Goodbye Mother

Conversation History

April __, 2015

Stephanie: Happy Birthday
Mother: Who is this?

You vanished from the state. I didn’t know where you were.
But I never thought you’d delete me.

S: I thought this was Jane Doe’s number. I apologize.
M: It is but i dont recognize your number!

You fucking deleted me.

July __, 2015

M: Happy birthday
S: Thanks.

I wonder who identified my number for you.
It only took you two months to figure it out.

August 31, 2015

M: Would loue to see you sometime and hopefully restore our relationship i loue and miss you very much
S: We can get together sometime if you want. I don’t know where you are these days, so just let me know when you’re around. Maybe we can do lunch.

September 2, 1015

M: I Am free wed ? thur next week the 9th ? 10th pick where to meet ? time
S: How about Wednesday?
M: Wednesday is fine how about ____ right by me so i dont have to drive far
S: I’ll meet you there at 11:30.

September 9, 2015

M: R we still on for 11:30 tomorrow?
S: Yes. Still want to go to ___?
M: Unless u want to somewhere else doesnt matter
S: No, that sounds good to me.

I knew you had a motive. I knew it in my gut.
Sweet lady at work convinced me to do this lunch with you. You didn’t know that did you?
I didn’t want to come. I knew it was too good to be true.
I was right.
You thought I could get you a fucking job.
You wanted a favor. That’s why you reappeared.
I told you we were under a hiring freeze.

You cried crocodile tears, and spoke of a desire to reconnect.
I remained stoic, because I didn’t believe anything you were saying.
You said you wanted to renew our relationship.
I said I’d like that. I stuck my neck out and said I need you to call me.
You said you’d call me every week.

I wonder how long it will be this time, before I hear from you again.

October __, 2015

M: FWD: (baby picture) ____ (your brother’s) baby girl!
I never knew they were expecting.
S: Thank you.

June 15, 2016

M: I loue and miss you so very much please call me sometime

I can’t fucking do this again.

June 16, 2016

M: Did something change since we met for lunch a while back?
S: No, that was nearly a year ago. I’ve come to terms with the way things are.
M: What’s that supposed to mean? I have tried everything i can possibly think of to restore a relationship with you not laying blame at all just doesnt seem u are interested i truly dont have a clue what i have said or done that you cant or wont forgive me for
S: I’m not sure why you brought blame into it, when I responded in a calm and non-accusatory manner. That’s interesting. What I meant was that you said you were going to start calling me once a week, because you said you wanted a relationship with me. That was almost a year ago now.

M: The last time i texted u about going to see (your brother’s) baby n i never got a reply back i just dont understand is all
S: I don’t see any texts like that in our entire conversation history.
M: Well i sent one after she was born about her baby shower
S: Okay.

M: I wanted a relationship with you for a long time and i have tried repeatedly to make the effort but i cant do it alone
S: You never sent the texts you’re saying you did. I have the entire conversation history. You said you would stay in touch with me regularly, after I hadn’t even known what state you were living in for a very long time. But then I didn’t hear from you again until last October when you sent me a picture of a baby I knew nothing about. There was no invitation, and there has been zero communication after that. I don’t understand where this is coming from.
S: Why did you ignore me in the grocery store?

Fuck it. Let’s see you lie about this one.

M: Wow ok well i did send you the texts dont know why u didnt get them and i tried calling u all the time but u want to lie about it sorry i bothered you i give up goodbye
S: Okay.

Ah, complete evasion, I see.
I’m glad you couldn’t see me.
I’m glad you couldn’t see me sobbing during this entire exchange.
I’m glad you didn’t see the ass-kissing texts I originally wrote and then deleted before sending.
I spent most of my life letting you guilt me and make shit up and put it all on me.
I always let you do it.

Now I see why.

I stood up for myself this time. I asked you to answer for some things you’ve done.
And now you’ve told me you’re giving up.
Every fucking time I try to heal, you do this.
Every fucking time. Just when I think I can move on without crying about you anymore…
You show back up and guilt me.
But this time I didn’t let you.
I won’t let you do this to me anymore.
I may not have had the nerve to type it out in text.
But I’ll say it here.

Goodbye, Mother.

Accountability

I never held you accountable for anything. The closest I could ever come to addressing these things with you was to cry and beg or else just harden myself a bit more, distance myself a bit more.

Would you like to know what I’d hold you accountable for, if I thought I could have a conversation with you – without it turning into evasion, denial and volleying blame back and forth?

No. Your answer is no. So I’ll tell you here.

Do you remember when I told you my marriage was ending? It took me months to tell you. Do you remember what you said? “I can’t believe you’re doing this to me and your mamaw.” Thanks for the support, mom.

Do you remember when I asked for your help? I hate asking for help. I never ask for help. I’m starting to realize why I became that way. I was having surgery. I stuck my neck out, asked for your help. Could you please take me in for surgery? Could you please help me get home after? Would you stay? Do you remember your response? “I can’t afford the gas.” I cried. I didn’t let you hear it in my voice, but I cried. I told you I’d pay for your gas, even though I was out of work at the time. You said, “Why don’t you drive over here after your anesthesia wears off, and I’ll make a pallet for you on the floor.” You lived three hours away at the time. You got offended when I turned the most generous offer down.

