Ugh

So I see from old posts that I’ve been over 150 since the end of March. I was wondering how long it’d been. I had to buy new jeans, size 12, and even those are now getting tight. I don’t know why I am retaining so much weight. I briefly tried to diet a couple weeks ago and I felt like I was starving the whole time. I feel awful, I have digestive issues, and lately I have acid reflux as well. I guess I am just eating badly and not getting enough exercise. I’m also really stressed out and generally unhappy.

I’m going on vacation soon, and I’m hoping that will give me the opportunity to relax and remember what it’s like to enjoy myself.

One good thing: I started taking Super B Complex, and I no longer have the sort of depression where I loathe myself. I still get depressed, but it’s more over feeling trapped and helpless than over feeling useless and stupid and ugly and terrible. So that’s been a nice change, at least.

CHF Recovery: Day 50

  • Got up at 8:45
  • Weighed myself and I was heavier, but I was also unable to use the restroom so
  • Had protein shake and the last chicken tender
  • Waited until I was done eating, then had “morning” meds at 11am
  • Took a shower quickly to try and get it done before any side effects started
  • Felt icky when I got out of the shower so went to lie down
  • Doctor called to check in on me so I told him about the nausea and he said to do half-doses tomorrow too if it continues
  • Napped lightly (not particularly well) for about an hour and 45 minutes
  • Got up and read stuff online

I feel shaky and nauseated and I can’t really concentrate well. I just want to sleep for real and not this weird half-asleep thing. I am yawning a lot and that makes me feel like throwing up and then my hands get all shaky. Please let me adjust to this new medication soon.

  • Packed a box to ship
  • Ate a bit of lunch and felt less nauseated!
  • Got dressed

I just found out (4:15pm) that a former coworker of mine passed away this morning. I don’t know how or why, possibly due to an illness? He had just updated his profile picture yesterday, and responded to a comment on it this morning. He was not particularly old, maybe 40s or 50s. I am just sort of stunned and sad and I wish we had spoken in greater depth than Facebook “likes” recently.

  • Took package to UPS
  • Cooked a HelloFresh dinner; it was pretty easy and tasted pretty good (Southwestern Stuffed Peppers with Quinoa)
  • Managed to eat about 5/8th of a serving, gave up and stored the rest

Time to take evening pills, including the second dose of the new antidepressant…I’m a little nauseated already, here’s hoping it doesn’t get bad…

  • Cleaned kitchen
  • Took evening meds
  • Got dressed for bed
  • Poked around online
  • Ate some Dairy Milk
  • Went to bed around 9:30

I feel better than I did last night, but since I didn’t sleep well last night, and I’m tired now, I’m going to try to get some rest. Back to work tomorrow.

CHF Recovery: Day 49

  • Got up at 8am
  • Weighed myself; I am now 135

Should I be concerned? Part of me wonders that, and the rest of me is like Good, let me just keep losing weight, that is something that culture approves of and nothing else matters.

Whatever.

  • Did not get dressed
  • Sat down at computer
  • Had protein shake and morning meds
  • Started writing a to-do list
  • Discussed a silly movie-trailer-esque advertisement and some other stuff with my friend Rae
  • Scrolled Tumblr
  • Sent an email I needed to send, then wrote “Email letter” on my to-do list and crossed it out

My to-do list right now is:

  1. pack and ship box
  2. create some sort of plan for meals
  3. start reading book
  4. email letter
  5. put up Christmas tree
  6. set up Christmas card station
  7. MAYBE do other decorations

These are not in any particular order. I just wanted to visually differentiate “to-do” from “ta-da”.

I thought about putting “kill myself” on there as a joke but decided not to.

#2 is ridiculous. As I said to Rae, “You know that thing you’ve been trying and failing to do for 15 years? Do that today.” I also told her, “I feel like I am screaming at the world, ‘I can’t do this by myself,’ and the world is answering, ‘Too bad. Do it anyway.'” She’s been having her own extremely rough time so she sympathized.

