The splotch near my chin

This is a response to the word prompt posted by WordPress. It popped on my feed and even though I had something to write already, I thought this would be fun.

During that wonderful (awful) period a few weeks ago when I spiraled into an anxious depression, I had a zit. I was very fortunate in high school to not be one of those kids whose face is covered in them. I always got a big one on my nose around my period and that was it. My mom had this Lancôme product sitting around so whenever this zit appeared I’d put some of the gel on it and that was it. I never picked at these things. I picked at just about everything else – my ears, my head, my nails – but I never messed with the pimples or zits because I always heard I shouldn’t. In my panicked state, I forgot this awesome life-decision and picked at one. And then picked at it more. I was basically digging into my chin, trying to get out a “sac” because I figured a zit is just a very tiny cyst and if you don’t get a cyst-sac out when trying to get rid of one, they’re very likely to come back. I have no idea if zits have sacs or if they’re even remotely similar to cysts but I want to make sure you understand just how deep I went. I used my nails, I got out some sewing pins in an attempt to “open” the zit and expel puss. I use quotations because it was very open already.

After a week of neosporin, lotion, and other things that didn’t work, I still look like I tripped and skinned my face. I had managed to not only dig deep but scratch off the skin around the zit. So forever on now I have this reminder of what my anxiety can do to me. I’m hoping to see a dermatologist and have the scar radiated off with a laser. They can do that, right?

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Another Reality

I’m currently taking classes training me how to be a computer programmer. Basically, they’re just teaching me how to code. Anyway, I told my psychiatrist and she upped my dosage to deal with the added pressure. Well, that made my hands start shaking so I couldn’t do anything that took precision like, holding my phone steady to take pictures, install a water-softener… On top of that, and the main reason I went back and complained, my boyfriend informed me I was waking repeatedly from nightmares which I couldn’t remember. He’s a very light sleeper so this was a big deal to me because that’s really when we see each other the most. I’ll come over after work, have dinner, sleep over, have breakfast together and that’s it but because of the nightmares I wasn’t seeing him much at all. So much has been happening lately with my mom visiting multiple times in a month classes starting and my sister moving in, I haven’t had time to see him on the weekends so I think it was a couple weeks….? We usually see each other once during the week and on weekends so it wasn’t ‘much at all’ to us.

Sorry, I go off into details a lot.

My psychiatrist told me to start only taking half of my Bupropion (Wellbutrin) because one of their side effects was nightmares and maybe hands shaking. She also told me to start taking my Venlafaxine (Effexor) in the morning instead of before bed since that could also be the reason behind the nightmares and my waking up in the middle of the night. If both of those didn’t work, I needed to stop taking the extra 75 mg of the Venlafaxine she had given me and if THAT didn’t work, we would need to change my meds. I hate the idea of changing my meds because that’s what lost me my job, as far as I’m concerned. So I started taking all of my meds in the morning and only half of the Bupropion.

Wow.

Well, the hand shaking stopped… as did me forgetting I was having nightmares… and the ability to fight my anxiety..!

Yeah, I fell so hard… and nobody got it. My aunt’s upset with me because I’m not walking the dogs at night like I’m supposed to and not vacuuming. Hell, I’m barely eating and I’m certainly not leaving my room much..! Jerry, my boyfriend, says “Haha, sheesh..” via text because when someone tells you their meds aren’t working and they’re low that’s how you respond. I was literally in my own little horror of panic and hopelessness. I even starting typing into my phone’s notes app stuff and, I don’t exactly remember it, but I remember it was sheer fear… and panic about what that fear was doing to me… I haven’t read it because I’m a little afraid to see how scary and ‘psychotic’ I sound. Anyway, after that hell of a night (never has that saying fit so perfectly), I stopped taking the extra dosage of Venlafaxine and I settled back to normal. Thank god. Really the worst of it was that one night but the fall and rise took the better part of two weeks of my life. Which is why I am repeating three weeks of my training classes. I couldn’t shower let alone do school work. Thankfully my teacher understood and allowed me to repeat without paying the fine or it counting against me.

