Going on three days’ worth horrible bone pain. Nothing attenuates it. Dr. is unsympathetic. I’m running a solid 9 on the pain scale and he suggests Tylenol in addition to the other meds I take. It does not work. He grumbles and gives me the mildest opioid there is.
I’m not a pill head; never have been. If I could have a couple of shots of Ruby Red, I’d probably feel better, but the thought of alcohol gives me waves of nausea.
I washed my sheets yesterday. I moved my bed a foot. I cooked for the first time in two months-no, three. I threw away one more useless item.
Good night’s sleep by my standards means that I woke up fewer than ten times and fell asleep again before the night clerk at Hotel Anxiety rang the bell. I had a good night’s sleep.
No clean sheets, though. They are drying now. I slept on a bare mattress, contrary to every tenet of home training I had. I did drag the covers off my absent roommate’s bed (she’s temporarily in a nursing home. I hope.) and her cat immediately found a corner of the blanket to knead and suck. That poor feral baby slept against my legs all night, her delicate ethereal weight letting me know that she exists in a sad, grieving place of confusion.
Two cups of black coffee have a sedative effect. Feral kitty and and Black kitty settle in: her at my calves, him down my back. I think they like this routine.
Lunch is leftovers. I wanted a fish sandwich. I’m lying. I wanted two fish sandwiches. The echoes of depression voices channeled by my mother, filtered by my guilt, amplified by my depression keep me at home, in slippers, the clothes I’ve slept in for four days, and well, shit, it’s Monday.
Tomorrow might be better. I might be able to slog through the mud and fog again. Today, today continues.
I put a new roll of toilet paper . . . On the holder. It felt like I’d completed a workout in the rain barefooted.
Depression is a catch-all term for a whole plethora of symptoms relating to the psychological and physical inability to function like normal people do in the real world. Allegedly. We depressives tend to not talk much about the various ways our depression will sabotage our efforts to function. I like to write. I like to create. Mostly, what I do is nothing. My bed calls me, dirty sheets and all. And every time I crawl under the covers, right before I sigh with exhaustion, I think, I should change the sheets and throw these in the washer and take out the trash and wash the dirty dishes and clean the kitty pan and . . .
Two hours later, the nap has succeeded in making me feel worse. I still can’t move, though. I should hang up those clothes. I should go visit my friend in the nursing home. I need to write. I have some orders I could be working on. Those dishes aren’t cleaning themselves. Those sheets are getting sadder by the minute.
Depression lowers the immune system. Being the misanthrope I am these days, about half the time I go out of the house, I get sick with something: bronchitis, stomach viruses, strained tendons, 6-5 and pick’em.
My truck had four active recalls on it when I took it in for work. 24 hours later, I felt like a new deckhand working a tuna boat on the Atlantic in January with a violent storm blowing in. My cat curled up on my head, all 17 pounds of him, purring like a kitty generator. I firmly believe that my fever would have lasted at least another day if not for his medical intervention. As soon as I started sweating, he moved down to my icy feet and draped himself over them until they warmed up. Three days later, I’m still not well physically. Kitty did check on me last night, delicately licked my eyelid, and settled down for a nap on my painful shoulder, purring contentedly.
The first glimmer of a break in the clouds just happened a few minutes ago. You see, I try to listen to comedy bits, and they say laughter is the best medicine. It’s actually more like a vitamin supplement: the placebo effect temporarily supplants the depression. This small window of not-feeling-hideous could be used to wash the sheets, I suppose. I’m going to try it, see if this actually makes it to the bedroom. If it does, Ch. 2 might be a progress report.
it makes for exciting scenarios, heroic actions, perfect endings with perfect partners
perfect skin, perfect teeth, perfect body
And just for that while, that vivid, fantastic dream period, the smile in the mirror contains all the wisdom that unlocks every mystery, answers every question that my fevered mind shouts into the void: Two nights in a row,
My lost love reappeared to let me know that all those feelings never left completely
that what we’ve built separately could have never been accomplished together, because
Together, we were complete. Together, we reached the pinnacle.
There would have been no need to strive for more, to engage every ounce of energy in creating a place of serenity, for we were already serene together
And for a few minutes, I embrace the wisdom of dreams, the divine message of meaning and hope
that I cannot fathom when I am awake
And it feels quiet and good and perfect for a few minutes.
I sling words with feeling without skimming on the surface like a cockroach across a puddle.
I get drunk and cry with my pen instead of writing about my tears. Anyone can do that.
I drag myself through a slimy alley of darkness and live to keep it a secret.
I don’t have time to spout pretty words and platitudes and cocktail party phrases.
My life, my existence is this: every word counts.
Every stinking drop of sweat on this table is a poem. Every lamentation for lost vices pushes a limit. Every painful sunrise is a testament to being laid bare every night.
Every click of the compressor motor on the refrigerator counts down to the end, closer than the beginning, and I am alive to feel every second of it, taste every bitter dreg of it, lose myself in all the places where I don’t matter.
I lost a day somewhere in the ether where beer, getting old, and christian holidays mix together in a stew of oh, I don’t know, maybe a lot of bullshit?
I was thinking today about how I want to be liked by strangers. Not loved, not desired. Liked. As if my wellbeing depends on what some random piece of shit says to me. I feel guilty when slights occur, as if I have some kind of power over someone else to feel a certain way. I thought about this when a friend of mine got dragged very harshly by some people and I wanted to defend her, but short of saying that they were scum sucking sociopaths, I was stumped. Years ago, someone browbeat me in an online conversation that I was blindsided by and had no answer for, so I shut down. What I really wanted to do was go after the person with both fists and as many insults as I could hurl, but I didn’t.
It came to me that I was raised to be nice. Be nice. Be nice, put others first. Be nice, your wants don’t matter. Be nice, don’t hurt others’ feelings. Be nice, excuse others’ behavior.
I turned into a doormat. I turned into a pile of mush. I was weak-willed because of the constant admonition to be nice. I sincerely regret that I took that to heart. It caused me no end of trouble my whole life. I became someone I am not. Be nice.
I admired in a limited way, people who spoke for themselves, ever mindful when they would fall off the “nice” track. They were then bad, and therefore unworthy of my time or attention.
I see all this with a keen hindsight and no small amount of anger, but-no, I’m done being nice. I’m done excusing my shitty upbringing. I’m done dealing with other people’s arrogance because for sure, I’m not storing jewels for my crown in heaven. There is no passing grade. This is it.