Prozac Love Song

I have written and said and typed it over and over, yet I so often stray from my one essential truth: Writing makes me feel human. Writing makes me feel better. I’m not going to promise to do better, but I earnestly hope that I will, if only for driving need to record change as it happens. There is something ultimately satisfying about tracing the path of growth…and I’ve got growth on my mind.

Since I was about 14 years old, I have waged an uphill battle against mental illness. If I’m really honest with myself, I can remember being in the throes of anxiety as early as kindergarten. I didn’t want to admit it when I was younger, and I didn’t want to ask for any kind of help. I really kind of perceived my chemical imbalance as some kind of personal weakness or flaw that could be corrected with my own hands and thoughts. It didn’t occur to me until I was much older that those same hands were destroying, and those thoughts were doing harm. I convinced myself that whatever mood I was born into was the one that I had earned, purchased with action (or inaction) and the only way to pay my penance was to suffer through as stoically as possible.

It’s a common story. Working with teenagers now, I know how common it is to feel depressed, to feel hopeless, to feel at the mercy of home-brewed misery. And to take it a step further, I know what it’s like to feel like dying would be the only way to get out of the hole your brain has dug for your soul. I know what it’s like to feel utterly tainted. I used to look at my body and feel that it was a dead garden where nothing good could bloom.

Which made it all the more surprising for me when, at the age of 25 years and 11 months, I went to the doctor and all of my blood work came back excellent.

I don’t even know the last time I went to a physician’s office before February. I think I was still in middle school, right around the time my neuroses really started setting in. I missed a lot of school in 8th grade because I was sick constantly with grief and despondency. I would read my horoscope in the newspaper every day and feel a sense of dread if it predicted anything other than sunshine and kittens (and I promise you that I realize how insane that sounds–but I’m trying to be truthful in this documentation). So, to placate my school and my mother, I would go to the doctor a lot, usually citing a sinus infection–not altogether a lie, as this was something I went through a lot as a kid, but definitely exaggerated. He would listen to my lungs, check my lymph nodes, prescribe something, and I’d get to return home. I fed my sickness with dial-up Internet and isolation. It wasn’t a good practice…but I digress.

I was only going for two reasons: I needed labs done for insurance reasons, and my mother was begging me to do something about my crushing depression. I haven’t kept my feelings of inadequacy a total secret since they set in, and my saintly mom has truly spent countless nights talking me down off the edge. As one may be able to tell from a blog entry I posted circa December of last year, I had a huge blow-up in my personal life (that I’m sure I’ll feel like talking about sometime) and was worse than I had ever been since 2011. She had been absolutely gutted at my deep sadness and worried because of the way it was manifesting in me. So, off to the doctor I went, expecting to leave even sadder than I already was because I was, in my mind, a fucked-up husk of a proto-human. And also I didn’t deserve to feel better so I would do it because I deserved to be miserable. (Why are we so cruel to ourselves?)

And then I met Mary.

Mary was my sister’s nursing school instructor-turned-CFNP, and she was who I signed up to see. We started out talking about my weight, which is down from what it used to be but still not super great. That evolved into a pithy discussion of needing lab work done so I could keep my insurance. And then she looked at me and I swear to God it was like she saw through every square inch of artifice I’d drummed up. I started to say “…and I’m really not feeling that great mentally,” but I couldn’t get it out quite because I burst into huge fucking embarrassing sobs, and a lot of trauma came raining out of my mouth too. She was comforting. She asked questions gently and let me have my moment before I pulled it together. I left her office with a prescription for Prozac and immediately went to get it filled. I haven’t looked back.

I am eternally grateful to Mary. Since about the end of March, my life has become so much more tolerable. I am not the same person I was at the beginning of the year. I have moved past much trauma and more feelings of inadequacy than I EVER thought I would leave behind. I have taken the time to learn who I am when I’m operating as I should. For the first time in my adult life, I have been happy. REALLY happy, honestly happy in a way that I never dreamed possible–and I’ve been tested. There have been a couple of major life changes this year, and I have bounced back better off from every single one. I don’t spend my nights crying anymore. I actually SLEEP. I LEAVE THE HOUSE! And I make plans to see people and go places.

Most importantly, like I wrote in the last post, I have discovered that I like myself. That I’m a pretty good person. I’m a great friend. I don’t deserve to be miserable or used by those around me. I’m not perfect, but Jesus Christ, who is? That doesn’t mean I’m worthless.

Depression lies. Anxiety lies.

