Think the rebound has continued today. Though all is much the same here, I have been able to sort myself out a bit. A good workout, and riding today helped that process. I just need to stay focused on each day. Find something in each day that is doable. A goal that is attainable. Even if it is just getting to the gym or getting on a horse. The smallest of steps is okay for now. I cannot let myself fall into looking at the big picture. It is far too bleak and ugly. In an instant it can overwhelm me completely. So for now I need to keep pushing ahead, one small block at a time. That is okay. I need to find a way to let it be okay. The overwhelmed me is far too much of a mess to deal with. I’ll just have to take it slow for a bit.
Well it has been a better day. I have righted myself. I think. My choice of words last night was a poor one. Guess with my history some things just shouldn’t be said. “End of my rope” is probably one of those expressions. Unfortunately, in my tired, frustrated, seroquel addled brain it was what came to mind. When I think about suicide these days, it doesn’t have the appeal it once did. I do think about it. I pops up there in my conscience. It is somewhat out of the blue. I never know when these thoughts will come up. sometimes they are like watching a movie, a silent film rolling there behind my eyes. This doesn’t scare me anymore. There was a point in time when it was terrifying. Now, it just is. I have accepted them as part of me. It is how my brain works. As long as I don’t act, they are just thoughts, nothing more. I don’t think I’ll act, because I just don’t have that impulse. There isn’t a pull to follow the thought. I’ll know if that changes. I’ll just observe them for now. Given my past, I would find it odd if these thoughts were not there. I’ve met a lot of people along the way. Many of them live with these thoughts, just as I do. It is when we come undone and decompensate that they become dangerous. When the thoughts become something to foster, and nurture, often in secret. It is then that they become deadly. I know this sounds strange, but I often find them comforting. The decision to end my life is something i will always control. I alone will forever have that choice. It is mine alone. In this world where everything is a mess, and everything comes apart. When the stress ratchets up to the highest level, I always have my thoughts as company. It isn’t completely out of control, I will always have something I can control. Most would recoil from this admission. I guess it is strange. Is it a product of my past? Do perfectly normal people think like this? or do you have to almost die by your own hand to get to that place? I don’t know the answer to that. I just know I am taking things a day at a time. If I have these thoughts as company, it is okay with me. Eradicating them isn’t an option. Pushing them away never works, they always come back. Often worse.
You know that feeling when everything just starts to come undone. The edges start fast unfurling and no matter how you respond it just seems to keep right on going. It didn’t matter what I did tonight. I just couldn’t keep myself together. I know it has been a very long day, and I’ exhausted, but it was a meltdown of epic proportion. I am watching as this ship sinks around me. It is an ever-present awareness of this downfall. Tonight I couldn’t look away. I just couldn’t find a place to rest. I finally retreated to a spot that has been there for years, the neck of a quiet horse. The mare just stood as I lay my face against her. No matter how great the sobs that racked my body, she stood steadfast. As is trying to absorb that sorrow and frustration. We spent a while like that, she and I just existing together. I have never found a place as safe as with a horse.
Well another day, come and gone. Not much has changed. There is still this backdrop of stress and financial dire urgency. It just hangs there, coloring everything in this awful light. It is hard to see past it. It is hard to see anything at all. It isn’t a new place, just more of the same. Today was one of those days where it was harder to deal with than normal. I felt that anxiety racing from the minute I opened my eyes. Rather than dwell I headed to the gym. It seems like that has become my escape these days. An hour and a half away from everyone and everything. Just me, my goals and sweat. It is so essential to my sanity. It is an oasis these days. Not that I always want to work out, I’m not that nuts. But I find it is so important to keeping myself from getting completely overwhelmed. There is something about becoming completely oblivious, of everything except that workout. Sure, the Olympics helps. Nothing like watching barely dressed athletes with zero body fat to motivate you. So, I use my noon gym time to get thru the day. Today was no different.
