Monday morning I have to be at the hospital for my hip injection. I’m scared and I don’t have many people to talk to about that. The person I wish I could talk to about it doesn’t want to talk to me. That may be making me worry more about this injection than I should.  Actually it has nothing to do with the anxiety related to the shot, but his lack of wanting to talk or do much of anything has been why I’ve cried five days this week. I just associate him with it because I thought he might want to know that I was undergoing general anesthesia for a shot to find out if I’ll need surgery. Finding out that he completely didn’t care just caused a lot of insecurity issues to raise up all of a sudden. Well, and they reminded me that I tend to care more about others than they care about me. I feel like there’s something fundamentally wrong with me and that’s why no one needs or wants to keep me around. I feel forgettable and ugly and stupid and broken and that no one could ever love me for any reason, and this just amplified all of that.  I don’t think anyone will miss me if anything does happen Monday or any other day. 

Amplified Tears

Seriously, this year has been so unpleasant, and not just because Donald Trump is running for President. With Nana going in the hospital, then the nursing home, dad’s health decline, everyone dying (Connie, Jay, Andrea, Joey), my depression coming out to play, the anemia rearing its ugly head, etc., it’s just been quite yucky.1 But it’s had decent moments. I almost had a paid article on xoJane, which encouraged me to submit more pitches & to start entering my poetry in literary magazines. That hasn’t resulted in any publications yet, but I just started. Besides, I know that most writers get a lot of rejections before they get their first acceptance. My time will come.  I’m sorry I haven’t been writing more. I just feel like shit a lot of the time lately. And it’s hard to encourage yourself to talk about how you feel like shit when you’re feeling that way. I also have started feeling like I’m too self-centered and don’t really give enough attention to the people I care about. I will try to do better.  Sometimes the most childish word is the best. ↩

Ready for This Year to Be Over

via Instagram “Shortly after John’s arrest, and his diagnosis of paranoid schizophrenia, he was put on several medications. He told me he was taking Prozac, for depression, Benadryl, and Risperdal, an antipsychotic. This made it hard for me to know what an unmedicated John sounded like. He said he had occasional visions, what some might call hallucinations, but these days he tried to ignore them, a self-preservation technique schizophrenics sometimes use to deal with an illness that can be manageable but is never curable. He said that the two years following the crimes, the visions were much worse, and his sincere wish was to die and join his children in heaven. “I did not get the sense that John was trying to manipulate me, but I’m not a psychiatrist.” How is it ethical or moral to execute a man with severe mental health issues? How is it ethical to put him in a prison and not a hospital setting?

The man described is on death row, which bothers me.

I’ve had clinical issues with depression for 24 years now. I’ve been in and out of therapy, mostly in, for all of that time. I’ve been medicated for it for the better part of 19 of those years. I know the symptoms. I understand the importance of my medicine. I do everything I can to not be in an acute state, but it still happens. It doesn’t help that my body has always had a love-hate relationship with the only antidepressant I’ve had a significant positive reaction to. Effexor is my savior and my torturer. It is fickle. It is capable of a level of pettiness that would cause Gossip Girl characters to screech obscenities. So when I legitimately forgot to take it until nine hours after it was due, my nervous system decided to revolt. Two hours before I remembered, I was crying over a television show being watched in another room. My eyes were overwhelmed by light. My ears couldn’t handle sound. I felt tired. I felt scared. I felt like my life was meaningless and that I served no real purpose in the world. I felt like I should just go ahead and die. I’m lucky. The years of therapy and medicine, of knowing what my disease is like, of knowing why grieving has increased my risk of suicide for a while,1 and of knowing that the disease was lying to me made me start thinking: why do I feel like this right now? Because I have the tools & skills to do so, I started figuring out what happened.  When I fixed my breakfast, I didn’t take my Effexor because I was trying to avoid taking any of a new brand of Fish Oil supplements.2 I actually missed several medications & supplements while avoiding that one thing. And that sent me into a tailspin.  That’s all it takes.  One mistake.  One bad decision.  Depression takes advantage of those mistakes and decisions. It is opportunist, but with the right tools, you can fight back. And if it’s a chronic issue, like mine, that will just be one battle, or maybe just a skirmish, in a lifelong war with it. But I’m willing to fight because I prefer it to the alternative.  Photo via Especially after a brief Facebook encounter where someone decided to discuss a graphic rumor of how she had died. ↩It’s too fishy. ↩

