Friday, July 17, 2009

Sometimes Recovering is so damn hard

I was eating supper the other night, just like I have almost every night of my life. Meat, veg, glass of ice tea. The cat was on the other side of the table, tail occasionally wacking my face, or going into my food. Just a regular night....

Then a loud crash. Puss went easily 3 feet in the air with a hiss and a snarl, and ran away, most likely to go under the bed in terror. I looked down, and there was my food, my tea, all over the floor. The table had collapsed, one of it's legs had gave way, and there were two shiny gold colored screws near the leg. I looked down, and felt overwhelmed. I cleaned up the dinner, now unsalvageable, mopped up the tea, and placed the table on it's side. Moved the chairs up against the wall.
Then picked up the mail from the table, threw out several magazines that were covered wet with tea, and.... and...

cried. I walked into the bedroom, and just...tried to sleep .Staying in bed for the next four days, leaving only to feed, and water kitty, change her box....I couldn't eat. i was overwhelmed. I missed my meds dose- I was overwhelmed. Meanwhile things got worse and worse, the garbage bag in the kitchen had attracted flying bugs that were flying around different rooms of my apartment. There was no food in the house. I was living on ice tea, Gatorade and toast, when I realized I missed a dose of my meds. I went 3 days without sleep, lying in bed, listening to the radio or my ipod-even the cat's purrsonality had changed where she wanted nothing to do with me. It was hotter than Hades, in the 90's, and I realized I needed help and quickly.

Getting out of my old sweats was near to impossible. But I did. Brushed my hair and my teeth, took the trash out, sprayed off all the bugs, went to the grocery store, bought some food, and got refills on my meds. Started to feel better. Two hours later took a long cold bath, washed my hair.

The whole time was difficult. It's hard to explain, but this was incredibly hard for me to do. And it made me realize,, as I sit down to write, is I am realizing I cannot live by myself too much longer. i really feel I need someone to help, to keep me in an even keel. I have gone through the worst depression I have had in almost 13 years, and yes, I am still alive, but barely. But it seems to me that since my relationship ended, I really have been battling depression and have been increasingly hard to take care of my self.

What does that mean for me? A group home? A nursing home? I hope not, I am way too young for the latter. I just don't know what I need to help me in my recovery. It has to be from me first and formost, but I am realizing that it also takes a village to have a successful recovery. I just need to figure out how this applies to me.


Anthony said...

I think you need to examine why a crashed table and some iced tea-soaked magazines would keep you in bed for 4 days - meds notwithstanding.

I live alone too (with the cat) and it's me and him EVERY DAY, and outside of going to work and the occasional social event, it's an isolated life we lead.

I've learned to live with my own company, and the freedom it brings. Depressed? Sometimes. I think my job keeps me motivated to get out of bed and deal with the humans, otherwise I'd probably isolate myself even more than I do now.

We've all had relationship problems that have busted our asses for a while, but I've come to realize that there are 300 million people in the United States and I can't allow what one of them did to me to affect me in a negative way.

I took an anti-depressant for a while, but quickly realized that the pill did nothing for the problem, which was my life. I stopped taking it and generally I don't miss the side-effects, which ironically included sleeping a lot. How that was supposed to make me feel better about myself I have no idea.

Sometimes I think you have to put your head down and plow through. Things break. The world is an imperfect place. Living on iced tea, Gatorade and toast isn't helping.

I might be simplifying the situation, but I'm not always sure there is a pill for everything.

susan said...

@Anthony, I do understand. I think if I could just feel better, I could get a part time job and be around people, i would feel better.

You don't know how much I admire you for being as mobile, and doing all the things you do- going to baseball games and golf tournaments- I think that would be quite difficult to do by yourself.

but then I don't think it's hard to go out to eat or see a movie by myself. :-)

Love to you and Kitty.

Stan said...


Anthony gave some good advice you should take heed of; but if you would prefer a catheter and a feeding tube withering away in an old folks home, I can understand completely and will give you my full support and blessing.

I mean if you wanted the world to be perfect and full of joy after all; you would have been born me, instead of you. LMAO

Wendy said...

