I feel I should add a disclaimer that this may cause some concern for me and my well-being. Perhaps it will be warranted, but those who know me best know that I’m not a big talker when it comes to feelings and emotions and blah dee blah; much better at writing this stuff out, that way no judgment can be passed, and I can get everything that’s in my head out in an effort to clear my mind to make room for poop and fart jokes. So, here goes…
The good news is that after over a month of not being on my antidepressants, I started taking them again on Saturday. Why did I stop taking them? Well, combination of procrastination and self-science experiment to see if I really needed them, or if my mood was a result of environment. I’m given a three month supply of my medicine, and then when I run out, I have to go visit wacky Dr. Tatay for a chat, then he refills them for me. My last visit in May, I still had over a months supply, so I didn’t refill them. When I DID go to refill them in July when I ran out, I was denied and didn’t make an appointment with Rafael the Singing Psychiatrist.
This proved to be a mistake.
Holy shit. Talk about mood swings. I’m not sure how familiar you all are with the intracies of how antidepressants work, and I’m not an expert on it either, so I won’t bore you and myself with medical mumbo jumbo, but essentially, it involves neurotransmitters, neurons, and chemicals like serotonin, norephinephrin, and dopamine. These guys regulate mood, reaction to stress, sleep patterns, appetite, and sexuality. These hormones get passed through your brain by neurons. Depressed folk like myself have low levels of these hormones for whatever reason. For instance, my symptoms of despression, aside from being, well–depressed–include an infuriating inability to sleep properly–either far too much or not enough; poor ability to handle stress (Hi. I’m Erin. I tried killing myself when my marriage dissolved. Good coping skills, ass); over-eating (I’m sad. I’m going to eat this entire dude of ice cream); and TMI, but a total disinterest in sex (this may or may not have also been attributed to the fact that sex with my ex was boring).
I digress. So, chemicals are running amok, not doing their job and whatnot. Enter antidepressants, or if you want to get fancy shmancy, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors. Insert more eye-crossing medical jargon, but again, basically these things are supposed to turn our frowns upside down. Ta da!
Anyway, so after a month off my drugs, it was like I was back at square one with my depression. I was sleeping horribly and just became a moody motherfucker. Suicidal thoughts came back (I’ll discuss this more later). Eating really didn’t matter to me–I would have much rather drank my meals than actually ingest something nutritious into my body. I got a liter of whiskey for my birthday. Said liter was gone in a week–grant it, not terrible considering I could have polished that thing off in a day or two, but it’s made bad by the fact that I’d come home from work and drink by myself and drink until I was drunk, pass out on my bed, sleep for four hours, then be wide awake. Neat. Add this to the fact that during this time was the one year “anniversary” of when things got really ugly between the ex and myself and the whole suicide/hospital/alcohol rehab incident, well friends…yeah. Erin was not in a very good place.
Lesson learned from this? STAY ON YOUR MEDICATION, STUPID.
And actually, I was quite prepared to NOT start taking the medication again. I had the mentality (0r lack of mentality) of “you don’t need the drugs. Just suck it the fuck up and deal with shit for once.”
But then, one day last week, I had a change of heart.