Anyway today I will try to create some sort of schedule system that will be able to take Sean’s work into account. Somehow. Maybe. I should ask him for input but he is at work.

I wonder if, like the day before yesterday, I will suddenly get in a good mood this afternoon. And then the good mood will last through tomorrow morning, and then I’ll be depressed again. Wouldn’t that be a hoot.

  • Paid rent
  • Renewed Costco membership
  • Wrote those things on to-do list and crossed them off
  • Added day-specific to-do lists:
    • 11/1: call Connor (it’s his birthday), walk, shower, pay rent
    • 11/2: walk, shower
  • Tried to use a meal planning website to make a schedule but realized I would rather have a fully robust calendar that can show me everything and I don’t know if that exists
  • Started playing with Google Calendar and got annoyed at how birthdays are imported and displayed
  • Went into Google Contacts and started editing all my contacts to display in the same format
  • Added other contacts from my Christmas card address spreadsheet because why not just do it all in one place
  • Spent a few hours in Google Contacts until I was tired of doing that
  • Warmed up some leftovers for lunch at 1:15 because I guess I should eat

So I ate a bit of the leftovers but not very much. My mood started really spiraling. I had a very disturbing thought, which I do want to share but at the same time I don’t because it would worry people. Although given that I mentioned the whole putting “kill myself” on my to-do list thing, I imagine you can guess the nature of it. It scared me a lot and I wanted to tell someone but I wasn’t sure who. I looked at the side effects for my depression medication and it said to tell my doctor if that sort of thing happened, so I called his office. At that point I was terrified so I was crying on the phone. They had me come in right away. I put all the food I had made in the fridge and got dressed and went in.

I explained to Dr. M how I’ve been feeling and what my stressors are, and we decided to try a different medication. We will evaluate in a few days and see if we think anything else is necessary.

I went straight to the pharmacy to get the new medicine, but it turned out they didn’t have it on hand, so they called it over to another Kroger for me. I drove over there, stopping for a chai tea latte on the way. Once there I had to wait a little bit. At one point I almost spilled my chai on myself. But I was feeling better knowing that I had a plan of action. I guess I can be optimistic sometimes. Or it was the placebo effect.

I got the medicine finally and came home. Sean was asleep. I decided to go ahead and take the medicine with a snack cake and then get dinner later. This turned out to be a mistake; the medicine made me extremely nauseous and fairly dizzy, and I had to lie down for a full hour waiting for the feelings to go away. When I finally did get up at around 8pm I was still feeling a little off, but I went and picked up dinner (chicken tenders) anyway, because I had barely eaten anything today and I needed some protein and calories.

I am still nauseated, especially when I yawn or otherwise open my mouth, but I am determined to finish one chicken tender before I go to bed for real. I hope I can sleep.

So I guess in list format:

  • Got in for an emergency visit to my doctor
  • Picked up new medication
  • Took first dose along with a snack cake
  • Had to lie down due to nausea
  • Picked up chicken tenders for dinner
  • Suddenly remembered I forgot to call Connor; texted him at 9:30pm
  • Chatted with friends and scrolled Tumblr and tried to eat
  • Only managed to eat one chicken tender and a few bites of mac and cheese due to still feeling slightly nauseated
  • Went to bed at 10:30
  • Woke up at 2:15

I am not sure I really slept? It felt more like a not-restful haze that I would swim out of whenever I heard a noise or saw a light. (I’m not sure what the light was, maybe a car’s headlights?) My muscles were twitchy and when I got up I felt dizzy. I decided to try to eat more of my dinner, since I am not nauseated now. I do seem to be feeling better now that I’m eating.

  • Finished the mac and cheese and another chicken tender
  • Went back to bed at 4:45am

CHF Recovery: Day 48

  • Got up at 7:50

I think I could have slept longer, but I’m also not sure I slept well, because I remember my dream. (It involved me propositioning someone for sex o_o) Regardless, Sean was watching some sort of video and the sound woke me up, even though he was in the living room and I was down the hall in the bedroom with the door closed. Sound really seems to carry in our floor plan. Though I’m not sure there is a floor plan where it wouldn’t.

