Everything’s Fine

I haven’t blogged in awhile. It’s not because there’s nothing going on. There’s a LOT going on, it’s just that none of it is super interesting.

I’m still recovering from my stupid head injury. I got some money for it, which is nice. Started watching a bunch of The People’s Court on YouTube and realized that I could do a small claims suit. To sue someone in small claims court in Oregon you need to notify them first of your intent and give them time to respond. So I did that and the bastard surgeon just sent me money so we wouldn’t have to go through the whole nonsense of court.

T and I, with our newfound riches, started looking into buying a home and have quickly realized that we are not going to be able to do so without a miracle– or the cooling of the market, which will hopefully happen soon. 10 years ago we would have been able to afford something awesome, but Portland is very hot right now when it comes to real estate, so we need patience and probably to save more money. Or a miracle. If anyone would like to lend us a few tens of thousands of dollars, that’d be swell.

I had an evil coworker who left in the middle of last month, and that makes me happy because she’s terrible.

The cats are fine, we’re both basically fine, everything is FINE. I’ve gotten good at doing subtle makeup. So that’s nice.

I’m still in school, still gettin’ A’s, still plugging away at everything in hopes of a brighter future. I turned 41. I’m tired all the time.

Best wishes to you and yours and all that.

I feel like I’m taking crazy pills

Called a Public Assistance Agency and asked how we return an iPad that a client had been given by their program.

This was my experience. It is not embellished or edited to make it funnier.

Interrupting Lady: Hi, you’ve reached Public Assistance Agency, how can I help you?

Kate: Hi, My name is Kate and I’m calling from…

Interrupting Lady: Hi you’ve reached Public Assistance Agency, how can I direct your call today?

Kate: As I was saying, my name is Kate and I’m calling from…

Interrupting Lady: Yes, you’ve reached Public Assistance Agency, how can I direct your call today?

Kate: Uhh, can you hear me?

Interrupting Lady: Yes, ma’am, I can hear you just fine.

Kate: Then why do you keep talking over me? [silence…] Okay, so I’m calling from–

Interrupting Lady: Hi, you’ve reached Public Assistance Agency, how can I help you?

Kate: [speaking quickly, irritated] So my name is Kate and I’m calling from the–

Interrupting Lady: Hi, you’ve reached Public Assistance Agency, what can I do for you today?

Kate: Why do you keep interrupting me?

[click]

I called back, and a man answered the phone.

Psychic Dude: Thank you for calling Public Assistance Agency, please wait while I connect you to your party.

Kate: How… how would you know what party I’m trying to reach?

Psychic Dude: Only you would know which party you’re trying to reach.

Kate: …So who were you going to connect me to?

Psychic Dude: Well, what did you need?

Kate: I work for [government agency] and we’re trying to return an iPad that was given to her by your guys.

Psychic Dude: Can I have the client’s address?

Kate: Is it a different procedure for different addresses?

Psychic Dude: [sigh] Can I have their name then?

Kate: Her name is Jane Smith, and she lives in an adult care home, so getting her address wouldn’t have been that helpful to you.

Psychic Dude: Jane Smith… Jane Smith… [pause] We don’t want it back. It’s too old. Recycle it or something.

AND SCENE

Everybody’s working for the weekend

I’m doing really well in school.

I’m working toward a degree in social work, and my union is paying for me to get my associate’s. After that I’ll probably transfer to the local university (which I dropped out of 12 years ago because I was not a stable person back then) and get my bachelor’s and master’s from there.

You can do a lot with a Master’s in Social Work. You can do so many fucking things.

Education means choices. I’ve worked for the same employer for over 4 years now, and I’ve been in my current job for just over two years. I was really in love with my job for the first year and a half. I get to help people. Isn’t that cool?

And then I got hurt.


I started seeing a new therapist today. My longtime therapist, who I saw for about 9 years but has since moved on to the more administrative side of things and in fact now runs the practice, recommended her. And we just clicked immediately. I like her a lot. I talked about a lot of things, because, y’know, first session with a new therapist. Instead of feeling exhausted afterward, I felt energized and excited.

And one of the things I told her is that I’m doing really well in school. I know I already said that, but it’s important.


My brain injury really fucked up my life. Most of my symptoms have finally abated, but some are sticking around and might be permanent. I can deal with those, I think. They suck, but I can figure it out.

