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Ahhh, Depression. I see you’re back. Have a seat. Would you care for a scotch ol’ girl?

I work in a big office building and run into the same people often: the 4’9” smiley Mexican janitor, the Indian deli owner with the Wayne Newton circa ’92 hair (totally rad and I marvel at its volume), the two middle aged fraus who walk the building during lunch with their white tennis shoes, the lobby clerk who looks like Ron Johnson from A Different World,

(In case you’re not cuing up a visual of who Ron Johnson is)

the chick who’s so thin her thighs don’t touch (who I was majorly jellie of until she turned around and I saw her face. Note to self: would always, always prefer to be a Butterbody than a Butterface.) Anyway, one man is an older gentleman with thick, white hair who’s always crisply dressed and very polite – letting me on and off the elevator first, holding the door, etc. When he was 18 he was probably of the generation that wore hats. You know….THOSE guys. Like an elderly Don Draper.

 (This never gets old)

So today, we’re on the elevator, and he looks over at me and says, “Very pretty colors you’re wearing.”

My dress is black with orange, red and purple flowers on it, which I’ve always thought resembled a mumu my one-legged grandmother used to wear.

(Don’t get me started on why the fashion industry thinks that big women want to be covered in giant hibiscuses.) And I have on a bright purple cardigan (like I’ve said before, I would cut a bitch for a cardigan), a color I know I look good in because I have red hair. And Paolo has told me before.

I said back to the man, “Thank you. Gotta do something to liven up a Monday.”

“I’ll think of it all day,” he said quietly.

Instead of being 75, why can’t he be 35? This just depressed me. But then, I’ve been Depressed Bitch lately.

Speaking of depressed, finally last Friday, I shimmied in to see my new shrink, a good-looking young guy who goes by Benji, which is fabulously endearing to me. He’s very sincere and calm, which is always good, though his cuticles need some serious attention. I once had a swarthy Russian shrink with a pinky ring (he was a liter of Stolichnaya away from being a caricature) who was, in short, a complete spaz, convinced I had the “A-Tea-Tea.” The phone service? No? ADD. Fucker couldn’t pronounce for shit. But he thought I had every disorder under the sun. Benji’s not like that. He doesn’t get worked up about much.

(except fatter, and not so angry)

Thing is, when I walked in to see Benji Friday morning, my mom had been there the night before. (She came up to stay with me Thursday and Friday night.) So Friday morning, I – who is used to talking to NO ONE first thing in the morning (yes, though I occasionally meow back at Butters) – has to deal with a barrage of questions from my mother. “How do you work this coffee maker, I forgot,” to “Don’t you have any coffee that isn’t flavored like chocolate?” to “Is that what you’re wearing to work today?” and “You’re going to keep your hair pulled back in a ponytail?” So when I arrived at Benji’s, I was agitated.

He noted as much, poor bastard. Wouldn’t you hate to roll out of bed, go to work and deal with surly people all day?

(I googled surly and this guy came up. I mean: I wouldn’t want to piss him off.)

Long story short, I’ve been off all my meds – thyroids and anti-depressants – for months. This is, I can tell you, most ill-advised. So yeah, the 15 lb weight gain and major irritability make perfect-o sense. Benji and I agreed that I need to open up my piehole and swallow those motherfuckers post haste. Then, later, he’s going to do blood work to determine if my cholesterol is high (I’m sure it is, since I have a love for beige crispy things) and if my liver is in the process of pickling or not (again, the chances are good).

So this morning, I gradually started back on my meds. I am kind of a holy terror when I’m not on them. My mother and I got into a rip-roaring fight that sort of built out of nowhere, though that’s a story for another post.

My depression, as I’m sure I’ve said before, is something I have to manage. For me, it will never be cured. It’s chronic

and it seeks to destroy me. Benji would like to see me get into some talky therapy, which I don’t disagree with, though we’ll have to find someone who does night and weekend hours. Still, it’s doable.

My depression reached the perfect storm last week when, apropos of nothing, I broke down in tears, sobbing about the mess of my life, and turned back to cutting.  It put me in a (predictable) trance and I went straight to bed and slept like a baby. The next morning, however, I regretted it, as always. Does winnowing it down to episodes that occur twice, three times a year seem like progress? Yes, sometimes, especially when you consider how intoxicating it is to me. But still. At 35, it’s not anywhere I want to be. It’s just a bad habit I picked up as a kid to cope and haven’t ever put down.

