Category Archives: depression

Mental Health Day

A couple days ago, I posted an incredibly raw bit of word vomit.

Let’s just say my weekend hasn’t gotten much better.

The situation at work hasn’t gotten better, and I still can’t talk about it. I wish I could; instead I’ll talk about how I’ve dealt with it.

When I wrote on Friday, I was already in bed. I purged my thoughts here, and curled up and went to sleep. I was exhausted from not sleeping well the night before, anxiety about the work situation keeping me up. I’d had to go through a year’s worth of someone else’s infractions, including some pretty nasty mental abuse thrown my way as well as at my associates. I had to relive the time last year I was called names for being queer. All of this in hope that the situation would be resolved on Friday.

It wasn’t.

The person in question is still there. Being given one more chance, after a year’s worth of one more chances.

And I just fucking broke.

Master had told me to wear my collar on Friday. First thing on, last thing off, photo proof. A normal protocol for us and a good way to keep the Ds side of things fresh during a 5000-mile separation. I put it on Friday morning, took my selfie to send to him, wore it happily through my shift, wore it to bed Friday afternoon and kept it on while I wrote.

And then my anxiety blossomed and I couldn’t keep it on and I couldn’t breath and my skin was crawling and I took it off and put it on my stuffed bunny from Tokyo Disney and I laid in bed and sobbed. And I spiraled.

I made it out of bed because kids needed to be fed and then I got back into bed and played Bubble Witch and finally texted Master to tell him I’d failed. He was bicycling in rural Japan at the time, so it took forever to finally get the words I needed to hear from him.

And your personal health and safety is tantamount in Ds. That’s why we have a safeword. That’s why I check in. That’s why I try to be ahead of things.

Am I disappointed? Yes. Am I disappointed in you? No, not at all.

I am disappointed that we didn’t have a good day together, but life will always come first. It has a way of doing that whether we like it or not

And that doesn’t make it your failure, or anything like that

Then I found out that the abusive coworker was being given another one last chance, and I took an Ativan and Jas held me while I cried. I decided to take the weekend off.

Words have been exchanged between myself and a supervisor, and I’ll have to deal with that on Monday. But I’m so glad I spoke up. I stayed in bed late on Saturday and then went to the gym. I knew I needed to burn off the extra adrenaline, so I blasted through an hour of weight training. I pushed myself to exhaustion, came home to shower, and then took Daph to the library and grocery shopping with me.

Then I came home and went back to bed. I read a while, and mostly slept the afternoon and evening away. Jason and his fiancée made sure I ate, and we had a movie night with the kids.

Then I went back to sleep and slept almost 10 hours.

Anxiety is exhausting.

Today I’m polishing my resume and looking for new work. I’m not quitting my store yet, but I need to know I have the option. I want to be there for my team if I can. But I won’t force myself to stay in an unhealthy place if I cannot.

Found out my old store in Beaverton is hiring… I’m tempted to apply except then I might actually get the job.

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this is the face of mental illness. looks pretty normal, doesn’t it?

 

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The week-ish in review

It’s been a bit of a week.

I’ve been feeling very down. Much of it s work stuff that I can’t talk about here and friend stuff that I also can’t share. I had an online friend threatening suicide for several days and now… nothing. I’ve not seen a post from them in a couple days and I’m terribly worried but I have no way of contacting them so I don’t fucking know anything. I’ve had another friend check herself into the psych ward and I have so much respect and love for her strength and spirit and, well, everything. It was all I could do to visit her a couple of times, but I’m glad I went. And I walked down the sunlit halls of the hospital with a sense of deja-vu, to a different hospital but the same time of year, last year.

It hit me when I heard the steel doors close behind me, after visiting hours were over and I was politely but firmly ushered out.

This week, last year, was when my mom tried to die.

Just. ugh.

It was when I had to tell her to put clothes on and I was taking her to the hospital. She was still in her house coat and nearly out of her head with pain from a horrific allergic reaction to a lotion she’d put on her legs. I told her she had exactly as long as it took me to put my groceries away before she was headed to my parking spot, or I was calling 911 and she was riding in an ambulance.

She chose my truck.

I made the second of many, many drives to Providence Milwaukie just past noon on that bright spring day. We’d been to the ER once the week before for the same condition, but she didn’t do the instructed aftercare correctly and the burns on her legs had gotten worse. They were hot to the touch, excruciatingly painful, and were starting to smell.

