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Postcards from the Bottom

Well, if I'm going to get any damn use out of this at all, it's only going to be by keeping careful notes. This is my personality in a nutshell, I suspect--even at the lowest point of my entire life, the little scientist keeps on scribbling, and the storyteller keeps on figuring out how to phrase it all amusingly. I'm glad of that.

A couple of things I've learned that I didn't know before...

Rock bottom is not an absolute. There are levels to it.

Three days alternating between periods of uncontrollable weeping and brief lucidity? Not actually the bottom! Turns out someone can always dig you a sub-basement. On the upside, you can manage to crawl up to the next level for brief stretches, almost always because you're out in public. (Presumably there's a point where one's ironclad social conditioning fails and one becomes a public spectacle, but I have yet to reach it, although I've felt it off in the distance occasionally, and been smart enough to get my coat.)

This is pride, of course, and pride is a dangerous thing. You can substitute it for strength, you can drive yourself forward, whip yourself on like a team of horses, but when the cliff looms up, there's often no way to turn.  But at the same time, sometimes it saves you. Sometimes you should grit your teeth and walk away with your dignity, and sometimes you should swallow your pride.

God willing, before I die, I'll learn to differentiate between the two.

One thing I did know is that there is a point where you shut off. The emotional breaker gets thrown, with an almost audible click, and suddenly you are cold, cold, cold. You are calm. You have never been so calm in your entire life.  It is not a healthy calm. It is a bad, bad calm, the hurt calm that radiates out from the belly, the eye of the hurricane, the rattlesnake coiling, the old, cold little voice that comes into your brain saying I will take this from here.

I encountered this before, during the bad bits of my divorce, and what I should have learned then is that when this hits, it has a purpose. The purpose is to give you time to stand up, get your purse, and walk away, time to say "Ah, yes. I see," and hang up the phone. This is the calm that lets you extricate yourself. Do not stay there and hope to remain calm. This is the airstrike your brain calls in to cover your retreat.  It is a finite gift. Don't waste it.

Physically, I know I'm shot, and not just having a melodramatic episode, because my body's actually starting to shut down. I'm covered in bruises that I have no memory of acquiring, I'm shaky all the time, food makes me wretchedly nauseated, and yes, as soon as I get back to Raleigh, I'm goin' to the doctor.  This is really rather unsettling. If I didn't have the severe stress to blame, I'd start to wonder if I had malaria.

And ultimate indignity, I've been having a period for a week and a half. (There is no god.) It's finally stopping, but shit, man....that was just cold.  You wanna find the universe and kick it.

In retrospect, I realize I've been severely depressed for about two months...actually, right about the point where moving became a real thing I was doing.  I was just ignoring all the warning signs, because...well... I'm never depressed!  I kept chalking it up to stress from moving, and didn't stop to think that a normal move I was looking forward to would not annhilate my appetite, wouldn't leave me with a sick knot in my chest that never, ever went away, or make me crazy-restless and walking around for half the night, praying for the hours to pass more quickly.

Nobody noticed, because I didn't notice. I just kept plowing on ahead, because it's pretty much the only thing I ever learned how to do. 

Well, live and learn. God willing, this won't happen to me again, but if it ever does, I'll hopefully have the brains to recognize the warning signs.

Tune in next time, for more Tales From The Abyss!

Sounds like your body is out of whack... which I'm sure isn't helping. But I think you should arrange for a physical check up, because depression can be a symptom as well as a disorder, and a week and a half of having a period might be one too. And try to get some Geritol or spinach or something!

*hugs* The Abyss ain't no fun, even if you start decorating the walls because you've been there so many times before.

I actually thought the same thing as soon as I read the part about the long period. "Oh, god, I hope Ursula is eating lots of spinach! Even without all the extra shit that's going on, that's got to make her feel terrible!" Actually, lack of iron might be the bruising, too...

Ursula, hang in there. No matter what coast you're on we'll keep reading and hoping the best for you.

(no subject) (Anonymous) Expand
I've reached that point before. Don't berate yourself and say that the move was a failure and now you're slinking back with your tail between your legs. On the contrary, it's just one more life experience gained that will bring you to a greater point of wisdom, now you know yourself better than before. You know your limits, and you know which limits not to press. That's the epitome of wisdom.

Because everyone needs one now and again, even if from a stranger.
Thank you for being you Ursula.

Oh, man. Do you accept e-hugs from strangers?

I can't say anything but, Thank you for sharing.

*is crying*

*waves hand*

Another stranger here! Sending you well wishes and an e-hug....

Hang in there. Just hang in there. Because it WILL get better. I promise.


Ow. Ow ow ow ow.

I really can't think of anything too original to say, but honestly: I'm crossing my fingers for this to get better as soon as possible.

Know that we are wishing you the best.
Sometimes the only way out is through, but it can be a long, cold winter we walk through.
Best to you always.
And don't forget those friends of yours. You are loved.

But you're still fighting--that's always a good sign. The worst part for me always was when you get ready to call/IM/email someone, and you choke up because you have no idea what to say, so you pass on the opportunity. And no one ever calls. You just sink further and further until everyone else just looks dead to you.

Those dark days are always at my footsteps, and believe me, I do not envy your having to deal with them.

There is a point where even "just" stress is a physical crisis in and of itself. I'd join in the folks saying that if you can, seeing a doctor ASAP might be a damn good idea. I'm saying this knowing I'd have to be knocked over the head and dragged there if it were me, but it's still a good idea. This is ringing all kinds of alarm bells, especially the nausea and bruising.

Your body is not designed to run with the stress hormones on full firehose blast for this long.

*joins the e-hugs from strangers line*

I'm not a professional, and I barely know you, but this sounds like clinical depression. At a certain point depression can push you to the point that your body is physically not producing the things you need to keep you stable. And it sounds a lot like you're at that point. I have been there too.

I strongly urge you to seek professional medical help. I know Anti-depressants get a lot of bad press, but sometimes they do help, and it's really no different than being prescribed anti-biotics to try and get rid of an infection.

Good luck and you have my best wishes.

Also, if the first antidepressant you try makes you feel worse, don't believe that's how all of them are. I had to try a couple before I got to Lexapro and got better. :)

*big hugs* :| I feel for you. It's nice to get a chance to step back and observe though, ain't it? :) Silver lining! I swear!

(Regarding period: I just recently had my period for a month and five days, and not because of stress (dunno why). D: My gyno was like, "Oh, it seems like your body will just do this. Ta-ta!"


Regardless *big hugs!* as I'm sure you're aware, you'll pull through eventually. Just keep slogging, your fans adore you.