It comes and it goes

As I promised I would, I am updating on my progress with the new meds.

It’s been good. The first week was horrific. The time it took for my body to get used to the medication was just awful.

But then it happened… I felt better. Like the fog was lifted; I felt capable again. I had a great week. Not that I didn’t experience frustration and disappointment and even anger at some points… but I was able to tolerate the emotion and move on.

Yesterday I felt it coming… I dunno. It just sort of felt different. For no good reason. I just felt funky. I went to a Halloween party, which was fun. Some of my favorite people in the world were there, and that was nice. Good company; good music; good times. But I was different. I felt like I was on the outside, looking in. I got compliments on my costume (which was a sexy Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz), and I felt good in the costume. It was short and showed off my boobs and not unlike *anything* I normally wear for Halloween. I was totally comfortable in it.

But I was distant. I didn’t feel like I belonged there. I didn’t overly socialize. I kept to my “safe-group” which consisted of about 5-6 people who know me best. BFF #2 was enjoying herself (which she should; after all, it’s her party). She was doing shots, talking with her guests (at least most of them). I’m happy that she was having a good time. I, on the other hand, didn’t want or feel the need to be involved in that.

We spent our time there and decided to go home a little after midnight. As I was getting ready to leave, she said, “I didn’t see you at all during this party. Like… at all.” Okay, she was right. But I said, “Well, I was down there (meaning the living room) and you were up here (in the kitchen/sitting room).” She said, “Well, down there is where all the anti-social people were!” All I said was, “That’s true.” We said our goodbyes and I went home.

But it is really fucking with me, on a number of levels. Let me first disclaim that this is *my* issue and not hers. I am not angry with her, because she didn’t know that this would mess with me. But…

  1. Why is it *my* job to socialize with other people? I didn’t see them coming down to socialize with me. None of them introduced themselves or came down to say hello or any of those things. They stuck to their group, and I to mine. So why is it on *me* to be that person?
  2. I honestly don’t care about them. As I am getting older I find that I don’t enjoy big group settings. I don’t like it. I like small settings, where I feel like I can have meaningful conversation. I don’t want to spend any time in “small talk”, which primarily consists of bullshit that you only say to fill the awkward space. Maybe that’s just me…
  3. On the other hand, and to BFF #2’s point, I *used* to be that girl. I used to like meeting new people and socializing and getting out in front of people and being that girl that everyone remembered because I was so friendly…. what happened to me?
  4. While I don’t really care… I have all this anxiety that I should care and I should be doing something to not be this way. But every fiber in my body is telling me that I just don’t feel like it. And I can’t seem to get my heart and my mind to agree on it.

So today I am barely pulling through. I spent most of the morning in tears. In bed, wide awake, praying to God for relief. I finally got up, made breakfast. And finally… took a Xanax. It’s mellowing me out. Which helps. Not crying anymore. Not feeling out of control.

But the feeling of hopelessness remains.

It’s just one day, I know. It’s okay to have regular emotions – happy, sad, angry, disappointed, excited… but what’s really throwing me, today, is the expectation that I’m not sure is someone elses, or my own. And what should I do about it?

I dunno. It comes and it goes, I guess. Which is fine. Tomorrow’s another day.

The merits of ketchup

You can go ahead and file this under the most random post of the day.  I needed a topic and one was graciously provided to me.  So… here….we…go!

First off… ketchup? Or catsup? Is there a difference?  I mean, is it like the difference between sweet potatoes and yams (and yes… there is a difference).  Who cares, though, I suppose.  For the purposes of this blog, I say ketchup.  And I say it just like it sounds (ket-chup), although I realize that people say it all sorts of ways.  They’re wrong.  There.  I said it.

I’ve been infatuated with ketchup for as long as I can remember.  To be completely honest… my mom made a few things very well.  Everything else was mediocre.  And we were poor.  So guess what you always get through food banks?  Ketchup.  I put it on everything. And by everything, I mean absolutely everything.  I’m fairly certain that I didn’t develop taste buds until I was 20 years old.  Among the favorites that I would use ketchup on:

  1. Eggs (but really… who doesn’t do that?)
  2. Fries (duh)
  3. Fish Sticks
  4. Steak (oh yeah… I’m not kidding)
  5. Chicken.  Like, fried chicken.  Mmmmm….
  6. Rice (this really freaked out BFF #1 when I did that the first time.  She’s Japanese and I thought her head was going to roll off when I asked for ketchup)

But my very very very favorite?  Brace yourself….

Macaroni and cheese with ketchup

Holy moses.  You have no idea how much I love that.  My dad would also make something every now and then… he had a mexican name for it… I forget what it is now.  And so does he.  (He’s getting old, what can I say?)  But basically it would be ground beef and sliced potatoes fried in the beef fat, with some flour added to make it a little starchy.  Super. Duper. Ultra. Tasty.

