In the principle of maintaining truth on this blog, I will describe the world as I see it at the moment. Spring is trying to wrestle the last unkind vestiges of her sister Winter. The sun laboriously tries to pierce through the thickening clouds. The harsh wind smacks bare skin.
I hide inside the Taco Bell across from my therapists office, copping from the dollar menu. My mom’s ghost no longer follows me in this restaurant. The garish uncomfortable booths have been toned down to more earth tones, wood color. Is she watching hr almost entranced daughter. Not good enough, mom. Never ever. I almost cried at the therapist. She never hears me, but I’m sure my neighbor hears. Loud, child tears. Everything is wrong and as long as I avert my eyes people may not see the worthless mass of life that continues breathing within me.
September 13th will mark the fourth anniversary of my mother’s death. The other day I was at one of the hallowed shrines to my mother and a mecca to my obesity: Wendy’s. We used to go there at least once a week with an elderly couple I’ve since lost touch with. It’s strange to go somewhere that hasn’t changed any since 2011 (except for the price ). Were today September 9th, 2011, my mother would be at home barely able to walk, slowly painfully succumbing to her fate. Had she gone to the hospital the 9th instead of the 12th would she be alive today?
Death and misfortune are everywhere. Saturday I was returning from the beach and happened to look out the window of the bus and a man was having chest compressions started by first responders. He must have had a heart attack on the way to the beach on Labor Day weekend. How cruel. It’s strange to see someone dying when you already experience foreboding in September. September: the death of summer, the death of unconditional love when my mother died, September 11th anniversary, my estrangement from the rest of my family, and the end of my friendship with my gay lying friend.
Even when the sun is shining, the world seems dark. I may have gained my independence September 24, 2015 when I moved into my own apartment for the first time, but I am still bound to what the world outside thinks of me. There are very few people you can truly trust when the world thinks you’re dense. I’m tired of my many failures. My mind is drowning in my inability to be what everyone wants me to be, even with what I want me to be.
I wonder when it will be my turn with the CPR. Hamburgers and red meat are my drug of choice. I don’t want to die, but 2 for $5.00 Big Macs at McDonald’s are crack to me, and you got to take whatever small pleasures you can in this life. God, what do they put in that special sauce?
…My first diary-style entry at my other blog is what! To summarize, I went on Abilify, an anti-psychotic, to try to help my OCD and depression. Results after one dose? Comedy gold, of course! And a little promise of “never again.” But please see my post. http://ocdbloggergirl.com/2011/08/31/1459/
Other incidentals : Hurricane Irene shook our hand, but didn’t punch us like it did elsewhere. Signs and tree branches mainly here. Any pleasant adrenaline rush that I would get normally during a hurricane was ruined by me having a terrible cold that I’m just now getting over. Remember how I said at the emergency room felt like “germs were jumping around?” Guess I was right. Three days after visiting, she got sick. Then a few days later, I was laid low too. But anyway, that was a news brief.
It is a full day on my usually empty dance ticket. I, Lisa, professional mental health seeker, have the joy of seeing both my therapist and my shrink. Rolling out of bed, nicking my legs shaving, and dressing in my new Family Dollar ensemble, I get to my therapy session at 10 am. As I suck on a starlight mint, we go over my myriad of “issues.”
“I went to see an art house film called The Smurfs in 3-D this past weekend, and went to the library before the film. This was the first film I ever saw in 3-D and I thoroughly enjoyed it,” I say as my therapist inspects the little book she caught me reading while I waited for her. She admits to never having seen a 3-D flick, and I praise the medium, that one can almost catch a bird flying out of the screen. “Though I don’t think The Smurfs would be your cup of tea.” I then bemoan the cruel truth that kids’ movies would be great except that kids actually come too.
“What is your comfort level standing in a line at the movie theater?”
