I was late to my meeting with my psychiatrist. When I was on the phone with the receptionist she gave me a landmark that I was familiar with, but after getting stuck in traffic on the freeway, I realized I didn't have an address to locate. I wasted some time driving around only to end up back at the building where I had first guessed my appointment to be at. My psychiatrist was nice, the people at the front desk were frustrated with me, but I tried to shrug that off as I was ushered from the waiting room. Her office wasn't what I was expecting, she wasn't either. Long and lithe with thin blonde hair and legs that ended at shoes that I wouldn't have recommended.
She asked me a lot of standard family health questions, how did I get along with other family members, were they still living, was there any history of alcohol and drug abuse, suicide, depression, anxiety, etc... We got through that after she made a distinction between people who drank alcohol and alcoholics, I had to clarify some of my responses, the questions were straight forward, and I felt like I couldn't give her a straight response although I badly wanted to be clear. Near the end of the interview she asked whether my moods were more rolling waves or (here she made an up and down motion) valleys and peaks.
I told her I wasn't sure, then I felt really stupid. How could I not have this information about myself? But I didn't so I told her I didn't know what to say. Then she gave me a better explanation, saying that she was trying to determine whether I had bipolar tendencies, or this was more a case of anxiety and depression. The word depression has always been strange to me, because I don't see myself as depressed even though I know there are times when I have been. I really didn't know what bipolar tendencies were other than having a sort of vague idea that it involved extreme mood swings and I told her I had some of that, but she didn't feel it was worth treating from a medical standpoint.
So I took my prescription in, reluctantly had it filled, and started out with half of the recommended dose as she had advised. At first I felt nothing. That night I couldn't sleep. Then I took my next half dose. My stomach hurt, not in the sense that I was ill or going to vomit, just a very uncomfortable pain that sapped me of energy and drive. Again, I couldn't sleep. Around two I got up, went downstairs to fold laundry, and listened to a call in show that was talking about weight loss programs, dietary supplements, and ways to stay hydrated during these hot summer months. I never did go back to bed that day. I felt energized despite my lack of sleep, I was productive, and of course then I crashed, unable to keep that pace up after several sleepless nights.
Several weeks ago I had rearranged things in my laundry room so it is much more efficient, cleaner, and now there is a better organizational flow of laundry that cycles between clean, dirty, and as yet unworn or unwashed. I saved four plastic bins to store out of season clothing, at the store I found a basket to put things that needed to be ironed aside for when I had the time. A friend of mine sent me a logo to paint somewhere in my laundry area, and I found a shelving unit that I would like to purchase when I have the extra money. All of that is fine, but when I see my ironing board, I'm frustrated.
The board is servicable, but the legs are a dull green while the top is covered in depressing stripes of brown, tan, and a not very creamy off white. Of course I could go to the store to purchase a new ironing board that would match my color scheme of red, white, and blue. For a moment I see my laundry room not as it exists, functional, utilitarian, and makeshift, but as a sharp futuristic contrast of icy white, calming blue, and splashes of crimson. Here stains disappear almost by magic, the room is airy, light, and full of laughter. People who come down (because there are so many people visiting my basement) are happy for me and optimism streams in like the sunshine that breaks through dirty windows.
Then I set a single sock on my daughter's pile, noticing the worn bottom. There is no money for a new ironing board, the green one is not merely a functional and economical fixture that has been on this earth for as long as I have, it represents the opposite of hope and diffuses pessimism into the air like the stack of dried up paint and essential oils of ancient turpentine. I have squandered the money I could have spent on a new ironing board and the masculine stripes are a reminder of the many ways I have fucked up and been irresponsible, because it is pretty pathetic when you can't even afford to buy a new ironing board.
I could try
That was from the other day. I just got a message from avalyn who replied back to a message I had sent and I shared some of what has been going on with me recently. I don't really know if I'm having some sort of identity crisis, or problems adjusting to being a middle aged suburbanite who doesn't seem to quite fit in, things are better than they have been probably ever, but I don't feel safe or clean or warm inside. Last night for the first time I listened to what my mom said. She wants to see the girls and I don't think that a woman who blames me for being a bratty kid to justify her abuse of us kids is someone I feel comfortable with having my children visit.
Like the situation in Ferguson, it's not okay for adults to lose it and take their anger out on parties that may have been in the wrong, but didn't deserve to get shot and bake for hours in the scorching August sun. Most of the time I'm afraid, confused, full of self-doubt and wondering how I can be this old, and still not have my life even close to being figured out. My therapist has told me that people who have been through similar things have wrong information hard wired into their brain so I have these messages like I don't matter and others don't care in place of real truths like I am a person of worth and value who can be loved.
Tomorrow is the first day of school. We bought school supplies and I bought some for myself because I picked up a book about changing your life in 70 days. I was excited when I read it and I think that's part of my problem. I don't feel like I am depressed. I know I am, people have told me I'm not myself, but in the past a lot of what I did was for others, it wasn't as much for myself. I felt like if I wasn't a cheerleader and trying to build up others, then I wasn't really doing what I was sent here to do. My aunt once told me I don't come across as if I need help, but I do. I need a lot of love and I need people to encourage me when I feel lost and alone and afraid.
I feel like I should apologize for writing something that is so depressing and angsty. I really am much better than I have been in the past, but I don't have to prove that to others anymore. It's okay to listen to my mom tell me that I can't hide from my problems because she doesn't know about the work that I've been doing to improve my relationships with the people that I want in my life. I told her that I love her, and I can forgive her for what she did, but I am not willing to let the girls see her until I see some attitude and behavior changes on her part. A cool thing that has come out of this is having a list of affirming phrases and they help when I remember to read them.
I haven't written anything personal in a long time. Part of me doesn't really feel like I can be myself here, but I can. I can be myself anywhere and something I make mistakes and say or do silly things that I regret. Recently I got an apology from someone that I didn't really think owed me one, but I understand why I got it, and that people can and do change, and sometimes they are at a point in their lives where they feel like they're just rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic. I wish I could explain the changes and how things that were wrong are slowly starting to come to a semblance of order, but there's this terrible feeling in the pit of my stomach that knows that the end of life is a slice of the razor away and the Sol Invictus interview was a hard, yet wonderful read because if someone else can overcome that, maybe I can too.
There's so much that I want to write that I just don't have the words for, I'd like to think I can come here again, but I don't want to over promise and under deliver. Until then, be well, and I'm sorry if I don't get back to people who are reaching out. Things that used to be natural for me are more difficult now. I didn't think I'd ever lose the power of being an extrovert who could talk to literally anyone, but now I'm shy and timid and kind of annoyed with myself for feeling so exposed and vulnerable and unable to take the stresses of life in stride.