There is help out there. I promise I know what it was like to live in the gutter. I remember wanting to kill myself and trying to do so and failing, failing even at that. I remember what it feels like to drive hate inward and pick apart each and every flaw you can fathom. I never thought I was worth it–but I am. We all are. We are worth trying to find happiness and fulfillment.

Peace to you–and warmth, and love.

 

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Things I Don’t Do Anymore

It’s embarrassing to admit, but I used to dance in the shower when I knew I was getting ready to go and see you–sometimes, not all the time (I’m not completely deranged). I don’t know how I didn’t slip and fall and break something because I was into it, man. I don’t dance, not even when blackout drunk, but I used to when I had you to look forward to. I did it because often that was the only happiness I had.

I don’t dance in the shower anymore. And you don’t make me happy anymore, so I suppose that’s fair.

There are ten billion impossible words I could pin down that I’ve thought since December. I have written drafts of letters and dispatches and grossly overdone novelizations of every fleeting emotion I’ve experienced since then. I have gone in verbal circles with friends and loved ones, extolling the passions of a broken heart in the way you would expect someone to do over their first lost love.

Yes, I should have known all along that it was one-sided. I can’t think back on the past year without feeling taken advantage of, though I don’t think so cruelly of you as to assume it was your intent. I don’t think I would have loved you if you were evil, though love did blind so many of your faults that now I wonder how it blossomed at all. Alas there is no logic to love, despite my trying to cram it into the boxes I believed it should reside.

And I suppose, when I’m being honest with myself late at night, I did know all along that things would Not End Well. I felt things in my gut that my waking mind refused to process until they were laid bare before me. I knew something was up.

I don’t wait for you to speak to me every day anymore.
I don’t base my entire mood on whether or not we interact.
I don’t feel crushing anxiety when we don’t talk.
I don’t go through periods of self-hate when things don’t “go right” and I fail to make you happy. To please you.
I don’t experience intense jealousy when you pay attention to someone else.
I used to love you, but I’ve forgotten how.

What were burdens have become gifts because I have finally been forced to face my biggest fears: rejection and change.

I’d be lying if I claimed I wasn’t still angry. I am, and I think the distance between us is necessary, though I know you’d like for things to be different. I don’t want things to be any different than they are right now.

I am so glad that this mess has unraveled the way it has because, for the first time in my adult life, I feel free of the responsibility of worrying about you and your well-being. I feel free of the insecurity that comes with making another human being the center of one’s universe. I am free of the harsh self-judgments and negative thinking patterns that plagued my life for far too fucking long. I respect myself for perhaps the first time in my life, and I would go through what I’ve gone through over and over and over to discover this hidden reservoir of strength that I never knew existed.

I don’t love you anymore because I finally love myself.

I haven’t written poetry in a really long time.

But tonight, I did.

Kind of.

It is an ache that does not wane,
does not abate
like the moon caving in under the cover of dark
It persists: a winter cough–
deep set and rattling my ribcage with each breath

It is an ache that does not go away,
not on bended, scraped-up knee,
not even if I pray,
It squeezes me in the arms I do not want,
holds me,
whispers it will never let me go,

my jealous lover that has never loved.

I am frustration, I am impassioned, I am a fucking thunderstorm.

I throw every scrap of paper away, every scrawling I attempt goes into the trash because I can’t make good things. I can’t conjure transference. I can’t bring the mental image to life for anyone else. It feels isolating. All I want to do is synthesize a feeling to share it with you and I am left chewing my tongue, talking in circles about the fireflies slowly dying on my sidewalk three weeks into October.

I keep thinking back to that week in March when I tried to kill myself. I want to tell him. I want to tell him because I have told nobody, but the words swirl and die on the tip of my tongue like the fireflies. I used to use my sparse student loan refund to try and buy happiness, and I guess it was a kind of happiness to know that I had something to look forward to, a special present coming to me from me in the mail. But it wasn’t real because it didn’t last, and the black water welled back up as soon as I opened my mail box and saw a package slip. It didn’t matter how sorely I had been awaiting whatever meaningless and overpriced lipstick I had ordered; all excitement dried to ash and blew away as soon as I didn’t have anything to wait on.

I am addicted to the inbetweenness. Waiting for the other shoe to drop. The torment of the unknown.

I don’t want to kill myself but I’ve been thinking about how I felt when I did. I am sad right now, and frustrated, but I don’t want to kill myself. I am finally insured again. The little plastic card absolving me of future medical debt (and a portion of my paycheck) arrived this week, and that did bring me some relief. I will owe the government the healthcare penalty because I was not hired quickly enough, but at least I have this small safety net that, should something happen to me, or should I get ill, I won’t be left in financial ruins. I have been putting my mom off about seeing a therapist with my lack of insurance. That’s not an excuse now. I have no idea what I’m afraid of.

