I’d started this post last week, but then it became entirely too personal. Depression had reared its ever-so-ugly head yet again, but I’ve got a handle on it now and can write somewhat sanely about it. You know that edge of depression, where you’re fucking teetering, about to lose your balance and fall over? I’d passed that breaking point several weeks back. You may or may not have noticed it. So I’d like to talk a bit about depression today.
But let’s first talk about my wonderful allergies! I know, you’re so excited. And you know that I’ve struggled with this since February, which has of course, caused bouts of depression due to the HIVES covering my body. There isn’t much more frustrating than trying to go about your day and figure out what you can eat that won’t make you break out in hives or cause more. And living in the State of Perpetual Heat hasn’t helped at all. But….
I recently–FINALLY–saw an allergist and guess what? I’m not allergic to food. Nope. It turns out that what I’m really allergic to is…grasses and weeds. You know, typical allergy bullshit, only I’m like really allergic to them, apparently. Prescription medication combined with OTC medication 24-hour dose twice a day PLUS my pseudophedrine Claritin-wannabe allergic to this shit. Which is fine. Because I CAN EAT AGAIN!
Mostly, anyway. Certain foods do cause a pollen reaction, like bananas and grapes, and gluten products still make me queasy unless they’re organic. But apparently that food allergy test has a 90% false positive rate. Remember that, folks. Essentially, my immune system freaked out for some reason. And the worst time of year in this state for those specific allergies is between March and November. Not much of a reprieve there; only a couple of months, since mine started in February. But still, Phew! Let’s hope this area of my health is figured out because if there’s one thing that annoys the fuck out of me, it is doctors not having any kind of success in figuring me out.
Now I just have to deal with the weight gain. It’s called lack of activity. I sit behind a desk all day, and then I go home and sit behind a desk. Because I have more than one job. And really, as a writer, I wear many hats: writer, editor, researcher, designer, formatter, critic, etc. They all require me to sit behind a desk. So while my jobs require this of me, I have to make time for activity, whether it be working out on the elliptical, going for a walk during a break or at lunch while I’m at work, doing something, anything on the weekend that requires physical activity (which rarely happens). Thing is, as a single female who’s inclined to follow the road to Hermitdom because fuck most people and their bullshit drama fake reality whatever (with exception to friends), I need to get up and move because there’s no significant other to say, “Hey, let’s go hike A mountain,” or “Woohoo! It’s Sunday Funday. Get that bike out from under the mountain of clothes, woman!” or the like. I need to make myself do it, and really, I’d rather not. Road trips, though, I miss those. I bought some 5-lb. weights just for my “office” so even when I’m sitting in my chair working or watching whatever, I can pick up those weights and do something for my arms and chest and upper back. When I’m playing the Assassin’s Creed games where I’m vigorously running around the globe killing people, I’ll stand up during a cut scene and do squats and stretches just to keep the blood flowing. One of my co-workers, whom I call Ponch, says that he’ll do push-ups or squats during cut scenes and the like.
Getting back to depression, which weight gain can also trigger….
Depression comes in many types, and pain and lack of activity help push it along, all of which I’ve experienced. It’s difficult for me to talk about something I’ve had to live with my entire life. I’m used to the darkness, maybe even comfortable with it, which can be a dangerous place to be. If you get comfy down in that dark and dreary well, you might not climb back out. Worst case scenario has me at two years to climb out. Then there’s getting to your feet and standing up straight. Last go ’round took me another two years after climbing out of the well. I’d suffered with a pinched nerve during those four years. If you’ve never felt that level of pain, I hope you never have to. I don’t like being miserable. It makes it too easy to feel sorry for myself and make excuses. And that will drown you in the well.
I’ve climbed out of the well a few times, on my own. I didn’t seek help because when I was 19, I did, and that particular counselor left such a good first impression on me that I declined to seek counseling to save my marriage many years ago. Is it good for me to feel this way about that profession? Absolutely not. But it’s something I need to deal with, and it is just not at the top of my priority list these days.
But you should seek help, especially if you’re feeling suicidal. I learned how to deal with my suicidal tendencies years ago. You are not me.
My main problem is that I never learned coping skills. I don’t know how to deal, but the weird thing is that I sort of do. Big Problem occurs, I freak the ever-living fuck out, then I sit down and think of Solutions. That’s how I cope. Not sure it’s actually coping, but it works for me. I just try my best to not do it in public. They’d lock me up at 24th & Van Buren.
People deal with shit every goddamn day of their lives. Every person you pass on the street, in the hall, smile at…or don’t…is dealing with something possibly overwhelming and horrible. And everyone deals with it in their own way. That way may not always be productive, but as the child of an alcoholic (recovering), I know you can’t force someone to do something they’re not ready for just yet. But you can listen.
Last week, the world got a small look at one of my rare meltdowns. I just happened to be showing a bit more online than I normally would. Not sure why yet. Maybe because I wanted the world to die. Maybe not. I’d like to think I’m nothing compared to what’s happening in the really real world. That I’m not important unless I’m starting a war or making some stupid-ass statement while running for President or creating interstellar space travel (but my name is not Elon Musk and my IQ isn’t quite that high). But I’m just a fucking writer with a seriously fucked up life that’s been difficult to deal with, and I know there are people who have it worse, but that’s the thing about depression; it drags you down and when you’re drowning, you can’t see anyone else. My world fell out from under my feet two months ago, and I’ve been dealing with the repercussions since then. Literally, everything hit me in one big dump, so imagine my surprise that I’ve held it together this long.
Life, eh? Yeah, we all know she’s the biggest bitch around.
For now, I’m okay, and that’s all that matters. Okay is good. Okay is workable.
If you’re experiencing Depression, you can learn more about the big D here. At the very least, talk to someone you know and trust. I have very few people I trust, and even less that I would talk to on such a deep level. Last week, I broke down in someone’s office. I’ve known her for over 15 years and she’s one of few who knows my situation and that I trust enough to talk to about it.
And she listened. That’s all. And that’s exactly what I needed.
SUICIDE PREVENTION HOTLINE: 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255)
Use that same number and press “1” to reach the Veterans Crisis Line.