For a day in which I spent so much time doing nothing but sitting on my bed and watching The West Wing, I got an astonishing amount done. I cleaned my entire bathroom, for one, but I also went through my mail (both online and not), pledged money to my favorite radio station, paid multiple bills, updated various zoggins pages (such as my scholastic progress reports), went out to see The Corpse Bride (so pretty!) with Craig, did several loads of laundry (so what if they're all in the dryer together?), put away all the things I bought yesterday, and did some script work for Jan. And watched somewhere around 5 episodes of West Wing and ate a pomegranate. A day can't be at all bad with all that good stuff in there.
I spent my day at Alderwood mall, erasing conscious thought with the routine of look-at-shirt pick-up-shirt try-on-shirt... and such things. I bought a few things, but mostly, it was an excuse to concentrate on something, anything, external. Things turned out fine, in the end; I was invited to crash a Pascal party, and so the evening was spent with Brandon K and Pascal and associates, eating, drinking, and watching hockey. Good times... almost enough to erase a dream of rocking forward into Jim's arms, leaning my head against his chest, and telling him how I knew it'd be hard, but I wanted to try. Almost.
I don't know how to say what I want to say. I drove home tonight with tears running down my cheeks and sharp little sobs drowning out the music I listened to. I have proven myself twice unable to talk to someone without starting to cry (Bryce, I was able to get off the phone before I lost it; Jeff, I shooed off, as Brooke's over tonight).
It's funny how I can manage to be simultaneously my own worst enemy as well as my own failsafe. As I drove home, I thought of my emotions as a vast whirling gear, spinning at the very bottom of a dark hole. I'm the one, ultimately, who has spun it all the way down there; I may have had help in several spots, but even in those cases, it's more like someone else handed me a load of shit and I was the one who chose to put it with the rest of the ballast. The part of my brain that despises me gleefully spins the gear faster, constantly heaping more self-hatred on the load. At the same time, there's a small part of me that sticks out, a tiny spur of granite, directly in the path of the bad. The gear's spokes slam against that rock, and it holds firm. It's what I refer to as my self-preservation instinct, my will to live. I hate it. It's the tiny distilled form of all my logic and my rationality, and I, the emotional me, hate it with a hopeless fury. I rage against it, screaming and wailing; the gear sends sparks and stone chips flying. I wish it away with all my might and anger and hatred, but it's held fast, year after year. There's a tiny part of me cowering behind it that constantly fears that it'll finally splinter into nothing, letting the gear finally spin off into the abyss (and throws all the negative emotion related to that thought over to the screaming banshee me to be hurled into the weights), but it will hold. It's strong beyond belief; I don't know where it draws from, but that well runs deep. Maybe that spur is why people seem to think I'm fine and that I don't need their help. Can people sense it, allowing them to wash their hands of caring without consciences nagging? That would make everything even more horribly, despairingly, hilarious. I so often feel like I'm screaming behind my eyes, battering my fists against the back of my careless head toss and my "I'm okay, let's move onto the next topic" shrug.
I've cried myself out for the time being and have entered the dejected, morbid, exhausted stage of the evening. Blah.
I worked from home for the first time today. It was a good experiment in figuring out the type of workday where doing so will be productive, if nothing else. That and the fact that I got to work in my bathrobe with kittens on my lap for most of the day was pretty sweet... not to mention it was the first workday since I left the UW where I had natural light in my "office" (I have an office at work... that faces another office, the window of which I can partially see and occasionally glimpse the outside through).
I'm so tempted to just go to bed now. All I've done since I arrived home has been make a very simple dinner and watch an episode each of Monk and Nova. Just those few things have sapped all the energy I made it home with. Apparently if I'm going to get anything written down, as things are currently, I need to do it directly after I get home. Save that I tend to be too starving then to do anything other than beeline for dinner... ah well. It's not like the stuff up in here (tapping head) won't come out at some other point. I hope.
So instead, I'm going to go pull a chilly pomegranate out of my fridge; my goal might seem to be to see if it's fabulously delicious. In truth, at this point, I couldn't care less. The fact that I am looking forward to eating it means so much.