My work performance has suffered. My overall health has suffered. My personal life was affected. I have terrible memory now. I have trouble focusing. My spelling and typing have gone to shit. I have frequent, sometimes debilitating headaches. I often feel despair, which passes, but it’s not fun.

Through all this, my GPA stayed fucking solid. For the last two terms I’ve gotten all A’s. This term I’m taking statistics, and as someone who hasn’t done any math above arithmetic for about 24 years, stats is a fucking challenge. But I’m acing it. I’m acing everything. I started college again at 39, and it seems I was finally ready to do it right. I’m a good student. I’m wicked smart. I’m doing it. It feels like I’m learning to ride a bike without training wheels. Look at me goooooooooooo.

But when it comes to work, I just feel so trapped. My husband and I have great insurance because of my work. I am getting an associates degree for free because of my work. I have stability because of my work. And it fucking beats a lot of other jobs I’ve had.

It’s just really hard to come back from what I’ve seen. It’s hard to know that if I get sick again, I’m kind of on my own. Leave and benefits won’t give me clear instructions. My short term disability insurance, which I opted into and comes right out of my paycheck, seems fucking useless. They’re still processing my claim and sending me forms saying that they’re still processing my claim. And my team, who I gave so much of myself to not let down, doesn’t really seem to care. I think they’re all sick of me being sick.

As if I’m not.


So I’m in school. And my grades are very good. And I’m going to get my degree, and then get the next degree, and get the NEXT degree, and then… then I will have leverage. I will have choices. I will be able to decide where I want to go next. I won’t have to worry quite as much, I hope. I won’t have to be an Office Assistant anymore, at the bottom of the totem pole, replaceable and negligible and treated like a liability because I had the audacity to get a fucking TBI.


So, according to the title of this post and the song that inspired it, “everybody’s working for the weekend.”

You know what I do on my weekends?

Statistics. And whatever other courses are required for my major. And I like it.

School means choices. I’m not going to fuck it up this time.

Skies were gray, but they’re not gray anymore

PART ONE:

In March, I got a concussion. The story behind it is pretty incredible.

I had some Major Dental Drama in 2019 when I decided to get dental implants done in Mexico. They were not done well, and what I went through was traumatizing and horrible and I would recommend that you don’t get dental implants in Mexico, because in my case (even seeing a well-reviewed doc) it made my oral cavity situation so so so so so so much worse. Unremitting pain for weeks. Don’t do it. So I’m already pretty fucked-up by/about dentists and oral surgeons.

But I need to get all this shitty shit repaired. So I’ve been seeing specialists in my area to get this whole thing managed and get some pretty new teefs put in my head. An important step was taking the old implants out. And that’s why I went to the oral surgeon in March– after much preparation and many visits with this surgeon and other specialists, I was finally ready to have that hardware yanked out of my jaw.

Let me back up a bit here: in 2004, I had my wisdom teeth out. I was 23, which is pretty late, but it was time. And the oral surgeon gave me Versed, which is a drug they use to knock you the fuck out. I did not react well to it. I apparently got combative, my heartrate got above 200bpm, and they almost had to call 911. But they got the teeth out, yay, hooray. That was a long time ago, but I have mentioned to anyone else who wants to render me unconscious that Versed is not a good idea.

I mentioned my paradoxical reaction to Versed to my (erstwhile) oral surgeon during our first visit, and he said “oh, we use Propofol.” So I was assured.

Well, readers, he fucking used Versed.

My last memory is of him placing the IV (on the second try, and I have great veins) and then YANKING my left arm before I passed out. No announcement that they were injecting me. Just POKE YANK BLACKNESS. I woke up about an hour later. Crying. Hysterical. Terrified. I asked one of the women in the room “Did something happen?” and she was like oh of course not you’re fine it’s totally normal to wake from anesthesia terrified and unable to stop crying for 20 minutes. They wanted to get my friend/driver Jay, to come in, but I told them not to. I was embarrassed and confused and altogether very, very upset.

Eventually they walked me out to Jay’s car and he drove me home. I had gauze stuffed in my face-hole so I couldn’t tell him what had happened, but I was obviously a mess.