She asked if I was doing anything for Halloween and I said no, then launched into this whole explanation wherein I made myself out to be some sort of victim just because Sean doesn’t like holidays. Okay, fine. I wish he liked holidays. I also wish we had a kid and I could do holiday activities with them. But just because neither of those things happened doesn’t mean I can’t do holiday activities.

I mean, I know this. Sometimes I’m just like, but it’s a lot of work just for me, and no one will help me. Well, so what.

I keep coming back to one main point, which is: if I want something, I need to do it myself. And this is not an excuse to sit around being miserable, this is a reason to actually do things.

(I feel like this is part of my cycle, though? I get really depressed for awhile until I can’t stand it anymore and then I get all Determined to Make Changes and then I don’t actually do anything. Rinse and repeat. Should I start doing FlyLady again maybe? Have some sort of system for goals and things?)

I am really excited about this! I walked all the way to the end of the entire apartment complex, which is kind of three complexes in one, connected by two bridges over some…ravines that lead down to the river. (I’m sure there is a word for that.) So each branch is the size of a regular apartment complex, basically. I got to the end and while walking back I went down every single side branch and loop. Each main branch involves going down a hill and back up, and then some of the side branches also have hills. There is a fairly steep but short one down on the other end, and then there is an intense, long hill off our branch. I DID EVERYTHING.

I’ve been wondering how much distance the whole complex is, and now I know! Next time I want to do a 5k without having to guesstimate distance, I have an option besides going down to the river.

…okay I just looked at the map and realized I actually missed a loop, because I went alongside the apartment clubhouse instead of staying on the street. But the length of that loop isn’t much longer than the distance I actually walked, so it still works out about the same. ;P

That was great. The weather was gorgeous and I got several pictures of beautiful fall leaves. I’m glad I decided to try for a 5k today :)

  • Took a shower and got dressed
  • Made a lunch of cottage cheese, blackberries, half an orange that was left over from a HelloFresh recipe, and one ounce of mixed nuts (I hereby dub this lunch: Look How Healthy I Am. I Am a Paragon of Health)

Sean is at work, but not feeling well :/ He may need to go to the doctor.

While I was out on my walk I received an email confirming my return to work date. I’ll be back full time this Thursday. I’m a little nervous about how suddenly not having nine hours every weekday will affect my recovery efforts. One strategy might be to take my walk at lunch, but I’m iffy about it because I don’t want to sit around sweaty for three or four hours afterwards :/ Maybe I’ll try to do it in the morning, although that would mean I wouldn’t have much time for anything else then. Hmm. I may think about logistics more in a separate post.

  • Wrote a lengthy post about the logistics of work, exercise, cooking, and writing

Well, that was disheartening.

  • Went shopping
  • Came home and sank into a deep depression

Mood swings are fun.

Yesterday it was horrible mood to good mood. Today it was great mood to horrible mood. Just stop.

I am hitting that wall again of “if you want things to change, do it yourself,” and I feel overwhelmed by it, and it seems easier to just do it the way I’ve always done it even though that way is terrible and will burn me out and stress me to hell again.

I want somebody to just…come in here and figure it out for me.

  • Had a minor freakout (at least I could breathe during this one)

Sean had forgotten we had couples therapy today and so he was napping on the couch in his pajamas. I asked him if he wanted to cancel. He said it was up to me. My reaction to this was to think Everything is always up to me and to say aloud “I don’t know, I feel awful right now” or something to that effect. He asked what was wrong and I said it was the schedule possibilities I came up with and how little time that left for anything and how people say I should share chores but that means I have to figure out how and wouldn’t doing all that planning take just as much time as me just doing the chores myself? Then I said “I hate everything! I just hate everything!” and burst into tears and went to bed.

I am 38 years old.

