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More Weight!

A long day today. The car got shipped, and I had nothing much to fill the day. I didn't realize that driving was so much a balm until I wasn't doing it. Instead I slept a good bit, read part of "Lisey's Story" by Stephen King (and why, god, was this the one book I left unpacked? There are times one doesn't want to read about a lonely woman living alone pondering the memories of her marriage, and this is damn sure one of those times. Still, King's just so readable....)

The anti-anxiety drugs take the very worst edge off, but not much, and they--hmm--work only with permission, if that makes sense.  If I really wanted to be miserable, if I insisted on brooding, I could override them easily. It's a soft blanket, not an iron wall. They allow me the option of mental quiet, they don't enforce it, and I have to keep catching myself lest I undo the good effects by wallowing. It's kind of interesting. Sort of like the way Vicodin works--you call still see all the pain, it's just on the other side of that vague grey wall there. It doesn't fix it, exactly, it just puts it at a distance so you can turn your head and say "No, no, we're not going to look at that..."  and go on about the day. It cures no pain, it just slaps a restraining order on pain's ass.

The heavy weight across my chest is still there. This is another interesting tidbit. I wonder if that bit, right there, that lead ball under the sternum, is the depression, per se, and if the endless rambling arguments are the anxiety. Can you divide something down that far? Can poor emotional health be chopped so neatly apart? Doesn't seem like you should be able to. And yet, my doctor asked whether it was more depression or anxiety, and I realized I had no idea what to tell her. What's the difference? Either way I begin to feel a serious sympathy with Giles Corey, that tough old bird.

I am coming to realize that the most insidious part of the problem isn't so much that stifling weight as the glum fear that it will never, ever go away. If I really and truly believed that I'd feel better in six weeks or six months, this would be a great deal easier to bear. As it is, despite knowing that this will get better, it has to get better, I will allow for no world in which this does not get better...well, there's a difference between knowing and believing.  The difference, maybe, between Purgatory and Hell--hurts just the same, but at least Purgatory will end some day, and they'll fish you out of the fireplace and hand you your harp.  There is an element of fear that I will never not feel like this again, that this is a permanent condition, the old joys amputated by a freak cerebral accident, God lying in a puddle of vomit across the tiles of heaven.

On the bright side, my gift for melodramatic metaphor has pulled through in fine style. (Thank god! You hate to lose that!)

Well, it'll pass. There is no choice but that it will pass. I really have to get back to work, I think. That's what really killed me--I stopped working. My computer and gear should arrive middle of next week in Raleigh, I have an appointment Monday for the Good Drugs, and if I can get that all set up and start selling prints again, I suspect sanity will start to re-exert itself in a few weeks. Then I can get an apartment, and slither back into Life As I Know It.

This, too, shall pass.

This shall pass, but your friends will still be there.
Please feel better!

It honestly will. Not all at once, and not in the clean and complete way that you'd hope for, but it does pass. Lingering fragments of sadness will surface now and then but I've always felt that they add flavour to a person - like the touch of bitterness in dark chocolate that gives it a richer flavour.

This, too, shall pass.

Perhaps like a kidney stone, but it will pass.

You have no idea how glad I am that someone else came up with that exact same metaphor.


It does always get better. It's scarier because you haven't been there before, and don't know that it does end... but it does.

Art is a very good cure.

*non-creepy internet huggles*

Edit: Hope. Lots of it. Is justified.

"I am coming to realize that the most insidious part of the problem isn't so much that stifling weight as the glum fear that it will never, ever go away."

I think this is about the definition of depression. It's one of the symptoms, and that's what makes it so insidious--that it perpetuates a cycle.

This may sound really weird, but when I'm depressed, I usually read Peter Pan or something else by T. M. Barrie. They're old, familiar friends to me. They're not exactly happy stories, always, and yet it's impossible to feel down while I'm reading them (your mileage may vary, of course). It's the therapeutic equivalent of a sunny day.

*grins* The Little White Bird my favorite for reading in the pit, personally.

It will pass. I know it's impossible to believe from down in the depths, but it is true.

Depression can manifest itself as anxiety. And Vice versa. They usually have similar treatments anyway.

I know that feeling, that this hell you are going through is permanent. I used to have anxiety to the point that it would send my body into shock. After a few emergency room visits and months of anti-anxiety meds, I was able to cut back and eventually quit taking medication altogether. I know this year has been hard for you and I wish you much happiness, peace of mind, and joy.