Much like eating. And drinking. And spending money. And being lazy. There’s a theme there, if you look closely. It’s all about instant gratification. No thought to the future is given. We are, by far, a nation of self-soothers, addicted to all kinds of things, all so we can zone out of some aspect of our lives, be it big or small, surmountable or not.

(There’s only one problemo here. I’m not an adolescent. Age-wise, anyway.)

Really, I’m a hedonist of the first order. I am all about satisfying myself for the next few minutes. I may pay for it weeks or even years later, but that rarely crosses my mind. And yes, by the way, it does make me angry that I can articulate exactly what the culprits are and still feel powerless to stop them. You always hear about how naming your problems is the first step. Great. Fantastic. What’s the goddamned second step? Because it’s the one I never get to.

I know I say this a lot, but let me reiterate. I am afraid I will be alone forever, that the best part of my life is passing me by and I’m partner-less, family-less. Damn near all of my friends are either married, engaged, healthily dating, dating toward marriage or are at peace about not being in a relationship. Even my seemingly forever-single friends are suddenly partnered up and crazy happy. And while I am so happy for them – because I love them, they’re my friends and they deserve the best – I am also secretly sad that I am not a part of any of that.

Oddly enough, Paolo and I talk about this stuff. Abstractly, of course. When I tell him that I am depressed, he responds that he is too. And he is. (BabyMama kicked him out. He’s only allowed to stay there when she’s working at night or out with friends.) But we’re depressed for different reasons. He wants a steady job, his own place, time with his daughter. I honestly just want someone who loves me and treats me well. Who wants me to meet his family, and friends; who wants to take me out, and plans things for us to do. Who’s laid back, kind-hearted, thinks my ass hung the moon and isn’t voting for Obama this year. (Sorry, my Libertarian just fell out. Let me get that before you step on it.)

6 responses »

  1. the depression can kick your ass when you least expect it … I’m just learning to deal with mine in a healthy way… if you call being medicated healthy… if not.. I don’t care… it’s better than wanting to throw myself of a bridge when I’m having a bad spell.

    I wish there was something I could do to help…. since I know there really isn’t.. I’ll just say that you’re not alone… I know it’s not much.. and maybe it won’t help… but it’s all I can offer.


  2. It can be a LONG road back to “normal” when you’ve been off your meds for awhile. Ivevbeen there as well and encourage you to do whatever it takes to make YOU feel better. I do some naturopath things to complement conventional medicine (think fish oil, EPA, DHA, an amazing supplement called SAMe, and then some calming or invigorating essential oils (depending on my mood). I know it’s not for everyone, but it sure helps me. I hope you can find what works best for you and that you’re feeling better soon! Much love. B

  3. Would it be weird if I gave you a big ol’ virtual hug and told you I understand how you feel (being one who deals with depression herself and who’s baby daddy is as bi-polar as the day is long)? I hope not, cuz I just did.

    Secondly, A-to the-MEN on naming your problems. For me, one of the most frustrating things is when I’m upset, I know exactly why I’m upset and I can’t do a damn thing about it. Even more frustrating is knowing what WOULD solve the problem, but I just don’t feel like I have the power to do what it takes. So helpless. :(

    I hope those meds kick in soon… and I hope you get an awesome roll in the sack with Paolo to boost the efficacy of said meds.

  4. I feel like I write your blog posts sometimes. This is one of those times. I, too, struggle constantly with instant gratification. It’s like my rational brain shuts off when I want something to soothe myself.

    It’s that whole thing they say in therapy..if you’re needs weren’t met as a child, if you didn’t feel safe and loved and have boundaries set for you, then you have to learn how to parent yourself as an adult. No, you can’t have that cookie. Or those boots, because you can’t afford them. No you can’t sleep til noon, yes you have to take your medicine, and I’m forcing you to exercise,

    But, for me, denying myself whatever it is I want feels like torture, so I don’t. And then I feel worse because I have no money or I ate too much or whatever and then I do something else to make myself feel better,,,blah blah ad infinitum.

    All to say…hang in there sister.

  5. I’m not sure how I’ve never seen your blog until now, but I’m hooked.

    Depression is like a downward spiral that I feel I can’t help but fall into. If I only I could figure out a way to cling to the edge before I get sucked down too far.

    Hang in there. So glad you have good people to help you on this journey.

  6. @hilarityinshoes said it best. I’m the same way. Instant gratification is huge, even right now I am sitting here craving something sweet, unable to shush it away.

    A friend of mine just urged me to buy a book that will help me learn how to parent my inner child in a loving way. I bought it. But I’m skeptical — when life is so hard, what if I waaaant to eat cookies for dinner and stay up all night?? sigh.

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