I got this down to an art form, at this point.

Hwy 212 to Hwy 224, go past Bob’s Red Mill and then turn right on (I think) Harrison. It’s the intersections with Mike’s Drive In. Follow the signs to the Emergency Department. Pull in to the turnabout in front, turn off your engine so the escaping carbon monoxide doesn’t harm the other people visiting the facility. Find a wheelchair and a nurse. Get Mom inside the building, started on check-in, and leave to park the truck in the spaces designated for emergency patients and their visitors only. Cry a little in the parking lot, text your husband, his girlfriend, and your other partner that you’re at the hospital again. Take a deep breath and a gulp of water while you wish it was gin, square your shoulders, and walk inside.

Inside, your mom looks old and broken in her wheelchair. Something is funny with her blood pressure. It’s where a normal person’s should be, which is very high for her. You have the first argument of the afternoon when the admitting nurse shrugs it off and you insist that something is wrong. They have to look at her legs, which are feverish and leaking fluid all over the chucks pad they put on the wheelchair’s footrest. She screams and moans whenever she is touched. She is babbling incoherently and you have to translate for her; she’s your mother and her language is the first you ever learned and you can still speak it even when she makes no sense to others.

They refuse to give her pain medication.

They refuse to give her food or water.

Both of these are just in case she needs surgery.

Every time the medical staff leave the room, she begs you for crackers or some sprite. She’s dizzy, having been in too much pain to eat that day.

You have to say no.

You have to be the bully.

You have to be the parent.

She cries out of the same brown eyes you face every morning in the mirror. DeBord eyes, she calls them, from the French side of the family, and you are the only child of 5 to have gotten them.

Doctors come and go. Her heart rate is too high. They begin to pump her full of drugs to stabilize her. They can’t even worry about the infected wounds on her legs because her heart is trying to give up.

You ask to speak to the dr. You tell him she can’t go home; it’s not safe; she won’t care for herself there.

They agree to admit her. They give her food and water at some point. You drink a cup of hospital coffee and realize you’ve tasted better paint thinners, and it sits heavy and full of acid in your stomach.

Your husband’s girlfriend offers to bring home pizza for the kids. Your other partner offers to bring you dinner. When he asks where you are, you tell him it’s the only fucking hospital in Milwaukie and he needs to figure it out himself.

You get your mom checked in and the ward nurse is your best friend from grade school. Stress and fatigue is giving this whole day a nightmarish cast. Somewhere in there, you’ve told your boss that you have to take family leave. Again. Your boyfriend brings you a hamburger and a chocolate shake from Burger King that tastes like cardboard and sticks in your throat. Your husband texts you that the kids are fine. You sit in the cargo area of your SUV with your boyfriend until he has determined you can drive safely. Then you drive home.

That night, your mom almost dies. Her roommate notices her acting funny and gets a nurse. Her blood pressure and pulse have dropped to terrifying levels. They tell you all of this the next day.

You spend the next 4 days arguing with your mother and the hospital staff. You live on Starbucks and snickers bars and you crochet endless green and blue granny squares. You keep your dentist appointment and find out that if you tell them your mother is in the hospital and you need them to be quick, they listen. You begin a long journey of hospital visits and wound care appointments and the crazy balance of full-time mom, full-time manager, and now full-time caretaker for an aging parent.

That was a year ago, this week. I know it because I just had my April dentist appointment a couple of days ago. And I looked at it like, holy shit, it’s been a year.

And my mom? She lived, but she lost that whole week. We were talking about it over lunch the other day. She has very few memories of that time, or of the few weeks following. And we’re starting the process of getting her into a retirement community now, because I can’t be on constant watch anymore. That awful week aged her and me both. Her memory has holes now. Her body is breaking down. I think, if I’m lucky, we might have another 5 years together, especially if she can go someplace with some extra care and services.

She doesn’t remember most of that week.

I remember every painful detail.

I think I always will.

 

 


Body Struggles

The past couple of days, I’ve been struggling with my body. I just don’t feel good in it.

I’m doing all the right things. I’m eating well again, taking my supplements, and keeping my gym appointments with the fervor of a new convert.

But I’m incredibly frustrated.