Sometimes I really wish I could explain what the suffering is like… that was probably the most upsetting part because I couldn’t ask for help any where. And of course I’m in between therapists, AGAIN, because my insurance changed and she’s not covered. What perfect timing to fall, am I right?

There was one time though I seemed to get through to Jerry. I’ve always been a journal keeper but I’m not nearly as dedicated as I was in school when I had so much… free time(?? I should never be a school mentor… or tutor.. or school anything..).

Anywho.

I had it out the weekend he and I got back together and there were a few entries of my logic behind all of my thoughts and decisions and I let him read. He’s reading it over and we’re commenting about how I could write so much on one topic. Then it was his amazement at what my mind used to be like. I was just sitting there going “yup.. that’s what it was like.. all the time..” and he’s going “It’s insane… but totally logical..!” (I provided evidence to my reasoning), then after a couple seconds he goes “You know I love you, right?” The entries were basically me over-thinking and questioning every word, phrase, and body language movement he was doing at the time. I think that has to be the one time he had an inkling of an understanding what living with a screwed up mind was like… Maybe I should make him read my phone notes…

So that was my… month… how’s yours been?

Frozen Teaches Depression?

whaaaaaatttt

I know right? I certainly didn’t think “oh yeah, totally, Elsa has depression and this is about how much it hurts people.” I know it’s from Cracked.com but if you read their articles as much as I do, you know the site offers interviews, editorials, and some personable articles. Also, if you google “Frozen” and “depression” together, you’re going to find quite a few people have come to this conclusion.

After I read the article I could kinda see it. I don’t agree her gloves are a symbol of anti-depressants though. I think they would be (if I’m going along with this and ,for the sake of this post being longer than one paragraph, I am) a fake smile. Or the involvement in extracurricular activities so no one guesses how dead you feel. I mean, they make her appear normal. The whole point of them is to cover up the problem, not deal with the problem like someone on anti-depressants is trying to do. I don’t know what would symbolize anti-depressants in the movie. Honestly, I thought she figured it all out way too quickly. I mean she was just still super confused and escaped through the jail wall, right? And she hears how love saved her sister and goes “ooohhhhhh” like “duh.” And she rids the entire kingdom of snow and makes a special snow cloud for Olaf.

Alright, now I’m getting too involved in this movie. Can’t we just be happy about Inside Out? Why do we have to make everything something other than it is?

Concealing Depression

Alright fine, I give up. This started as a blog about depression and it appears it’s going to stay that way.

I came across an article while browsing Pinterest about concealing depression. I decided this was something worth talking about because I can revert back to these nasty habits. It’s important to acknowledge when you’re starting to fall downward so you can single out the cause and perform any coping mechanisms you might have learned through therapy or through your own trial and error. I’ve forcing myself to go outside and take a short walk can do wonders since I tend to be cooped up inside too much. If you isolate yourself like me, a trip to the library or forcing yourself to hang out with a friend, even though you really don’t want to can make a huge difference.

I know that last part probably sounded horrible to you, “forcing yourself” to hang out with a friend. I don’t mean spend time with someone you don’t like, I mean if you really want to just stay inside and lay around all alone then do the opposite! That’s your depression talking- don’t listen!

For those of you who have loved ones who suffer from depression I hope you’ll read this article. Actually, I hope everyone reads the article because maybe you’ll find you know someone who fits these characteristics and learn they’ve been suffering in silence. Support isn’t a plus for someone suffering from depression; it’s crucial.