Do you remember telling me that I need to get over being molested by my father and his friends? I needed to get over what happened with my brother? He was a kid, too. I know damn well where he learned that from. Do you remember telling me, as I cried and shook, that I was too old to let “something like that keep you from a relationship with your father”? The same man who beat the shit out of you, burst your eardrum and brazenly bragged about his many conquests? The same man who had stood trial for attempted murder when he raped and beat the shit out of his “girlfriend”? The same man who was with his best friend the night his best friend murdered his parents and his little boy? I know they were together, because I was there. They got wasted together before disappearing. The next day, there was a manhunt for the best friend.

Do you remember?

I do. I remember that and a lot more.

For many years, I longed to have the kind of mother I thought I had in childhood. I longed for her to come back. I realize now I will never have her, if I ever did.

I’m sorry I can’t grovel and take the blame and subject myself to your untreated issues anymore. I’m sorry I can’t shoulder responsibility for everything you want me to. I’m sorry I can’t hang with your rollercoaster mood swings anymore.

I’m sorry I wasn’t good enough for you to stick around.

I’m sorry I was worthy of your goodbye.

So it’s my turn now. It’s my turn to say,
Sorry I bothered you.
I give up.
Goodbye.

 

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Reblog: I’ll Be The Bridge If You Cross Over To The Other Side

My good friend T. Wayne shares his thoughts on Orlando and the crisis of our national (international) love deficit. His words are soft and sad, hesitantly hopeful, a poignant antidote to anger and hate. Dalai Lama XIV tells us that “the true hero is one who conquers his own anger and hatred.” In the spirit of that sentiment, please check out this post and reflect with me on our collective responsibility to restore love to the world.

Fuck it. I’m too mad to focus on anything but Orlando, etc.

I don’t usually write about topics like what happened last night. Massacres, terrorism, bullshit politicians and elections, the shitty state of education, etc. I avoid inflammatory or just deeply troubling events here on the blog. There’s plenty of the rest of the shit all over the media.

I briefly entertained the idea of starting writing a travelogue today, but I can’t. I’m too angry to focus on anything but what happened last night and everything else that it calls to mind.

Last night/early this morning, yet again a lone gunman perpetrated an act of terrorism, this time in a nightclub in Orlando, Florida.

Right-wing media and individuals are focusing on gun control. HA! Yeah fucking right. They’re focused on the fact that this time, the shooter was a Muslim man. My thoughts on Islam (or any other organized religion, for that matter) are not the topic I want to discuss just now. However, it’s a fucking outrage that so many are focused on the man’s religious beliefs.

How dare we allow Muslims to live in America! This is what happens when we let brown people in! Build the wall! Ban non-whities! And while we’re at it, let’s send some camouflaged crusaders to shoot up and take the belongings of the rest of ’em all over the world! Look at what has happened to our Christian nation! Those sand-niggers and faggots all deserve to die, but they’re gonna use this as an excuse to take my guns from me! They’ll pry them from my cold, dead hands!

Ha. Bunch of fucking hypocrites. Yes, by all means let’s not add any more amendments to the constitution. It was a perfect document, wasn’t it? PERFECT. You know, all except for that pesky First Amendment. Freedom of and from religion? Pffft. This is a Christian nation! By which we mean that we can slander, murder, imprison, drag behind our cars, shoot, rape anyone…so long as the perpetrator is a good ole white Christian and the victims some marginalized minority class or ethnicity.

How dare we allow a Muslim into this country! But it’s perfectly acceptable to give him the right to purchase and wield assault rifles! Wait. Oops. Shit. I mean. Keep Muslims out, and let the rest of us wield assault rifles! Wait. Fuck. I mean, except them blacks. The rest of us have the right to bear arms! Motherfuck. Except anyone who is even remotely brown! Yeah! The rest of us get to shoot all you no-account, non-Christian, homos! Yeah! Except women. They should be in the kitchen. Sos the rest of us have full bellies to go out and do some justice!

I don’t hear anyone talking about stripping the nation of all firearms. Would increased gun control laws lead to that? Who fucking knows. Maybe so. But right now, the primary focus is on shit like fucking assault rifles. Seriously? You think the price we pay to be allowed to have shit like that is worth it? Men, women, children of all faiths, all ethnicities, all beliefs and ideologies, all classes…are losing their lives at ever-increasing rates. Right here from good ole home-grown terrorism. And we’re protecting the rights of the murderers! Would you be singing a different tune if it was your son or daughter who was slaughtered? If it was your spouse or cousin or favorite coworker? I bet you would. You sit there in your cushy armchairs, proclaiming your ignorance and vowing that you would feel the same no matter what. But you wouldn’t. You’re too blind to see it, too drenched in your hatred.

People are dying. People are suffering. But you don’t give a fuck. You high-and-mighty, self-righteous pricks.

And the rest of us, what are we gonna do about it? Lemme guess, you’re working on a rainbow flag filter for your Facebook profile photos. Yes, because that’s so fucking effective. Good for you; you’re such a mindful citizen. That’s going to do so much to help replace the lost blood and organs and sense of safety and self-worth of the survivors. It’s going to do such wonders for the mental illness epidemic sweeping the nation.