Jay gets me home. My husband puts me to bed. I couldn’t really walk on my own. I spent the day sleeping it off.

It wasn’t until the next day that I was laying in bed with my husband and he noticed significant bruising on my left arm. Lemme show ya:

This was a few days after. It was bad.

Those are obvious finger-marks on my arm. I was black and blue for a couple of weeks. I also discovered muscle strains in both of my forearms, which weren’t visible but were very, uh, feel-able. As the days went on, I found a lump on my head. I felt like I had whiplash, my neck and shoulders were all messed up (still are!) And a few days after the surgery, I figured out that I most likely had a concussion. So I went to see my primary doctor, who is amazing, and she said “yup, that seems like a concussion.” And then a week or so later I realized that I was obviously suffering from Post Concussion Syndrome, because the dizziness, confusion, lack of concentration and other AMAZING! FUN! SYMPTOMS! were not going away. This was also confirmed by my doctor. This isn’t my first concussion, nor is it my first Post Concussion Bullshit rodeo. It’s bullshit, in case you were wondering.

Sooooo I filled out FMLA paperwork, which was approved. I got referred for a CT scan, which thankfully is clear. And I was referred to brain injury rehab, which I’m being evaluated for on June 1st.

During the course of all this unneeded bullshit, I emailed my surgeon’s office. I wanted to know what happened. I wanted to know if they’d given me Versed. After a lot of hemming and hawing and “why don’t you just call?” and “I’ll have to get back to you on that” I got a 2000+ word screed from the surgeon, in the middle of which he sheepishly admitted he’d given me Versed. He had reasons, of course. It’s a very safe drug! Complications aren’t unheard of! Other drugs can also cause bad reactions! And to counteract the Versed, they pumped me full of Ketamine, which made it worse. Then they finally, finally gave me FUCKING PROPOFOL which is what I had told them I tolerated well, had experience with, was comfortable with– a drug that, without prompting, the surgeon had told me was the standard drug they used for such procedures. And they had to give me such massive amounts of Propofol to counteract the Versed and the Ketamine that I stopped breathing several times.

I was livid. I remain livid. Obviously, he’s fucking fired– which I decided after I went to a follow-up visit and he fucking POKED my healing mouth-wounds with a POKEY THING and it HURT and I swear the man is a fucking sadist. This wasn’t the first or even second time he was way too rough with me, but it was definitely the last time.

It’s over two months later, and the symptoms of the concussion are still affecting my work. It’s affecting my home life. I can’t reliably concentrate, keep track of time, retain information, or not fuck up everything all the time because of this. I have to go to rehab because of this. It has put a strain on my professional and personal relationships. It is the opposite of good. I can drive most days, because that only requires 10-20 minutes of concentration at a stretch. I can usually do that. I can make simple recipes, but I’m likely to skip steps or mess up if I try to do anything that isn’t super familiar. I can’t make decisions or figure out what the right course of action is. It has made me dependent on my husband in ways I don’t want to be. It has made me dependent on my coworkers in ways that cause me to feel shame.

The words that keep coming to mind are awful and devastating.

But Kate, you’re writing! It seems like you can still write! Yeah, I can do that. It’s one of the things I can do. Which is good, because I’m in college right now in addition to working 40 hours a week. My essays aren’t brilliant, but they’re adequate, and my grades haven’t really suffered.

But I’m exhausted all the time. And if I push myself too hard, all I can do is sleep. And “too hard” means “the way I expect to be able to perform, and how my job expects me to perform.” So it’s been problematic. They’ve been pretty great about it, but it sucks.

Ever since I started my Fitness Quest last year, I’d been feeling a lot better. I’ve had chronic pain my whole life, depression and other mental health issues for as long as I can remember. Walking around my neighborhood helped with that. Along with the pills I take every day to keep me on a relatively even keel, walking made me more emotionally healthy, gave me energy, and helped me lose over 40 lbs.

But now I don’t have enough energy to walk.

I’m used to being sick, is my point. Except, for almost a year, I wasn’t really sick. I wasn’t depressed most of the time. I wasn’t in a lot of pain. And this health crisis has put me back in the position of being feeble, of needing help, of being a fucking invalid.

I hates it, my precioussesssss.