Anyway, Sean came in and started getting dressed so I emerged from the covers and said “You want to go then?” and he said “Yeah.” So I got up and we went.

Due to Halloween traffic, the drive took an hour and a half, meaning we were a half hour late. Thankfully our therapist didn’t have anyone after us. I’m not sure how useful a session it was. Sean expressed that he is very tired. I expressed that I feel overwhelmed. No solutions were reached. We spent a long time discussing the election, as worry over that might be factoring into our feelings.

  • Went to couples therapy

Sean is sick and has been having trouble eating. We’re not sure if it’s allergies or an actual illness. But he was not hungry when we got out of therapy even though it was 7:30pm. I said we didn’t have to have dinner, and I was inwardly thinking that I would just skip the entire meal and go to bed. He said that he supposed we had food at home like sandwich makings, so he missed that meaning, which is fine. My disordered eating is yet another thing to worry about.

Anyway he said he didn’t know what to do. Hibachi would be too much. So I said we should go to the seafood restaurant and he could get something small like an appetizer. He realized he could do a bowl of soup, so we did that. This is good because I had not planned on cooking and I literally was thinking of going to bed without eating.

  • Went to dinner
  • Got me a mini Blizzard after dinner (I could only eat half)
  • Went home

I don’t really remember what I did at home. Got dressed for bed. Poked around online some. Felt awkward and weird and like I would say something wrong to anyone I spoke to.

  • Went to bed at 10:30

CHF Recovery: Day 47

  • Got up at 7:45
  • Had protein shake and morning meds

Mood is Bad. I feel exhausted even though I woke up naturally. I hate myself. Everything reminds me of why I am a waste of space. I got to thinking what I would be remembered for if I died tomorrow, and the answers were “nothing” and “stupid, meaningless stories.” What is even the point of anything.

Whee, depression. I have taken my pill. Maybe a walk would help. I really don’t want to go on a walk, which probably means I should.

  • Read one chapter of a fanfic
  • Got dressed in workout clothes
  • Went on 31-minute walk

I walked down to the river thinking it would be pretty, and it was, but there were also a billion people there because it’s Sunday. I found this very annoying. Still, I think the activity and sunshine helped some.

  • Took a shower and got dressed
  • Told Sean I was going to make noise in the kitchen so if he wanted to sleep more he should go to the bed; he seems to have decided to stay up
  • Emptied and loaded dishwasher
  • Hand-washed items that aren’t dishwasher safe:
    • Metal baking pan
    • Big knife
    • George Foreman grill top

This was very tiring. I stopped to breathe deeply a few times while scrubbing the grill.

  • Finally put vases from flower arrangements away (they had been on the counter since the flowers from my hospitalization died)
  • Sat down at my computer to rest and write this update

I kind of want to go to sleep now.

  • Read another fanfic chapter and ate two Oreos
  • Cooked a HelloFresh meal for lunch: Jamie Oliver’s Shrimp and Rice Salad

This took me about an hour and 15 minutes. The recipe estimate was 35 minutes, but I am slow. I clean up while I am cooking, so maybe that adds time.

It came out really well. The recipe calls for cilantro but I threw that away because I hate it ;) Otherwise I followed the directions. Sean said, “Oh wow, this looks amazing.” (He loves shrimp!) It’s pretty neat, it is pan-fried shrimp on a bed of basmati rice, shaved carrot, green beans, and mint leaves that have all been tossed in a light sauce of low-sodium soy, olive oil, garlic, ginger, lime juice, lime zest, and a small, seeded and chopped red chili. I will have to remember this one.

I am feeling more cheerful now, probably because this recipe was so successful.

  • Ate lunch while reading online

UPDATE: Sean did not actually care for the food! He thought it was too minty (which to be honest I did too) and he also thought it was weird that the rice (the “salad” part) was cold. I am not sure if he would have liked it better if everything was kept warm and there was less mint. Maybe? He did like the shrimp, the shrimp were fine. But all I did to the shrimp was fry them in a pan.

Sorry, Jamie Oliver.