Go ahead and go to work on Monday and talk about how you could have seen this coming, that those people wouldn’t have died if they hadn’t been in a gay bar in the first place. Really? Have you seriously fucking forgotten the movie theater? The schools I’ve lost count of? The military bases? Really? Are you that fucking delusional? Or were all of them gay or brown, too? No, you fucking fucktards.

I can’t wait to go in to work tomorrow and hear about how Obama invited another “Islam” terrorist into our country. Nevermind the terrorists every fucking president ships out of here every fucking day to give some good ole fashion democracy to people whose countries we’re invading. Yeah. Our fucking guns are named democracy. That’s what we introduce them to. Lemme give some democracy in exchange for oil and puppet governments. But at least we ain’t gay, ain’t that right, Archie?

I’m angry. I’m rambling. And I’ve completely forgotten the mostly structured set of points I wanted to address. I’m too incensed to think straight about it. Anyway. Yeah. That’s enough. I can feel my blood pressure climbing to the ceiling, so I need to provide myself with a good diversion. Stick my head back in the sand for some mind numbing.

Bitchass Old Ladies: Yield for Oncoming Rant

I don’t often issue warnings, but this time I will: if you continue reading, you are going to run into flagrant ignorance – including, but not limited to, overt racism and use of racial epithets. This post will also be the closest I’ve come to making any sort of political commentary on this blog.

Stephellaneous House Roles in effect: As always, anyone is welcome to disagree with me at any time. I appreciate and welcome varying perspectives and challenges of opinions and ideas. But anything even approaching blatant racism or hatespeak will be blocked outright. None of the regular traffic here needs that kind of rule…but you never know who may stop by.

~

The Scene: One dimly lit makeshift office, roughly the shape and size of a small, narrow walk-in closet. One long built-in desk along the length of one wall, just enough room for two people, three computers, six monitors and a bigass printer. I’m on the end, far side from the door. Office supplies, plants, and gnomes to my left, bitchass old lady to my right near the door.

The Players: One Stephanie, One Bitchass Old Lady, One Slightly Less Bitchass Middle-aged Lady, Several Garden Gnomes of varying size, a tiny plastic alligator and a tiny white goat named Garry bearing witness. Let’s call Bitchass Old Lady “Archie Bunker.” You know, the bigoted and racist prick from that old TV show. Let’s call Middle-aged Lady “Edith,” who – while softer and sweeter – was like-minded enough with Archie to have married him.

Archie may be the first old lady I’ve ever fantasized about punching in the face. But Edith…I love Edith to pieces, but she’s still…Edith.

I’m angry and stalling. Here goes. Take no prisoners.

~

It’s mid-afternoon, and I’m sitting at my desk. I’m bored out of my skull, head pounding, and I’m alternating between staring at my bank of four monitors, replying to you awesome people here on WordPress and getting lost in Facebook hell (you know, looking up family and shit from your past, an exercise you know good and fucking well will only end in pain and tears).

Archie is to my right, snoring off and on and listening to Fox News broadcasts at full volume. She’s semi-deaf. Because ancient.

Edith comes in at the Witching Hour. That is to say, at 3:00 all the coffee hounds have a fresh batch. So she came in with her steaming mug of burnt office coffee and leans against the wall, ready for chitchat and scintillating conversation about how slowly time is moving, but TGIF.

First the Bunkers share the ubiquitous gossip about our resident pill-popper (the most notorious of them, anyway). (White guy. Everyone in the fucking building is white. It wouldn’t make me mad if I didn’t know for a fact that it’s intentional.)

They then moved on to another drug topic. Bear in mind, please, that none of this was said with any hint of irony.

Listen in as Archie tells Edith about one of her Fox News reports. When I heard the topic, I turned the music down (I had my earbuds in – my only armor against Bill O’Reilly and cohort).

Archie whispers conspiratorially, “Did you hear about that…that guy the troopers pulled over?

Edith laughs, “Which guy? Guys are pulled over all the time.”

Archie snorts, “Don’t make me hit you, sassy mouth. I mean that…hoodlum they pulled over with all that….that marijuana!

Stephanie stops the music but keeps the earbuds in, still facing her monitors.

Edith shakes her head, “No, but it doesn’t surprise me anymore.”

Archie: “Well, as you can imagine…it was a Mexican.

Stephanie pops her earbuds out, still facing her monitors.

Edith: “Still doesn’t surprise me.” (Note: One of Edith’s sons-in-law is Mexican.)

Archie: “47 pounds! He had 47 pounds of marijuana! He swears it was all his own personal marijuana, but I don’t believe him.”

Stephanie chimes in, still facing her monitors, “He’s trying to shake a distribution charge.”

Both sets of eyes look over, and Stephanie gives a sidelong glance back.

Archie: “Well of COURSE he intended to distribute it.”

Stephanie: “Was it broken down? Or was it in bricks?”

Archie: “Bricks? I’m talking about MARIJUANA, Stephanie!”

Edith looks at Archie’s computer monitor, “Looks like bricks to me.”

Stephanie: “Mhm. Then they can’t prove it’s for distribution. Smart guy; he’s angling for a lighter charge.”

