Hindsight’s 2019, and on to 2020. Boy am I glad to have 2019 in hindsight, cause it really belongs there with the exception of my new depression treatment. A lot of stupid stuff went on in 2019, and there was a lot out of my control, but also a few things I could have controlled a little better. Like I could have used better coping skills with this mad, mad world, which I’m about to address.
Last year I started watching some No-Buy videos on Youtube and reading some articles on Google. A No-Buy month, year, etc. is just what it sounds like – you don’t buy stuff for a certain amount of time. I am very aware that there are people who go on these no buy larks out of pure necessity, and I have been there myself. But most people have at least some disposable income (or take it from another category like coffee for clothing) even if they don’t have money for much else, and that’s what I’m talking about here.
At the current time, only my husband works outside of the home. I was worried for quite a while how we would make it, but ironically with our lovely system, so much was taken out of my check before by the government which then said we had to pay more taxes because we made more money (including the money they were taking out, not what we were taking home) so – it hasn’t made as much of a difference as I thought it would. In some ways, such as Thing One’s college tuition, it actually saved us money because now they consider us as poor as we were back when I worked, and the grants combined with scholarships for her grades paid for both her first and what looks like her second semester’s tuition. And we did that without Bernie paying for college, though he is certainly still welcome to do it.
Many of the people whose No Buy reports interested me had way too much makeup. There’s even an entire Reddit about this. I don’t have a problem with makeup. I don’t wear it that often now that I’m not working (and I stopped a while before then even). The only time I’ve bought much makeup was when they had a special Disney line of it. Which leads to the problem – Disney. I collect Disney dolls, especially limited edition ones which are, of course, more expensive. My mother collected dolls when I was younger, but I got onto the Disney kick while I was working in order to reward myself. My Things also have their share of dolls, as you know if you’ve read my blog very long and seen us create strange posts with them.
I am not ashamed of my dolls; I enjoy them. Everyone has something they collect, whether it’s car parts (my husband), or makeup, or baseball cards, or cell phones (you don’t need a brand new 1,000 dollar Apple phone each year sorry), etc. etc. I often collect when the thing represents something that matters to me, because I like to see, hear, and touch. I’m horrible at museums. Anyway, Disney movies matter since they all have messages (besides make me more money). I also got into collecting Game of Thrones last year since I really enjoyed the story of Daenerys – at least until that last season but moving on. I got into buying those figures too, and then into the world of Funko Pops.
Be afraid. There’s one of them for everyone, I don’t care who you are.
Since recently paying off our car, our only debt is our mortgage and medical bills. So I’m not using credit cards (we don’t own one) to finance my problem. I have dipped into our savings, though, which is not very big and consists mostly of what we got from our last tax return. We’ve been fortunate in that people like our church and family have aided with some of the bigger bills such as the dental one (I hate teeth). I’ve found that buying dolls and collectibles often comes up when I’m stressed, or sad, and gives me that brief rush – only to make me feel bad later. You see I have plenty of dolls at this point. I even sold some last year, and I intend on selling more collectibles this year.
But I’m hoping to first stop buying so many of the fancy Disney dolls. One thing that has helped me is to learn more about the psychology of shopping. It’s pretty creepy what advertisers do to lure you in, and we think we’re too smart for it, but fall for it every time. I’ve followed a youtuber who has some interesting videos, and read some books as well. I would like to spend this year enjoying what I have, decluttering my house of what I don’t, and just finding healthier habits than online shopping (which is how I buy most things I don’t need.). With what I save, I hope to put money in savings, pay off bills, and buy other things that would be nice like frames for art (the Things are good artists). My walls are rather bare and depressing at the moment.
So I’ve made some plans for the next year.
Health: Be healthier overall: keep up with mental health care and other doctor appointments (like asthma etc), more exercise, actual meal plans, better self care, and losing some weight.
Financial: Less spending on dolls and collectibles, fountain drinks, and meals out. More saving, paying off bills, improving my environment, and my self confidence (more flattering clothes, learning new stuff).
Environment: Clear out clutter, clean (and learn more about how to clean properly)
Listing them as somewhat vague yearly resolutions freaked me out, so I will divide them into months.
Month One: January
Health: 1. Continue my mental health treatment (post on that coming up) 2.Walk more – I need a specific number of steps each day. I’m still recovering from first a sinus infection, and then the antibiotics that made me sicker. But I did spend some Christmas money on a new tracker (gadgets!) which is coming on Friday. Exercise is supposed to be good for body and mind, or so they say. I’ll find out. 4. Write more. Writing is fun, and I like communicating with you guys.