  • Put away the leftover rice (there was a ton; did I accidentally make a whole package when I was only supposed to make half? Anyway we both ate all our shrimp but had like half a plate of rice left)
  • Put our plates and the cookware from making lunch in the dishwasher and started it
  • Did some more reading and chatting online
  • Spent some time with Sean and napped afterwards
  • Got up at around 7:15 and decided I did not want to cook
  • Picked up KFC for me and Taco Bell for Sean
  • Read an extremely satisfying fanfic (great characterization of General Hux, I must say) while eating dinner

I was going to do chicken tenders but Shane’s and Otter’s were both closed. WHY. I have gone over on pretty much everything today thanks to this, but since I do pretty well most days I have decided not to worry about it. Also, the counts aren’t accurate because I don’t eat the skin when I get fried chicken, so it’s probably less sodium than I logged. Here’s the breakdown from MyFitnessPal:

table of goal and actual nutrient intake from MyFitnessPal

Come to think of it, I was actually almost 1000mg under on sodium yesterday. So this is just making up for that ;D

I seem to be feeling rather chipper now. Quite the difference from earlier.

  • Continued reading stuff online
  • Went to bed around 12:30

Depression

Today I went through my depression tag. Since old posts imported from Blogger don’t have the correct tags, I also searched my blog for “depression”, “depressed”, and “quality of life”, and tagged any untagged posts that were actually about depression.

I was sort of hoping to find a pattern, something I could point to as a potential reason. I don’t think I did. But I came across this:

Sean says that I tend to have periods of depression that eventually pass. I guess I’m in one of them now. I hate my job and the thought of going back in tomorrow makes me want to cry. The thought of not being able to find a new job does make me cry. I feel trapped and helpless, like I can’t do anything except commit to things I hate in order to have the money to make myself feel better by buying things and eating out.

Every time I try to start something up to better myself, I do really well at first, and then I just taper off until I’m doing nothing again.

This is horrifying because it’s from 2004. Apparently this type of feeling is not particularly new for me.

The self-loathing has obviously always been there. I mean. But it seems like I have known for over a decade that I have this cycle wherein eventually I lose motivation and feel trapped and helpless, and I haven’t managed to learn anything or do anything about it.

I hope the steps I’ve taken this year to address my mental health will help me.

Weight stuff

My weight has been fluctuating since this whole thing began. I’m supposed to pay close attention to this because rapid weight gain could indicate fluid retention, which would be Bad. However, so far I have not seemed to retain any fluids.

I started out around 150, but since I started watching sodium, my eating habits have changed some, so my weight dropped to around 140. It has been bouncing around that level ever since. Here’s a lovely graph:

a graph of weights for September and October 2016

Weights from September and October 2016

That spike in the middle happened during the New York trip, when all dieting efforts went out the window. I think the current low is due to a days-long period of depression that I think I am now coming out of.

I’m not really…concerned about this? I just wanted to document it because it’s interesting. So here it is.

(I feel like 140 is probably where I should actually be, since that’s where I seemed to level out initially after weight loss surgery, so that will be my “goal weight” going forward.)

CHF Recovery: Days 37, 38, and 39

October 20, 2016

Still depressed, but I managed to shower and get dressed at least. I took all my meds and supplements and weighed myself, but I did not track my food intake. I also wrote a story based on a prompt. It was okay.

I took a brief nap in the afternoon, then called Kathryn. I felt better after the phone call.

Lunch was Starbucks. Dinner was a lighter take meal from Maggiano’s.

I wore my new Star Wars t-shirt, a light blue one with a print of the circus-style poster from the 1978 re-release. I love it. Kathryn helped me find it online :)

October 21, 2016

  • Got up at 9:30
  • Drank protein shake and had morning meds
  • Showered and got dressed
  • My period started like clockwork at 11:30
  • Went to the grocery store and bought a ton of snacks, as well as stuff I actually needed

When I was at the store I became upset when I saw an endcap display of fire logs, because fireplaces mean home to me and Sean and I don’t have one. Then I thought about making pumpkin pie and that made me sad too, because I do not have a big family to eat it.