“Well,” I answer,” not bad really. Crowds don’t bother me, individual interaction does. I can even ask for movie tickets, as long as I have the money so the person will have a reason to tolerate me.” I show her my latest acquisitions in my quest to get all the McDonald’s Smurf Happy Meal toys, the Baker and Brainy (I happened to have them stuffed into the labyrinth that is my purse). I then tell her that I’m too childish, too child-like, but the therapist likes who I am because she’s known me since I was 15 and because she gets money to like me -but honestly, I think she likes me anyway.
“It’s normal to be enthused about something you collect. My mom collected a particular pattern of carnival glass and was very excited when she found a piece at a secondhand shop,” my therapist assures me.
“I have to see the psychiatrist today. I’m not looking forward to it.”
At some point in the session, my therapist says, “but you feel comfortable talking to me, right?”
“Yes, but you don’t poke me with a fork.” One therapist thought I was sexually abused and my psychiatrist feels I have the ways of an “abuse victim.” Once my psychiatrist threw out there one time that maybe I had Aspberger’s syndrome since my social anxiety wasn’t getting better and it’s a struggle to look people in the eye (I’m very self-conscious).
“I’d have to research it more,” I remember the psychiatrist saying. “But I have a lot of empathy. I thought they didn’t,” was my defense. I did not show how upset I was to have a new diagnosis until I was outside and started crying and fussing at my mother. (No one thinks I have Aspberger’s, though, and the psychiatrist never mentioned it again, so it must have been a passing fancy for her too. Let’s just face it, Shrink, I’m f****d and you can randomly flip through your DSM IV and diagnose me with whatever is on the page, but there ain’t no fixing me, not really. But with that cheery thought, let’s continue ).
“I’m thinking about asking her about Abilify,” I tell my therapist. “She’s talked a couple of times of putting me on an antipsychotic in the hopes it would help with the OCD and everything, but I’ve been afraid of getting tardive dyskinesia. Do you have any patients on it with OCD?”
My therapist is looking far into her memory and comes up with 75% of the folks she saw with OCD who are chomping on the Abilify say it helped them, 25% said no it didn’t, and if she remembers right, 10% got off due to side effects.
I imagine people who’ve been on Haldol for years, the excessive drool foaming from their mouths. I imagine lactating. But have mercy on me, I’m so tired of not being what I yearn for the most: Ideal. Everyday I feel I’m not doing things just right and some days it throws me into a rage. I take three times as long as anyone else to do anything. I’m more depressed than I was and I feel as though I have few redeeming qualities. I begin to hope that my shrink knows that I will dramatically change from my lifetime membership at “Camp Clucky.”
Yes, yes, Lisa. We get you suck, life sucks, everything sucks. Blah, blah, boo-hoo. Get on with the story.
My mother and I are having a spot of lunch and I’m trying to look up Abilify just to make sure I want to try this, but my mobile phone’s battery dies on me. I try to recall the latestAbilify commercial. Cartoon woman literally weighed down by her depression and falling into the “hole” of the depression. Then her kindly looking doctor helps her out of the hole and prescribes her Abilify. Some side effects, what were they? Happy family having a picnic. Happy. “Resulting in coma or death.” What? I don’t remember, must’ve been really rare. Still at happy picnic, even Depression Hole sits nearby. Everyone is at the picnic having such a nice time. I want to be at that picnic, so perfect! “Depression used to define me, then I added Abilify.” Ah, how nice. I’ll just ask my doctor all about it.
When I’m in Dr. Shrink’s office, I have my $3.00 ready to throw at the receptionist before she can ask, because I always get the sense she thinks I’ll run off without paying. It’s the rule of the house, yes, but I can’t help see it as a slight towards all psychiatric cases (power to the people!). I don’t think the receptionist likes my mother and I much. I can imagine her thinking “Sod it all, here comes that rubbish. If I wanted to deal with folks on the dole, I’d have stayed in Merry Old England, wouldn’t I?” Even before Dr. Shrink took Medicaid, though, and I had to somehow hack up $75.00 for my 15 minutes, I don’t believe the receptionist liked us much. It may be in my head, and I don’t seem much different from the others in the waiting room: they mainly look depressed, maybe a couple now and then look mildly apes**t. I’ve been with a friend to Mental Health before and they look worse and more interesting. I remember some young woman, obviously in a manic state, talking on her cell, “Friday night I tried to kill myself but they gave me some lithium and I feelsoo much better now!” I wonder if everyone is still getting help since our genius state thought it was a good idea to close the county mental health and the mental hospital to “privatize it.”