This Is What Depression Feels Like 

I’ve been meaning to write something about what’s been going on with Nana for a while now, but I couldn’t figure out what exactly I wanted to say. So this may be a little less coherent than my already incoherent style of writing. I would apologize, but I figure that you really should know what to expect from me at this point.  Two weeks ago, my mom went to Nana’s to stay for the week. Nana was having trouble getting around and mom was going to help her out for a week. Well, the trouble getting around became pretty much bedridden by Sunday. And totally bedridden by Wednesday. Nana’s home health nurse decided it would be best for Nana to go to the ER near her home instead of seeing her family doctor. At that ER,1 the doctors realized she needed to see a neurosurgeon2 and might need surgery. That meant sending her to Huntsville.3 She got here unscathed.4 The Huntsville Hospital ER got her stabilized before sending her to the neuro unit.  The next day, the neurosurgeon finally came to see her. He had to have her MRI repeated before he came, though. Apparently, the other hospital’s MRI either wasn’t clear enough to be read properly OR there was a compatibility issue between the hospitals. The new MRI showed her stenosis had gotten worse. It also showed a compression fracture of her fourth lumbar vertebrae. Surgery was no longer an option, it was a full-on requirement. Right before five pm on Thursday, she was given the vaguest surgery time ever: around lunch on Friday.  When we got home that afternoon, I was about ready to drop. Just being at the hospital for a few hours at a time was so exhausting. And yet I couldn’t even get to sleep when we would get home. I also couldn’t move much either because my body was turning the emotional exhaustion into physical exhaustion. But Thursday evening was spent informing relatives and friends of Nana that she would be having surgery.  We found out that around lunchtime basically meant after noon. I’m not sure when the surgery itself started. I do know that it was described as being pretty routine. And it took Nana until after 6:30 to get back to her room on the eighth floor.5  When she got back up there, she was so sedated that we figured she would sleep through the night. Aunt Barbara was staying with her and it seemed like she wasn’t going to have to get up with her all that often. Aside from some trouble breathing, which is totally normal post-op in this family, the hospital staff seemed to think that Nana was fine. And we were all more concerned at this point by the number of veins that she’d blown,6 the bruises she developed from the EKG leads,7 and the blood around her lips.8 Guess who I got some of my connective tissue issues9 from. Anyway, no one thought that things were going to go from eh to DEFCON 1.  Clearly, we were sadly mistaken.  Aunt Barbara called my mom at 5 AM to tell her that Nana had had trouble breathing all night. Like a lot of trouble. Like she stopped and they had to literally inflict pain to get her breathing again.  By 6:50 or, as my mom says, 7, when Barbara called back, things had gotten so much worse. Her blood pressure was bottoming out. Her pulse had slowed significantly. The CO2 levels in her blood had gone up. She was going to the neuro intensive care unit. Basically, she was dying. And Aunt Barbara needed my mom there to make end of life decisions with her.    So mom woke us up. Sort of. In case you didn’t already figure it out. I woke up when the call at 6:50 came. And part of how I know is that my pulse started going into overdrive before mom got me up to go to the hospital.  If you think I’m fixating on weird things like my pulse during a scary phone call because I’m grieving, then you’re wrong.  One, I’m focusing on weird things because I am weird.  Two, Nana ended up stabilizing by the time we got there. Aunt Barbara was so apologetic for getting everyone10 to the hospital when Nana ended up being okay. But I’m glad she called. Not just because being there was important because Nana was so sick & we love her.11 It was important that she called because I know Aunt Barbara needed our support. That’s a big deal. Knowing when you need others to help is a big deal for anyone. A lot of people think that they can handle everything on their own, but sometimes the real strength of a person is shown in their admission that they need someone to back them up or hold their hand or make them laugh.  Nana got moved back to her old room the next day. She went to the pulmonary service after that. And now she’s doing rehab at a nursing home for a few weeks. She has a long way to go before she can be on her own again. And she’s on oxygen at the nursing home now.12 But she’s doing so much better now and that’s what matters.  After trying to send her home despite her blood pressure being extraordinarily low—80/34—and the whole fact that she was unable to even sit up. ↩No shit, Sherlock. ↩And these guys are so skilled that they sent an elderly patient with an extremely unstable blood pressure on a 44 mile/49 minute rural ambulance service ride. It’s a wonder that anyone in Marshall County is still alive. ↩Shockingly. ↩Neuro. ↩Three. She eventually got a PICC line. ↩Her whole chest was deep purple. ↩Apparently, when they removed her breathing tube from surgery, it tore up some tissue in her mouth/throat. ↩Bad veins. Bad skin. Bad joints. ↩Eric, Eileen, Deb, Jimmy, Danny, mom, dad, me. ↩That’s super important, though. ↩We don’t know if that will last. ↩

Breathe Again…Please

I really do cry before my birthday. The day before my birthday seems to be a stressful, depressing, anxious time for me.1 I cried a lot Tuesday. My depression and anxiety issues didn’t mix well with my racing heart, a milkshake,2 and my inability to find my Effexor bottle most of the day.3 I found it eventually and stopped crying like a toddler.  It’s a tradition that I need to break. Maybe I’ll figure out how to do so one of these days.4 Because the rest of my life is super fun time. ↩Damn you, lactose intolerance! ↩In addition to dizziness, blood pressure issues, a little catatonia/increases in pain & fatigue, and profound bitchiness, a lack of Effexor leads to crying fits that just won’t end. ↩Yeah, right. ↩

I Cry Before My Birthday