Archie: “SMART GUY?? He’s a MEXICAN with MARIJUANA. I hope they lock him away for good.”

Stephanie: “I don’t see what his ethnicity has to do with it.”

Edith skirts, “After a day like this, I may want to find that guy and go smoke one with him!”

Archie: “Stop making jokes. This is serious! All these…these…WEEDHEADS and and PEDOPHELIA TYPE PEOPLE are RUINING America! These Mexicans and that Islam Nigger President!”

Stephanie: “You cannot compare pot use with rape and molestation of children. Nor do I see how ethnicity has anything to do with any of this….Oh. And pot should be legal.”

Archie clutches her chest and goes pale, “STEPHANIE! You CANNOT be serious. Race has everything to do with it. And that drug has ruined lives and killed people!”

Stephanie (who rarely says anything): “That’s what you’re supposed to believe. Your fear of a literal weed that was supposedly brought here by Mexicans and Natives allows for the existence a multi-billion dollar industry run by our government.”

Edith: “She’s joking, Archie. She’s just trying to get you going.”

Stephanie: “No I’m not.”

Edith glares, Archie looks on the verge of a heart attack and Stephanie pops her earbuds back in but leaves the music off.

Archie: “Anyway. Them..them weedheads and pedophilias [sic] are everywhere. I bet you couldn’t even find a place to live on the moon without having one for a neighbor. It’s not safe anywhere anymore.” If she had pearls on, she’d be clutching them.

Edith: “Sooo…have y’all heard about that movie about assisted suicide?”

~

If blatant, inexcusable ignorance is this rampant in the PNW, I don’t know what the fuck I’m going to do. But I’ll tell you one thing: I’ve had it with sitting quietly while the people I’m surrounded by speak in this manner and think they can get away with it because my skin is the same color as theirs. I will no longer lend tacit agreement with my silence. I’ve been the quiet one all my life, especially when it comes to my elders. And I’m fucking ashamed of it.

The whole “respect your elders, Southern Charm” bullshit has overstayed its welcome with me. Just because Archie is 74 doesn’t mean she’s earned the right to spew ignorance and hate as gospel. That “good little Christian woman” is anything but. I’m Fucking Over It.

 

Recipe for a Panic Attack: Recognizing the Signs and Admitting My Role in Sinking Down (A Very Long Post)

I had a full-blown panic attack yesterday. I had been in a slow downward spiral for days and didn’t recognize the signs and symptoms. Some of them are typical; some of them are my own that I’ve identified in myself. There was a progression of “events,”, which culminated in purging my thoughts in yesterday’s post (thoughts which are honest and real and truly how I feel), then being slammed with an acute panic attack shortly thereafter. And I did not see it coming. But I should have.

Yes, there’s a lot of shit going on in my life right now. Some good. Some bad. Some great. Some awful. But it’s not all circumstantial. I am somewhat culpable in what happened with me yesterday.

I am writing about this today for three specific reasons:

  1. I need to hold myself accountable, but also remember to treat myself gently and kindly. And it feels really fucking good to be able to identify and recognize what’s wrong and how I got to this point.
  2. I hope that sharing this helps someone, or someone you know, to recognize the signs, to take the steps necessary to care for your physical and mental health, and to be kind to yourself.
  3. I want to thank you all for your support and love – because let’s face it, it’s a form of familial love when you gather around someone and (virtually) wrap your arms around that someone, and I fucking felt it. And I love you for it. I’ve been more positive lately, and I want to explain what (I think) happened to me yesterday.

Here goes.

Circumstantial “Triggers” (i.e. Personal Shit)

I’m gonna tackle this part bullet point style, because some of it you already know and the rest I’m not prepared to talk (in depth) about yet.

  • I am being bullied at work. My character, my work ethic, everything. Full on assault. My supervisor is aware of it. And he knows that the problem is Queen Bitch. He refuses to do anything about it and, in fact, is about to move me to another area instead of addressing the problem with her. This means I will be away from the other coworkers whom I’ve grown quite close to. And they will still have to deal with her, because the super doesn’t want to set her off by moving her for what would be the fourth or fifth time.
  • I have problems that I can’t afford to deal with right now. Arthritis, connective tissue disease (unspecified), fibromyalgia, periodontitis, chronic headaches and migraines. And that’s not to mention the mental health issues I have, which you already know about. I do not spend frivolously (aside from a book here or there or a smoothie, but it’s not egregious). I am responsible and (mostly) frugal. I’ve worn the same clothes for years, and my car is sixteen years old and in need of repairs. I am not complaining about this. I am thankful that I have clothes. I am thankful that I have personal transportation. I am thankful that I am able to be employed and am. However, I make just enough to keep my bills paid (let’s not talk about student loans) and have just enough cushion to buy a book or smoothie now and then. If I were to lose my job today, I could make it two months. I have enough to do that. That’s both wonderful and terrible at the same time. I am 35 years old. I am educated. I am smart. I am competent and capable. And I am fed up with doing the same job that the two men in my department do, and they both make over ten grand more than I do. (Whew. My bad. I did not intend for this bullet to turn into a rant. Ahem.)
  • I am planning a big move this year, on a shoestring budget. I realize some of you don’t agree with this choice. And I get it. But, as previously mentioned, I am 35 years old. And you know what? I’m sick of living someone else’s life. I’m sick of riding in the backseat. I’m sick of following everyone’s rules, rules, rules. There is no tomorrow. There is today. And I need to finally fucking seize the day. I’ve wanted to live in the Pacific Northwest all my life. I do not want to die before I’ve lived the life I want to live. But it’s a costly choice. (Anything worth having is worth fighting for, yeah?) I will have to keep my stuff in storage indefinitely. But with the help of a good blogger friend, I’ve discovered that you can find tiny little apartments outside of Seattle proper, for just a little more than what I’m currently paying as a mortgage. So now it’s getting there that is a bit tricky on my budget.
  • I am trying to prepare my house to sell and then sell it. It’s in need of repairs, but I’m close. Closer than I was, at least.
  • I’m dealing with a personal issue that has been festering for going on five years now. And it’s all coming to a head. Finally. Finally. But it’s intensely stressful.
  • I’ve begun my job hunt in Seattle, and that’s always stressful. Part of the stress here is that I know what the most responsible and safest bet is, but it’s not what I want. I want to finally do something with writing or copy-editing. If I’m not going out to save the world, at least I can do something I actually enjoy doing. We live at least half our lives at work. And that can ruin half of your life if you fucking hate your job.
  • Emotional Upheaval. And that’s all I’m going to say about that. For now.