I tell Dr. Shrink my decision. She tells me to avoid grapefruit juice (which I already do since I am on Luvox) and to watch for slowed down movements, that tardive dyskinesiawon’t happen suddenly if it happens at all. Two milligrams, not a big dose at al,l and come back at the end of the month( to see if I’m still alive). Ok, great I can do this!
This might fix me.
Or not. Twenty minutes after taking my first cockroach shaped and colored Abilify stuff starts to happen. I am me but I don’t feel like I’m really here. So I’m not at the picnic yet I guess. My thoughts are my thoughts but I feel strangely like I’m not thinking. OK weird. I rush to look at the guide that comes with my prescription then augment it with the internet. Sometime during all of this I start feeling angry, really angry. Smack myself angry, yay!
Apparently on Abilify, I could develop diabetes, go into a coma, and croak, but hey, I won’t be depressed anymore! Since I’m already fat and haven’t checked my blood sugar in ages, I’m not a happy fat camper.
Stay out of the sun and don’t get overheated…What the frostbite? Am I going to turn into a gremlin?
Weight gain! Do I need to say why I might not like this?
Abilify and Wellbutrin should be used with caution because it might lower one’s seizure threshold. Well that would be a different experience! Might lower my immunity…that should be a hit with someone deathly afraid of going to the doctor.
I try to sleep. I can’t, just as I fall asleep, I feel like I can’t swallow and jerk back awake. I sleep an hour to fly awake and feel angry. Repeat this 2 or 3 times in the night. It feels great!
The next 48 hours are interesting. I’m angry at everything and when my best friend annoys me by what I perceive as lectures instead of swallowing it, I tell her off over and over. I can’t help myself! Freedom such as the ability to tell off your best friend over stupid stuff is not a freedom a social phobe like me wants.
Today I returned to my psychiatrist. “I’m doing OK, but I had to stop the Abilify. After one dose I knew I couldn’t take it. If I had done thorough research I wouldn’t have tried it anyway because I’m afraid of getting diabetes.”
“Yes well,”Dr. Shrink replies, “if you look on the internet, getting diabetes from Abilifyseems as common as getting the jitters.”
True, but I feel I should be more concerned due to the fact I’m overweight.”
Later I visit with my professor from college, the one who I named my oldest cat after in tribute. The college is only a couple of blocks from my psychiatrist’s office. We talk various things and then I talk about how awful I sometimes was when on meds that opened my mouth so that I’d say whatever I wanted back when I was in his science classes.
“Don’t ever feel sorry about the things you say unless you hurt someone’s feelings, and I don’t remember you ever being mean to anyone.”
“Well no, but I’d say anything and I cringe at the thought now.”
(Flashback: pointing at a faux skeleton in class and saying, “Look he’s got a boner!” Flashback: among the things I inherited from my grandmother, one was her old lady bright red lipstick. My reply to the comments I got when I wore it, “Hey, this was a really popular color in the 1940s.” I was shy then too, but accepted as the oddity that I was and I’ve always liked making people laugh. In many classes I was near silent anyway, but not my science teacher’s class. It’s a pity he isn’t my real father)
You learn to have patience says my professor at some point in our conversation. ” I guess you have had worse than me as long as you’ve been doing this,” I stammer.
“At least you aren’t an ax murderer. That would be worse.”
“Have you actually had murderers in your classes?”
“Two of them. One the cops chased into the mountains and he was killed.”
So the Abiify didn’t help me become the person I want to be, not close, but, the moral of this story is, no matter what I do, hey, at least I’m not an ax murderer!
