BESIDE your panic and that can help an awful lot.

Whatever Aubrey Huff is dealing with is none of our business until he makes it our business. I hope he’s able to identify the trigger and work to resolve it. I hope he’s given the space he needs to figure it all out. Anxiety and panic disorders cannot be rushed or ignored. And I hope when we finally see Aubrey on the field again, we let him know that we’re pulling for him and wish him nothing but the best.

I mean, c’mon. How can you not wish this guy well?

 

 

Baseball feels

 

*Earworm!

Disturbed

I’ve been particularly haunted lately by people who have gone before us. In dreams, in random thoughts popping into my head…I’m most disturbed/shaken by a dream I had over the weekend. I don’t want to go into it here; it was a little personal, but it was just an odd thing to dream about and while it wasn’t a bad dream – on the contrary, it was nice and relatively happy – it has stuck with me for the past few days and I’m not really sure how to shake the feeling.

In other news, this week is proving to be busier on the personal front as opposed to the work front, which is DELICIOUS. Have to run errands tomorrow night (hopefully to find some layering clothes for Thursday, which is…) and then we head to SF on Thursday afternoon for the last game of the Giants-Padres series. I am crossing my fingers for a win but the Padres spank us at home a lot, so who knows. But really, as much as I’d love to see a win, just being there is good enough for me. It’s going to be my first MLB game and the first baseball game I’ve been to in 10 years. I AM EXCITE, Y’ALL.

Our Fourth of July passed like any other weekend-like day: we lounged around, watched baseball, went swimming, and ate some grub. We’re not much for celebrating Nationalist holidays, so we were content to just eat some hot dogs and call it a day. I thoroughly enjoyed my day off work and returned this morning semi-refreshed but very sleepy. As per usual.

In honor of Thursday, where upon I hope to see this man eat a few Padres for dinner.


This is what the world is for, making electricity

I am kind of overwhelmed with feelings right now and I’m not really sure where it’s coming from. Well, I probably do. I’m coming off the busiest week I’ve had at work since I started. I love that I’ve been given more responsibilities but geez, the adjustment period is pretty rough. Plus, there was a mistake with my health insurance (our rep at the insurance place didn’t process my paperwork – THANKS, PERSON) and my paycheck, which is making things kind of tight until I get the rest of my paycheck in the mail. It was supposed to come Thursday. And then yesterday. But no. Ugh. I was planning to use that money for our Giants weekend in September and then the rest for, you know, life during the month. So it’s just kind of hard to wait, especially since I don’t know how much will be in the check.

Thursday night was weird because Electric Girl was hanging out with a friend, and hanging out turned into a stay-over, and I didn’t hear from her on Friday until early afternoon and since I am a worrier*, I was stressed until that moment. SO ANYWAY. Here we are now, on Saturday morning, and I’m listening to the same Bon Iver song over and over and over again. Except I  just put on a playlist, which is called “Tiny Vessels Transatlanticism” and it’s exactly what you think it is: Tiny Vessels and Transatlanticism. On repeat. I’m weird about music okay? Deal with it.

What I’m trying to do by listening to these songs over and over is spark some inspiration. I don’t talk too much about writing anymore because I’ve fallen off doing it and when I do try, I get really discouraged and frustrated because I SUCK SO BADLY AT IT. I don’t suck so badly that I should give up completely, and I’ve never been a person to write for other people’s enjoyment. This is all about me. It always has been. I’m not shy about admitting that. If I’m the only person who reads my stuff** that is just fine with me. I don’t write to make money and people who do write to make money are a) delusional because there is not money in writing sorry, and b) hacks. And I’m not talking about freelance writers who write articles and stuff. I have no problem with that, and I wouldn’t mind getting in on that action. That’s writing that can pay. But writing fiction? That stuff can’t be inspired by money. It’s something deeper than that. The place where the words come from is too far down in you to be touched by anything like monetary benefit or recognition. Of course we want people to like us and what we write because it makes us feel like we aren’t wasting our time, but even if they didn’t, what matters most is how YOU feel about what you’ve written. You’re going to be your harshest critic but at the end of the day, you’re putting those words on paper because you can’t do anything else. It’s a drive. It’s something you can’t really control.