PART TWO:

Keep on Keepin’ On

But here’s the reason I titled this post the way I did:

I take my pills every night. I’m on Lexapro for the crazy and Yaz (birth control) for the really crazy, because I suffer from Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder so severe that, when unmedicated, I’m suicidally depressed for over half the days out of every month. Everyone hates me, is out to get me, isn’t doing their share, and I might as well just die because nothing is ever going to get better.

I’ve been on Lexapro for a few years and Yaz for about as long. And they’ve been miraculous.

You know what else is miraculous? I’ve been employed steadily for almost 5 years, first through a temp agency, and then I got hired permanently (because of a temp placement!) by the county in which I reside. I went from being on food stamps to working for a place that administers them!

The steady income, the feeling of usefulness, and just the stability of it all has also had a miraculous effect on my mental health. My longest period of unemployment in those 5 years is two weeks in between temp gigs. AND my union has a free college program, and through that I’m working on getting my AAS in Social Work. Then I’ll transfer to Portland State, which has an excellent Social Work program, to do my Bachelors and Masters degrees. This is already in the works! Do you know how much shit you can do with an MSW? A lot! A lot of shit!

It took until I was 35 to be able to show up to an office and not quit within a year or mess up so badly that I got fired. It took until I was about 37 to find the combination of drugs that keeps me relatively sane and healthy. And now I’m 40 and I have good hair, a husband I genuinely love and like, wonderful/diabolical cats, and a steady job. I don’t have trouble making rent. I have retirement benefits and good health insurance. I’m the breadwinner in my relationship. I don’t have to worry that I’m going to have to choose between food and gas. I have a car that hasn’t exploded yet. It’s all good, and a lot of it is better than good. A lot of things are great.

And I’m grateful. So incredibly grateful.

My mental illness was so bad for so long that my brain spent most of my life, from the age of 10 or 11, intermittently trying to kill me. I had calmer, better times, but they were short. And it always came back to the depression and the borderline and all the havoc they caused in my relationships and the inability to keep a job and the kinda-sorta being homeless and the calls to my Mom that scared the shit out of her because her daughter just wanted to die and couldn’t think of a good reason to keep going.

I kept going. But it took until I was 29 to learn what it felt like to not wake up and immediately feel overwhelmed with dread, and that little peaceful little meadow in the dark forest was a place I only stayed in for about nine months. Other than that, my life was pretty fucking awful from the time I was 11 until I was in my late thirties. It took a couple stays in the loony bin, going through (and this is not an exaggeration) at least 20 therapists, trying more medications than I can count, and fucking up a whole lot for me to get here. I wrecked friendships, relationships, people, myself. Oh, and a few cars.

Looking back on all that, it’s hard to tell anyone else that they should go through what I went through because eventually! you might!?! be happy!!! but goddamnit, I’m so glad I didn’t die. Because things right now, other than the head injury and the stupidity that it entails, are awesome.

Did I mention that I have good hair?

I long suspected that if you could just remove all the nasty mental illness shit, I’d be a pretty happy person. And it’s true! Isn’t that a trip?

This might not be the message of hope that Hallmark wants to sell you, but let me repeat it. I am so glad I didn’t die.

I might have to start wearing a helmet, though. Concussions are a bitch.

Tell Tale Signs

I started this blog ten years ago this month. I didn’t realize that before I signed in to post, but it’s a neat little coincidence.

There’s a lot in here that I find embarrassing now. Several things I’m probably better off not looking into too deeply tonight. But I can’t bring myself to abandon it, even with all the ranting about a certain someone, even with all the bravado and outbursts and so much documentation of a time before I knew what was wrong with me and how to, mostly, stop.

I have a very sturdy government job and have been relatively stable and working in government jobs for years now. I’ve been with my partner since Summer 2014, and we eloped last month at our favorite bar. I did a jello shot. I seldom drink anymore. I quit smoking. I quit vaping. I got very fat. It is all very stable, for me, and I think the me of February 2010 would be horrified at how boring I’ve become. But I’m no longer tearing myself apart, and that’s worth something.

And here’s some Frank Turner to sum it all up:

I thought that suffering was something profound,
That weighed down on wise heads,
And not just something to be avoided,
Something normal people dread.

I’ll probably post more soon.

It’s been a while…

I don’t write much these days.