I have started the polo horses back to work for the upcoming winter season. I’m hoping that it can also be a way to ease the stress. The ponies are out of shape, so this first week is real easy. Just getting them back into the routine. Like us, they lose muscle and gain fat when not in work. They have all spent their summer eating and relaxing out in the field. It is a slow and steady return to work. Each day building on the previous one. They will be fairly fit by mid October if I do my job right. I’m looking forward to playing again. It gives me something to look forward to each week. An extremely athletic, aggressive and difficult sport. It challenges me to really push myself to get better, and to school my ponies well. When they perform well, I can get better. I’d like to get more consistent. Rather than have really great moments, I’d like to get really solid across the board. Think it is something I can accomplish. Just need more time in the saddle. I tend to expect a lot of myself and it is easy to get very frustrated playing polo. It is much like golf, in that you need to develop your swing and the muscle memory that creates the correct swing. Unlike golf, polo is moving on horseback. That adds in the difficulty of timing. You need to constantly adjust to what is happening around you. You also need to get your horse to the ball so that you have the opportunity to take that swing. Sometimes little things throw you off, and the swing suffers. It makes it hard. Polo is a tough sport, no doubt about that. But that’s okay, I’m pretty tough too. I like the challenge.
On the whole I really like the Provigil. It has helped with the energy level and keeping me more engaged in my day. I am glad we made the decision to try it. Though I have notice from the first week or so that there is a significant crash in the afternoon. When we adjusted the times I took it that improved. This week when I went up 50mg in the AM the crash is just insane. It is like being deflated. Just exhausted and unable to even comprehend moving. Though if I go and lay down, it doesn’t help. I can’t really sleep, just doze off for a moment or two and then back awake. My brain is awake, but my bosy is done. It is a very strange state to be in. So, while I love the medication, I would like to figure out a way to tweak it. Did a bit more reading about people’s experiences with it, and it seems to be fairly common to crash. Well. none of them are perfect. They all have some side effect or another. Some bad, some worse. It is a never-ending dance taking all these medications. It doesn’t bother me like it once did. Sure, there are side effects that I consider intolerable, like significant weight gain, or being an idiot cause your brain doesn’t work. It has been a long winding road. I have learned so much, about me and my body and about just how weird drug reactions can be. I don’t ever take any of them lightly, since they all have such potential. It took a long time to accept the fact that I do need them. I can’t imagine a day without them. I don’t have that temptation to just stop, like I once did. It would scare the heck out of me to do that now. The stakes are too high. It isn’t worth the risk. Sure, I’d love to not have to take anything. I’d like to not poison my body with all this crap, for the sake of sanity. There is no telling what the long-term effects are. But, it is a moot point if I’m not alive to see that. so, I continue my compliance and take my meds. Adjusting to the new routine is difficult. I have become so programmed to take my meds in the am and at night, so a midday med throws that routine out the window. It is all part of this life. There are days when I am off by an hour or two and that makes me nuts. I like to keep everything in order. It will take some more getting used to, especially as we continue to tweak the timing of the doses.
So I guess it will take a bit more work to get it adjusted right.
Well here I am, another day. I look at the calendar and am just shocked at how fast time seems to be flying this summer. I tend to get a bit anxious when I think about fall. The changing seasons have always effected me deeply. Not so much earlier in life, but as I got older and into college. I never really considered how bad a winter could be, until I experienced an Ithaca winter. Cornell is known for its winter. The cold and snow combined with stress creates a brutal season. I think it only hammered home a deep and unsettling depression that was already building. I withdrew into myself and stopped functioning during the winter of my freshman year. I remember a beautiful snowy morning. Overnight more than a foot of snow had blanketed the arts quad and I remember standing there thinking it was so perfect. The snow was falling hard as I made my way to submit a paper. There were no classes that day. On my way back the road back out to north campus was closed. There were fire trucks and cops and campus police. The red lights flickered muted by the snow falling hard and fast. I ended up walking a much farther route to get back to my dorm. Word spreads fast, even on a big campus like Cornell. A grad student had jumped off the bridge over the gorge. A semester shy of his graduation. I remember so vividly, that day and the snow. The peacefulness of a quiet campus and a massive snow fall. I remember my mind thinking I walked across that bridge just minutes before him. why didn’t I jump. it was a perfect day to die. I found myself lost and angry. I was surprised by the depth of my feelings. I had no idea another’s suicide could elicit that type of response in me. I was not intimate with suicide yet, that would be almost a year later. But this experience stuck to me. I wore it from that snowy day on, much like a heavy invisible coat. Only I knew it was there.