I need a way to dictate stuff as I'm driving hither and thither. I'm dead beat by the time I'm near a computer... it's bedtime and bad.
I nearly passed out in the shower this afternoon. I had stood in the hot running water for far too long, staring at the tiles ahead of me and letting the heat beat into my aching shoulder muscles. Grey encroached upon the edges of my vision; I placed my hand against the wall for support as I reeled. Such a metaphor for my life lately, I thought, breathing deeply to force the edges of sight back where they belonged. The Nothing wails at the outer reaches of my mind, its darkness roiling at the fringe, and I worry so for the stability of the supports I stagger against.
Ebbs and flows. A few minutes ago, I was sleepy and feeling fine about going to bed. Now, I'm upset, angry, and afraid to do anything other than obsessively find something, anything, to read to distract myself. A Jim quote is appropriate:
Totally beat again. Work is taking the piss out of me something good. I think it's getting better, yes... but it's still exhausting.
I should mention in writing, so that I have it for myself to look back upon at such a time as I become dreadfully depressed again (as opposed to simply really depressed): Brandon K took the time to spend his entire evening with me on Tuesday, for which I was very appreciative. A good metaphor was generated at one point in our conversation:
The last few weeks, I had things dialed straight to -11. I've hauled things back to -10 at this point; they're still pretty shit, but at least they're back on the goddamn scale.
And I can work with stuff that's on the scale.
Exhausted again. The level of effort that I'm putting in to not fall apart at the seams has a very high toll... but I'd much rather be so sleepy I'm falling over than certain alternatives of the past few weeks.
Parts of work may be looking up. I was given good advice a week ago, even if I didn't seem to listen to it at the time (I often don't), and for the directional pushes that gave me, I'm very grateful. But now I'm going to sleep so that I can show up at 9:30 am for an all-day meeting. Ugh.
Well, at least I knew it was coming. I feel like I should go around with a sign for the next few weeks that says:
Yes, I understand that I...
... painted you into a corner ...
... put you in a bind ...
... caused you to be peeved ...
... < insert desired similiar phrase here > ...
...with my behavior lately.
Then, maybe everyone could stop having that be about the first thing they say to me.
But probably not.
I've started to try to explain something several times today and keep on deleting it and starting over. Perhaps the sort of depression I've been crushed under isn't really explainable. It's not a bad day at work, nor the loss of a loved one... it's misfiring, mistransmitting, and misrecieving neurons, and it's not rational or internally consistent.
Every time I try to sit here and write down, evaluate, explain, what happened between me and the world the last few weeks, I either start crying, get furiously angry, or turn bitterly self-recriminatory. I suppose if I can't explain it in words, even just to my own eyes reading, then how can I expect anyone else to understand?
Why must everything be so complicated? It'd be so much easier, for example, if we could just say that my mother had developed bipolar disorder. There's a nice set of operating assumptions that can go along with such a declaration, a path that can be followed. But no; all we can say is that she's gone batshit crazy. Who knows where the various symptoms are coming from? Whence the intermittent yet utter confusion, whence the obsessive need to organize, whence the black depression, whence the manic 1 am sprees of energy, whence the horrible bodily pain, whence the frighteningly low blood pressure, whence the intermittent verbal aphasia, whence the swelling in her extremeties? No one knows. Her doctors argue with each other and my father conceals information from me until he leaves town and I suddenly have to deal with everything on an hour's notice.
These past few months have been very very hard.
I am feeling very cynical. Once I showed up on IM the last few days, people are talking to me... but where was everyone during the dark days before I forced myself to claw back up to some sort of surface?
There are a few people who did something in the last few weeks, to whom I am greatly indebted:
- Jeff, for devoting all his free time to making sure that, as often as possible, I had someone next to me on the couch and someone to give me a goodnight hug.
- Dave, for writing me small emails nearly every day, even though I nearly never write back.
- Brian, for writing to let me know that someone's heart was nearly stopped by what I was spewing.
- Craig, for a voice mail that let me know that if things got bad enough, someone would be there.
- S, for texting me every day when I disappeared from work and getting worried when I didn't message back fast enough.