I am, at time of writing, upset over a picture of a 47-year-old man who until I saw this picture I did not think much about other than “yeah, he’s a good-looking fellow.” The picture in question shows his hand, raised flat to his lips with a cigarette between two fingers. His hand is large and his fingers are thick and I was instantly struck with two thoughts: 1) This man is extraordinarily attractive; 2) His hands are like Dad’s.

Do I suddenly want a man like Dad? Do I want to replace Dad? What am I supposed to do about this Dad-shaped hole in my life?

  • Brought in groceries and put them away, feeling self-piteous
  • I don’t remember the rest of this day to be quite honest but I know I did not go for a walk or anything
  • Oh that’s right we went to AJ’s for dinner and I had the grilled grouper salad
  • We also had key lime pie
  • I stayed up until 1:45 am but I wasn’t doing anything productive
  • I also did not track my food intake, and I ate lots of the snacks that I got from the store

October 22, 2016

I got up and had my protein shake and meds and messed around online until it was time to go to therapy. I did not shower.

Therapy was good. I think I learned something about myself and how I communicate (or, rather, don’t communicate).

After therapy I came home and made myself lunch: PB&J, yogurt, and strawberries. Then Sean and I went to Alpharetta to meet William for a one-day-only screening of Shin Godzilla. It was actually the first Godzilla movie I had ever seen, so I don’t know how it compares to the old ones, but it was pretty interesting. The pacing and the focus on people doing things in conference rooms would probably bore a broader western audience. (To be honest, I was in danger of falling asleep a few times, but I wasn’t feeling well.)

After that we ate at a restaurant right next to the theater called Kona Grill. I thought it might have Hawaiian food but it was more like Japanese-American fusion. I had their fish of the day, grilled sea bass with white rice and mixed vegetables. Sean started with edamame and then had clam chowder and a Cuban sandwich. William had a chicken caprese sandwich. Their sandwiches came with sweet potato fries, so I nicked a couple of Sean’s. For dessert I had a huge passionfruit creme brulee and Sean and William watched me eat it ;P (It was amazing.) After that we all went home.

I was feeling pretty good by this point, so I solicited prompts from people to combine into a single story. While I was waiting for prompts I called Kathryn and we talked for about half an hour, and it was really nice. Then I worked on writing the story until bedtime (while eating an entire sleeve of Oreos >_<). I went to sleep at around 11:45.

This was the third day in a row that I did not track my food intake.

Stuff

Sometimes I come out of my depression enough to think about all the stuff I’m not accomplishing, and why that might be (gee, maybe depression? But also: I’m a lazy fuck).

This morning a friend was mentioning that they have fallen behind on their word count for the year, but that they’re not too far behind and they’re impressed they made it this far into the year without falling behind until now. I literally had nothing to say to that. Back at the beginning of the year I worked with them on creating spreadsheets that track word counts in a variety of ways, and I was really proud of my version of it, but I haven’t actually used that spreadsheet since February.

2015’s spreadsheet was broken up by month and required me to create blocks for each week and take up a ton of space:

my 2015 writing spreadsheet

2016’s spreadsheet was designed so I could simply enter anything I wrote into rows on the same tab:

my 2016 writing spreadsheet - data tab

and then the other tabs would track whether I was meeting certain goals. The second tab just checks to see if I have written anything at all in a given week.

my 2016 writing spreadsheet, tab 2

Then the third tab tracks monthly goals. My baseline was 10k words per month, and 15k was a stretch goal. (Obviously I never met either of these.)

my 2016 writing spreadsheet, tab 3

And finally, on the last tab, I just wanted to tally what kind of writing I was doing. There were no goals for this tab. I was just thinking it would be neat to see what projects ended up getting the most word count. I separated “ficlets” from “fanfic” because I wanted to differentiate between tiny stories (200-word drabbles, five-sentence ficlets) and short stories, even though my short stories tend to be so short that other people might call them ficlets as well (under 4000 words).

my 2016 writing spreadsheet, tab 4

So yeah, the spreadsheet is pretty cool, and I get a certain amount of pride looking at it now, even though I barely used it for its actual purpose.

But the point is, I haven’t met any word count goals this year. I have written things beyond what I’ve tracked, but not much. Maybe I’ll go through and fill in this spreadsheet with everything I’ve written since February, but I’m not sure I want to see how little I’ve been writing.

I realize this is an extremely rough time for me and I shouldn’t expect myself to be perfect and shit, but I just feel like a failure. Most times when I try to start writing something I am filled with extreme reluctance. Occasionally I’m not, and something comes out. But I feel like I should just push through that reluctance and force myself to write things, and that because I’m not, I’m weak and lazy.

fucking

why did he die?

life was just happening like normal

and then suddenly it’s like

okay your dad’s dying

okay your dad’s dead

(you watched him die)

seeing a picture of a backyard, not even your backyard but close enough, makes you want to cry

mother’s day makes you want to cry

you think about father’s day coming up and making some sort of happy father’s day post with a picture of his cremains because that’s all that’s left, right? that’s funny, right?

all these plans, all these what-ifs, they weren’t supposed to be needed so soon

mom planning to move

no more backyard, no more basement, no more house

it’s all gone anyway, everything’s gone, everything’s changed

you said things you can’t take back and ruined it all

you want to erase this entire year, almost

no, you do, you want to erase it all, even the good stuff, because it’s overwhelmed by all the bad stuff

you’re so selfish

and everything’s about you anyway isn’t it

everything that happens to anyone else, you make it about you

specifically, about how you are Wrong and Different and a Failure

how you don’t fit in and never will

how you should disappear

but it’s not even about you, it’s about them, even when you’re hating yourself you’re fucking self-centered

and you think about how you are when you drive

and how arrogant you are with other things

and how you’ve been blaming it on inheritance, but it’s yours, those are you, you’re the one doing them

every day you choose to be pathetic.

Drowning

For months now I’ve sort of let myself be carried by the rapids, buffeted by surging waves of work and family and personal changes, and dragged below the surface by a relentless undertow of depression. I’ve felt more and more helpless and more and more incapable, barely managing to function some days. The occasions that I’ve felt energetic and powerful have been fleetingly rare. I spend much of my time trying to distract myself, and the rest of the time hating how little I’m accomplishing.

My life doesn’t seem all that difficult. I am so lucky in so many ways. I have so many wonderful people who love me. I have a nice home. I have a good job. My unhappiness stems from feeling that I could be more than I am, and my apparent inability to do anything about it. My impatience to get there fast, and the trouble I have with planning and executing long-term strategies for personal growth.

The world feels like a blur around me; I see snatches of information here and there but I can’t seem to grasp things the way I used to. I don’t do anything, but I feel like I have no time.

Then I lost a lifelong friend, very suddenly, to cancer.

And then my mother told me, “If you have anything you want to say to your dad, you should come home soon,” because he’s got cancer too. It’s not the throat cancer again; this time it’s small cell lung cancer, and he’s in stage 4.

I am trying to allow myself to feel this hurt. I am trying not to discount the things I am going through. I am trying to accept that I can’t just handle everything. I’m trying, and it’s really hard. Because I feel like I should just be able to deal with it. Like I should be stronger somehow. Like I am being lazy.

I need to step back, and breathe, and feel, and forgive myself, somehow.

Managing myself

One big thing that changed for me in 2015 is that I started really chatting again.

Much of my online life, starting with BBSes back in 1993, had been chatting. Talking directly to people. Making friends. With the advent of social media, my chatting, just like my blogging, declined. I started saying a lot of the stuff I’d say in private chats on Twitter instead. I liked the idea that I had a lasting record—my chat logs up until 2005 were lost in the fire. When I started using Facebook, a place where I could specify who was allowed to see my posts, I chatted even less. For a long time—years—I would chat with people here and there, but never regularly. Mom was the sole exception.