That’s enough personal bullshit. Most of it you already know. But now I’m spilling it again for the purpose of putting my current mindset into perspective and how that, coupled with other factors, resulted in a major panic attack.

Musical Indications

Over the last few weeks, my choices in music have gotten progressively darker and angrier. Now. Here’s the thing. I have an “angry” playlist, but I typically only listen to it when I’m already angry. But sometimes…sometimes it’s a major sign that I’m heading down into deep depression. A steady stream of angry music is dangerous for me. It always has been. It almost always starts out as anger with me. I didn’t recognize it. I wasn’t alert to it. I’ve been feeling so good lately that I simply didn’t see it coming.

It started out fairly tame. I listen to a lot of 90s music, and man was 90s rock depressing. But I listen to a lot of it and am usually okay. I get into it. I jam out. I get “in my feels” (I hate that phrase.). And I’m cool. I’m good.

It started out with some Pearl Jam. “Black.” (My favorite for deeply personal reasons which would be fairly obvious if you pay attention to lyrics.) “Daughter.” (Which makes me absolutely livid, again for obvious reasons.) “Alive.” (Which makes me angrily happy that I’ve made it through what I’ve been through. Because Fuck You for stomping me into the ground and trying to keep me there.)

It then progressed to Evanescence and Linkin Park. The angry ones. I listened to them for days and days. Repeatedly. At work. At home.

That progressed to Eminem. Oh I listened to Eminem even longer than the others. I was getting angrier and angrier. More and more Fuck. You. Fuck. You.

Which then led to days of things like Rob Zombie and Godsmack. Especially Godsmack. A Whole Fucking Bunch of Godsmack. Particularly:

Yeah. I listened to those four in particular Over and Over and Over again. Then I listened to them some more. Over and Over and Over. At work. At home. And Over again. (Also watched the vids because Sully Erna.) This obviously had a negative impact on me. As I’ve said, I listen to angry music now and then. But not for lengthy periods of time. I have fully immersed myself in anger and rage over the last few weeks. Bad. Fucking. News. I was fucking asking for it. And I was also seething beneath the surface and didn’t realize it. And this shit. This shit was gasoline on an ember. How did I not see what was happening?

As you know from yesterday, this anger (as it usually does with me) suddenly shifted to darkness. Depression. Hopelessness. Alice in Chains.

And the final nail in the coffin? My own doing of my own undoing?

I Broke the Cardinal Rule of Psychiatric Medicine

Yep. I’m prepared for this confession to tick some people off. I was read the riot act over this confession yesterday and rightfully so.

I know the rules about not stopping your meds. Never ever ever stop your meds and especially not “cold turkey” as it were. I’ve been through this with arthritis meds. There were some that were doing more harm than good and some that I simply couldn’t afford. So I very slowly and carefully weaned myself off of them. Like a smart, conscientious girl would do.

I also know it’s dangerous to stop meds cold turkey. Long-term physical or psychiatric meds that your body comes to rely upon on a chemical level. I’m wise to the fact that doing so could cause any number of physical withdrawal symptoms, suicidal ideation, self-harm, you name it.

And do you know what I did? I semi-stopped one of my meds. Straight up. No weaning. No consulting my doctor. Just stopped.

It wasn’t why you think. It wasn’t one of those situations where the person starts to feel better and then thinks, “I don’t need to take this shit anymore. I feel better.” As though you’ve taken an antibiotic and your infection is gone for good now. That’s not why I did it.

Why I Did ItEvery. Single. Day. Since I started taking this cocktail of psychiatric meds, I’ve been fucking tired. I mean wiped out. No. You don’t understand. That’s not good enough to explain it. When I’m at work, I feel as though at any moment my head is going to slam onto my desk and I’m going to pass right the fuck out. I’ve nodded off in traffic, y’all. That does not happen to me. That could kill me AND you. I’ll be in mid-conversation with the geek squad and totally zone out. I can’t focus on my work. I can’t focus on you. I can’t read. My vision blurs. And all I want to do is sleep. Only I can’t. And even when I do, the feeling never goes away.