PS: Abilify has helped many people, it could help you too. Sometimes the risk is worth the gain. As my pharmacist said, “Line 100 people up, and two would have the same reaction as you did.” Besides, my body’s wired different anyway. I was the 1/10000 of Paxil patients who lost her period on Paxil (happened on Effexor too!). Soon as I stopped, flowed like the red sea. With that, I bid you adieu.
Life in Spite of Me: Extraordinary Hope After a Fatal Choice (2010) by Kristen Jane Anderson, with Tricia Goyer, is a fascinating and hard to put down read. Kristen was an ordinary, happy girl until she hit her teenage years. A combination of tragedies, such as a friend’s suicide, acquaintance rape, and a family history of major depression, drives Kristen to try to take her own life. Hopelessness, however, slowly turns to hope due to her miraculous survival. Somehow the young woman is run over by a train and lives to tell the tale, her legs severed but otherwise her body intact. At first Kristen still wants to die, but people keep telling her that God spared her life for a reason. Kristen turns from a lukewarm believer in God to a Christian, and dedicates her life to helping other people through God.
The young woman’s story could possibly save lives and shows that everyone is put on Earth for a reason. The book isn’t overly preachy, and Kristen doesn’t consign all suicide victims to hellfire, which is commendable in itself. One might take umbrage, as the author of this review does, with a section in the book where her new preacher tells Kristen that she would not have gone to hell for killing herself, BUT she would have gone to hell for not being a Christian. We’re talking about a 17 year-old girl here, not quite an adult, and Jesus would have sent her to eternal damnation? One also might find that replacing her un-Christian friends completely, as she appears to have done, sort of wrong considering some some of her friends were loyal after her attempt on her life. This isn’t to say she should have continued with their ways, mind. Perhaps she didn’t abandon her friends, but it just wasn’t covered in the memoir? The criticisms though are only a minor sideline in the book in an otherwise excellent story of redemption.
Kristen’s story is told in simple, flowing prose appropriate for both teens and adults. The author doesn’t gloss over the events leading up to the suicide attempt, but she isn’t horrifyingly graphic about what she endured to the point of wanting to slam the book shut. One, however, feels her pain as she relates her feelings before and after her suicide attempt.
This book deserves four out of five stars and is ideal for those touched by depression or suicide, or those looking for a reason to live.
Disclaimer: The author of this review received this book in exchange for a review with no other compensation. Waterbrook Multnomah Publishing Group’s “Blogging for Books” program is at http://bloggingforbooks.org Got a blog? Get in the program. Free books!
Fun added bonus part exclusive to my blog: To my regulars and whoever: Would y’all read this? If you would or wouldn’t, is it in part due to my review? Do y’all like my style of reviewing this, and if not, what’s wrong with you? Lastly, would you think it fair for a 17 year-old to be thrown into hell just because she failed to be a member of the exclusive Club Christian? Does calling Christianity a club make me a bad Christian? Discuss!
Craptastic poetry time again. Here is my second poem for http://magpietales.blogspot.com. What happened to last week’s offering? The dang thing became a story and didn’t get it finished in time. It was kinda lame anywho, filled with melodrama and ‘archetypal characters.’ I wrote a crappy story in college with the “archetypal characters ,blah, blah…..story told over and over…blech, blech….but good pacing” written on it. This story would’ve got a similar review, but I’ll drag it out someday when finished (sadly, my college one has been lost, but it was bad). I also did poetry and had to learn to stop writing greeting card stuff. This poem ain’t greeting card material unless Hallmark wants to open a “Go On and Die Already” division.
The Hourglass of Life
Into the world a baby comes,
The Hourglass of Life is set.
A game of chance has just begun,
a time for Fate to place her bet.
The baby is kept safe,
only a few grains of sand are suffered to drop.
Lucky as some hearts flutter and others stop.
From baby to toddler, from toddler to child,
the sands flow gently, death decides not to attack the mild.
I am going to make my way in this blog on a metaphorical bridge of thoughts and perceptions from day to day to try to connect the known with the yet unknown. My bridge is like a single plank which will require the supplement of others.