Friday, March 17, 2017

The Highs and Lows of Antidepressants

The past week has been ridiculous for me. Dealing with a breakup, a dance conference, online dating, and unrequited love is all way more interesting when you're also having issues with your medication, let me tell you.

The whole semester has been rocky for me, but in the last month or so it started to get really bad and I finally had to call my doctor to ask about adjusting my medication. We have to do it about once a year, so even though my depressed self is going, What's the freaking point of going on when I'll never be cured? I know that it's normal to have to adjust medication as my body gets used to it. I know that, but it never makes me feel any better. In the past month my anxiety sky-rocketed and I got suicidal again, which made it even more difficult to call my doctor. Phone calls are terrifying. Especially when there's a part of you saying that it'd be way easier to just go jump off a cliff.

But anyway we got my medication adjusted and I was told to call him back in a week or two to let him know how it was going. I only had enough of this medicine to last two weeks. The doctor is not in his office on the weekends or on Thursdays and every day the entire office goes on a two hour lunch break. Sometimes it's a little hard to get in touch with them.

Anyway. Two weeks. No big deal.

I start the new medication and INSTANT MOOD SWINGS BABY. NOT IN A GOOD WAY.

I got so ridiculously manic the first day that I felt like I could rule the entire fucking universe and do it WELL. I told myself I would move to Chicago, I'd clean the house, I'd get the mail, I'd dress nice, I'd put on makeup, I'd read my books, I'd do my school, I'D DO FUCKING EVERYTHING.

Five minutes later I couldn't get off the couch because of how exhausted and depressed I was after that fiasco.

Repeat that cycle for two days while my body adjusted to the medication, and then I was in an okay state of being semi-functional but also still unusually anxious. It was hard to figure out if it was the medication to blame, or typical school stress, personal drama stress, or that wonderful, special time of the month we ladies go through.

Here's another fun fact for you: my morning routine involves me going to the bathroom and gagging for a few minutes, then getting ready for the day. Then trying to take my medicine, gagging some more, clamping a hand over my mouth and forcing myself to swallow. It's great fun. But sometimes it doesn't work and I have to go spit the pills out and gag some more and then I'm so freaking exhausted that I just can't make myself try again with new pills. BUT because of this, sometimes I lose a few day's worth of medicine down the drain.

I kind of forgot about this.

Because then suddenly I was off at a dance conference over a weekend where I couldn't call my doctor and where I abruptly ran out of medicine and couldn't even go to my pharmacy to get more because I was in an unfamiliar city without my own means of travel.

GUYS PLEASE BE AWARE OF HOW MUCH MEDICINE YOU HAVE LEFT.

Finally got home and finally called my doctor, but the last few days have been really really bad. Like, me lying on my bed unable to breathe because of a constant stream of panic attacks and then being so tired I can't get up and do anything. I made myself go grocery shopping and I made myself eat once or twice because I also didn't eat much while at the conference and my body was shutting down, but I still felt terrible and would always end up back curled up on the end of my bed (not even in it), shaking and crying.

Relapsed a few times. Then almost bit my thumb off trying to keep from doing it again.

If you've never had a panic attack, it's hard to describe them, and they can vary from person to person and time to time. Usually I won't be able to breathe and I won't be able to speak. I'll either shake or rock from side to side. I'll usually try very hard not to cry, but that happens anyway. It's a terrifying and helpless thing to go through, especially alone. I try to talk to people when it happens, but I've been having so many lately that I feel like the most obnoxious person ever constantly trying to make people talk to me.

That's why I've tried to make myself get up and do things the past few days, because even though it's hard and I still don't quite relax, it's a lot easier to exist while doing something or while someone is with me rather than sitting alone in my room. The whole apartment seems to suffocate me with gloom, like its absorbed all of my own feelings and keeps sending them back to me over and over and over again.

But I don't have anywhere else to go, so I just sit here for the most part. Bite my fingers and hug my cats and try not to do anything worse.

I got really sidetracked there. I finally talked to my doctor and I'll have a more regular supply of my meds, but he's also not changing any of them. I'd told him that while I was better than before, I still didn't feel great and kind of wondered if there was anything else we could try. But no. The nurse said I'd stay on what I was on and, "hopefully it will get better."

Hopefully.

Thanks.

I guess either way it will still be better than the past few days.

It's pretty amazing that a little pill can make such a big difference to my brain, and I try to be thankful for it and to think of all the things that went well today rather than just the panic.

But it's also kind of hard to keep going after years of this when your own doctor just says, "hopefully it will get better."

--Dexter

PS. I DID DO SOME GREAT THINGS TODAY. I cleaned my sheets, I braided my hair, I put on makeup, I made coffee, I made a sandwich, I hung out with people, and of course I finally got in touch with my doctor. I'm trying to keep all of these things in mind.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

My Final Semester So Far

Day before school starts: grandfather dies.