If I had to make a guess and shrink my own head (which I do recreationally, as you know), I would say that I still, on some level, don’t feel worth it. I don’t want to die, especially not by my own machinations, but I don’t necessarily feel like this fucked up body+brain combination is worth investing much in. The bald and ugly truth is that, yes, I am 25 years and 6 months and 5 days old and I still don’t like myself. I have positive qualities I’m told, and I suppose I’m pleasant enough–God knows I do make effort to treat others kindly, as someone who has been on the receiving end of malice…yet I find myself nearly wholly unsatisfied with every atom of my composition. I don’t feel nice when I automatically make snap judgments in my head about people or assumptions about their behavior. When I catch a glimpse of my body in a mirror, I try not to physically recoil. When I think about my accomplishments, I think about the things that I have not been able to achieve, and the mountain of failure eclipses the molehill of success.

I have wanted to be a writer my whole entire life. I have read books voraciously, I have studied grammar, I have taken the most challenging English classes available to push myself into honing some kind of skill with words, but I am not motivated, and that is all that really matters. I am not motivated to write much of anything these days, and while part of it is definitely due to the fact that I self-sabotage, and part of it is due to this feeling of disconnection I have with the greater world, much of it is because writing is so god damned hard sometimes. It’s hard and I tell myself I would fail anyway, so why even waste time?

But all I do outside of work is waste time. I used to play video games every single day. Religiously I would plug my headphones in and turn my brain off, if only for a few hours. I would focus as best I could on leveling up or completing sidequests or, hell, making a Sim resembling myself work her fingers to the bone so she could live comfortably in a large house.

I haven’t played any games in a while, but I haven’t replaced that time with anything. Lying in bed scrolling on my phone is less productive. I read Reddit threads about paranormal activity, cringey experiences, life’s nagging questions, but I produce nothing and return nothing. I don’t comment because I’m shy. I don’t write anything but lesson plans. Sometimes I’ll think of a line and write it down, but like I said before, it all ends up getting pushed aside because I invariably hate it.

My tongue feels numb and I’ve been crying just a little bit through all of this. I need to get out of this bed and do something other than dwell on my perceived personal failures. I’m just so unmotivated to change even though all I do is rake myself over the coals, even in my dreams. I don’t let myself set goals really anymore because I don’t let myself feel like I’m worth the planning.

I don’t think I’ve ever had a really strong sense of self-worth and that needs work. I need to want more for myself than base survival…to develop into a more full and whole person instead of so many fragments.

This has been disjointed. Welcome for a moment to my brain. And I’m sorry.

A good eyeliner day.

Look in the mirror at yourself and nothing’s amiss. You’ve learned how to plaster yourself with just enough foundation (and in the correct shade) to make you look less like a palette of colors and more like a blank canvas. Eyeshadows carefully selected to complement each other–but never neutrals because you find them dull. Eyeliner, replete with wings, extending out and up at the perfect angle, large enough to notice behind your glasses. And, finally, lipstick chosen to work with and not against your dramatic eyes. Completeness achieved.

At least, for the moment, because life is a string of moments and life is always changing.

You’re tired.

No,

I’m tired. Very, very tired. I don’t want to say I’ve thrown myself back into the arms of sadness or anything over the top like that. I know that I am run down emotionally, and perhaps (once again) expecting too much of the only person I could spend every waking moment with.

Living in your own head, completely alone, is pure torture to me at times. I value my independence and my agency, I value being able to function as a single human unit, I value my own thoughts and feelings, but I think about Genesis P-Orridge and Lady Jaye, and I think about fusion, and I think about that horrible unknowable lens that we have to view others through, and I can’t help but feel like there’s something distinctly missing. I am not enough for myself, for some reason, and I don’t know that I ever will be.

I feel fleetingly proud of altering my appearance to a level of heightened attractiveness, because I do not ever perceive myself to be attractive. Even if I were thin–and I am screechingly far from that–I still have a large nose, crooked and off-colored teeth, puncture scars on my arms, stretch marks aplenty, and a burst blood vessel on my right asscheek to contend with. And trust me, I could go on, but I don’t want this to become a catalog of my physical sins.

I don’t even know what the point of all of this is. I just needed to type at a screen. There are more important things going on that what I’ve chosen to talk about, but I think I need a little more distance to discuss it with any effectiveness.