She went by Lyn, with ONE “n”

That was very important

She was quite a character. I was looking forward to watching my future kids meet and interact with her. She burped all the time. I don’t mean little burps. I mean ones twelve-year-old boys would be jealous of and then she’d say “ExCUse me!” so shocked she was by the umpteenth gargantuan burp of the day. This was probably, at least partly, due to her love of 7up. And perhaps her inability to eat anything because she became allergic to something new every year. She swore all the time. They all went over my head because she said them so casually unless she caught herself and apologized. She took off her ring and through it out the window because her new husband took her to a romantic cabin surrounded by beautiful nature instead of New York City. She talked for hours, sent cards with every holiday and non-holiday they make cards for, just like all the other grandmothers. But this lady loved like no other. It would consume her when she felt it, just as much as anger and sadness.

I’ll let that sink in a second and then inform you yes, yes her children were traumatized by this extreme woman. So traumatized were they that they made a pact if one of them started to act like her the other two would call that one out. She played dead once and my mom and uncle danced around her singing “Ding! Dong! The witch is dead!” … I don’t know who that says more about… She would insult and harass while trying to come off as just a concerned parent. To her credit, I do believe she was a concerned parent she was just so impossibly insensitive. The woman had no filter.

We are all pretty sure she had bipolar disorder. She saw a therapist once and left telling everyone she didn’t know what she was talking about and that was it. She was so sorry for me when she found out I had to take medication. I of course defended it and she agreed it was to help but she was just so very sorry. You could hear in her voice how serious she was, probably because of the societal notions that existed about such things as she was growing up.

She was the one I called when I wanted an extreme reaction to anything. She was fabulous at it and no one has been able to hold a candle to her expressive sincerity. I pretended to call her when I got my promotion.

My eyes look so dark in those pictures, but today I have her eyes.

Madness

I love Thanksgiving. I hear all the time how people hate it because there’s so much drama or something. There are movies where that is the entire premise of the movie. However, I love Thanksgiving because of the madness. My relatives in Chicago drive their way down to Paducah, Kentucky while my mom and sisters (and once upon a time me as well) would drive up from Atlanta. We would meet at the Drury Inn (one time La Quinta) in the middle of nowhere Kentucky to celebrate Thanksgiving and(!!) Christmas because handing all the presents out in person is far cheaper than mailing them. Eventually November through January birthdays were included as well. We would all have rooms next to each other, one year even having two rooms connected by a door inside the rooms. We’d run back and forth between the rooms trying to find people to play cards, go to Walmart, go to the mall, watch a movie, see who’s ready for insert anything you need pants on for, etc. Having to search the dining area in the lobby when you couldn’t find someone in the rooms… It was madness and I loved it.

Then my grandma, who brought the tiny Christmas tree, who brought homemade chocolate chip cookies that were so flat the chips actually stood up like mounds in them, inside whose room we opened presents… died. She was diagnosed in February the year before with Alzheimer’s to the shock of everyone. This was someone who skipped two grades in school and had been living on her own, taking care of herself since her husband’s death twenty-five years prior. And she was so fit! She had always been athletic- track as a kid and roller-skating while ballroom dancing as a senior- we thought she had so many more years… but by February of the next year she was in a home, so upset, so mad we took away her car, then her condo, and finally her independence.

For a few months you could tell she didn’t belong. She was so bored just walking around like whatever. The staff certainly had their hands full because she kept trying to help or do something and kept doing it wrong. She had trouble coming up with words, something I’m guilty of now, but never my embarrassingly, vocal grandmother. (She was talking about a guy’s ears as we stood right behind him in the movie ticket line. It was awful. I swear he heard- her whispering might as well have been softly speaking.) Then she had trouble walking. Then she fell down and we were informed she absolutely could not walk and must use a wheelchair. She didn’t like that much to the chagrin of whoever visited, but she eventually accepted it as long as she had full control of it. No pushing. Then she was having trouble swallowing.. And then it finally happened.

