I find myself unsettled and anxious today. My mood is like walking the ridge of a sand dune. shifting constantly beneath my feet yet at other times my footing feels solid. Mainly it is moving quickly from one state to another. At times okay, others deeply upset and tearful. The depression does not seem to be there as it was, yet the same overwhelmed sad state surfaces daily. Sometimes is stays for a few hours, others it is brief moments that return over and over during the course of the day. I’m exhausted and unsure. I have moments of racy exuberance. When everything seems so possible and so very perfect. But it is so fleeting, like capturing a snow flake. All I’m left with when I try to focus on it is the water in my palm. I don’t really know this place. I find the rapid shifts frightening since I have no way to predict what will happen in the next hour. I am thankful I am not deeply depressed as the events of this past week were so trying. I could not imagine trying to deal with them in the state I had been in the week prior. As this day closes and the pouring rain falls in the darkness I feel the steady undercurrent of sadness and worry. I can’t help but struggle under the burden of the worry and anxiety I feel both about my father and our dog. Life feels so completely out of my control. I find myself wondering what next? what will happen now? I understand it does me no good to let my mind run in that direction. None of us know what will happen. It is the future. We don’t control it. It just is so strikingly evident since I have been blindsided twice this past week. Any faith I had in life being okay just got blown away.
I made the terrible mistake of pausing this evening to read the available information about hemangiosarcoma. In the chaos of yesterday the decision was made to have life saving surgery done on our dog Georgie. It was a day that started in the early morning. I was trying to get out the door to the pain mgmt. doctor. I made my coffee in a semi asleep state and out of habit called the dogs to let them out. Two came bounding to the door. But one was missing. Not the usual culprit, our oldest boxer with a bad back. No, she was there. I started looking around and found Georgie behind the recliner breathing shallow and unmoving. I knew in that split second it was bad. My gut told me this was no ordinary problem. Actually full on alarm bells were going in my head. I roused him and he staggered across the kitchen like drunk. I started yelling to my partner to get up. I let him stagger out the door and he promptly collapsed in the frozen grass. I stood at the window watching him. I could not process the severity of the problem. I called the vet and let them know my partner was coming. I had the terrible choice to make. I could go to the doctor and get the medicine I absolutely needed, but that my GP would not prescribe, or I could cancel and go to the vet. I knew the odds were I would not get another appointment for more than a month. (average time is actually almost 6 weeks). I hated that I needed to go and desperately wanted to be with her and Georgie. Instead I went to my dr. She was left to deal with the vet, and the information. I was receiving everything second hand over the phone. He needed surgery to save his life. He was bleeding to death. I told her I did not think we could do it. There was no way we could afford it. She insisted. She said she’d borrow the $ from her mom. I still didn’t think it was okay. She made some calls and ended up moving him an hour north to a vet I play polo with. Because the dog was only 6 he felt it was the right choice to pursue surgery. I still wasn’t sure. But I went along. As I started researching tonight my heart sank. It is a brutal cancer. Aggressive and deadly. In dogs that have to have a splenectomy the median survival time is 19-83 days. Was it worth putting him thru this? us through this??
I just don’t know if it was the right choice. I am so sad and feeling terrible about these statistics. I know it is just numbers. I understand that. I just can’t help it.
The shift happened pretty much out of the blue and overnight. It is beyond perplexing how it does that. Exactly what happened in those 12 hours? Did the planets shift alignment? Did I work it all out in my dreams and thus calmed a very troubled and dark mind? I never really know what I am dreaming about though I often awake as if surfacing from a deep dive, or having finally found that break in the ice I was seeking to free myself from drowning. It is a disorienting terrible feeling. Regardless something happened two nights ago and I find myself in a totally different place. The depression that was smothering me slowly evaporated. If anything it is disheartening to know it is that close. To suffer and struggle knowing it is that close, yet never knowing when it will come. Days? Weeks? Months? How far away is relief? The greater question looming in my mind is will it stay? Is this just a fleeting shift? Is the depression still there just waiting to grab hold? Guess I am unsteady right now as I feel out this new place. It is not my middle. It doesn’t feel familiar. There is an undercurrent of racy anxiety. Will this hold here or is it going to shift higher? I think I have every right to be anxious and worried right now.