Instead of seeing a body that just went through a huge surgery, I’m seeing a weak body. I see someone who has to ask for help lifting and carrying at work, and for extra sit-down breaks. I see someone who still takes an oxy every once in a while, to stop the screaming of unused muscles. I see someone who falls asleep after breakfast and dozes until it’s time to work, works 8 or 9 hours, and falls asleep instantly when she gets home to bed.

Then I get angry. I had a huge surgery only 2 1/2 months ago. One that rearranged my insides and removed an organ that was slowly killing me and robbing me of my physical stamina and strength. This body fought the good fight and kept us going until I could get the surgery I needed… and that was after fighting for my mother’s health and safety and lets not forget my own mental illnesses… why on earth am I frustrated when my body and I are doing our best?

So then I cycle.

Feel bad about myself
Beat myself up for feeling bad about myself
Feel bad about beating myself up
Beat myself up over beating myself up
Feel bad about myself….

And I loop.

But let’s face it. This body isn’t the body I had last year, when the pain and life circumstances knocked me down. I’m fatter than I’ve ever been, at 278 pounds. My cholesterol is creeping up, which is frightening since heart disease runs on my mom’s side of the family. My body fat percentage is 46%, which falls in the dangerously high category. I don’t move the way I want to, I don’t look the way I want to, and I don’t feel the way I want to.

Hormonal changes are making it worse, I’m sure. I not longer get periods, but my body still cycles because they left me my ovaries. Instead of cramps, I get hot flashes and night sweats that leave me shivering and drenched and gross. My face and back are breaking out again, and my eczema is back on the bottoms of my feet.

I’m a mess.

Do I know this will eventually even out? The rational side of my brain does.

The irrational toddler with ADD and an anger management problem insists that things get fixed now or they will never be better at all.

The rational side of my brain says I have a one year goal that is attainable and I’m doing all the things to get my body and brain back in shape.

The irrational toddler wants to shut the rational side up with Chocolate Peanut Butter Ice Cream and a nap.

The rational side says that’s a bad idea and recommends a salad with salmon and avocado. Healthy fats and all that.

The toddler throws a gin and tonic in the rational side’s face and screams in the corner.


Ok, I may have taken the analogy a little far, but you get the picture.

As always, writing this out helps.

I also want to put out there, I’m not saying fat is bad. I am saying my fat is currently bad for me and my well-being. You go be whoever you want to be at whatever size makes you happy and healthy. Be your beautiful self. I’m not at my best self, and I’m venting my frustrations with that.

I’ll be over here, eating lettuce and looking longingly at the peanut butter cups…

 

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unedited gym selfie. angry hedgehog hair, sweaty face, double chins, broken out skin, and all.

 

 


Collared

In my most recent post, I talked about coming to terms with my inner slut and learning to love her and take care of her. Part of this growth process brought me to this life event, something I certainly never saw coming…

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No More Vacancy

So, I’ve just used up a bunch of my writing time to try and figure out how to embed a gif. Now I’m going to give up and leave this fancy internet shit to the youngins, because I am obviously too old to figure it out and I kinda feel like I need a nap now.

And really, all I was doing was coming here to talk about my hysterectomy and how well I’m healing up and how I oddly can’t wait to go back to work in two weeks.

For a bit of hysterectomy history, I’ve always had pretty evil cycles. This got considerably worse after I gave birth to my daughter. That was when the doctor who delivered her said something to me that really stuck. He mentioned that the C-section was difficult, because I had significant scarring.

Mind you, I was drugged at the time, and in that post birth haze where everything is glowy and weird. “Oh, like from my C-section 5 years ago?”

And he gave me a weird look and said the scarring was from endometriosis and he was surprised I didn’t know I had it and then left. And, being stoned on Percoset and mom hormones, I didn’t think about it. I continued to not think about it in the weeks that followed, since I had a newborn and my whole family caught the death by vomiting flu one week after I got out of the hospital. And, since I breast fed my daughter for about four months before my milk decided it wasn’t needed anymore, I didn’t have periods again until sometime in mid-2008. And when they came back, they were brutal.

I remember telling my doctor at the time something was different. Wrong. That something had changed. That my body was not ok.

He said I was post-partum. That having a baby can’t change your cycles. He said I was fat, and insinuated that I was lazy. He recommended weight watchers and a nutritionist and portion control.

