Train Whistle, Sweet Clementine

Don’t you hate it when you’re eating salad and you get to the end of the salad dressing but there’s too much actual salad left to eat dry, and you feel mildly guilty and childish for wanting more dressing and then you get mad and say, I’ll eat all the fucking dressing I want, while drowning your vegetables in too much ranch or Cesar or whatever, and then you regret it but eat it anyway? Yeah, me too.

So. Here we are. It’s good to see you, blog. I haven’t been avoiding you, I just got busy with life. I’m not going to bother with a narrative. Have this list instead.

What I Did in My Absence:

1. Ballooned up to 293 pounds.
2. Struggled with uncontrolled high blood pressure.
3. Lost all the weight plus more. I was at 279 today.
4. Celebrated getting off of all my blood pressure medication. Still keeping a watchful eye on it though.
5. Restored a friendship.
6. Began applying for jobs.
7. Lifted out of the last swirling cloud remnants of depression.

Things have not gone according to plan. It was never in my plans for something wonderful and amazing to happen. But something did. If you had tortured and interrogated me about what could possibly heal me, I would never have come up with this answer in time to save my life. Let me tell you a short story of serendipity.

I met the boy who would become my best friend when we were fourteen. Choir, French, cigarettes, laughing, rumors, food, music, eternal conversation. And then we moved in together. It got tense, as happens sometimes with friends who live together. And then he got cancer. I don’t want to think about that time. He recovered, we didn’t. He moved away for work. But slowly, year by year, we reached out a bit more. And then he told me he was in town, with his mother and daughter. They needed a place to stay. They stayed for four months. 120 days of reconnecting, recovering, and making each other laugh. At first I felt so tired by their company…I realized I was sick in my soul. Now I miss them terribly but I know I’m well. He (and they) pulled me out of my husk, made me feel human again. Did I say this was going to be a short story? I lied, sucka!

*Drops mic.*

*Picks up mic because it was an accident.*

*Dusts off mic and replaces it properly.*

Don’t Mind if I Don’t

The stages of depression go something like this for me, using hygiene as an example.

I’ll shower later.
I’ll shower tomorrow.
It’s been a couple of days and I feel like an asshole for not showering.
Fuck, when was the last time I showered?
People have noticed and recommended I shower.
I don’t care anymore. Why bother?

Now apply every aspect of life, from the mundane to the crucial, to these stages.

I’ll shower, clean, pay my bills, change my oil, take my meds, and give a shit some other time. Just not today, please.

But how do you make yourself care when you don’t care?

Add to this fat mess the guilt and shame that come with not being able to do what seems so very simple.

So you find yourself stinking, surrounded by disarray, too fatigued to do anything but take yet another nap you hope you don’t wake up from.

Worthlessness is powerful. You begin to consider that you are useless and even a burden. Why bother with a life you can’t manage? You can’t remember what it’s like to feel good.

Then you begin to feel extreme hopelessness and devastation. Life is your enemy. People resent you, hate you. You’re disgusting.

I’ll stop there, short of suicidal ideation. This is where I find myself. It’s so very difficult to make changes, to better myself, when there are signals misfiring in my brain. Going through life with a mental illness is like trying to run a marathon with a backpack full of bricks. Under water. Wearing a blindfold.

I want good things for my life. I fantasize that one day I’ll brush my teeth automatically, like “real” people do. I’ll lose a thousand pounds. I’ll find and excel at a job I love. I’ll live independently. I’ll belly dance and ride an elephant, own a home and send my daughter off to college in a car I gave her for graduation.

I still have hope. I’m crying because I don’t know how to get from this point (lying in my cluttered bed wearing day-before-yesterday’s clothes) to what I imagine life could be. But I want it. As impossible as it seems, I want it.