Financial: 1.No spending on dolls and collectibles. 2. Fewer fountain drinks: I’ve mostly drinking the little 8 oz cans of cola rather than getting the drinks from the drive-through. This goes with health too, come to think of it. 3. Get a bill paying system together.
Environment: Work on my bedroom the most, especially my desk and bedside table drawers. Cleaning out my desk will help give me a place for keeping track of bills.
I’m not sure how this is going to work. I’ve already experienced the setback of being sick, so at least I’m prepared for that. As the year progresses, hopefully I can keep up with my goals. One thing that helps is not depriving yourself, which is why I’m not cutting out all pleasures (still have coke for instance). It also helps to have someone to keep you accountable, so I have a couple of friends, my Things, and now you guys.
Do any of you have resolutions or goals for this year?
Now that my depression has lifted for however long, I have lots of plans. I have more energy to do the plans. I have resolutions, like not drinking so much cola, and losing weight (because it’s healthy, not to look like I’m 20 – as Mamie said to Scarlett O’hara – “You done had a baby. You ain’t never wearing that again.” Or something to that effect; I’m not looking it up.) I also want to write more about esketamine nasal treatments, the history, and a personal account of what it’s like. Well, kind of – it’s a little hard to describe. But I couldn’t find much when I looked, so it’s better than nothing. I also wanted to clean, clean, clean cause I have a lot of that to do. So much. And Marie Kondo won’t return my calls so it’s up to me.
But then this morning I couldn’t get myself to move. It was like, I’m awake, I got motivation, but my body isn’t moving. That’s odd. Then I had this genius idea of getting those tiny coke cans that are actually 8 oz (I can’t believe that’s 8 oz cause I have gotten used to 32 oz and 8 oz is like a drink from the water fountain) and there was this sale, but you had to buy four six packs. I was okay with this because I had plans to label them so that my husband would not whine that he didn’t get some, and that I could know which ones were mine and could like wean myself off of them. I think that was the idea. So the Things and I went to the grocery store and we got this but then we also got a few other things like pizza for tonight (it’s low calorie pizza no not really shut up) and then we checked out but I didn’t get the special exactly cause it was 3 for one and not 4 for one. I think. Whatever.
So then we went to McDonald’s for fountain drinks because I don’t have much ice at home (MY first world problem) and the others weren’t cold and I haven’t started my resolution yet why are you looking at me??? Then I paid and I started to drive away without picking up my drinks until the Things pointed it out, so I went back through the drive-through but they were nice and stuff and didn’t point out my stupid. Thanks, McD’s. Anyway at some point during this I was like, huh, my chest really hurts. I mean sure I had been coughing up great gobs of green goo, but that’s not unusual (sorry for the description there), so it hadn’t occurred to me that I could be sick. Just garden variety sick – or at least my garden variety. Wow.
I’m not sure how to explain how odd it is to be relieved that you are sick. But it meant I wasn’t sad again, and that I could later lay down and that was fine. But I wanted peeps to know I wasn’t disappearing because I was sad again. I’m okay. It’s just mucus. Be back soon.
Teeth. Remember when teeth were cool? Like they’d fall out of your mouth, but this was a normal thing for them to do, and people even paid you to lose them? Well, after a while this stops, and suddenly you are supposed to keep your teeth, unless they are wisdom teeth in which case they usually have to come out because these teeth are so smart they often grow in sideways.
Other teeth are supposed to stay in, but they are really a big pain in the . . . mouth. I mean sure they help you chew up food and make you smile all pretty if you put lots of enamel eroding whitening on them, but otherwise they just kind of suck. So people try to ignore them as much as possible until they can’t any longer because either they have pain or their dentist makes them have lots of x-rays so he can find tiny little cavities that he can fix so that he can pay off his student loans faster er so that they don’t become big cavities, which if you remember, make holes in teeth.
So I waited a year or two and finally figured, why not, I’ll go to the dentist for a cleaning. I mean once I waited five years to go and had two children during that time (There was an old saying during the good old days before plumbing that you lost a tooth for every kid you had! Cool!) I had five cavities instead of two, but that was better than two cavities and five kids, and hey, still only one cavity per year. Not bad. This was not the case this time. This time, oh no, they found eight cavities.
I do love being an overachiever. They asked me if I brushed and flossed regularly. Well, dental assistant, you are looking in my mouth, so what do you think? Probably not. I had other things to do, like killing Sims. I mean who really thinks teeth are that important? Certainly not insurance companies. Most jobs give you access to health care, but that doesn’t include teeth cause, pfft, who needs ’em? We just have them so dentists have something to do after studying mouths for so long, right?