I wonder how my subconscious processed that day. Did that play in to my suicide attempt on that snowy Nor’easter morning? Was I trying to complete that wish to die on a peaceful morning deep in fresh snow. I don’t know. But in writing this entry, I do wonder about that.
Cornell, with its absolutely breathtaking gorges has been known for the jumpers. In my time there, some but not all the bridges had been modified to try to prevent jumping. One of the suspension bridges, which had been a common spot for suicide was modified with very tall barriers. But the argument was always, why destroy the beauty of these old bridges, when a person could jump from anywhere along the paths that followed the sides of the gorges. I don’t think the bridges should be modified, and that is does detract from their beauty. Even if you were to change them all, people will still find a way to kill themselves.
It has been a rough day. Our oldest dog, who is 14 this year has been struggling. He is having an adverse reaction to a flea medication prescribed by our vet. I feel terrible, because we were at our wits end with the damn fleas. I know there was no way to know the medication would affect him like this. He was really lethargic and out of sorts yesterday. Today he can’t hardly get around the ataxia is so severe. Amazingly he did eat dinner tonight. There is nothing we can do beyond give him fluids and monitor him. Either he is going to survive or he won’t. We aren’t in a position to refer him to a specialty hospital for overnight care. We will care for him here as best we can. Hopefully the fluids will help, and he can round a bend here tonight. The drug company assured me that side effects don’t usually continue past 48hrs. But of course they aren’t going to say this happens and it is a reaction seen in dogs being treated with Ivemectin based heartworm meds. Had we known that before we would not have given him the drug. It is so frustrating. I know it is really out of our hands now, but I can’t help being sad and worried.
We can’t seem to get out of this vicious circle of stress. Haven’t been able to get a break. Well, here’s to hoping tomorrow is brighter and our old boxer is still with us.
As the Olympics continue, we are exposed to more stories about these athletes. It is easy to be just blown away by a runner who competes as a double amputee against the able-bodied athletes in the 400m. That is amazing. As a runner, the 400 is brutal. It requires the speed of a sprinter, but some of that endurance that the longer distance athletes have. It is by far one of the more painful distances to run. You have to push yourself well beyond your comfort range to do it well. Here is Pistorius doing it on his Cheetah prosthetic limbs. Truly mind-boggling. One of the quieter stories to be told at these games is the path Kayla Harrison took to get to London. This Judo athlete started training at 8. By the time she was 13 her coach was sexually abusing her. This abuse continued until she was 16. She told another athlete who contacted her mother. But it didn’t end there. She had to testify against this coach and put him away. Her family made the decision to move to Boston so she could train with one of the best coaches in the country. This coach and his father slowly rebuilt Kayla’s confidence, and helped her battle back from suicidal depression. They made sure she got the therapy she needed, and the support within careful boundaries. She came back from that abuse. All the way back to stand atop the podium to receive a gold medal. It is a story of courage, and struggle. But most of all it is a story about recovery with good support and care. Most people will never hear that story, nor the story of the cyclist from the US that battled back from anorexia. She was originally a model. She fell into the depths of a severe eating disorder. Part of her recovery involved her therapist requiring her to do something she had never done before. Trying to carefully avoid any of the extreme exercising she had abused in the past. She chose indoor cycling. Go figure, she happened to be exceptional at it. It isn’t often that a person can pick up a sport like that as an adult and excel. I haven’t followed whether she competed well, but the fact that she cheated death and found a place to recover. That recovery brought her all the way to London.
Most people easily look at the runner and think of how amazing he is. I agree, don’t get me wrong. But I think these other athletes I have talked about are just as exceptional.