(sigh) Of course, everyone who has spoken to me since my reappearance on their convenient radar will be pissed at me for saying such things. I continue to be screwed every time I open my mouth.
I did indeed go out last night. I headed out to the Vogue all by my lonesome (the first time I've ever gone "out" by myself, ever), had a drink, danced, and lo, it was wonderful to stretch my arms out and push all the negative energy out through my fingers, into the dimness, away from me. Around midnight, a ping from S had me driving across the lake to pick him up for some company. We danced salsa at one place and to generic electronica at another; it was comforting and fun and I was very grateful that he'd been willing to come out so late. It was the first time since Tuesday that I'd really interacted with anyone other than Jeff or my family.
I had been lonely.
Jeff and I went to see MirrorMask tonight. Ever so pretty, but it did make my eyes hurt a little bit. Too much focus shifting, I think, not to mention the constant blurs everywhere across the screen. My eyes feel very as if I'd been crying. How ironic, given that I just cleared my first twenty-four hours without tears in weeks.
To the world, I say: "fuck you."
Feeling better today, which probably mostly has to do with the fact that I slept for about thirteen hours. Yesterday, I got myself directly in to see someone, which may or may not help in the long run, but it's someone to talk to who won't tease or make fun of me, nor decide they're too busy to talk to me, etc.
I was not on IM for fewer than five minutes today before I had several people say hello. I'd be happier about that if everyone had not, within minutes, pointed out how much my attitude lately had inconvenienced or distressed them.
Well, excuse me. I guess I'll just SHUT THE FUCK UP NOW.
The above was written with anger. I'm angry at everyone for failing me, yes. But I also recognize that I was the agent of that. And then, you see, I start screaming inside my head at me: "see, it's all your fault, you stupid BITCH, you've driven everyone away and now you're alone and it's all your fault and it's all you deserve!" And things just kind of devolve from there. I can't seem to find a middle ground between blaming everyone else but me and blaming only me. I've been blaming only me for weeks, and it put me in a very very bad place that I don't know how to crawl out from.
I don't know how, after the last few weeks, I can possibly reach out for help from anyone. My supports were few and far in between before and now I just feel as if I've knocked every single remaining one over.
Said one person in the last little bit: And the world says "fuck you also."
Jeff is the exception, and I should acknowledge that. He's gone out of his way to spend his spare time with me every day and night since Saturday. Of course, then I worry about that, mostly worrying that his girlfriend will get upset with him or me and that I'll lose that last shred of friendly, in-person support.
I'm scared and I'm feeling very alone, and I just don't know what to do.
5:01 am. Kittens woke me a little past 4, after about two and a half hours of sleep. Feel like crap... but then, I had decided before I tried to sleep that I would be out sick today. Just trying to decide now if I should go in to work to pick up something I left there unintentionally, or if I could do without it... either way, I'm screwed for sleep; I have to leave here around 7:15 or 7:30 to get over to Mom and Dad's anyway.
I spent some agonizing time before I finally cried myself to sleep a few hours ago thinking about how much it'd help if I had someone, someone I could trust, to sit with me on a couch while I sobbed, to hug me and stroke my hair and tell me everything would be okay somehow. But there isn't anyone to do that, and I'm terribly bad at rocking myself.
I find it tragically funny how the three members of my family so perfectly embody three classes of people that can't help me.
- My father is the person who is so wrapped up in themselves that even were they to try to focus on me for a moment, the conversation would within instants be hijacked into their problems and how much worse theirs are than mine (this class really irritates the shit out of me).
- My mother is the person who is so overwhelmed by their own, quite valid and serious, problems that trying to hear about mine would push them over the edge (this class of people is one that I stringently avoid heaping more onto).
- My brother is the person who is willing to squeeze me into their schedule, but is completely bewildered and discomfited by depression and the like, and totally unsure of what to say or do (this class of people in turn discomfits me to the point where I end up lying very convincingly that I'm perfectly fine just to get them off the hook).
There are, of course, several classes outside of the three above:
- There is the class of people who really just don't care and don't want to hear anything about it.