But beyond the flavor, you can also use ketchup to shine copper pots and pans.  Been skunked?  Ketchup to the rescue!  Ladies who have chlorine damage can use ketchup to bring back the vitality and shine to their hair (I would just assume that while men can…they probably wouldn’t).  Not to mention… who hasn’t used ketchup in place of blood for a costume or on stage for a performance?  (For the record, I haven’t.  But I totally COULD!)

The only ketchup I never got behind was the colored kind.  Do you remember?  It was, like, green and purple.  It almost looked like poster paint.  It tasted the same, but something about smearing purple-ketchup-ish onto my hamburger was wrong.  Gross.

Although my tastes have improved and now I don’t use ketchup on everything, I still have my things.  I like messy food.  Yup.  I’m one of those.  Give me over-medium eggs, hashbrowns and ham and I will smother the whole damn thing in ketchup and mix it up like a breakfast casserole.

The merits of ketchup…. For me, it begins and ends with: It makes me happy.  And really?  Isn’t that all we want?

Pushing through

The doctor warned me about nausea. He said, “It’ll be rough for the first four or five days. But try to push through it and it’ll get better.” So here we are, on day two of the four-five. And nausea is an understatement. It isn’t violent nausea, but it is certainly debilitating. Right now, at least.

On the other hand, the doctor was great. He took his time, and listened to everything. Asked me all the questions he needed to, and I felt very confident that he was paying attention to the answers. He really understood everything. And was kind and supportive, up to and including making sure that I wasn’t going to either kill myself or go on a murderous bender where I took out all the people that have been aggravating me. He asked if I wanted to hurt anyone and I said, “Not unless they’re throwing me over the edge. I’m more of a hurt-myself type of girl.” Turns out that is the wrong answer. He quizzed me a little longer before I assured him that I am far too chicken shit to hurt myself and besides… I genuinely like ice cream. And unless he knows for sure that they have that in heaven, I’m not going anywhere.

He laughed. That seemed to pacify him. Who knew that my obvious love for ice cream would save me?

He explained the whole process to me like I was a third grader, which was funny to me. The expressions and noises he made to describe how the brain synapses release and take-up serotonin. It was like a Little Golden Book did medical terminology. I kept expecting Grover to say, “Just kidding… I’m the monster eating all the serotonin in your head.”

He didn’t. Instead, I walked out with a prescription and some hope. He said two weeks before I really started to feel better. I can wait that out. In the meantime… I’ll just drink my 7-11 hot cocoa and watch reruns of the Wonder Years.

I’ll keep you posted.

Autumn Sky Blue

There is a shade of blue that the sky begins to turn when it’s officially autumn.  No matter what the weather says, no matter how many leaves have fallen from the trees.  The weather fools our bodies and the foliage, but never the sky.  Mother Nature controls that.  And even when it’s warm, and I’m wearing shorts, and the trees are still green…. that color is always the flagship for Autumn’s arrival.

I had an episode a couple of days ago.  I sat in my bedroom, on the floor, renaming crayon colors in a box of 64.  I had some interesting ones, although most of them escape me now.  It was just an overwhelming day.  I felt very out of control. I sat on the floor in the corner of my room, innocently enough, trying to get my puppy to come sit with me.  He wanted to play.  And for those who have never had a puppy, play = bite.  I wasn’t interested in biting.

I sat there, feeling rather dejected.  And instead of sucking it up, I sat there and started renaming crayon colors.  Autumn Sky Blue was one.  And thinking of that blue sky made me feel better.

The hubs came in and looked at me sideways and asked what was wrong.  I didn’t have the heart to tell him that I was having a panic attack.  I don’t want him to think that I’ve fucked something up and now I am feeling guilt and anxiety about it.  The truth is that I haven’t done anything “wrong”…. it’s just that I feel “wrong”.  Nothing’s wrong.  Everything’s wrong.  It’s all perception.  It’s all *my* perception.  I don’t want him to think it’s his fault.  It isn’t.  It’s all me.

It’s all me.

That even kind of messes with me.  I know…. I know.  It isn’t “me” in the sense that I have done something, but… ugh.  It’s like a dirty, wet sweater I can’t take off.

I hate sweaters.  Let alone dirty, wet ones.

Soon enough….  It’ll be better, soon enough.

Fine. I’ll say it. But not yet.

For someone who is self-described word-nazi genius, some words don’t appeal to me.  They never have.  They never will.  You’ll never catch me using those words in real life because I find them repulsive.  BFF #1 and I were talking about my excessive use of flowery words and I said, “I probably wouldn’t say that if I were drunk.”  And she said, “I’m pretty sure there’s not a difference.  I’m fairly certain that you totally use those words when you’re hammered.”  Okay…. she’s got a point there.  I do.