I lost most of that drive a long time ago and I’m always trying to get it back. I still feel like I can’t breathe when the words don’t come and I still feel like my life lacks meaning and purpose if I can’t get something out. It’s part of why I blog and part of why I sit around listening to the same songs over and over again. Eventually something will break and words will leak out. You just have to be patient.

I’m bad at being patient.

So this blog post wasn’t really supposed to be about writing. It really wasn’t going to be about anything because I plan my blogs like I plan my stories: NOT AT ALL. So I’m going to stop writing before I ramble on for another five minutes about how our washing machine sounds like a jetliner taking off when it’s in the spin cycle.

*Also there’s a lot to our friendship that I haven’t even gotten to divulge on this blog yet, even though a lot of people reading it know the circumstances already

**And by ‘only person’, I mean Electric Girl also gets to read what I write. It’s her toll for living with my writing-related meltdowns

Dream a little dream

First, some levity.

I had a dream last night that I borrowed a super secret Gallifreyan book from Electric Girl and accidentally told Tumblr all about it, because it had some really juicy and awesome information in it about the Giants, who happened to be Time Lords. All of them. Well, the Council of Time Lords found out about it and I had to meet with them – Aubrey Huff and Freddy Sanchez. Aubs was NOT amused and really, I was looking down the barrel of a loaded gun because the punishment for divulging Time Lord information was DEATH. But before they decided what to do with me, we had to watch a rookie try and play all the positions at once during a game. He was a scrawny little redhead named Barry Bonds.

THE JOKES WRITE THEMSELVES, LADIES AND GENTS.

And now for something a little more serious. Today is PTSD Awareness Day. It’s an important day because of the number of people who suffer from PTSD in this country. It’s particularly important because of our men and women in uniform who return home with PTSD and are either given half-assed help or not help at all. But I also want to draw attention to the people who have PTSD and haven’t fought in war. It’s a very real thing and a lot of time, non-military people with PTSD are kind of frowned upon. At least that’s the experience I’ve had. When I tell people that I know someone with C-PTSD (complex PTSD), they always ask “Oh, how long did they serve?” and when I say they didn’t, they just kind of side-eye me like I’m lying. I’m not lying.

So if you know someone with PTSD, give them a hug today (if they’re up to it). In fact, give them a hug everyday that they’re up to it. They deserve it.

A pre-bed ponderance

I’ve come to realize, in the past few months, that I am exactly where I never thought I’d be: doing none of the things I hoped for ten years ago and being happy about it. I have a job I love that I envision leading to a career, I live in a place I love with the only person I’ve deemed suitable to keep around while I live my life*, I have an amazing family and amazing friends, I have things to be passionate about.

I could go on and on. Of course, there are things I wish hadn’t happened. I wish the church hadn’t run us off because they were afraid we had gone lesbionic*, I wish Electric Girl hadn’t gotten sick, I wish we could’ve been more successful in North Carolina. There are many things I wish I had or hadn’t happened, but one of the strongest convictions I hold is a desire to live a life free of regret. I remember when I discovered the concept – I was sorting out my spirituality at the time – and while I considered living without regret, I realized all the weight it’d lift off my shoulders.

My whole life, society has been training me to be apologetic for my size and gender. It teaches me that my place in society is less, should be invisible and quiet and unimportant. By living a regretless life, I can stop apologizing and feeling guilty about my existence. I can begin to live my life, the life I deserve as a member of the human race.

I can stop letting the past control my thoughts and influence my decisions. I can learn to grow from the things that hurt me, that knock me a few rungs lower on the latter. Embracing a lack of regret doesn’t make me more reckless or careless; it helps me examine obstacles from another angle, one unmarred by the fog of self-criticism.

So right now, I have one regret. It’s not one I expected to have and I’m dealing with moving beyond regret but it’s a hard row to hoe. I think living my life without regret has helped me come to this place of acceptance and peace. Nothing’s perfect, not by a long-shot, but there is something wonderfully comfortable in this place. It makes the day-to-day so much easier.

*It’s worth mentioning that we’re not lesbians, no matter how deeply convinced otherwise some of you think you are