We were outside because it was a gorgeous day. We had walked around the building to the seating area and she wasn’t able to talk much at all at this point so we just tried to decode the grunts to see if she was happy. We were sitting and talking when grandma wanted to move again. She was heading to a side door and we were trying to get her because that’s an emergency door. And that’s when she started fighting. She was having what I guess everyone calls an episode. We ran to the door which was locked. The nurses could see us but it seems no one had a key. but there was a keypad. No one knew the code. I ran around the building to get help because that’s all I could do in that situation. When I got inside I saw they got the door open but Grandma was trying to bite Aunt Joy’s hands. Aunt Joy started saying over and over again “It’s me Mom, it’s Joy.” And suddenly she.. woke up, I guess. She was so confused. From the little bit I could distinguish it seems like she remembered all that just happened but it was like someone else’s memory. She looked up at me and very clearly asked “What happened?” …. I wonder if it calmed or scared her more when I answered ‘You just forgot Grandma. It’s all okay now.” She just looked so confused, as I suppose someone who just regained control of their body would be. I have the show Supernatural running through my head now.

The last time I saw her, she was overwhelmed. She was trying to tell us something or get something across and was “upsetting herself” as they would say. I interrupted to try and distract her by saying “Grandma, I love you!” She looked at me and said “I love you too” but her eyes weren’t energetic or passionate. They were weary and defeated.

Oil Pulling = Disgusting

I don’t know if you’ve heard about this but it’s the latest craze. You put a tablespoon of coconut oil in your mouth and swirl it around for 20 min (you read that right) and this is supposed to fight against plaque and gingivitis. Well, one of the most common side-effects of my depression is not taking care of myself. Like, not showering, not brushing my teeth, not eating properly, etc. It’s the one I struggle with the most because, of course, it’s every day.

I lost my dental insurance when I lost my job and cancelled my 6 month checkup. Now I’m pretty certain I have a cavity. Probably two. Ok, maybe more- my teeth have always been horrible. I checked out this dentistry college to see if I could get checked out there but they’ve taken down the appointment request form because they’re so swamped.

I bought a jar of “cold-pressed, extra virgin coconut oil” yesterday for my hands since winter is starting. I’d seen and read enough articles that I finally decided to try it out. Well, it definitely worked. I used it like Vaseline petroleum jelly: only taking a little,then I rubbing it all over my hands and I was fine for the next 24 hours. Sure, I could have put on more earlier and maybe they would have felt even better but it was definitely better than the Vaseline lotion we have in the kitchen.

So I’m desperate, my teeth are starting to protest, and I just experienced coconut oil working very well for my skin. Why not try “oil pulling” with it? I checked WedMD as, like, a last minute thing to make sure nothing said it would hurt me and it supported it. Apparently, its an ancient form of dental care and coconut oil shows in research to work against plaque and the bad bacteria. I decided I’d just swirl the stuff the entire time I was in the shower. So I scooped out a tablespoon, threw it in my mouth, and promptly regretted my decision.

First, I wasn’t even in love with the smell of coconut in the first place. Now I’m tasting it and can’t get rid of it. Second, this is not like swirling Listerine. This is oil and the texture is like… having your mouth full of something you can’t even completely taste or feel but it’s definitely a lot. My boyfriend said he used take some of this and keep it on his tongue until it melted completely and then swallow it. He’s an alien because there’s no way in hell any adult could have gotten me to do this. I lasted a minute, maybe, before spitting it in the sink. Oh, by the way, don’t do that. The oil can clog up your sink and it certainly leaves a nasty residue. I think I may have swallowed some too, which is also not something you’re supposed to do because then the bad stuff doesn’t get out of your system. Then entire time I was in the shower I was trying to cough up this, probably imaginary, bit of oil at the back of my throat.

I’m desperate. I’ve gone to the dentist and had 5 cavities and needed a crown. The most cavities I’ve had at once is 7.

So now that I have some idea of what I’m getting myself into I get out the paper towels to spit in, set the stop-watch on my phone, and only do a teaspoon.

The shock was gone.. so I made it 3 minutes. I will never do it again (unless I feel super desperate again). I’m just going to use it for my hands and maybe hair.

Oh Depression, the adventures you give me.