I admit it.  I like using big words.  I like *learning* big words.  In my senior year of high school, I took Creative Writing with Dr. Specht and two words that I learned in that class were “genuflect” and “obsequious.”  And I use those words to this day.  I love words. Love is an understatement, but I won’t use the actual word that I am thinking because I don’t want to appear pompous.  Okay.  I will.  I am enamored with words.  I love them.

But I get this blog post in my email from The Novel Doctor.  Basically, a post about the word I never use.  It’s interesting.  Read it, if you want (this guy is pretty inspirational, so I recommend that you check him out, especially if you’re a writer).  But the premise of the post is that by limiting my use of that word, or any word, I am simply limiting my story.  I’m not allowing the idiosyncrasies of my story out.  I force those mannerisms of the characters in my stories and poems into a box.  I stifle truism.

Now for some, you may wonder, “Is it a curse word?”  Nope.  “Is it offensive? Racist?” Nope and nope.  I’ve used words that would make you blush to convey *exactly* the right emotion that I need you feel.  If I need to make you angry, I can prompt that.  I need to aroused?  I can do that, too.  I need you to relax?  I can even do that.  I can elicit just about anything from you with my words.  It’s a gift.  And I use it all the time.  Don’t misunderstand me.  I don’t manipulate people, per se, with written or spoken word.  But people want to be told a story.  People like to have their imagination stimulated.  I paint the pictures of my story for them, so they don’t have to invent it themselves.

Okay…

So here is the word.  You ready?  Okay… flabbergasted.  I hate that word.  Fucking. Hate. It.  It’s messy.  It’s irritating.  It doesn’t even sound right when you say it.  Like it trips all over itself just to get off the tip of your tongue.  It seems like a slacker.  It feels disengaged with the words around it.  Shocked.  That is a fine word.  But flabbergasted?  Ugh.  And, to be totally honest, it seems fat.  There. I said it.

But The Novel Doctor makes an excellent point.  Would the characters in my story feel that way, or am I projecting my random notions onto them?  I know the answer, so don’t feel the need to point it out.

And then I think… it’s funny how we limit ourselves.  The constraints that we place on our feelings and thoughts can be sneaky.  It starts with flabbergasted.  Then you don’t buy that new shirt.  Then you choose not to go out one night.  Then you start OCD habits like checking under the bed 17 times every night.  Then you start eating soap.  Then the world spins off its axis and gravity ceases to exist.  And then we all float away into outer space and die.  See?  Is that what you want to happen?

I know I don’t.  I’m flabbergasted at the thought. (Okay… I’m not really, but I’m making a point here.)  So.. the moral of the story?  Use that word.  Buy the shirt.  Go out tonight.  And for God’s sake – don’t eat the soap!

It’s not weakness if it’s real

I have been working on admitting when I need help. This isn’t an easy thing; trust me. Asking for help = being weak. Being weak = being worthless. And I don’t need a whole lot more in this world to make me feel worthless.

So, what’s been going on, you might ask? Hell if I know. I mean, nothing really out of the ordinary. Except that everything seems off. Nothing seems secure. Nothing seems stable. No matter what I do, I feel like I fuck up. Truthfully, some things I *do*. But other things, even when I do them right, seem to get all FUBAR on me. That’s led to a whole bunch of anxiety. All the time. Like, all the time. I feel totally unable to complete a task. Totally overwhelmed. If my ability to handle things is normally at a 4 (on a scale of 1 to 10), I have been at a 9.5 for weeks now. And there doesn’t seem to be any relief in sight.

At first I thought it was the stress of my job. I’ve had several fairly big projects that have taken up a lot of focus and I dismissed the feelings and thought it was just temporary. But it isn’t. I am still waking up at ungodly hours of the night. I’m still having nightmares. I’m still having heart palpitations.

So… at this point, I realize I’m in over my head. I realize that things aren’t getting better for me. I realize that I need help.

I confessed this frustration to a friend of mine and shared that I was so concerned about weakness. That *this* makes me weak. That *I* am weak. And she talked me down a little. No…. I’m not weak. It’s a chemical imbalance. She explained it all very well. All scientific. I’m just out-of-balance and I need some assistance to get back in line. Not weak. Not crazy.

I haven’t gone into the doctor, yet. I will be, soon. Just knowing that I’m not totally losing my mind has given me back some power. Just knowing that I am not “weak” has allowed me to regain some control. Just knowing that there is light at the end of the tunnel has given me hope. And in the last 48 hours, it’s made all the difference.

I’m still feeling edgy and panicked. But I slept well last night for the first time in a while. I had good dreams. Calm dreams. Nice dreams. And today I am ready to keep a hold of that feeling. I’ll try again, today, to keep ahead of the game.

“Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day, saying, ‘I will try again tomorrow.'” ~Mary Ann Radmacher