I couldn’t face the crowds and traffic. I sat paralyzed with anxiety and an overwhelming feeling of utter exhaustion. I have nothing for anyone. I’ve done no holiday shopping. It is like I have been in this haze for the past month. Here it is just a day shy of Christmas and I am sitting in a parking lot completely unable to move. I just can’t seem to move. My bones feel heavy under my skin. I know what I need to do, just cannot seem to get myself to do anything. The guilt compounds the anxiety and it just freezes me further. I gave up. I hate that. I feel useless. I cannot even get myself to walk into a store. Instead I returned home and sat in the dim grey light. As my body slowly relaxed into the shape of my recliner my mind just spiraled in on itself. I was overcome by hopelessness. I am so limited. so miserable. It is beyond sad. There is so much I need to get done yet I sit still. The depression has inched its way across my being. It is surrounding me and filling me now. It isn’t something I can shrug off anymore. I cannot turn my mind and figure out another route. It is the only route now. Sadly that route is going nowhere as I am so incumbered by the heavy sadness I feel. There is nothing I want more than for this mood to shift. It seems only to grow deeper and stronger each day. I know I have to get through the coming days. The family gatherings, the questions, the noise. I cannot handle walking into a store. How can I possibly deal with a day of eating and talking? I feel tired and overwhelmed just thinking about it. I have to either lie and plaster a smile on my face and go through the motions or I have to admit all is not well and deal with the questions. I don’t even know where to begin. I do not feel like I can cope either way. I guess I will probably return to by default setting and muddle through each day. It is all I can do.
I have returned to this in hopes it helps me hold on. I am so glad I wrote it.
It is late, you know. Even by your standards. The world has been up and working for hours. But I know it doesn’t matter. It just makes you feel worse, right? The bite of guilt to start yet another morning in a long line of mornings that bear the same introduction. You don’t want to get up. It is all the same. Not a single thing comes to mind when you start making lists of what to do. In that haze of grey, you don’t find anything worth climbing out from under those blankets. You are as exhausted and you were when you closed your eyes last night. I know. Another day has coughed and sputtered into existence in a mind that wants no more days. It dawned to a person that wished nothing more than to not wake up from that deep and peaceful slumber. Those are the only…
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I had just wrapped up riding the polo ponies and was hosing off Boo’s legs. I was somewhat lost in my head and didn’t even notice till she was speaking. “I need to talk to you”. uh oh. I can count on one hand the number of times I have heard that leave her mouth. My mind was suddenly racing through all the possibilities. Was it about me? the dark mood? had she read the blog? was she worrying and needed to hear from me how bad it was? I just didn’t know. I stood there in a panicked silence. As she started to talk I saw where she was going. I tend to get very anxious when she leaves to go to see shows. I react before I really understand why. I tend to get angry and I lash out at her. She hates it and has started to not tell me until the very last moment. That just amplifies the response from me and we continue along with path. The shorter the notice the more anxious and angry I get. She wanted me to know she can’t take it anymore. There she stood before me, actually expressing herself. I had no idea what to say. I just could not get the words from my brain to my lips. We walked down from the barn. I kept trying. I knew I could not walk away from this opportunity to talk with her. I forced myself to say something. We sat down in the house facing each other. No distractions. Nothing. Well until the damn cat came along. But for the most part it was just us. I told her I tried hard not to react. There are times I don’t even see it coming. I suggested a calendar on the wall filled out with all the dates. She doesn’t have to say anything just keep the calendar filled ahead of time. It is a try. I needed her to know I was trying. She had to understand that I was hearing her. The door was open. I knew I had to take it. I wanted her to hear me. I could not stop crying, so it made the speaking part a good deal harder. I told her I was exhausted. I wasn’t sure I could do it. My frustration of trying so hard in therapy and taking my meds and yet the depression still returns. I must have been a pitiful sight. It did not matter what I said she sat across the table and said little. “I know, it always coming back and you get through”. That did little for me. I felt she was being