I wrote a song a few months ago called “Imposter Syndrome.” Apparently it’s good. But other than that, I haven’t been writing.

I think part of it is that I’ve been busy with work (I’m working now!) and part of it is that I’m content enough and what I usually write about is angst. There hasn’t been a lot of angst.

But if I’m going to consider myself a writer, I have to write.

So I’ve got this temp gig working for a state agency as a receptionist. It was supposed to last for about two months, but I’ve been there for almost five. Maybe they’ll keep me, maybe they won’t, but it’s been a good experience. Having a job, having routine, is really good for me. Even when it’s a grind, it’s better than sitting at home hating myself. Now I can be at work hating myself. Ha ha.

It’s brought out a lot of insecurity, though, this job. Brought it to the surface, more like. Which is what “Imposter Syndrome” is about, that feeling that I’m a fraud and I don’t belong.

Amanda Palmer touches on that feeling a lot in her book The Art of Asking. You should really read it, I just finished it about 20 minutes ago, and it’s excellent.

Anyway. I’m going to try to write more (I always say that) and see what form my writing takes when I’m not ranting about the one that got away or some other agony from my oh-so-tortured life.

Thanks for reading 🙂

I want to know your feelings, I want to know your name

As I mentioned in my last post, a guy at work has caught my eye. More than that, it seems like he (or my idea of him, which might be horribly misinformed) has decided to occupy my mind, leaned back in a chair, put its feet up, and made itself very comfortable there. I would use the word “obsessed,” but that doesn’t really fit. There’s nothing scary about it, I’m not about to set fire to his car if he won’t get coffee with me. I won’t be leaving strange gifts on his doorstep or driving by his house repeatedly (especially because I don’t know what/if he drives or where he lives.) We have spoken twice or maybe three times ever. I have no real expectations– he’s not my prince charming, I don’t expect him to be the love of my life, he’s just a ridiculously attractive and compelling person whose image is stuck in my mental overhead projector, which coincidentally I seem to be unable to turn off. So, not obsessed. Occupied. He disappeared for a month and then he came back, and Holy Crap, I couldn’t breathe when he walked in the room. I couldn’t make eye contact. I couldn’t say hello.

The other day, I wound up alone with a woman I know to be one of his friends, and screwed up the courage to ask if he is married and/or gay. He is neither.

He is mountains cooler than I am. Loads, tons, lots cooler than I am. And this… ahem, THIS… is not about him.

This is about me.

But here’s the background: A little over a month ago, I was at Radio Cab waiting to get assigned a car for the night. This involves waiting in a room with every other lease driver who wants a cab. And lo, Alex (his name is not actually Alex) turned around from a distance of approximately six feet and smiled at me. Like, a 180 degree turn. Smiled. At. Me. While looking directly at me. And the rest of the world stopped and I mumbled something about not remembering his name, and he said “I’m Alex. You’re Kate, right?” And I died and said something incredibly stupid, because I am Kate and he knew that. And I’m sure that for the rest of our time together waiting for cabs I smiled like someone who has been pleasantly lobotomized while internally berating myself for completely losing my cool.

So then I went out and bought new pants and broke up with my boyfriend. One smile from Alex, and the fact that he knew my name when I’d forgotten his (he is so pretty that I almost forgot my own name, too, so I’m glad he knew it) made me want to be a better person. It made me want to become the best version of myself I can be. Not so that he’ll like/love me. But so that I won’t feel so damned unworthy of that potential love. Because this guy– whoa Nelly, this guy is out of my goddamned league. I have fucked-up teeth, I’m fat, and I’m somewhat unhinged. I’m clawing my way out of madness and suicidal depression. I can be selfish, I have a temper, and sometimes my feet smell really bad.

The mixture of elation and hope combined with such a crushing sense of unworthiness really did a number on me. So I’ve been thinking very hard about where that insecurity comes from and what I can do to fix it.

And part of trying to fix it is figuring out how in the fuck I’m supposed to date now that I know I have borderline personality disorder.

Because, let’s say Alex agrees to go to coffee with me. How do I avoid coming off like a complete freak? How do I avoid letting him know that I know more about him that I rightfully should? How do I hide the fact that I’ve been thinking about him far more than I’m comfortable with since the middle of April?

How would knowing those things not terrify him, even if he did initially think that I’m ridiculously attractive and compelling? Would it even be fair to enter into a friendship/makeoutship without letting him know that I’m a bit prone to fixations and also, y’know, clinically emotionally unstable? How the hell am I supposed to ask somebody out when I’m reasonably confident that the truth would cause any man with a decent sense of self-preservation to bolt?

Is the solution to be single for awhile? I can handle that, I think, except that Alex is already wedged there in my mind and I know I’ll kick myself if I don’t get up the nerve to ask him to hang out sometime.

Is the solution to seek out people who have some understanding of my sort of issues who might not be immediately deterred by my intensity? Because I really don’t want to get into another relationship based around mutual brokenness.

And how do you just stop thinking about someone? Especially when you are prone to fixations, when crushes are your version of heroin, when you know that you’d be a fool to not at least try.

Every day he doesn’t show up at work (he doesn’t show up very often) I feel both relieved and disappointed. When he’s there, I’m almost paralyzed. Some days I spend time trying to become brave so that if he’s there, I’ll be able to sidle over and talk to him. But he’s only there when I’ve finally accepted that he probably won’t be.

If he, for whatever reason, declined the opportunity to get to know me better, I know that I would be disappointed and feel like an idiot for awhile. But at least I would have asked. At least I’d know and I wouldn’t have to wonder anymore. It’s the uncertainty that bothers me. The knowledge that there are only a few reasons why someone would turn around, look right at me, and smiiiile, and most of those reasons are good.

But whatever the reasons, whatever the outcome, this isn’t about him. Not really.

It’s about trying to be less intimidated, less scared of failure. It’s about realizing that risks are necessary for rewards. I’ve spent too long doubting myself, and I am really making good progress and doing well, and… maybe this guy isn’t so far out of my league after all. I have limited myself so much because I haven’t taken the leaps of faith necessary to start writing a book, working on my dreams, recording my music. This feeling of not-good-enough is keeping me from singing in public, building my media empire, living my dreams, and… talking to this hot guy at work.

So regardless of whether anything comes of it or not, this crush has inspired me to confront some of the self-defeating thoughts and behaviors that have been holding me back, and that is an amazing accidental gift that this guy has given me. I really hope he’ll let me express my gratitude with hot, caffeinated beverages, and possibly smooches.

the curse and the blessing, they’re one and the same

Baby, it’s all such a treacherous game…

Worked a half-shift last night because I had a sudden, horrid, distracting migraine that made it so I couldn’t drive safely. Smoked a cigarette (even though I basically quit months ago) because there’s nothing better than a smoke to grant me 15 minutes of clarity so I can drive home. Which I did. And then I took the maximum number of sedatives and sleeping pills that I feel is prudent, and I’m still wide awake four hours after I arrived in my nice, safe, warm bedroom.

My therapist says that on the  nights I’m feeling crazy, I shouldn’t fight it so hard. So I’m not. I’m awake at almost six in the morning because… well, because I couldn’t sleep. And rather than lay there in the dwindling darkness, I thought I’d get up and attend to this here blarrg. Whilst sedated. Because I’m a goddamned daredevil.

My life has been on a definite upswing for the last two months. I’ve become something of a workaholic, when I can manage to drive safely. I’ve had two nights in a row now where I’ve left early because I was too ill or distracted to complete my shift. This is disappointing, but I still made a lot more money than I would have if I’d just stayed home. I’ve saved quite a bit of cash for the move I have to do in the next week. I still don’t know where I’m going. I’m excited and scared. Fortunately, if I can’t move into somewhere by next Saturday (when I have to be out of this place) I can afford to stay in a hotel for a few nights. Working 50 hours a week has its advantages.

Driving a cab is making me Zen in ways I never thought I could manage. My ability to go with the flow and remain calm even when there are somewhat stressful things going on is developing nicely. I’m not as nervous anymore. I’m generally suffused with the feeling that “I’ve got this.”  I seem to be good at my job. Let’s just hope I can keep it for awhile.

For those of you who don’t already know, I broke up with my boyfriend about a month ago. We’re still living together. We might keep living together, because we know we can stand each other and it’s a lot cheaper to rent a place together than to try to get places individually. I’ve looked at some places on my own, and it was not encouraging…

So my life, as always is in flux. But I’m doing okay. It’s nice to be able to handle stress and not, you know, die.