So they were very insistent that I should get these teeth fixed, and they showed me a bill and I was like well if I don’t pay my mortgage or, you know, eat, then sure I should be able to handle this in a few months, easy-peasy. I asked if I could pay it out, since I’ve done that with every other doctor, and I’ve gone to this dentist since I had teeth, so they totally trusted me on that. I’m just kidding. The totally understanding and not at all bitchy receptionists said I had to go with another company who would let me take out a tooth loan (this is where the tooth fairy went after that pink slip I bet) and pay off my bill that way. In a few months. Or face lots of interest. Medical bills are one of the few debts they can’t charge interest on, but teeth aren’t medical so fair game!
Since leaving my job by request two years ago, we’ve been on one income and disability payments. Luckily, I have very little pride left so I asked the church for some help and they offered. Thanks, Jesus. Of course the receptionists still don’t trust the church to pay it all off so they keep asking me when they will pay. It’s a nice little chat we have each time. I took my kids to this dentist too, and by some miracle Thing One had no cavities. She’s no more responsible tooth-wise than I am, so I’m thinking she has enamel of steel. Thing Two was not so lucky, so she had a few cavities. Still, no one could beat Mommy. I do love to be a good role model, give them something to aspire to and all that.
No offense to dentists, but I have some problems with your techniques. I mean there’s a problem with my tooth hurting, right, so your solution is to take a drill to it. There has to be a better way to go about this by now. I mean sure they pump me up with enough anesthetic that I am actually shaking, but it’s still kinda disconcerting. I’d get the happy gas, but that costs forty-two dollars each time. I can get better drugs way cheaper. I mean my, er, neighbor could. So there’s this brrrrr noise as they drill out the rot in your tooth so that they can fill it with other stuff that must be made of unicorn dust cause it costs a lot.
Though it’s not as much as a crown! Now I have always wanted a crown because being a princess sounds grand and I’m sure I have at least as many qualifications as England’s royal family. But this crown goes on your tooth, and for the price you pay I’d like it made of solid gold and actually shaped like a real crown, only one that goes around your tooth. It’s not, though, it’s boring yet insanely expensive, so the dentist highly recommended it. But first, a root canal. I was totally stoked about that one, since it was going to cost 2,000 all on its own before I got to the crown. Also it had the words “root” and “canal” and involved my mouth.
Lucky for me, when I went to this other dentist (the dentists have like a coven and I had to go to a special one for the canal o’ love) he said my tooth was too far gone so I should have it pulled. By another dentist. They are loyal to the coven. So I went to yet another dentist and this one was all “Hey, no big deal, you will like never even miss this tooth” but hello, I liked that tooth. We’d been together a while, and the other teeth were sure to miss it even if it was a back tooth, so I won’t look like Buckwheat. The dental assistant seemed to think I was nervous since I was whiter than usual which is super duper teeth-whitening white here, but hey, no sweat until he numbed my mouth and that hurt so I yelled and he warned me not to scare people. I mean talk about rude of me. Then he yanked out the tooth – but you know slowly and jerkily and stuff so it didn’t freak me out at all.
On the plus side, it only cost 300 dollars for them to remove the tooth versus the canal thing, so yippee! Then one of my fillings broke, so guess what you will never guess? I still get a crown! But later, as I’m putting that off as he already fixed the tooth good enough for me. His mistake!
I have learned my lesson, though, folks. Take good care of your teeth. Brush and floss every day, unless your teeth are super close together because your parents made you wear braces, in which case you will probably pull your fillings out that way (as I just did a second time) so maybe you’re just screwed.
This PSA brought to you by Alice and Munchers, the delightful short full of talking teeth, satanic cavity creeps, and lots of hallucinogenic drugs. I might have shown it before, but it is definitely worth another view, with the help of Josh Way’s commentary. Enjoy!
Your tooth fairy from Hades,
Last time I talked to you about why I chose to try ECT, or more specifically, my history of depression. Many people called me brave, and I thank you for your kind words. This made me consider, though, exactly what bravery is. Most people think of brave people as those who take great risks. There are many kinds of risk, but even in cases where a split second decision is required, you will rely on what you know. You will make an assessment. Is the risk I’m taking worth the possible costs?
For instance, you might decide you want to go bungee jumping. What are the risks and what are the benefits? Everyone’s different, but I’d probably look at it like this.
Risk: You could fall to your death and die.
Benefit: Wee, it’s fun!
In this case, I’d decide that no, jumping off a cliff, even with a rope tied around my ankle, is not worth risking my early demise for benefit of an adrenaline rush (I don’t even have to pay for those!). On the other hand, when I made a decision about getting ECT, I looked at the decision this way.