dismissive of the degree of despair I was settling in. She stood up and went to the laundry. I just lost it. She returned. Still sitting and watching me. I couldn’t stand it. I told her to just go. To do what she wanted. She got angry. “That’s what I am talking about. You just get mad and tell me to do whatever”. I was speechless. I didn’t mean it like that. I found the words amidst my tears and told her that. I was letting her go, that was all. I just meant she was tired of sitting with me crying. I couldn’t keep myself together and I stood and walked into the dark living room. I sat and tried to keep myself together. She came after me. Angry with my abrupt departure. I told her I could not stand it. I was trying. I could not find the words to tell her I needed her. It was there on my tongue, but it could not compete with the tears. She stood over me in the dark. I knew I had to tell her what I needed. It was emperitive in my mind. I found a way. I reached out a hand. just a finger really. She grasped it. Amidst the tears I found the words to tell her how badly I needed her to reassure me it would be ok. I needed her now more than ever. She grasped my finger hard and told me of course, we always get through it. It was enough. She gently pulled me to my feet and pulled me into her arms. I fiercely held on between sobs. I told her I loved her. I held on for all I was worth. “I love you”. In that moment I felt complete. The terrible loneliness abated for the first time in so long. God I needed that. With all my being I needed that. The darkness that held me in a vice just moment earlier retreated enough for me to hear her and desperately tell her what I needed to survive. I cannot survive this without her support. I need to know that she is there.
I can only hope it is a turning point for us and that we will communicate a little more. I hope she heard me. I know I heard her. We love each other beyond measure yet we have the hardest time telling each other that. Our communication has broken down so far over the years. When did we stop holding each other? When did we stop saying I love you? So hard to say where it all broke down. I know she is as exhausted as I am. Each time the floor falls out we both are left scrambling for something to hold onto. Sadly we stopped holding on to one another. Instead we pull away and grow silent in our desperation and fear. I am as terrified as she is yet we do not go to each other. We need to find a way back to one another. it is so critical, and not just for me. God I love her. I truly do…
The slide continues. Today had a late start thanks to a somewhat sleepless night. I wasn’t expecting a good day. That would be much too much to ask. Instead I hoped for another day of the same. In the instant my eyes opened I knew it was worse. In my typical approach I went back to sleep. There is always that hope I can get a redo and it might turn out differently. I held out hope it was all just the withdrawal off the meloxicam that was causing such darkness. By yesterday morning I would have killed someone for a dose. It was an unbelievably dumb move, especially coming from me. I respect medication and its ability to generate all sorts of physical side effects. I guess I never really thought much of the Meloxicam. It was just another NSAID, like celebrex, advil and the like. It was made to decrease inflammation in the body. For me it has done a splendid job. Coupled with the epidural injection it has made the chronic lower back pain manageable. I do have bad days, but they are far less and I can usually work around it. I still can’t bend over for any period of time and stand up. I just know to avoid that, or take my time rising. Same goes for sitting for long periods, like at my desk. If I stand up to swiftly the pain will take my breath away and hunch me over. I just work around it. I accept it as part of my life. This is all thanks to the daily meloxicam. Unfortunately the doctor I see think I should wean off it, or see a pain management specialist. I made the appointment but never went. As the script came due for rewriting I didn’t want to deal with the nasty GP and her office staff, so I just figured I’d try life without it. You’d have thought I would have gone to every other day or half doses. Nope. I just went along till I had no more of my little yellow oval saviors. The first day without wasn’t too bad. The second day dawned with some shoulder pain that I chalked up to a pulled muscle. Now I should have realized and tied the two together but I was so deep in my depression my brain never even registered it. It continued to worsen in day 3. Add in chills and muscle pain. joint pain. just an overall sense of ick. I was in a fog and trying to figure out what the heck was going on. I chalked it up to some bug I probably caught. You know those damn shopping carts. I still can’t believe I get myself to touch them. I have to remember to bring latex gloves. Ah, but back