So a few days ago, I was picking up a scrip and the pharmacist wanted to ask some questions of me. Since I’d been on the meds for a while, he asked if he could do a little assessment. He asked me how I’d been feeling, whether I thought they were working. I was at the drive-thru so I could barely hear him (yes, a drive-thru pharmacy). At first, I said, “Fine! Everything’s fine.” But I heard myself and shook my head.

I have sleep disturbances. I wake up in the night.

“Okay. You’re taking the Lexapro at night, aren’t you? Stop it. Take it in the morning.”

Done. The disturbances have mostly stopped.

“Anything else?”

I can’t go to the bathroom.

“Hmm. Nothing should be causing that. Anything else?”

Yeah. No resolution on that TMI issue.

I’m tired all the time.

“How tired?”

It’s difficult for me to be awake talking to you right now. I perpetually feel like I haven’t slept in days and will pass out at any given moment.

“That’s not right. That has to be one of the meds.”

So I start asking him: Clonidine? No, not if you’re taking it at night. Klonopin? Not to the extent you’re describing. And not at the dose you’re on. Lamictal? Not if you’re taking it at night. At this point I’m getting frustrated. He should be telling me instead of me asking one at a time. Vistaril? How are you taking it? Two capsules, three times daily. (His eyes bug out of his head at this.) THAT is the problem. THAT is why you’re feeling this way. Sweet! So I’ll just stop taking it. I’ve never thought that one was helping anyway, because I’m still quite anxious. Do. Not. Stop. Taking it! However, it would be safe to go to one pill in the morning, one at lunch, and two at night. Then talk with your doctor. Okay! Thank you!

I didn’t mention the sexual issues I’m having. Mostly because too shy. But also because I’m not in a physical relationship with anyone but myself at the moment, so it’s not an urgent matter.

So what do I do? Fuck Vistaril. Fuck it. I started skipping both the morning and lunchtime doses altogether, then taking my two at night. I didn’t consider it as being like the others – Lexapro and Lamictal. This went on for days, and I thought nothing of it. I just changed my dosage and thought nothing else of it.

All of these factors combined and merged into one viscous, throbbing mass of creeping doom.

The Result (Payback is a Bitch)

  • I started feeling a general sadness.
  • I started feeling lazier.
  • Anger became a more dominant emotion than usual.
  • I became frustrated.
  • I became restless.
  • My legs started bouncing again.
  • My speech got faster.
  • I started doing more nervous twitching and hand wringing again.
  • I started dwelling on emotional pain: what a bitch my mother is for abandoning me, what a sick fuck my father is for abusing me, what unloving assholes my siblings are for shunning me because I cannot forgive my abusive father, what a self-righteous prick Queen Bitch is, how emotionally cruel my ex could be, how hurtful it was when The Aussie threw me away, how sad I am that I’m not where I want to be right now. I hadn’t dwelt in several weeks. And still. Still I wasn’t alarmed. Still I didn’t see it.
  • And then the Big Bad Scary: Suicidal Ideation reared its ugly head for the first time in quite a while since I began medication therapy. Now. NOW I was scared. But I blamed it on the meds. They’ve suddenly stopped working for some reason, I told myself. It’s NOT the meds helping you afterall, if you feel this way. God, I really wish I would die in my sleep. Yeah. Now I was scared. But I didn’t understand it.

Yesterday I woke up in a strange mood. I felt simultaneously hyper and subdued. Weird, right? That’s totally contradictory, but it’s the only way I know how to describe it. I felt emotionally subdued and as though I really didn’t want to be around anyone or talk to anyone or leave the house or bother with anything at all. But I felt physically hyper. My legs would not stop bouncing. My speech alternated between rapid and sluggish. My heart was racing. I couldn’t sit still. All the while…subdued. I had zero appetite, and my appetite has been low for days. But now, even the thought of food kind of made me strangely mad. And I was listening to Layne Staley sing some of the most depressing music there is, but I was in no state to handle it or appreciate it for its haunting beauty. My mind, my thoughts, turned into severe emotional turmoil. And I needed to get it out. I needed to purge.

Afterward? The Panic Attack that I didn’t realize was already brewing hit me. Hard. Forcefully. Punishingly. Terrifyingly.

The Panic Attack

It had already begun, and I didn’t even know it. I had no awareness of what was happening except that I felt like shit and wanted to go home. This is hard. This has all been hard to get out. But I’m going to keep going, no matter how ashamed I feel – because I know that I Should NOT feel ashamed. And maybe this will help someone to identify their own signs and symptoms, or those of someone they love. And it’s good for me. It reinforces these things for me. So. Here’s what my panic attack looked like.