Risk: Very Expensive. Memory loss. Cognitive problems. Pudding brains.
Benefit: I might feel like living, and my life become more worthwhile, for myself and those who love me.
In order to make this decision, I did my research. I can research the crap out of anything, taking hours to find out which shampoo brand is the best, which makes me a great librarian though sometimes an annoying person. So after my psychiatrist asked his students in front of me what was available to those who didn’t respond to drugs, they said, as one example, ECT. When he asked them what it stood for, they hesitated, and I said “Electroconvulsive Therapy.” Give me an A.
You might think my psychiatrist is mean asking his students these questions in front of me, but honestly I think he just loves to mess with them. The best way to learn is to do so in a real setting. I could have refused the students had I wanted to, but it turns out I find their suffering entertaining as well. Anyway, at first I said, “Yeah, nope”. I’d heard plenty about ECT, and Sparky had always told me to watch myself around electricity, so this seemed a no-brainer.
My psychiatrist told me what ECT was like now, and how much it had changed from the days of “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest”. He bemoaned the fact that there is so much stigma, and that this and politics often dictated whether a variety of treatments are available to patients. For instance, ECT was once available near my home town, but it was taken away. The closest hospital that offers ECT now is over a five hour drive from where I live. “In the end,” he said. “They take it away, and the patients suffer.” He said he has seen it work because he’d administered it himself. “I am convinced you could feel better in as little as two weeks.”
What exactly takes place during ECT? I won’t know until I’m there, and even then I’ll be asleep most of the time, but I did find this video that shows the procedure.
A little disconcerting? Slightly. On the other hand, it’s also a far cry from what they did to Jack Nicholson. As you can see, the actual shock lasts seconds, and only one part of the body shakes to show there is a seizure. Oxygen is given, anesthesia, and something to stop the convulsions. But just look at those people helping with the ECT, holding his hand, smiling gently. Vultures!
By this point, as I said before, I’d been through years worth of drugs that eventually failed. Some of them had dangerous side effects, just as dangerous as ECT’s side effects, or worse. If you get right down to it, everything carries a risk of side effects. Childbirth is risky, even if you’re young and healthy. I know, because at 27, I had to wait two weeks for tests to find out if my baby was mentally handicapped. She turned out healthy, but it did shock me into reality. None of us is immune to tragedy.
So I researched, and so did my friends. As I mentioned briefly earlier, I found a little straight forward information, and many, many websites full of warnings and sometimes near hysterical accounts from patients. I realize that this treatment doesn’t work for everyone, but the success rate is listed at near 80 percent. Even if that data is wrong, and it’s only 50 percent, or heck, 5 percent, is this something we should deny desperate people? Chemotherapy kills your body’s cells, both healthy and cancerous, yet it is a common procedure for people with Cancer. Rarely do I hear of someone cautioning a person “You know Chemo is barbaric. Don’t do it!!!” The reason you don’t hear this is because, unfortunately, for now it is one of the few treatments that have been shown to succeed. It takes a terrible toll on the body, and it doesn’t always work. But what else should a person do? Take vitamins? Smoke kale? Tell me, what else should they do?
What else should terribly depressed people do?
That is why I don’t presume to tell others what to do with their own bodies. Screaming that a treatment – whether pills, a medical procedure, or even eating kale (you might choke)- is barbaric, outdated, and cruel could scare people away from the one thing that might help them. I did find one blog written by Natasha Tracy, advocate for mental health. She had a terrible time with ECT. But she fights for it to be available, because she knows that her experience is not what everyone will experience. What helps you could hurt someone else, or vice versa. I encourage you to visit her website; it is full of good information. It is also full of really angry people in the comment section. But she keeps writing.
I am aware that writing about this could open myself up to a lot of these same angry people. But so many have helped me over the years, and I want to help someone else. I want there to be more information about what ECT really is, and how it works. I want people to find an account that is from a real person, but still factual. Even if it’s a bad experience for me, I want to demystify this treatment for Depression. That’s why I decided to write. I weighed the risk (testing out the waters with a friend), and I made a decision. Eventually you have to stop researching, and make a choice, just as I did to try ECT.
I have much more to talk about, but I’m running out of space. I will tell of what the actual process of preparing for ECT entails (hint: you don’t walk right in and get shocked), and how I went about figuring out how I was going to get there in the first place. The decision was one thing. The execution of that decision, quite another.
Remember: Everyone is brave in their own way, just by getting up in the morning.
“What if you get all the way up there and there’s nothing?”
“What if there’s everything?”
