Sunday, April 29, 2012


I don't normally listen to Cat Stevens' "Trouble" anymore. It was one of my drinking, weeping songs. I could somehow ALWAYS relate to it, no matter what my predicament might be at the time. It was a vodka song, not a wine song. Wine made me infinitely happy and warm (until I passed out). Vodka made me piss-ass, weepy drunk, FAST (and I'd pass out much more quickly). (See also Elton John's "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road" and Genesis' "Ripples." And if I listen to any more Syd Barrett, it'll be me that randomly ends up with a shaved head and eyebrows, mindlessly brushing my teeth over and over again in the Flaming Lips' studio while they're recording an album all about me going mental and how much they miss me. "Shine on You Crazy Diamond!")

I thought of "Trouble" tonight, after my mom finally asked me if I was "ok mentally." (When am I ever "ok" mentally?)  I told her I was depressive and that I couldn't pinpoint the actual trigger, though my nurse practitioner friend said that depression after a major surgery is quite common. Luke's still in the dark about it, however, and it's better he not know and that I laugh and play and talk with him like a normal mother, though he is tired of putting ME to bed when I'm kept awake longer than my nightly, say, "expiration date" after taking my night meds, while he's still up bopping around. I feel like I can't trust him to turn off his electronics and veg out as he's supposed to unless I'm watching, and I can't physically stay awake much longer than 10-10:30 pm on a school night, so consequently, I'm babbling incoherently, in a dream-transient state of other-worldliness and he's tucking me in, setting up my laptop beside my bed to play ambient music to lull me to sleep and fending for himself. (Which neither I, nor his father, nor his therapist think is healthy and reminds me of taking care of my father.)

The 2 weeks of bed rest and not being able to do anything (except dick around my laptop or read a book) gave me cabin fever, as I couldn't (but did anyway a couple of times) drive by myself or lift anything. It didn't help that I caught a nasty cold right after I got out of the hospital. Or that whole re-hospitalization the day I came home and had dementia and dehydration and lots of Dilaudid. (I found out through another doctor that driving is frowned upon that early in recovery because of an air bag deployment issue). My mom largely just drove me from doctor's appointment to doctor's appointment. I did make it to Good Friday and Easter church a week and a half after my surgery, and out to De Kalb though I was still very sore and worn out.

The physical recuperation was constricting enough, so little by little I tried to integrate outside of my house, only to still feel withdrawn, emotionally, from the world. Isolated. That's when I declared my condition as a depressive bipolar episode. Skies have been mostly gray and late April rains are settling in. The temperature is still in the 40's. Not very inspiring or spring-like. Not one to suffer from seasonal-affective disorder, it's a little late in the game to be S.A.D. but the perpetual chill in the air just makes me want to cower into my Chick Cave even further, annoyed by the sounds of my mom upstairs shredding all the paperwork and cancelled checks she still had from my dad's ill-fated business in the early 80's. (I convinced her not to throw away his Navy discharge papers, thankfully. He was honorably discharged after only a couple of months and nobody seems to know why. In my heart, I know why. Because he was Fuck. Nuts.Psychiatry was a big taboo when my dad was still alive, but from all the pieces that have been presented to me, I have diagnosed him as manic-depressive, though nobody did anything about it, so he self-medicated with a deadly amount of alcohol. Ooh! Look how quickly the apple falls from the tree!)

I didn't and can't have my psych meds tweaked because my PCP, who's managing my meds until I can find a competent new psychiatrist, doesn't feel comfortable or doesn't know enough about psychiatric meds to do anything without fucking me up worse. And which med, the anti-depressant, the anti-psychotic or the mood stabilizer? Fucking nobody takes Medicaid unless they're a methadone den in Edgewater, it would seem.  Like I've said on another blog, depressive episodes with me are very rare and that more of my episodes were hypomanic, neither lasting more than a couple of days. But this has been ongoing for weeks.

But this time I think it's more actual depression that's set in. More forced bed rest last weekend because I ripped a stitch inside of me and was having heavy bleeding, so another trip to the Evil Gynecologist office was necessary. Her examination was tortuous as she tried to get the bleeding former stitch area to coagulate. My other stitches are coming out now, so I feel like the world's only utererusless woman having a week and a half long period. Figures. And for cripe's sake, does every magazine they have in the waiting room HAVE to be about babies or pregnancy? Waiting for the gyno to come into the exam room, I stared at the model of the female reproductive anatomy on the desk, pointing to all the parts I no longer have. This depression's not a hormonal thing, for I still have ovaries, which emit and regulate hormones normally, which means I get all the benefits of ovulation-induced acne breakouts with no means' end. What's left of my eggs just float away into the stratosphere. Gawd, I have to see her again on Tuesday for another full post-op appointment. God give me strength. If all goes well, I won't need another gyno visit for at least a year. Or never. Sure, I'll get mammograms, especially since my mom had breast cancer, but unless I come down with ovarian cancer, there's really nothing more this perky, body-jewelry removing crackhead woman and I have to accomplish together.

Further proof of depression is that over the weekend, when I normally every day wake up at 5:30-6am, I've slept until 9 or 10am. That's totally uncharacteristic of me. When the episode initially started, I was sleeping like a manic person--getting by on 5 hours' sleep and charged and ready to go without being tired. I have no appetite, but that's normal for me, so force-feeding.

I did drum with the Praise Band this weekend, and practicing and playing with them is one of the few remaining highlights of my life, my son obviously being the brightest. Pastor gave one hell of a sermon on Saturday, full of energy and the positive vibes he brings to all of us. So that kept me busy for a few hours over the weekend, just like it did 2 weekends ago, when I again, played. There are droplets of positivity intertwined into what's otherwise a very intricate spider's web, with a venomous tarantula holding down the home front in my brain chemistry.

I don't know what I should do about the depression other than to ride it out, just as I've always I've done in the past, which is to put on my brave face and press on. I could engage more of my troubles with my Pastor Dave, my Stephen Minister (my spiritual therapist) from church (who let go of the reins to my sponsor), explain it to my therapist further, or talk it over with my sponsor. I *tried* telling one of my friends and just began talking about depression, and he got a call from his broker and had to call me back. After that, he'd forgotten about his emotionally-paralyzed, psycho friend's issues and didn't talk to me about it and I wasn't about to bring it up again. The only other people in the immediate-clan way are Kate and SuperJuls who know that I'm depressed. Patti sort of knows, but I didn't want to bug her when this weekend was 2 of her 3 kids' birthdays.  Christa sort of knows, but she's got enough in her own life to manage. But largely, I've kept it to myself, though if you read my blogs regularly, you'll notice as of late, they've grown increasingly depressing. I tried explaining a little bit of it to my brother on the phone, who sympathetically listened. He was more concerned with what blasphemous permanent marking I planned to get inked on my body instead of my mental health. But few GET it.  That's just the mindset I'm in.

My therapist said "Fake it til' you make it." Meaning, do what you have to do, and press forward until the depression lifts. What do I do, pray tell? I incite riots within my church denomination when I'm not playing drums. And write my stupid blog that only Googlers looking for "offbeat for a drummer" seem to read, or curious George Harrison fans. And obsess about unrequited love when I'm not reading philosophy. Occasionally, I'll grocery shop or get gas in the car. Some days, I have Luke to enjoy and manage. Other days are full of solitude and tend to go on endlessly. School doesn't start until June 4th.

No, I'm not having suicidal thoughts. Not even thinking about drinking. My will is strong enough in that regard.

As for my 40th birthday celebration, I decided to have my brother and nephew over on Mother's Day to kill 2 birds with one stone. (My birthday falls on a Wednesday, the 9th of May.) I also am trying to plan a small get together of friends (so far Christa, my sponsor, Jenny, Patti and SuperJuls, though only Christa has officially RSVP'd. If nobody else comes, we'll probably go into the city and get more tattoos) on the 19th. I sent Tatus an invitation, though I absolutely won't get my hopes up. If nothing else, perhaps Tatus will take me back to the Tattoo Factory for the next tattoo as we celebrate both our birthdays (if he won't do it and I sure as hell won't ask Craig again, I think I could lasso the Pastor into it) and we can have dinner and I can give him the two gifts I picked out for him, like in 3 months when he has a free night. One's a book I know would be a total page-turner and he'd enjoy immensely, that I took the liberty of reading first some time ago. The other gift is a cheeky (but appropriate) Irish gift for Irish people that non-Irish people would find utterly useless, that's relatively messy, that doesn't involve Guinness. I expect nothing in return...his presence is present enough to me. I just want to celebrate his day (his birthday is 4 days before mine) and my day.  I asked some of my best friends from church, and Pastor Dave & his family, his 2 nieces singing in my band, and the rest of my little band. Invited an old college buddy and a friendly ex-boyfriend in hopes one of them would consider procuring the dreaded lysergic, though I'm admittedly chicken.  I'm just not a celebratory mood (and bad mood = bad trip). Hell, that might all turn around by May 9th. We'll see. Just not feeling the love right now. But at least I get to have an unsupervised adult party in my mom's house. It's BYOAB, as I'm not serving any alcohol myself. But the rest of the guests? Get as ripped as the legal driving limit allows. I feel like I'm turning 18, not 40!

Everyone has their bit of advice about my depression. Quit smoking. Take a brisk walk around the block (if it wasn't freezing cold and/or raining here in Chicago and I weigh 117 with multiple layers on and I'm grossly out of shape). (Incidentally, I wear the heroin chic/anorexic model look very convincingly.) "Get some exercise!" they say, not knowing what condition my body is presently. I'm lucky I make to the alley and back. Get lots of rest. Take a hot bath (uh, not after I take my night meds, or I'll end up like Whitney Houston, thanks). Write (MORE? SERIOUSLY?). There's always arguing more with the Satan that is following me on Twitter. Again, fuck yoga. What *this* punker needs are boxing lessons.

"Trouble" brings back a lot of personal demons and issues, but I listened to it several times today, and  sympathize with what Harold's character does in letting his car run off a cliff while he's playing a banjo in the end credits, after Maude dies in "Harold and Maude." Because that's something I would totally do if my portentous inamorato died on me. I'd run the Pacifica into Lake Michigan, jump out in time and then play the banjo. But I have never felt so poignant and on-topic with my life right now as is depicted in "Trouble". In that darkest hour..

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