  1. Heightened frustration.
  2. Serious stomach distress.
  3. Heart racing.
  4. Restless.
  5. Bouncing my legs.
  6. Rocking back and forth in my chair.
  7. Eyes darting to and fro, nervously, anxiously.
  8. Breathing rapidly, suffocatingly.
  9. Hot. Had to shed layers hot, despite it being cold in here.
  10. A strange out of body feeling, as though I was watching this happen but was helpless to stop it. As though I was detached and other from myself.
  11. Mind racing, racing, racing, making less and less sense, getting more and more frantic, growing more and more irrational.
  12. Feeling crazy, insane, like I was seriously going out of my fucking mind.
  13. Feeling like this was never going to end. Ever. And this state would now be permanent.
  14. Gritting my teeth, rocking, rocking, leaning forward and holding my head in my hands.
  15. Squeezing my head.
  16. Shaking. Violently shaking.
  17. Pulling my hair.
  18. Wanting to hit myself. But I was in the room with others. They couldn’t see me, but it’s the only reason I wasn’t screaming in rage.
  19. And finally I had to run to the bathroom to throw up.

panic'

At some point in the midst of all of this, I thought about the Vistaril and had a brief question in my mind. Is that why this is happening?

And no, I don’t think that’s all that was wrong. I know it wasn’t. Because I’d already had that anger and rage building, building, building. But I do believe that I made a mistake in doing what I did with the medication. I do believe it was a factor in what happened to me yesterday. And I do regret not listening to the pharmacist.

When it was over, I felt exhausted and spent. I took my Vistaril (I had it with me). Talked with a WordPress friend about what was going on (actually during the panic attack, too) – and I’m more grateful than you know.

This morning I took my single Vistaril. And now I’m about to take my lunchtime one. And I’m tired. I’m tired as fuck. I could go to sleep on my desk. Right. Fucking. Now. But I’m going to take it. And when I meet Dr. Feelgood for my next appointment, I’m going to request we try something different for anxiety. Because this is not working for me.

Lessons Learned

  • Be more aware of your behaviors and reactions.
  • Pay attention to your patterns and routines. When you break them, reach out. If it’s fixable, fix it. If you haven’t changed anything, fucking reach out. For me, I could have told people here. People who may have recognized that I was spiraling out of emotional control.
  • Do. Not. DO NOT significantly alter your meds without consulting your doctor or pharmacist. And fucking LISTEN to what they tell you. HEED it.
  • Do not settle for meds that make you feel poorly. Be your own advocate and be ballsier. Ask for better meds. Do it. FUCKING DO IT. Your life may literally depend upon it.

In the aftermath, I still feel subdued. I’m still shaky and bouncy. My appetite is good. I just had a full lunch. I don’t think I ate at all yesterday, which isn’t normal for me. I’m tired as fuck. I’m still down.

But it is better than yesterday. By a long shot. Maybe I am sliding down into a depressive state. And if I am, that’s okay. It’s part of who I am. How I am. But I must take better care of myself and pay better attention to my mind, body and spirit.

And never ever forget to breathe.

And please, if you’re suffering, reach out. If you think you have no one to reach out to, reach out to me. We’re all in this thing called life together.

So I thank you. I thank you for being here for me. For encouraging me. For commiserating with me. For telling me to chin up. For telling me to stop fucking listening to that bullshit while I’m in the throes of a depressive cycle. For telling me you get it. For telling me you’ve been there. For simply being here. I thank you.

Masks of Me

What do you see, when you look at me?
Do I look carefree? Do I, perchance, look happy?

If the answer is yes, then I have succeeded.
Because this is the mask I wear for you.

the_mask_of_happiness_by_mackb222-d4vympt

What do you see, when you look at me?
Do I look perturbed? Do I look angry?

If the answer is yes, then I have succeeded.
Because this is how I keep you away from me.

maskofanger

What do you see, when you look at me?
Do I look amused? Am I restless and hyper?

If the answer is yes, then I have succeeded.
Because I’m not only fooling you, but I’m also fooling me.

mask-3

What do you see, when you look at me?
Do I look sad? Do I look sullen?

If the answer is yes, then I have failed.
Because this is the me that I don’t want you to see.

sorrow

Tuesday’s Gone (and It Took All My Fucks with It)

Tuesday was another of those “today sucks ass” kinda days. And I didn’t wanna talk about it on Tuesday, because I was too worked up about it. But I’m revved up and ready to uncork it now. Oh yeah. Let’s do this thang, chickenwang.

First Up: Neighborzuul

You remember her, don’t you? The crazy woman with the Shrine to Gozer? Yeah, that one. I don’t think I told you that she has her very own pair of Terror Dogs. Only these are yippy little fuckers. You know what I mean by yippy dogs? Those ankle-biting bastards.

Terror_Dogs
Neighborzuul’s dogs look EXACTLY like this. Except they’re shorter. And they have long hair. And they’re white. But other than that, this is an exact likeness.

First of all, there’s a leash law here. But does Neighborzuul give a fuck? No, dears, she does not. And Neighborzuul’s Terror Dogs like to leave little shitbombs on every lawn but their own. I guess that old saying, “don’t shit where you eat” applies to them. Personally, I think Neighborzuul sends them on these shitmissions to do recon on all of us. So she can steal our souls and our geraniums.

And those little sumbitches bark incessantly. But I don’t really know what’s worse: them or her. See, because they aren’t fenced or leashed, Neighborzuul is in constant competition with her furry assholes to see who can shriek the loudest. It goes a little somethin’ like this:

Fuzzhole 1: YIP! YIPYIP! YIPYIPYIPYIPYIPYIPYIP! *shits*
Fuzzhole 2: YIPYIPYIPYIP GRRRRRRRRR YIPYIP! *pees*

Neighborzuul: Fuzzhole 1, COME HERE! Fuzzhole 2, COME HERE!