That changed early last year when I started meeting people in the Welcome to Night Vale fandom on Tumblr. At the time, Tumblr didn’t have their Messaging system, and Asks and Fanmail were too clunky for the kind of natural conversations I enjoy. So I started asking people if they wanted to chat with me on an actual chat service. At first I had several people on Google Talk, but then, when it became apparent that the majority were on Skype, we all shifted over there. Eventually a group chat formed, something I hadn’t really done since I stopped using IRC many years ago.

I don’t think I realized how disconnected I’d felt until I started chatting again. I only have a few local friends other than people I interact with at work. So I wasn’t really talking much with anyone. Suddenly I have this circle of wonderful friends who I care deeply about. It’s been quite a change.

I’ve made some big mistakes. I haven’t been as sensitive as I could have been. I can be extremely hurtful when I’m depressed. I say things I would never otherwise say. I don’t drink, but I imagine it’s similar to that, having my inhibitions lowered to the point that I’ll just spew whatever garbage I’m feeling. In one incident that I still haven’t quite recovered from, I really hurt a friend’s feelings. She suggested wisely that when I am feeling depressed, I should just stop typing. In another, more recent incident, I was feeling overwhelmed by the dynamics of a relationship and acted out, and upon rereading I was horrified to see what a bully I had been.

All of this is context for the following. Last night, I started feeling horrible again. I felt disconnected, down on myself, and angry that people did not care in the exact way I wanted them to care. Everything people said—stuff that had absolutely nothing to do with me—made me mad. And so instead of staying in that environment and possibly saying something awful, I politely excused myself for the evening.

It felt odd. Unnatural. I tend to just get online and stay online. But taking a break is what I needed to do. I’m happy that I recognized that and did it and did not say something cruel to people I love.

I’m pretty scared of my potential to hurt other people. I will continue to be mindful of my moods and the effect they have on my behavior.

Here’s some stuff

I haven’t updated my 2015 Daily Writing tally in a couple months, but the gist is, I have not been writing daily. Or even weekly. The last thing I wrote was a tiny fanfic on November 1. Before that I was writing somewhat regularly, but not every day.

Sometimes when I think about writing, it seems like too much effort. Sometimes I can’t think of anything I want to write. Sometimes I just feel too tired.

Lately I’ve started to think that maybe I might be ready to write again, but I haven’t done it yet.

I have an appointment on Thursday to talk with someone about what I assume is depression. We’ll see how that goes.

I don’t know what happened

I have had bouts of severe unhappiness in the past few months. I haven’t kept track of them or anything, so I don’t know how frequent they are or when they started. I just know that I’ll have one or two days where I feel fine, and then I’ll sink into this horrible depression. I’m filled with self-loathing all the time, thinking about all the ways in which I have failed and continue to fail.

I feel like I don’t have the energy to do anything. I also don’t feel like I want to do anything. A book I’ve been waiting to read for months finally came out a couple weeks ago, but I still haven’t finished reading it. It’s like I don’t care at all.

There have been bright moments. My trip to New York City, from October 1 to 8, was fantastic. I was happy the whole time I was there, riding a travel high. Even when plans didn’t work out or when my feet were killing me from wearing uncomfortable shoes, I felt great. (I’m sure a lot of that had to do with the company.)

And the weekend before last, I went to Gibbs Gardens on Saturday by myself and Sunday with Charles and Heidi, and the fall leaves were beautiful, and the Japanese Culture Festival was going on and it was a lot of fun.

But those happy feelings never seem to last, and in an instant I can be sobbing over how uncreative I am or how I can’t seem to actually do anything or how I fail at human relationships. I feel like lately all I’ve done is bring my friends down, which makes it worse. I feel like I shouldn’t be around people. I’m so negative, I keep saying awful things and making people feel bad.

I just want to enjoy things again, and not hate myself.