 

caught in the riptide

I was searching for the truth…

I’ve been unmedicated since mid-January. Off the Effexor, which could have gotten me killed. Off the Lithium because it made be feel flat, like I hadn’t used color-safe bleach and all the colors had faded. So it’s just me. Unmedicated.

The one thing I still have is gapapentin, which gets rid of my headaches, and makes me feel giddy and slightly high. You can’t overdose on it, and I don’t take it very often. But I took it tonight.

I’m up at 4:30 in the morning, and I have a good and rational reason for it: I’m a night cabbie. My shifts last 12 hours and sometimes don’t end until sunrise. There’s a consolation in that, driving home and seeing the sun come up behind Mt. Hood. I didn’t work tonight, but I feel like if I have to be nocturnal, I might as well get used to it. I am once again a vampire.

I’ve been losing weight, which is fine because I got up to about 210 lbs. last fall, and wanted to cut hunks of fat off myself. I’m lucky; I inherited my mother’s genes, so even at this rather extreme weight, I’m proportional. I haven’t weighed myself lately, but I wouldn’t be surprised if I were under 190 now. I haven’t been exercising or paying a great deal of attention to diet, it’s just that more and more foods seem to make me sick. Sushi doesn’t, so I eat a lot of that when I can afford it. Drinking a lot of smoothies. I’m hungry all the time, but my stomach cramps and I feel nauseous when I eat the wrong things. Sometimes I vomit. I soldier on.

The job is going well. I’m better at it than I expected. I’m still learning how to be a cabbie, but I’ve always been a good conversationalist, and my customers seem to like that. It’s a very free job, I go where I want or where the fares take me, and I can have a break whenever. I’ve mostly stopped smoking again (betcha didn’t even know I’d started,) so I puff on my e-cig constantly. I can do that in my cab so I take fewer breaks. I make a lot of money when I try. People seem to like me.

But the depression is still here, tearing holes in my heart. The mania manifests in restlessness, sleeplessness. One would think that driving all night would be good for someone with my temperament, and maybe it is or will be, but I so wanted to be the sort of person who slept at night and woke up in the morning. It seemed healthier, you know? Like what a real grownup would do.

The pieces are in place for me to have a good life. I have a good job, for now, which I’m good at most of the time. I have a sweet and amazingly patient partner who thinks I’m amazing and is pretty damned cool himself. I am making money and my situation is improving. I have plans, goals, hopes, dreams.

But I feel so lost. I am going through the motions. I don’t know how I feel about anything. I don’t know whether I like my job or hate it. I don’t know whether I want to be in a relationship at all. I was thinking the other day, wondering if I’m just with Jeremy because it’s better than being alone. Then I asked myself, how many of my relationships have actually been better than being alone? And then I laughed and realized that I think too much.

My mom is visiting next week. I haven’t seen her in a year and a half. That boggles my mind. Mom has been amazing and supportive through all the mental-health bullshit I’ve been through, unwavering, present, understanding. We are very close these days.

I guess I’ve sort of closed myself off. And I need to open back up if I want to get better. I just don’t really know what “better” looks like, yet, or how to get there. Drugs? Therapy? Buddhism? I think a lot about death, but passively. Wondering if I really am doomed to keep living like this, wondering if the merciful thing to do for myself would be just to end it. But then practicality steps in: it would be very cold jumping off the Fremont Bridge, and I can’t kill myself in Jeremy’s bathtub, the poor boy has been through enough.

So I live, I go to work and to therapy, I talk to my mother, I write blog posts. I try to take care of myself and get out of this fog. I am going through the motions, and I am basically fine.

oh you bloody motherfucking asshole

I am not a great decorator. After Mike The Asshole told me my taste was tacky, I stopped putting things up on my walls for awhile. After we broke up, I of course plastered my walls with weird postcards and the like. But I’ve moved seven times in 3.5 years, and I seldom put anything up because it’s exhausting and I’m just gonna probably move in six months anyway.

So my current bedroom has  only one thing on the walls.

It’s a letter my dad sent me years ago, when I was desperately poor and felt, well, lame. Because I needed help again and I felt like a 28-year-old shouldn’t be asking her daddy for money every month. I should have had my life together, and I didn’t. He sent a check, and included this note, and everywhere I’ve lived in the past five years, this has been on my wall.