to the crappy malaise. On the 4th day I awoke still feeling terrible but none of the typical cold/flu symptoms were arriving. I was really wondering what the fuck was going on. I couldn’t lift my arms over my head without much pain and effort. hmmm. Suddenly it all clicked in my brain. Meloxicam. I called the GP and spoke to my favorite nasty office person. Well off course you can’t just go off it cold turkey. yeah, um. I figured that out thanks. now can you call in a script? ?She was her usual self and made me beg a bit. You’d have fucking thought I was asking for Oxy, or Percocet. Seriously??? I counted the minutes and hours till they called it in. Nothing. I called her back. I was made aware that nothing would be done till the end of the day when the dr finished her hours and then she would decide if she could call it in. I was SUPPOSED to go see a pain specialist. ugh. OK, so I spent my time waiting finding a pain dr that took my insurance (lack thereof) and took new patients and who had an opening before the end of january. really?? Who knew it could be that fucking hard. I was twitchy and shaky from the meloxicam loss and now I was frustrated and upset with this search. Finally I found someone an hour away that could fit me in. But I have very little time to assemble radiology reports from the MRI and x-rays. and the reports from ortho and the pain mgmt dr that did the first epidural. Course he doesn’t take my insurance so I can’t return to him. I am so frustrated. and tired. I have all this previous care from good drs. Whether it be psych care or my back whatever. and that is it. I have no means to return to them. There is no continuity. I took for granted my ability to get good care. All these years I have been able to get that. It is gone now. As I slide into the darkness I realize the treatment options of the past are just that, a thing of the past. I could not return to the safety and quiet of the Haven. I could not return to the Columbia day program. Those are no longer on the table. I am like every other mentally ill person in this country that cannot afford good care. The options are acute short term mixed units. There is no peace and sadly for me I could not feel safe in one. I have shared my stories here in this blog. I would die before returning to one. I have no options. The only one is to suffer day after day here in my home. To wander the rooms and stare out at a world I am no longer in touch with. It is receding steadily like the surf at low tide. I am so fearful and tired. I long for my old life when it was not a problem to get care. It was not a worry to be added to the miles long list of other worries. Instead I worry what will happen. I had hoped after my dose of meloxicam last night that it might settle everything. Thankfully all of the physical symptoms have become more mild. With a few more doses I can get the blood level back where it was and my pain will be in check. Sadly my emotional state is worse today rather than better. I forced myself to run just to see if I could reconnect a little. I had a good run but it did nothing to shift the mood. I returned listless and sad. I tried to explain to my partner, but it didn’t really go anywhere. She left to go see a show and I sit her alone writing this blog. I know I just need to keep going. Put one day on top of another and eventually it will abate. It is the process that is mind numbing. Being able to stomach the sorrow and pain in each day without fleeing is the challenge I face.
Oh sleep where are you tonight? You’ve been such a steady and somewhat docile companion these past few weeks. Last thing in the world I need is for you to be fickle. Guess there are sheep to count.
She took a look around, taking in all the new art work. It hangs on the walls, and stands propped against surfaces. For me it is prolific. I do not usually produce that amount of work in such a short period of time. I stood quietly behind her. I was proud of my work. I would not have brought her into the studio if I wasn’t. She was quiet. Too quiet. She shakes her head. “They are sad”. I glanced around me in the sun drenched room. I looked over each of my pieces. I saw a glimmer of what she saw. I did not see it. How could I? My life is sad these days. I could not see my suffering I had laid bare on my art. I am that sick? I am that depressed that the art I am producing is mirroring my inner feelings and I cannot even “see” that? I just stood there quietly thinking. My heart sunk just a bit. Where I saw beauty, she saw illness. Is anything clear? Is the lens I am looking through unfocused? The depression shifting the focus and making my world appear quite different than everyone else sees it? I am just sad and confused. I love my work. I do not set to work to put my sadness on paper. I just don’t see it. I know I should not let her reaction throw me, yet is has. Guess my mother still holds much power, even if I see her so little these days.