Wednesday, February 28, 2018

you just never know

My mental health has been in the shitter since my teens, but I didn't get treatment until my early 30s. It took finally moving away from my parents for me to take matters into my own hands.

My first psychiatrist was Dr. G., at Marquette. He was a couple years older than me, cuter than hell, but more important, kind and caring. He took the time to listen and understand. He helped me find a suitable therapist. He kept trying with meds until we found something that worked. And he listened. My parents never listened when I told them I was depressed, and never got me help (when I was a teen). Having someone who listened was huge.

I have never forgotten Dr. G., and a while back I wrote him a letter. It's been 20 years since I first saw him, and I didn't even know if he would remember me (he did). We've been corresponding a bit (he doesn't do email). I got a note from him yesterday where he said my last letter was very meaningful to him, because sometimes he wonders if he makes a difference.

I was staggered. He's cute. He's successful. He's good with people (believe it or not, not all mental health practitioners are). But he doesn't think he makes a difference. I wrote him back and told him a few ways in which he'd made a difference to me. I hope it helps.

I struggle sometimes with wondering if anybody cares, but that's not really the same thing. I'm a fucking restaurant host, for Christ's sake. It's not going to permanently impact anybody's life -- it's not going to impact them beyond the hour or so it takes them to order their meal, eat, and leave. Doctors impact people's lives permanently, for better or worse. When I 'm down, I wonder if anyone would notice if I disappeared. I had a friend tell me my friends would be traumatized if I killed myself. Maybe so. When I'm in the abyss, I DGAF. I just want peace, and death strikes me as really peaceful. (And I don't believe killing myself will send me to hell.) I know people would notice if Dr. G. disappeared. I know I would be sadder than hell if he disappeared. He was so kind to me, and treated me like a human being instead of just another crazy person. I wonder why it's so hard for him to see the good he does.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018


Where do I start about Ray?

Ray is my boss, for a while longer. It started during the interview, about halfway through which I said something and he said, "Well, I already know you can do the job." I was taken aback, because frankly, I didn't know I could do the job! But that was the beginning.

Despite my having no hospitality and almost no retail experience, Ray hired me. I think people had bets as to whether I would last the first week. I was really bad, and really stupid, and had to be told and shown things multiple times. I made Patrick (I miss you, Patrick) tell me the table numbers at least twice a day and it still had a hard time clicking until someone was able to explain it to me in a way that made perfect, logical sense a couple months into it. I don't know how long it took me to learn to take to-go orders, and to remember to label them to go for the kitchen. I was pretty bad for a long time. Ray put up with it, and didn't give up on me.

I was on Depakote when I started, which is known to cause brain fog. Somewhere in there I met a psychiatry resident who thought I was overmedicated, claimed it was hard to have a conversation with me because I was so slowed down, and took me off it. I got un-stupid.

That same resident just put me on Topamax, which also causes brain fog. I told Ray it's a good thing he's leaving, because I'm about to get stupid again. He said, "Just remember, you're still in there."

I chewed on that all day yesterday and have decided it is the best advice you could possibly give and kindest thing you could possibly say to someone who is on a literally mind-altering drug.

Before I landed this job, I got fired in 2 days from 2 others. My confidence was at an all=time low. Ray believed in me and kept building me up. The stupidity may be coming back, but I'm ready for it, and I have confidence now because he didn't give up on me no matter how much of a mess I was. I'm going to miss the hell out of him. But I've also learned a helluva lesson about how to treat people.

Monday, February 12, 2018

Rick sisters

I was never in a sorority in college -- they didn't accept fat girls -- but as an adult, I'm in a sorority of women who love Rick Springfield. I'm going to see him in a couple weeks (7th time) and 7 times is really low among some of these women. LOL Kim and I have seen him going on 4 times together. We're saving our pennies to meet him someday with backstage passes.

I posted in one of my Rick groups on Facebook about having lost my "Rick Springfield Fan" car magnet in a car wash, and asked where I could get another one, because they weren't for sale on the merch site anymore. Someone responded to me and said she would be glad to send me hers, free of charge. That's a Rick sister for ya.

I work at a restaurant in a hotel literally across the street from one of the Mayo Clinic hospitals, and half a block from the main building. Frequently, I see people at their worst. You don't come to Mayo Clinic unless you are very seriously ill or need specialized major surgery. The stress is amazing and many people don't respond to it well. They can be incredibly rude and hostile and demanding.

But my new Rick sister, Mary Ann, reminds me that people also can be very kind. I just did the Polar Plunge, jumping in a frozen lake to raise money for Special Olympics Minnesota. I raised close to $800 among my friends and family. It's a reminder that not everybody is an asshole. I need reminding of that now and then. It gives me something to aspire to as well -- to not be an asshole even if that would be the easy thing to do.

Friday, February 9, 2018


On the eve of the Polar Plunge, during which I will jump in a frigid lake to raise money for Special Olympics, I am thinking about Ben.

Ben was a Special Olympics athlete I interviewed many years ago. I asked the coach (it was softball, I think) if I could talk to one of his players, and he pointed me to Ben.

Ben was about 6-2, lanky, and sweet as pie. I don't even remember what we talked about, but I remember him vividly. He answered a couple questions and said "You're nice!" and gave me a hug. I asked a couple more questions and went to shake his hand to thank him. He looked over at his mom, pointed at me, said "she's really nice!" and gave me a huge hug.

In about 5 minutes, Ben taught me more about life than I'd learned in all my years of living. Specifically, he taught me that it costs nothing to be kind to everyone you meet. That old saw about everyone you meet is fighting some sort of battle, so be nice, is true. I was having a hard time at that job, and eventually lost it. My EIC kept saying "I'm sorry, I'm sorry." I said, "It's OK!" and it really was, because it was the biggest damn relief to get out of there. There would be plenty of time later to worry about the whole no money, no insurance thing. I was just glad to be done. I had like one friend there and my bosses all hated me.

I find myself now in the best possible situation with a job. My boss is hella understanding, and aside from one little shithead who I don't like either, everybody seems fond of me. At least one of them, and maybe 3 or 4, are coming to see me Plunge tomorrow. I have a multitude of friends outside of work, so many of whom donated to Special Olympics on my behalf. My psychiatrist keeps trying to put words in my mouth and paint me in situations that don't exist. I'm not alone just because I don't have parents. I have Sweetie. I have my sibs. I have, as I said, a multitude of friends who care about me. I'm about as far from alone as one can get. I would devastate them, I'm pretty sure, if I offed myself.

I'm a huge Rick Springfield fan. I'll be seeing him in concert for the 7th time at the end of this month. My dream is to meet him someday. But I don't love Rick just because he's hot, or because he puts out great music (the new one is awesome, dark lyrics aside). I love him because he's been depressed his whole life and openly talks about it. He's been on a media tour for the new one and one interviewer or another asked him what his family would think if he killed himself, as he's been struggling with those thoughts of late. (Me too.) He said it would devastate them, BUT he wasn't thinking about that when he was in that dark place. Many of my friends have tried to remind me of that lately. It's not that I don't care about them, it's that the pain is so bad I just want out, and everyone else be damned. It's all about ME when I'm suicidal. You can tell me you love me to infinity and beyond, and I'll feel it, but I won't give a shit. I don't know if that sounds selfish. Probably. But it's just the way it is.

I'm wearing a Wonder Woman outfit, tiara included, to plunge in. My favorite tool of hers is the Lasso of Truth. When it's wrapped around you, you can't lie. You're required to be completely honest. This is my Lasso of Truth entry. And Ben, I salute you.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Welcome back...

Things are going to shit again, and my therapist's suggestion for that is to write. It's true that I express myself better while writing than speaking, and it's true that I refuse to go back to the place I blogged for years, because of the way I was treated in the end. So here I am. Surprised I even remembered the address.

I'm struggling with being deeply depressed and having no one in authority believe that I know what should be done about it. I've dealt with this shit since I was a teenager. I'll be 53 in a couple months. This is not my first rodeo. But nobody believes it's as serious as it feels to me.

So last night, after exhausting elebenty-billion DBT coping skills, I went for my tried and true: I cut.

It made me FURIOUS.

I was so surprised by that reaction that I did it again, just to see what happened.

I was even MORE furious.

I cut because it works. It's a physical release of the emotional torment. After the knife has hit, and I see the blood, I feel like a tire deflating. All the pressure is released and there's just a feeling of AHHHHH. Now I feel better.

Until last night.

So, that's the death of a coping mechanism, I guess, and now I have to find one that works as well as cutting used to.

My therapist wondered if the anger had been simmering unawares, like a volcano before it erupts. Upon thinking about it, I realize I'm angry most of the time. My sister told me once I was the angriest person she knew. I was stunned, but it turns out she's right. The trick is figuring out what I'm angry about. I know I'm still angry about the damn disability, 5 years later. I'm angry that I'm reduced to a job that requires less than a high school education, when I have a masters degree. (I told a former psychiatrist what I was doing now. He said, "I think that's a great job for you! DON'T OVERDO IT." (Emphasis mine.) I'm angry that people feel sorry for me. I'm angry a mental health professional called the cops on me and humiliated me in front of my coworkers and neighbors. (Should I be grateful he cared that much? Probably. But I'm angry.) I don't even know what else I'm angry about, just that I am. I try not to think about it too much.

I'm even angry writing about being angry. Time to go watch my stupid show and snuggle the cat. More to come.....

Monday, May 11, 2015


The thing about memories is, I have very few of them. My memory doesn't extend past the previous day, and sometimes it's even just a few hours. (My sister asked me the other day what I'd had for dinner the previous night, and I had to struggle to come up with it.)

I had 9 months of electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), in an attempt to get out of the most severe, longest-lasting depressive episode of my life. I got 2.5 months of peace before I ended up in the hospital, actively suicidal. Not only did it not work on my depression, it fried my brain. People tell me things, or show me artifacts from places we went together, and I just don't remember.

It's troublesome with work, too. Even if I've done something several times, if there's been a gap since the last time I did it, I'll have to ask to be shown again. It pisses off my boss. Last time, between the time I asked him to help me and the time he responded, I remembered how. But it took me several hours to surface the memory. I know he's busy and he relies on me to do stuff he doesn't have time for, but I can only do what I can do. I try my best in the face of my limitations. The fact is, they're not going away, ever. It frustrates me, too. But I took a crapshoot with my brain and I lost. It's something I'll have to deal with for the rest of my life. If anybody has any ideas for ways around it, let me know.

Le Misanthrope

Yep, that's me.

Misanthropy is defined as the general hatred, distrust or disdain of the human species. I think it's safe to say I detest mankind. People are stupid, and annoying, and a general pain in the ass. I prefer the company of my cat. She can't talk, and she's never abandoned me or let me down. How many people can you say that about?

This is a shit time of year for me. There's Mother's Day (on which I am never acknowledged by my child), and said child's birthday (painful for several reasons), and this year I'm preparing to wave goodbye to one of the only people who has ever understood me enough to help me. I don't know what I'm going to do without him.

I wish I could just find a cave somewhere and hole up. (As long as the cave has wi-fi.)