I was at the regular karaoke bar, sitting alone and browsing my Twitter feed. I follow John Moe, a journalist on National Public Radio, and usually, he’s goofy and funny and quite frankly, my kind of people. In fact, if you’re on Twitter, follow him: @johnmoe. Anyway, what John wrote about made me have what Oprah calls her “a-ha! moment.” Here’s what he had to say:
“I have to talk about something that isn’t a joke for a little while here. Sorry if that’s jarring to you. Gotta do it. Today would have been the 49th birthday of my only brother, Rick Moe. He killed himself in 2007. I made a promise to myself to talk about it. I don’t want to write about me here. I’m dealing with it. I’m okay. I want to write about you. Rick suffered from untreated depression. In his case, that was compounded with substanceabuse although he was clean when he died. But he suffered because he was afraid to get help. I’m not living out therapy here, but at his funeral I swore I would shine light on this. And now I have lots of people reading me. If you suffer depression, you may think it’s just going to be that way forever. It doesn’t have to be. Get help. Keep getting more help. And it may mean YEARS of trying to find the right help. Maddening trial and error. Don’t give up. Don’t give up. Don’t give up. And depression makes you feel alone and like a weirdo. You’re not. A LOT of people live with this. You have a disease. And it can be so bad and you can feel so helpless, you may want to die. I can’t tell you what to do. Who am I, right? But a suicide ricochets. The first person dies but everyone who loves that person is wounded and forever disabled. That’s what’s left behind. Just please, please, please know that if you kill yourself, the pain stays behind, you’re transferring that horrible pain to everyone else. I can’t talk to the only brother I ever had today. I wish he had made a different choice. I want you to make good choices. Get help. And keep getting help. And stay with it. And if it doesn’t work, try something esle. And fight and fight and fight like hell.”
So, here I am, in the bar sitting by myself at a table in the corner, and crying. So many things about what he wrote resonated with me…”suicide ricochets…the first person dies but everyone…is wounded and forever disabled…the pain stays behind and you’re transferring that horrible pain to everyone else…fight and fight and fight like hell…”
I empathize with John, I do. He lost his only brother to depression and suicide. The anguish he feels must be devastating, and my heart hurts for this man and his family. But allow me a moment to bring the depressed’s point of view into perspective.
Our brains aren’t firing properly, as I so nerdily described earlier. Chemicals alter our thinking, or lack thereof. When I was attempting my suicide, my thought was of finally ending my pain. Even though my ex and I had grown apart and our marriage wasn’t even a figment of what it once was, I loved him with everything I had. I didn’t want to live without him or his love, as infuriating as he was to me at times. Life without him meant my life was over, and why bother trudging through life knowing this?
I didn’t want to. I wanted to end my life.
I didn’t care about you.
I didn’t care about my parents or ironically, my only brother, living without me in their lives.
And I admit, even now, I still really don’t care.
Isn’t that disgusting? I am surrounded by a small village of incredible people who love me despite my flaws and yet, I take you all for granted. Selfish of me? Most definitely. I would rather ease my own suffering and broken heart that I am certain will never, ever be healed. Time does not heal all wounds. Time only loosely brings the broken bits together, not forming a complete bond. I don’t think I’ll ever be happy again. When I find a glimmer of happiness in my life, I latch on to it but ultimately end up destroying it.
This is the thought process of a depressed person, my friends. Devastating, isn’t it? This is what I live with day-to-day. This is what I think about constantly. No one will love me, I do not deserve the love of those who foolishly do love me. Not everyone deserves to be loved, and I am one of those people. I will mess things up for you. I’m better off by myself, that way I can’t hurt you and ultimately, I won’t get hurt myself.
I don’t want to think like this anymore. I’m a rational person. I know that what I just said is bullshit. But due to depression coursing through me and I can’t help it.
This is why John’s post all but hit me upside the head. What he wrote gave me a different perspective, I guess. I mean, I consider myself to be very empathetic. Most times, I put other people’s feelings ahead of my own, with this one exception, of course. I was sitting at the table, thinking of my mom, dad, brother, sister-in-law and nephew, all my friends and what killing myself would have done to them, and that’s when I made the decision to refill my medication.
I don’t want to feel worthless and like a burden to you all. I want to be healthy. I want to be happy and make someone else happy, too. I know, I know…a wise man told me today that “I used to think that I had to have someone in my life to be happy.” For the most part, that’s true–you don’t. But this is also coming from a guy who is in a relationship right now, so I feel he’s kind of lost in his own advice, but I love him regardless of his contradictory advice.