I am, whatever our problems, and whether I want to be or not, Daddy’s Girl. I have always wanted to impress him. I tell people, “my father is brilliant, I am merely very,very bright.” My father has something like 13 patents. My father had a part on the space shuttle, although I’m not sure what. My daddy does things with lasers and tank armor and makes assloads of money and lives in a house with a glorious view of the Pacific. My father is generous and charitable and at times astonishingly kind.

Which is why this is so hard for me.

He doesn’t goddamned get it, at all.

Martha says it better than I can:

You say my time here has been some sort of joke
That I’ve been messing around
Some sort of incubating period
For when I really come around

I’m cracking up
And you have no idea
No idea how it feels to be on your own
In your own home
with the fucking phone
And the mother of gloom
In your bedroom
Standing over your head
With her hand in your head
With her hand in your head

I will not pretend
I will not put on a smile
I will not say I’m all right for you
When all I wanted was to be good
To do everything in truth
To do everything in truth

I don’t know if that conveys it to you, but it’s playing in my head on a constant loop these days.

I talked to my dad about 10 days ago. It was about an hour after my weekly therapy appointment (and two days before I cracked up and went to the hospital.) And he gave me his usual dad advice that what I probably needed was some stability, that I should get a job, that the happiest and most stable I’ve ever been was when I was working, and that my first priority should be getting back into school.

Let’s address these points, shall we?

  • I probably need some stability.
    • Well fucking DUH
  • I should get a job
    • I totally agree! That’s why I’m working on becoming a cabbie! Also, if you haven’t noticed, I’m losing my mind like right now this very moment and perhaps a desk job isn’t going to magically fix things.
  • The happiest and most stable I’ve ever been was when I was working
    • Y’know, I’d noticed that too! And I looked for work for months, but I’ve been sort of bedridden with this whole “I want to die I want to die I want to die” thing I’ve been indulging in lately, so it’s made it hard to keep keepin’ on. I applied for everything I could until I could no longer work anyway because the depression and anxiety were close to killing me.
  • You should go back to school (even though I’m unwilling to adequately support you while you do it.)
    • I dropped out of school when I was 28 because of what I now know was a raging case of bipolar disorder. I could not sit still in a classroom. I spent my days at home hating everything and my nights at bars with pretty boys because they were the only thing that reliably made me even temporarily less horrid. You won’t help me pay for it, and I’m ineligible for more loans.

And I have some points of my own!

  • If I went back to school now, the same goddamned thing would happen. I would crash and burn. I know it. This is not a guess, this is the truth.
  • The last job I had, I had to quit after five hours because I got a panic attack so bad that it gave me diarrhea.
  • My top priority right now is to get healthy.
  • My top priority right now should be to get healthy.
  • I cannot do anything useful until I am healthy.

I have lost 15 lbs in the past MONTH. That’s terrifying (although I did have it to spare.)  When I try to eat normal food, I shit or vomit. I’m basically on a liquid diet most days, and that’s more expensive than you’d think. I’m going through withdrawal from Effexor, which means that I burst into tears sometimes and my head constantly feels like it’s receiving electric shocks. All I can think about all day is going to bed, but when bedtime rolls around, I’m wired and don’t get to sleep until 2am when I meant to be in bed at 9pm and have to be awake at 8am. I have not once been on time to the hospital where I spent 20-30 hours a week trying to get better. Getting better is exhausting. Lots of anger, lots of crying.

This is hell. This is hell. This is hell.

Honestly, I’m feeling hopeful and better and therapy is working and I think lithium might fix some of this so I go to my stupid groups and I take my stupid pills and I deal with the BZZZZZZZZZZT  in my brain and I get by on not-enough sleep and I try my hardest not to buy that cute vintage jacket or fuck that cute boy because I don’t want my mania to rule my life.

And I unreservedly say FUCK YOU to anyone who has never been through this but thinks they know what’s best for me.

This is HELL. And I am fighting, and I am BRAVE, and I am STRONG and I am going to fucking BEAT THIS even if you don’t believe in me. Even if you think I’m not trying hard enough. All I do is try. I fight and fight and fight and this is hell hell hell.