I found a new doctor. And I loved her. She took good care of me until she left the practice and then I found another doctor who takes fantastic care of me and I really don’t think it’s a coincidence that these two doctors are both women.

Here’s the thing, though. It took me years to mention to another doctor that my periods were weird. Because I had internalized the idea that that stupid male doctor knew, somehow, better than I did about my body. That I was always going to hurt, and go through at least one or more boxes of tampons every month. I believed that it was just my lot to hurt so badly and feel so awful every 26 days.

Social conditioning is a bitch.

My mom believes in the “curse of eve” where it is somehow one mythical woman’s fault for our “monthly discomfort” because she pissed off god 6000 years ago. Combining that with an unhealthy dose of “suck it up and deal with it”  which is our family legacy, and I was set for another 20 or 30 years of misery.

Then about two or three years ago it started to reach an unbearable point. This is when I started my Cymbalta. This is when I started sorting out the difference between the pain of my mental illness and the pain of my physical maladies. The Cymbalta took away the  myalgia that depression was causing. It did not take away the pain from my cycles.

Hesitantly, I brought this up to my doctor at my 2016 pap smear and STI screening. She was dismissive; to be fair though, I didn’t really try hard. I’ll spare you the gory details, but my cycles got worse. More painful, more irregular, longer, heavier, just awful. I was in pain almost all the time. So at my 2017 checkup, I brought it up again, more insistently. She ordered an ultrasound to look for fibroids. I had that test done, and everything was clear.

Then my world fell apart. My mom nearly died and her health issues eclipsed my own as I moved into survival mode. And as she healed, I felt worse. Finally, the pain in my lower back was a constant companion and I was missing work, or unable to do a good job leading my team when I was there.

When I started thinking I would rather die than have to live with it much longer, I returned to Dr Monica and begged for help. A year of fighting for my mother’s health care rights had stripped me of my reticence around doctors. When my doctor said she’d order an ultrasound, I stiffly told her we’d done one of those already and I needed another option. She said that it was out of her realm and sent me to a specialist.

The specialist was a kind older woman… I could see her from another time, Coming down off the mountain to birth babies and getting paid in chicken eggs and fresh vegetables. She examined me and heard my history and said I would likely need a hysterectomy to treat what sounded like endometriosis. The catch was she wasn’t a surgical OB/GYN. And that had to be approved by my insurance. Two months of waiting later, and bumping right up on the holidays and my trip to Tokyo, I was in Dr Tan’s office. He approved the surgery, we set a date, and I cried tears of relief on the way home.

My surgery was February 7th at one of the big Portland Hospitals. I’d been experiencing immobilizing lower back pain, recurring vaginal and urinary tract infections, as well as digestive upset and extreme fatigue for months. I had powered through all of this for my Tokyo trip, living on Advil and having stashed a spare bottle of antibiotics in my luggage, just in case. I worked right up until the day before my surgery, although I know that last week or two I was pretty useless. I’d have to stop and rest often, and I’m still not sure if  was finally just feeling how badly I was doing because there was an end in sight, or if I was steadily getting worse.

And after all this lead-up, it almost feels anti-climactic. Jas drove me to the hospital in the morning and sat with my grumpy self (I was sooooo hungry) while they prepped me for surgery. A nice fellow wheeled me into the OR, put a mask over my face, and a few seconds later, I woke up in a dim room with a chubby nurse asking how I felt. I hurt pretty badly and they gave my oxy and, eventually, gabapentin. I drifted through that night at the hospital, texting with N all night since it was his daytime, and playing Bubble Witch on my tablet. The first week of recovery was both easy and awful, as my family rallied around to keep me down on the couch and resting. The drugs I was on made everything hazy and weird around the edges.

Then, N came home on an emergency basis, and I spent two weeks with him home. He got to go with me to my 3 week checkup, which is where I learned that my uterus was twice the size it should have been, and I had significant endometrial scarring. I felt triumphant and justified; there really had been something wrong. There was a reason that I hurt so badly and it was something that had been brewing inside for a long time.

The comment I hear a lot is that I look rested. Another friend has said that the pain lines are gone from my face. And it’s true. I simply don’t hurt like I used to. My back is sore as the muscles recover from years of abuse. My incisions itch and twinge and feel weird. But I’m doing much better than I have in several years. Finally.