Fuzzhole 1: YIP! YIPYIP! YIPYIPYIPYIPYIPYIPYIP! *pees*
Fuzzhole 2: YIPYIPYIPYIP GRRRRRRRRR YIPYIP! *shits*

Neighborzuul: Fuzzhole 1, COME HERE! Fuzzhole 2, COME HERE! RIGHT NOW RIGHT NOW I MEAN IT!

Fuzzhole 1: YIP! YIPYIP! YIPYIPYIPYIPYIPYIPYIP! *shits some more*
Fuzzhole 2: YIPYIPYIPYIP GRRRRRRRRR YIPYIP! *shits some more*

Neighborzuul: Fuzzhole 1, COME HERE! Fuzzhole 2, COME HERE! RIGHT NOW RIGHT NOW I MEAN IT! GET BACK HERE! GET INSIDE! GET INSIDE RIGHT NOW! COMEHERECOMEHERECOMEHERE!

The dogs are gonna be run over someday, fo’ real. And not because someone is gunning for them. But because they run in traffic, chase cars, trot down railroad tracks. I’ve seen them as far as a quarter mile from the house. And she just screams and screams at them. And if not that, then she’ll end up sued or some shit because they chase walkers, joggers, runners, parents pushing strollers, mailmen, unicorns, you name it.

So. That brings us to Tuesday morning. I’m listening to music, right? Just on my phone, because who has a stereo anymore? (If you do, I’m moving in.) Gathering my things and preparing to shower. It’s like…6:30ish A.M. I’m tired. I seriously had to drag my ass out of bed.

What.

What the fuck is that.

OH HELL NO.

Y’all I don’t go outside. Especially not in my nightwear. (No, pervs, I don’t wear lingerie to bed. But I’m modest – like really fucking modest – so I don’t go outside even in shorts and a tank top.) But I was so pissed. I could hear those little fuckers screaming over the music.

Are those bastards in my yard? Are they barking at the car?

Are they on my porch? ARE THEY HUMPING MY PORCH?

I flung that door open and barged outside. Those two little sumbitches. The weaker of the two (he’ll be eaten first) ran into the road as soon as I stepped onto the porch. The other one backed up maybe three feet. Then that little fucker dug in and alternately screamed and bared his teeth, growling. So what do I do? Y’all. I was pissed. Wild-eyed and ready to tangle.

I moved toward them. But I stopped when I got to the car.

Me: Go! GO ON NOW!

Fuzzhole 1: Grrr Grrr Yip Yip *pees a little*
Fuzzhole 2: YIPYIPYIPYIP I’LL KILL YOU BITCH YIPYIPYIP! *angershits*

Me: GO SHIT IN YOUR OWN YARD, YOU LITTLE FUCKERS!

Y’all. I am not exactly proud of this. I mean, I won’t be adding it to my resume, okay? But this has been going on for YEARS. I snapped. I was just trying to listen to my music. Is that too much to ask?

Neighborzuul finally emerges from her shrine and begins screaming for them to come back. I glared at her with all I had before wheeling around and going back inside to shower.

You wanna know the best part? My next door neighbor pulled out of his driveway as soon as I walked back onto my porch.

He had been in his car.

Watching.

The whole time.

But somehow. Somehow. Tuesday only got worse from there. How? With glee. Why? Because on Tuesday? I couldn’t drive a fucking nail, much less a car.

If Life is a Highway, I Wrecked. On the Shoulder. Going 0.5 MPH.

I try to keep something quick for breakfast in the house. I take medicine in the mornings that is not supposed to be taken on an empty stomach. So I’ve been keeping these little muffins or granola bars – something, anything. I was out. So, I left early enough to stop at the store on the way to work.

I stopped. I shopped. I departed.

And as I was pulling out of the parking lot, wham. I hit a fucking car.

Did she fly out of nowhere? Nope.

Did she turn out of the opposite parking lot at the same time? Nope.

I’m quite certain she had been on that particular trajectory the whole fucking time. And like a fucking magnet, I was compelled into her driver’s side.

parking_lot
It looked exactly like this.

It wasn’t bad – there’s a scrape along my bumper on the right. But I was shaken up, big time. She smiled at me and waved AND KEPT FUCKING GOING.

Shaking (violently) and crying, I backed up and pulled back into the parking lot, parked the car, killed the ignition and waited. And waited. And waited. But she never came back.

I’m guessing she didn’t have insurance or was in a stolen vehicle or was running from the law for flicking a booger at a police officer. Point is, she didn’t come back.

Last but Certainly not Least: Long Live the Queen (much to my chagrin)

Then I arrive at work to this lovely news: that job the Queen Bitch recently applied for?

She didn’t get it. And commenced to willfully spoiling everyone else’s day.

image

So I’m stuck with her for the foreseeable future.

~

CliffsNotes Version: The clouds parted on Tuesday, and just as I looked up, the universe took a big dump on my face.

Thank Fuck Tuesday’s Gone.

The End.