That's what really killed me--I stopped working.

Losing that large part of your life routine on top of everything else, certainly that could have have a large effect. You'd even remarked on that break in your behavior pattern before you left Raleigh, I seem to recall.

I haven't ever seriously crashed in the way that you have, but I do believe there's a lot to be said for sheer momentum. It'll take you through a lot (and it's probably what has gotten you as far as you have). But it's not a cure, just a diversion. Might make things seem better/easier while you stay in motion, but the issues will still be there waiting to be dealt with. And they won't be put off forever. At some point they'll have to be embraced, processed and dealt with. I'm not entirely sure drugs are the answer either, at least in the long run, though they probably help in the short term by making it easier to do the necessary processing. (Note that I'm only talking about depression/anxiety that has a tangible or indentifiable cause here, not an outright chemical imbalance - that is likely a whole different monster, and drugs may be the only answer available for that)

The company of other people is much the same (at least for me, but I have tendencies for becoming a hermit anyway) in being a crutch at the best of times, or even an additional weight. Being absolutely alone, with no phone, no interuptions, no distractions, and no deadlines or demands on my time, has always done me the most good. It gives me the space to sort myself out, without outside pressures.

Unfortunately sufficient periods of alone/down time have become much more difficult to get, over the years. I really think I'm going to have to just drop off the face of the earth for an extended period sometime soon, but it'll have to at least wait till spring (I've got enough going that I'm pretty sure I can get by on momentum till then) - and unfortunately I have a feeling my wife won't appreciate it. But we have to do what we have to do.

Of course I certainly can't say that something like that wouldn't be sheer disaster for someone who was more of a "people person". If you ever decide to give the "hermit therapy" a try, make sure you maintain the means to visit the world quickly if you need to.

Sorry to bring up my own issues into your venue, but I thought it might be a usefull perspective; as a comparison if nothing else.

When the black beast comes to call, it never seems as if it will go away. I'm glad that you have medication to make it bearable. I'm also glad that you only have a few more days to go without the Good Drugs, and without your computer and gear, and Life As You Know It. If you can remind yourself that it's just a few more days, then the weight might not seem so heavy.

Nice historical reference! :) As a former resident of Salem, Giles Corey has always been a bit of a historical badass to me :)

And indeed, being willing to let things pass is definitely badass. It's not easy to do!

the lead weight feeling in the gut has always been anxiety for me. Depression always seemed to manifest in a whole-body malaise, instead, but people vary.

Try some more lighthearted reading. Somebody mentioned Pratchett. Maybe A. Lee Martinez, or try some of the recently reprinted Glen Cook novels, which are a delighful cross between witty and sarcastic hard-boiled detective novels, and a fairly well-imagined city in a fantasy-style world.

Laugh. Share some joy. Share some pain, and let 'em both out into the yard to play, and bring your friends along to let theirs out, too.

Oh shush with the more weight. ;)

Personal experience: the knot in my own chest usually had more to do with anxiety/fear. I'm trying to think what made it go away... well, for one thing I tend to get a lot heavier when I'm depressed, whereas you have been losing weight. So I always suspected that knot had something to do with actual pressure. There are a hell of a lot of glands in that area.

The fact that you were experiencing a lot of nausea along with your stress suggests you may have some inflammation in your upper digestive area. Which will go away slowly as you eat kindly foods and get sufficient sleep.


Hmm. I dunno. When I've been extremely anxious or depressed, I've lost weight too because I couldn't keep food down. If I calmed down, I had no difficulties.

my experience:

depression= lead weight
anxiety= lead weight covered in razor wire

Put a face to your symptoms. Draw us a picture of your deepest fears personified. Give us a story on how you overcome these fears and triumph. Think carefully the steps you need to take to overcome them and then create them in tangible form for you and all of us to see. This is the best way to recover.

It does get better. It might take six weeks, it might take six months, it might take six years but it will get better. Just hold onto that hope that every day is something new.

It might also help to reach out and help someone else. There's something to be said for visiting old grannies in a hospital to make you realize that life is shit for others too and that some of those old birds know the best dirty jokes just because they've been around for so much longer.

Good luck with the Good Drugs, you're doing the right thing. You're okay, Ursula. :)