As an alternate, you can come visit me. I also live alone (most of the time) with a cat, and 3 dogs. We can take walks in the quiet neighborhood and count the foreclosed houses (that look lived in because the housing association takes care of them..) Sit on the deck and watch out into the woods for fireflies. I found an article in the washington post on how to communicate with fireflies with a flash light. Unbelievable I actually have FAILED to communicate with the fricken fireflies!!!
Life is just shit sometimes. I agree with Anthony - you gotta just put your head down and drive through.
The sad thing is that we KNOW what will make it better, we KNOW that staying in bed for days on end does not help, we KNOW we need good food, sunlight, friends, laughter and a helping hand to keep us going. Please Susan, take one step every day to help yourself... Just one step.
You are loved. (and then, maybe you would be better at communicating with the fireflies that me!)

Mark p.s.2 said...

How much you going to pay your room mate to keep you on an even keel?
I just don't see that working as how do they force you out of bed etcetera?, the only person who can keep you on an even keel is you.

Anthony said...

As I've written, when I tell people I do those things by myself, they look at me like a dog who hears a high-pitched sound. "You went by yourself?"

For some reason, I have problems going to movies alone. Maybe it's because I can always catch them on DVD at home, whereas with sporting events or concerts, it's a one-shot deal, and if I don't go by myself, I'd miss it altogether. I have no problems eating alone. After all, I have to eat! :)

Mostly, it's a chore to kick myself out the door. For instance, Saturday night I have a ticket to a Blue Rocks (minor league baseball) game. I'll have to push myself to go, but I always enjoy it, but I forget how much.

susan said...

@Stan, the idea of a nursing home scares me. it's just, maybe i didn't write it well enough, get overwhelmed and it's so difficult to carry on.I just have to try to perservere and do that.

As for being born a man- ew, I will pass. i don't think I would know to put my pants on to the right or the left.

susan said...

@Wendy, you made me think of my girlhood catching fireflies in a jar, with holes in the lid. for surviving when you get lemons, you could write a book on that. Thanks.

@Mark, you are right, or the cat, as seen by the cartoon wanting her breakfast.

Anonymous said...

Hi Susan,

Nothing insightful to say, but I just wanted to offer support. Things haven't been too great here lately, so I can sympathize.


WillSpirit said...

Not much to say after so many great comments.

Just a little stern advice, however: I am sure you realize that from the CBT (Cognitive Behavior Therapy) viewpoint, the worst thing you can do when depressed is remain alone and stop taking care of yourself. It just makes the foul mood bolder, like giving a barking dog food on the idea doing so will make it shut up; you are really just rewarding it for its bad behavior.

I have been in the exact same place: isolated, in bed, barely alive. Long ago, before I knew better, I just let the depression take over my life. Now I know that I absolutely must get at least a little bit active if I want to get well. Now, I'm a big believer in taking a break: time in bed, closing the curtains, or whatever. But after a time (I try to keep it to less than 24 hours), I need to break the cycle, as difficult as it may be to get moving. Sometimes it's just opening the door and sitting on the front porch. A start. (It sounds like you are kind of at this point right now, starting to take steps to feel better.)

It is possible to make progress against depression, provided you believe in yourself enough to force some movement. It's like exercising: if I haven't done it for a long time, getting going is so hard. So I just try it for a short time: maybe fifteen minutes going slowly on an elliptical machine at the gym. Then I work up from there.

It's the same with depression. The more you take action against it, the stronger you become, and the more self-determination you obtain. Sometimes I likea little period of depression, but I always keep in mind that it can be reduced (usually not ended) if I take the proper steps.

There. That's my sermon. These are things I've read and been taught. I did not figure them out on my own. I suspect you already know this information. But maybe it doesn't hurt to be reminded...

Anonymous said...


I'm really sorry to hear you're having a hard time. I know it's much easier said than done, but don't give up on yourself! I know no matter how many people tell you to get up it won't make it easier to do and you won't do it if you don't want to, so I'm not going to say that.

I just want to point out that you are not alone in your depression and you have people who care about you and want to see you well (evidently-- look at these comments!).

Please do what you can to take care of yourself. You deserve all the happiness in the world.

Be well,

Unknown said...