- There is the class of people who try to put things in perspective and tell me that I really don't have it that bad, so why can't I just be better?
- There is the class of people (aka boys) who are exes and inappropriate to contact for various reasons related to that fact.
And so on and so forth.
I tried reaching out this weekend. Saturday afternoon, I called the person who I consider my best friend in the world, and got voice mail. I left a strangled message asking if they were available for dinner that night or the next... I forget if I added explicitly that I wasn't doing so hot.
I still haven't been called back.
What have I learned in the last two weeks?
I have learned that my worst fears about how if I faded out of view no one would take notice or mind much are basically valid. I have learned that one should not wish for things such as not being helped. I have learned that even when I vent dark moods into the Internet for two weeks straight, no one checks on me in any form but three pinging emails, where one is from someone across the country from me and another is penned by a complete stranger who googled in by accident.
Not that really, I should have expected or should expect anything different.
I am not doing well.
I wish, when I was raging about the sort of help that does not help, I'd been able to clarify, internally and externally, what I meant. Mostly, I meant the above, I suppose.
I drove over to my parents' house early this morning to handle something for them. I cried the whole way, and tried to think of someone I could call and say, "I'm a wreck, and I need to collapse with someone there to make sure I come out okay on the other end."
And for all sorts of reasons, there's no one.
"You know what you need? You need a good friend," he said. "Don't you have one of those?" I folded a napkin fiercely and blinked back tears in response.
I got a bit of a hug tonight, which was at least something. But I'm feeling so very very alone and pressured and trapped that all I seem to be able to do is sit here with tears rolling down my face. How retarded is that, I yell at myself, and the tears flow ever faster.
Alone alone alone alone alone.
The facets of depression are many and varied. Guilt, loneliness, sadness, emptiness, craziness, fear, hopelessness... Tonight, the drive home was sad. Rain sheeted quietly over the windshield, dark music pulsed through the open space around me, and I was sad.
Today was dreadful at work for all sorts of reasons, but mostly because the sleep problems manifested themselves last night as insomnia: I finally fell into uneasy sleep sometime around 4 am. There's nothing that makes a bad day grate at your soul like sleep deprivation.
I am considering Netflix. The way I figure it, the key to keeping myself from thinking myself into bad places is to make damn sure I have no free time to think. I don't enjoy watching movies by myself, even at home, but TV shows are a different story... There are seasons upon seasons of West Wing, Stargate, Six Feet Under, Sex and the City, etc., to watch (Law and Order I can catch in mass syndication, hah). Maybe I'd like Deadwood, or Oz, or The Sopranos. There's years of anime that I've not watched.
My self-preservation instinct is strong. It has protected me for a decade through whatever mechanism it could devise: everything from guilt-trips to, as evidenced the last week or so, TV.
It'll take what it can get, even if I, as in the thinking I, don't appreciate the effort most of the time.
Today, I will post what I wrote yesterday. I am feeling more stable today, I suppose. Not really better, but at least not clawing at reality only to have my nails shred right through.
I spent time in the car this afternoon considering why I didn't want to post what I wrote, last night. But really, it's kind of obvious, Robert... I don't want the sort of help that comes from people reading things like that. I wouldn't be grateful for it, and as things stand, I'd have a hard time even being sincerely civil about it.
Like it or not, it's me that will have to patch things up with me. The sort of "help" that comes only when I shriek out into the ether does not help at all.
I don't know if I'll ever actually publish this.
I don't know if I'll be able to even write it.
I am supposed to reach out at times like this and the truth of the matter I just don't think I want to. I don't want to ask someone to keep me company, and I don't want to ask that someone help me.
I want to curl up a dark corner and cry until I'm gone.
It's not that I seriously think that no one cares about me. It's that the people that care do so in an abstract sort of way that just doesn't seem to matter at times like this; at best, their care is as light shadows glimmering on the horizon of an overcast night sky. A dim orange glow serving little more purpose than to highlight the darker spaces among the clouds.
Let's not beat around the bush: I am more seriously suicidal right now than I've been since I was seventeen. I feel completely empty and completely alone. I know how to distract myself with work and how to keep myself company with TV dramas, but the times in between those safety nets, the near hour of commute time each way each day for example, are... not safe.