Two days after school starts: dream grad school rejects me.

A whole freaking month BEFORE school starts: get sick and stay sick for two months.

Now: still mysteriously sick probably gonna die tbh.

I've already missed way too many classes, from both being majorly depressed as well as being so sick I couldn't stay standing for very long. The actual workload from all my classes isn't too bad -- or at least it's nothing that's too difficult for me to keep up with. It's actually getting to class that sucks.

I forgot how to function around people, and having such a rough start makes it that much worse. My first day back at work was a nightmare trying to take people's orders or make small talk with them. It took my like, two semesters to figure out how to do that and now I'm out of practice. Just let me make your freaking latte and accept my silence. Stop freaking telling me that I don't look happy to be here.

Sorry, anyway.

I decided that if I'm forced to take a year off of school because I don't get into the grad schools I applied for, it won't be the end of the world. It will actually be pretty nice to just live for a year. But at this point, everyone seems to expect such great things of me. I'm supposed to go off to grad school and be a famous researcher and be a big name in the field or something. When I choreograph, it's supposed to be new and innovative and unusual. I'm not supposed to go work in a bookstore and become a hermit.

Although I can't lie, that sounds pretty nice right about now.

Everything just seems so pointless now, even with that backup plan in mind. Even knowing that I'll be able to re-apply to grad school, and that I'm not a failure even if I never go to grad school. But I still feel like a failure, even now. When I go to class I feel like a failure in dance. When I don't go to class I feel like a failure as a student.

Why do I need to go to class to do math? Why can't I just follow along online and not have to be with other people? Why can't I just silently turn my thesis assignments into my professor's box? Why do I have to show up in class to do it? Why do I have to keep showing up to technique classes when my body's just going to break some more and I'll never actually be able to do a double pirouette, even if I really wanted to? Why do professors give me responsibility when it has been proven that I am extremely unreliable? Why does everyone still seem to believe in me?

Lately all I've wanted to do is lie down and stare at the wall. It's so hard to make myself do anything, even if it's just to flip open my DS and poke at my Tomodachi friends. I'm miserable all the time and just want to be hugged and told it will be all right, but at the same time I don't ever want to see anyone or be touched again.

So please if you see me, offer me a hug. But if I say no, don't take it personally. But if I say yes and then start crying feel free to just gently push me on my way.

I hate myself so much sometimes. I listen to the words that come out of my mouth and hate myself for being so obnoxious and stupid. I look at myself walking around with a miserable expression and hate myself for being so gloomy and whiny. I look at myself in class and hate myself for thinking I'm good at it. I hate myself for being a difficult student and for being an asexual girlfriend and for being a depressed individual.

It doesn't matter that I know most of it's not true, that I can't possibly be as bad as I think. Knowing and believing are two different things.

Bless anyone who has been kind to me, who has listened to me, who has offered me an extra shot of espresso. I can't imagine having that much patience.

-Dex

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Grandpa

Constant offerings of seconds.

Ice cream every afternoon -- the perfect ice cream cone. This isn't a scoop of ice cream atop a cone, oh no. It's ice cream jammed down to the very bottom of the cone and then layered until there's a perfect, giant sphere on top.

Dessert after every meal.

Salt on top of everything.

Giant, beautiful pancakes.

Baseball in the backyard -- when he wouldn't miss a single shot but I was lucky just to graze the ball. Too many players and not enough space, so everyone would take turns being out in far "left field," meaning you stood in the dead patch of grass and didn't actually get to play.

Riding tiny bikes down the slanted driveway.

Playing a complicated outer space game where the truck bed was the spaceship and water guns were our weapons.

Swinging on the porch swing when my feet wouldn't graze the ground.

Pizza pronounced "peeza" instead of "pete-za."

Dominoes where I couldn't do the math, so he helped me but still beat me.

Walking around with my feet on his.

That beautiful laugh that went on and on because he couldn't help it.

I hadn't seen you in years. No time for the eight hour drive, too many classes I couldn't skip.

But I love you, and I hope you knew that.

You will be missed.

Monday, January 2, 2017

IS DEPRESSION JUST BEING SAD? -- AN EXPLICITLY HONEST POEM

In the spirit of honesty and truth, I have composed the following poem on how it really feels to be depressed. Is it just sadness? Is it apathy? Is it the vast and overwhelming feeling of anguish and despair? KEEP READING FOR THE ANSWER.








I FEEL LIKE SHIT - AN ODE TO DEPRESSION

I feel like shit
shit shit shit shit shitty shit
so much shit
much shit
shit shit shitty shit

All the time
and every day
everywhere
in every way

I feel like shit shit shit shit
so much shit
everything is shit
I am shit

Won't someone please
flush
me
away

Shit
I hate shit
All the shit
My shit
I am shit
shit shit shitty shit
so much shit

Shit
That's me
Shit
All the time
in
every
way
will
it
ever
go
away

I don't want to exist.