Here's a song by Concrete Blonde that I find comfort in. I wish the same for you.

when the sky has fallen
like a blanket on your shoulder
and the moon is like a mother
looking over you forever
and the dawn is so famaliar
you were meant to be together
like a fog around a mountain - forever

so softly - so sweetly
surrounding you completely
sing you a lullabye - a lullabye to you
lullabye - a lullabye to you

when your breathing is the wind
and your crying is the rain
well i know you will remember
because the music is forever
the living of a lover -
and the loving of another
like a sister to a brother
like a father to a mother

so softly - so close to me
you're surrounding me so beautifully
lullabye - a lullabye to you

Unknown said...

a great find for my 7yr old panda fanatic!
my princess won’t put it down!!!

Sallyo said...

I echo what WillSpirit said. I have found that when I'm in a bad place that it's important to focus on what I CAN do, and take it one step at a time. Even if it's only getting out of bed, build on that success, and keep on going. You took the first step by going to the store and getting your meds. Consider that a success, and keep building on that.
Getting out and about helps, even when you don't want to. What about finding some type of volunteer project that you can do?
Thoughts and best wishes to you on your healing process.

catharooni said...

random search online led me to your blog ... i so needed the reminder that little things can have a huge impact. i missed a week of work and didn't leave the house for 5 days for NO REASON. well, other than being depressed and not being able to battle my way out of it. one little step forward led to two, and so on. but until then, it was just impossible. if depression was logical we could all "get over it', no?? thanks for the honesty - i look forward to perusing your posts more!

WillSpirit said...

Admitting my vanity, I'll explain that I came back to this post after seeing my 'name' (the 'Will' part is me, the 'Spirit' is the ultimate goal of my blog) in another's comment. So I reread what I previously wrote, which shocked me with its unsympathetic tone. In fact, at the time I wrote my comment I felt deeply concerned about you, and truly thought that what I wrote might help. The last thing I wanted was to criticize you after your forthright and courageous description of your pain.

I have a lot of anger about what I have lost to depression. It robbed me of many years that I might have enjoyed if I had not been so mentally ill. I hate to see others suffer from depressed moods, and it is all-too-easy to give advice. Obviously, I merely parroted the CBT line, and probably did not say anything you haven't heard. It is true that cognitive techniques have helped me a great deal, and they are simple to recommend. However, I really had no right to assume any understanding of your situation, and had no idea what you may have already tried. Many times in my life I've been told: 'just snap out of it', ‘look at the bright side’, ‘count your blessings’, or 'think of how easy you have it compared to [someone else]’. I do not want to come across that way. I understand as well as anyone how depression can damage one's motivation, and what sounds simple from my current non-depressed state can be almost impossible when I’m down. Sometimes, if I'm sick enough, I'm not even sure I want to get better: I don't think I deserve it.

No one who knows me would think I have any right to point fingers at someone for how they manage their low moods. At times I have been ‘stuck’ in a barely functioning condition for years on end, CBT notwithstanding. Beyond a certain point, in fact, CBT just doesn’t cut it.

I think what happened, in part, was that your description flashed me back to memories about my mother. When I was six she suffered awful depression, and ultimately killed herself. Before the end she was hospitalized numerous times, and had some thirty rounds of electroshock. When home, she sometimes did little more than lay in bed around the clock, smoking cigarettes and sobbing, while my twelve-year-old sister ran the household (my parents were divorced). My mom's behavior frightened and hurt me, both because I felt helpless to make her happy, and because she sometimes drifted so far down that she no longer even noticed me. I suspect that when I read your post it set off some alarms inside, and I plunged in with a rescue attempt, one which unfortunately did not sound too understanding.

I don't imagine my personal story, or my justifications for insensitivity, will be of great interest to you. Still, I do feel an apology is necessary. Please understand that it was not my intent to criticize or moralize. I respect your writing, your decisions, and your openness.

Thank you for your excellent blog, and for helping so many others with your honesty.

susan said...

@Cath- thank you. Depression is so crippling. i went out today with my mother for lunch , took a long shower, washed my hair, and i feel like a real human being, it's amazing.

Take care and thank you for the nice words.

@Will-I didn't find you were unsympathetic, I thought you were giving me a much needed kick in the pants and to tell me to get off the pity pot.

I am amazed you had the epiphamy- I don't know what to say, I am seldom at a loss for words, but I am crying right now.

Take care of yourself. And thank you so very very much for everything my friend.

WillSpirit said...

Love the cartoon. It sounds like my realization about my mom affected you; I hope the sadness was the good kind and did not add to your depression. If the former, you might want to read a little essay I wrote about my mother not long ago.

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