I slept on my couch last night. I had numbed my brain throughout my long and lonely evening, but not enough to carry over past turning off the TV and getting into bed. I lay still for a few moments in the dark before the tears began. Before long the tears turned into deep, wrenching sobs, and I knelt, doubled over with my arms crossed tight, while my sweet kittens mrwed worriedly around me. I have a television in my room, but I was not... working... there. The living room was soothing and neutral and Tivo had enough Law and Order to give me an external focus until I finally slept, curled in a bathrobe and a chenille blanket.
This account is not poetic. My situation is not special. I am under no illusions that I am worse off than anyone else.
It's just that everything in that previous paragraph makes me feel worse.
What will I do when I just don't want to help myself any more? When even the distraction provided by work busyness and Tivo'd dramas becomes inadequate?
I'll admit it. Watching TV for hours tonight was a cheap way to not do anything else, whether it be write something, clean up anything, or, you know, think.
But no, I had to go and start thinking. And so I lie here, propped up on one arm, stroking Aggie with my free hand, forcing the tears streaming down my face to at least come out quietly so I don't disturb her.
I feel as if I've been falling for months, years, down a deep and dark well. My fall has been broken here and there, of course, but it never seems to matter in the end. And so I alternately plummet or gently drift ever downward, dreading the day when even keeping myself wildly busy doesn't make sure that, if nothing else, the well keeps extending to accomodate my descent.
My soul is a crumpled piece of tissue paper, unnoticed and forgotten in the corner of a small dark room.
So... sleepy... again...
The bad of today: I'm becoming ever more morbidly convinced that my wisdom teeth are coming in. My jaw / gums / teeth / whatever have been feeling "funny" for weeks, and now the spaces behind my molars are getting all "weird." I am fucking terrified about this possiblity. I nearly vomited in fear on the way home today, just thinking about it. That my medical experiences lately have been distressingly tipped towards "fainting and convulsing" really doesn't help the matter. That I have no idea who I could possibly trust myself to for that day is freaking me out even more. Everyone who might be a realistic candidate is made unrealistic due to varied other commitments... Sigh. This is not aiding the stress level.
The good of today: I got to go have dinner with and gab with and give birthday presents to Brandon. I'm not nearly so stressed about that part, so I'm not feeling very waxing eloquent. It was good, and that's very appreciated.
Today, I went and did something I'd not done in months, and it was good. I found a coffeeshop with decent music, comfortable chairs, and savory baked goods (Caffe Ladro in Bothell), and sat there, drinking coffee and reading The Stranger, for an hour or so. I was able to drape my legs over the arms of a comfy chair and relax in a way I hadn't for quite a long time. I predict many more weekend stops there in the future.
It's been a quiet, quiet day. Errands were run, chores were finished... all the while, the oppressive grey blanket overhead muffles every action. Tomorrow will be worrisome (one of the cats, Micah, I think, seems to have something very wrong with their insides, so vet visit is planned), but I'm hping that tonight and today will balance things out.
I am currently relentlessly focused on the emotional negative. Logic is flowing throughout my brain but getting flung out on the apogee; arguments form and then are dismissed in an internal storm of tears.
What I should be thinking about: how to knit a support network from tendrils here and there that do exist.
What I am thinking about: how much I want to throw myself, wailing, into someone's comforting arms, to have them say "there, there, it's going to be okay," and how much that won't happen. No one is there for me the way I crave, and maybe that sort of support only happens in movies and books anyway.
What I have to work with is a crew of friends who have their own work, their own relationships, their other friends, their own problems, to think about, and minimum time to spare for me and mine. That's the nicer way to put it. The less nice way is what is actually in my head, but really, there's not a lot of point in writing any of that down. I know I need to work with what I have, that I need to and can form something out of what surrounds me. But all I can think about right now is how awful I feel, and how little I'd deserve any of what I wish I could have, even if it existed to be had.
To say that I'm feeling a bit down at the moment would be something of an understatement.
A black hole of me.