Sorry to skip to a different subject now, but I want to use what he said to me as a segue to my next topic. As I just said, you don’t need someone in your life to make you happy. You make yourself happy by doing the things you want and need for yourself. But it’s nice to share your happiness with someone. I miss my ex. I do. He was exactly one third of my life. Cliche as it is, no one really quite understands me or gets my stupid jokes quite like he does, which is both amazing and right now, infuriating. I’ll be sitting here, watching one of my as my mother calls “stupid” tv shows, and come to a part where both he and I would laugh like loons, and while I still laugh, it’s hard not to have someone share in your laughter.
I miss having someone next to me when I sleep. The first few months after he left were terrible. Blue, my dog, does a pretty decent job of sleeping next to me at night, which I love more than anything, but Blue isn’t going to be here forever (oh LORD. Side note: want to see two grown adults cry like children? Mention to them the day they have to put their dogs to sleep. This was my roommate and I yesterday. The very thought of not having Blue makes me bawl like a baby. This dog has been such a blessing to me. He’s annoying as fuck half of the time, he sheds more hair than what he has on his body and how that is even physically possible, I have no clue, and he has a licking problem, but he’s MY annoying shedding licker and when the time comes for him to leave me, I don’t know what the hell I”m going to do. Fucking dog is making me cry right now…he’s curled up at my feet and sleeping. Goddamn animal.)
Okay, anyway, as I was saying before I started bawling like a bitch was that I am affectionate person and miss receiving affection. Sure, hugs from my roommates and friends and family are amazing and always appreciated, but there’s a huge difference between you people and a hug from someone to whom you’re not afraid to have see you naked. There’s a different kind of bond (heh…unintentional sex joke there). I miss being kissed. I miss holding hands. I miss waking up next to someone not caring that my eye make-up is smeared across my eyes and I have kitten-pooped-in-my-mouth-while-I-was-sleeping breath and they still tell me I look beautiful. I miss sneaking little butt grabs and pinches whenever they walk up the stairs in front of me. Little probably trivial things like that, but I miss them all.
I’ve met some men since my ex, all wonderful in their own rights (with the exception of one; may there be a Hell so he may burn for all eternity). There’s the one that got me to become more serious about my writing and was so familiar to me, he was like a long-lost friend. There’s the one that made me laugh until I couldn’t possibly laugh any more, but always did, and there’s the one that I connected with on so many levels, it’s terrifying. This last one I kind of have a glimmer of hope for, but in true Erin fashion, trying to keep myself guarded…and failing miserably at. He is gifted with the same annoying habit my mother has of getting me to blab about things I don’t want to blab about.
So what’s the hold up with any of these guys? Why didn’t they work out?
Oddly enough, they all share the same trait: taken, as in unavailable to me. I know, this may raise some eyebrows in my direction in a “why were you even dealing with them in the first place?” sort of way, but that’s beside the point. I think. Or I’m just trying to distract you all from the fact that I’m a tart. Anyway. This is another blog post I simply do not have the heart to write about tonight. Perhaps some other time. Or not at all. We’ll see.
As I said in the beginning of this post, I’m sure some of you are clambering over yourselves to reach out to me or have some comments to make, and I will welcome anything you have to say. Just please know that–and I’m loathe to use this word because I don’t want to think of depression as a “disease”–I have an…illness, I guess is a better word. I’m trying to get better. I want to be better. I need to be better. I’m tired of living my life on this constant up and down bullshit. Like John Moe said, “it’s maddening trial and error.” And it is. There are times when I want to stop trying and just, well, stop. Suicidal thoughts creep up, usually just a fleeting thought, but still think about it from time to time. I wish I could make the promise to all of you that I won’t try anything to harm myself again, but that’s a promise I don’t want to make right now. It’s tough, people. It’s grueling, actually, to know committing suicide is not a solution to a problem, but only exacerbates the problem.
Suicide does ricochet.
But with any luck, I’ll be able to stop it.
As always, thanks for reading.