I was reading a Huffington Post article this morning. It discussed what happens to North Korean athletes after the Olympics. According to this account those that lose may be expelled from their sport and will be sent to labor camps as punishment for poor performance. Those that do well are rewarded. It is a scary thought. A country controlling its citizens completely. In the midst of the Chik-Fil-et mess, I have found myself again on a different side of the argument as my partner. I do not like their viewpoint, and do not like hate, especially open like that. But I do value free speech. Where do you draw the line? I would far prefer to see people voice their opinion, even hateful and mean, than to not have the ability to do it at all. I don’t think a “kiss in” in front of all the Chikfilets is the best response. There is a way to make a point, I don’t think making everyone uncomfortable is the prudent plan. I think flying under the radar is better. I guess I understand the response. I was once young and a bit wild. That would have been fine with me. I would have happily headed to the closest chain and made out. Things have changed so much. I’m a little more settled. I don’t see the solutions the same as I once did. When I think about what we can do here, and all the possibilities, it makes a country like North Korea seem so foreign. I couldn’t imagine living in a country where the state controlled so much. A wrong action or word would lead to imprisonment or death. It is horrifying. So, even though I do not like the hate filled actions of Westboro Baptist church, or the christian values anti gay Chik-filet, I do not want to ever see a time when that isn’t possible.
I think with time our society will change and gay rights will become less of a battle. We are so far from where we started. It will be okay, and we won’t need to force our lifestyle on people who find it uncomfortable.
So headed to the gym, as usual. I set my towel and water down on the bike, and headed to get some disinfectant. I turned around to see a middle aged guy standing at the bike. He quickly realized, and asked me if he could use that one. I thought nothing of it and took the next one. Well, it was an interesting hour. Most days at the gym everyone is in their own world. It is rare to even make eye contact with anyone. So to have this social butterfly sitting next to me was an oddity. This guy proceeded to talk my ear off. I didn’t know what to make of him. Initially it started out quite normal. Just an average guy talking about weighing too much, and having gained weight. I realized pretty quick, after the subject changed three times in the first couple minutes, that this man had some issues. In the back of my head I was thinking whatever he is on needs changing, or a larger dose. This flight of ideas continued. Rather than starting at A and proceeding to B, he was all over the place. I never said anything. Just nodded on occasion. I watched TV, and listened. It wasn’t a deterrent. I didn’t want to be rude, so I just let him go. He talked about being a cop, then a car salesman, then some court case. From there it was his days playing soccer, and on to being hit by a minivan So, for 30 minutes this went on. He then saw someone he knew. Mind you, this entire time he never started pedalling. He just sat on the bike and talked. Now this lady came over. They started talking. Both looking at me. I said hello to her and continued listening. It was unreal. He then tells the lady he should take his medication. I’m thinking to myself- yeah, a good idea. I didn’t want to get involved. The lady then starts talking about her daughter, and how fat the antipsychotics have made her. He proceeds to tell her the daughter should change meds. It was such a surreal moment. I was very much aware of this topic. Could I have added something to that discussion probably. I chose to just listen and watch these two banter about psych meds. Weird. I felt like I was in some alternate reality. This was supposed to be the gym. Quiet time, just me and the music and a bike. Nope, not today. The lady left, and a bit later he hopped down and headed out. I continued for a bit. Somewhere in the back of my head I pondered whether I should hang for a bit. He never really bothered me. I didn’t get any alarm bells going off in my head. Well maybe once when he started talking about duct tape. But otherwise he just seems like he needs some meds. But for whatever reason my brain was telling me to hang for a bit in case he was waiting in the parking lot.
I have discussed the whole issue with Colorado, and how it will further advanced the public stigma of mental illness. Here I was doing exactly the same thing. This guy was most likely harmless. He was lonely, just wanted someone to talk to. He wasn’t anything beyond that. Did he have a mental illness, yes. That was obvious. But we are so programmed by society to view those with mental illness as dangerous. I felt bad for the guy. Yeah, I still took a good look around when I left. Hoping he was telling the truth about getting to the gym on a bike. I was very careful not to disclose any information about myself. It is such an awful world we live in, when we have to worry.
Who knew the gym could be so interesting,