– from the movie Tomorrowland
Earlier Merry at Knocked Over By a Feather wrote about a friend who is preparing for ECT treatments. That friend is me. You may have noticed, if you read my blog much, that I haven’t exactly been posting a lot lately. I’m sure the lack of informational posts about Trump, boogers, imaginary ponies, etc., have left you in a lurch. I hope to get back to that at some point, but right now things aren’t going so well. This is nice speak for “There is no need for Hell; I’m here guys!”
The reason I asked Merry to write about it first was because I was afraid of the responses. I’ve researched ECT, (electroconvulsive therapy or “shock therapy”), for nearly two months now, and most of what I find are horrifying stories. Yet ECT is often successful at treating depression, or at least raising you to a point where you can treat your depression. The minority write the scary stuff, and shout down the ones who have positive experiences. I’m not saying people do not have bad experiences, but what one finds positive and another finds positive can be very different. If you are so depressed you can’t function, side effects, even serious ones, can take a back seat to even the possibility of getting well.
I don’t like to talk that much about my illnesses. Alice is supposed to be funny – to a select group of people anyway. (Hi, friends!) Some might say it’s because I use humor as a defense mechanism. Humor at least makes the awful go down a little easier. These illnesses are not something to joke about, though, especially not to the new psychiatrist who is in charge of the ECT program. He seemed to think my joke about the butcher knife was not funny. Killjoy.
I feel like I should offer you my history, because I did not wake up one day feeling sad and decide to go get my brain shocked. It doesn’t work that way. ECT is, in general, a last ditch effort when other treatments have failed. We have come a long way in mental health treatment just within the last few decades. Now, thankfully, we have antidepressants that do work for many people. They might even work for Scientologists, though I fear their problems mostly stem from being jerks.
And that’s another issue. It’s hard enough to juggle a chronic illness like Depression without dealing with other stress. Most people have to work. You’d be amazed at the number of people who have worked for years with the black dog dragging them down. Don’t tell the cute college students, but work kind of sucks at least part of the time, even if you like your job and your coworkers. I have been in my job as a library assistant at a university library for over seven years now. If it were not for the people I work with, especially my direct boss, I would not still be working. Like far too many people, I would be forced onto disability. Depression is the second greatest reason for people taking disability now. Only heart disease has more people.
Yet even with my decent working conditions, I am struggling to keep afloat. I already take antidepressants and anti-anxiety medication. These help me if all conditions are going well, but stress is always present, and it doesn’t take much for my cup to runneth over. When you are depressed, everything becomes difficult. Bit by bit I’ve watched as I’m able to do less and less. Reading back on old blog entries, I can see my downward trajectory. For a well person, a stress would be your car breaking down. For a depressed person any of the following will do:
- Getting out of bed
- Putting on clothes
- Doing laundry so you have clothes to put on
- After that shower you haven’t taken
- Brushing and flossing your teeth
- Putting on makeup – sorry I made myself laugh there
- Getting your hair cut – I am now Rapunzel
- Taking your children to school in traffic
- Walking into work. And the day has just started.
People who are well have a hard time understanding this. Depressed people don’t understand it either, because often there is a disconnect between what part of your brain knows you should be able to do, and what the other part is willing to let you do. This disease does not exist in a vacuum – it exists in an ever winding circle involving illnesses both mental and physical. IBS, Asthma, auto-immune diseases, chronic pain, and even the heart disease that is winning the disability race all wind round and round. Did the depression cause the illness, or did the illness cause the depression, or both? Where does it start and where does it end?
I’ve always dealt with respiratory illnesses due to being allergic to all of creation. But in 2012, I came down with a serious case of pneumonia. This wasn’t your walking, take a pill, back in a few days kind of pneumonia. By the time doctors put their tiny heads together and figured it out a week after symptoms started – a chest x-ray! What a wild idea! – the pneumonia had spread over my entire right lung. It was a miserable experience. If you want to hear about it with cartoons and jokes, just look up “pneumonia” in the search box. Anyway, I missed over a month of work, and even after I returned it took a couple more months to fully recover. I never recovered my sick or vacation leave at work. From that point on, I was always running behind, making up time for being sick or going to appointments because I could never keep any leave. I almost never have a week with no absence. For the last five years I have wondered when they would fire me. At times, I hoped they would, because I was just so tired.
The depression came next. I’d been fairly well for the last several years on the meds I was on. Yet each major stress would cause a pill combination to fail. It didn’t help that my shrink was a psychotic idiot. I thought I had no other choice because I lived in a small city. He gave me meds, then if they didn’t work, he yanked them and threw others at me. Often there was no way to know what, if any, of my new meds were working and which were not. All these medications have side effects. One, