Monday, May 11, 2015

Memories

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.)

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Wise Mind ACCEPTS....

So I finished a DBT group today. I started in May. I was supposed to be done in early December. My therapist decided I needed to stick around another 2 months. I may never forgive her, just like I'm not going to forgive her for making me come to the damn group THREE DAYS after major surgery "because there will be new people there." Who gives a fuck?! They could have waited a week to meet me and I could have stayed home with my pain pills.

Anyway. I don't know what I really got out of all this. DBT has four components. I can remember three of them. It is FILLED with acronyms that are supposed to help you remember this or that. They don't, at least for me. My therapist says my skills have improved. I don't see how they can have improved when I can't even remember half this shit. If I get really bad, I text her and she tells me what to do. She's all proud of me for not having cut since July or something, but I think about it every single day, so I don't think that's a victory. Last night I was talking to someone I was in the hospital with last year, and he tripped a trigger that still has me over the edge. (Nobody is able to stick a finger in a wound quite like someone you've been in the nut hut with.)

So really, I can't tell you what I just got out of the last 9 months. I guess, as Marsha Linehan would say, I was being willful. I showed up, but I didn't contribute much and all I could think about was how pissed I was to have to be there. I don't think Medicaid got their money's worth.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Those Poles are on to something

There's an old Polish proverb which states, "If 3 people tell you you're drunk, you'd better sit down."

My ass is firmly planted on my couch, because I guess I'm tipsy.

It is now up to 4 people in the past 2 weeks who have told me some variation of "you're brilliant, you just don't know how to apply (whatever it is I'm supposed to be learning)."

First of all, I am clearly not smarter than the average bear. I worked my ass off in college and grad school for my grades -- they didn't come easily, like they do to truly smart people.

Second, I think people get this perception of my "brilliance" because I'm quiet. It seems to create a false aura of intelligence, when what I am is reserved.

But I am feeling plenty stupid because these people, from different walks of my life, are basically telling me I'm an idiot. Or at least that's what it feels like to me.

Sometimes I don't apply my lessons because I don't fucking want to. (I will admit to being very stubborn.) Sometimes it's because I have the memory of a flea (hey, thanks, ECT) and I forget it if I don't write it down. (And then I have to try to decipher my abysmal handwriting.) Sometimes, as far as I can tell, I'm applying them just fine, only to be told I'm not (and am thus an idiot).

I dunno. I *do* know I don't need any help feeling bad about myself. And I don't know what to do about something that is apparently ingrained.

I'll let you know what happens if I sober up.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Ring out the old....

In this case, the old I'm ringing out on this New Year's Eve is someone I've been friends with (I thought) for 5 years.

I had major surgery in August, and people I barely knew stepped up to drive me around, take me to the store, etc. D. didn't even call (or text, or email) to say hi, how are you. Every time I tried to ask to talk to her about it, she blew me off. So I finally wrote her and told her how hurt I was, and asked one more time to talk.

She replied that she'd had a "trying" year too and was sorry, but she couldn't offer any more of herself, so have a nice life.

I don't understand how you can just toss someone to the side of the road when you have a history. I don't understand how you can be selfish enough to treat people like dirt. I don't understand it, period.

I read something today that fits: You can't start the next chapter of your life if you keep rereading the last one. So I'm going to try to move on. But I'm going to grieve a little first, and be angry.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

How to Deal with People Who Drive You Apeshit

As I see it, there are three ways to handle annoying people (h/t to TB for the categories):

  1. Ignore them.

  2. Pawn them off on someone else.

  3. Make them cry.

Ignoring them, for me, anyway, rarely works. It particularly doesn't work with PR people, who will send 82 pitches asking if you've received the last 81. Apparently there is something in PR people's makeup that makes them either preternaturally optimistic or terminally clueless. If I didn't answer you the first time, I'm not going to answer you the 82nd time, because I really, really want you to go away.

Pawning the hopelessly annoying off on someone better equipped to handle them is difficult, but if you can manage it (and the pawn-ee doesn't object), it's a good way to go. As with any area of life, there are some folks you just aren't going to get along with. Making them somebody else's problem can make both of you happier. 

Making them cry is not something I'm particularly proud of, but if you push me to my breaking point, it's likely to happen. I'm sarcastic and bitchy at the best of times (even though my friends will tell you I'm secretly a marshmallow. Only my body qualifies for that description, IMO). If you continue to act like you are the only person I have to spend time on, you are, sooner or later, going to be the recipient of my wrath and my mouth. It's ugly. Don't do it.

I wish I were an easier person to get along with. Someone once described me as a "prickly pear." It wasn't a compliment. But the truth is that I walk a fine line between being able to function in the world and just having to blow up and let the morons have it. I'm 1000 percent introvert and it's quite literally painful for me to deal with humanity. (You should see me at parties.) I never married for a reason. The cat keeps me warm at night and doesn't talk back, and that works nicely for me. I'm happy to try to work with you, but you need to work with me too.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

the "yeah-buts"

Mental Health Awareness Month ended in May, and there’s still a large segment of the population unaware. I call them the yeah-buts.

The yeah-buts as I have encountered them over my decades dealing with mental illness are folks who haven’t ever struggled with the stuff themselves, but feel able to tell you what to do about it.

My favorites are the ones who are compelled somehow to get me to the gym. Yes, yes, exercise can help your mood, though it doesn’t always, no matter what the yeah-buts say.

“Yeah, but you’ll feel so much better,” they insist.

“When I’m blindingly depressed, I don’t even want to get out of bed,” I insist. “I don’t want to shower. I don’t want to get dressed. I don’t want to do anything but lay there and focus on feeling like crap.”

“Yeah, but that’s exactly the time you should be getting up and exercising,” they say, usually adding another favorite – “I know I’ve never been depressed, but…”

Right. So if you have no concept of what it feels like, how can you tell me how to fix it? I got news: It’s not fixable. Meds and therapy only go so far. Once an episode begins, you pretty much just have to ride it out. And as soon as it’s over? Guess what? It’s going to come back. Almost nobody gets a one-and-done deal with a depressive episode. If you’re lucky, you can figure out how to make the time between episodes relatively lengthy. Exercise isn’t it, at least not by itself.

The yeah-buts mean well, I know. It’s just like taking advice from an unmarried marriage counselor. They never seem to realize that they’d be much more credible if they’d experienced that which they’re trying to convince you of.

I have a friend who’s a yeah-but. She does at least preface her remarks with “I know I don’t have depression,” which is something of a sop. But she still doesn’t really understand. She’s an expert in another area I struggle with, though, and there I’m all ears every time she wants to tell me something, because I know both that she’s been there personally and that she has academic knowledge as well. And I know she cares, hence the yeah-but-ism. Most yeah-buts do it out of concern for a friend or family member, I’m sure. I think maybe the afflicted just should reinforce the need to find another way to express it. No matter how well my psychiatrist and therapist and friends know me, I am still the expert on me. No ifs, ands or yeah-buts.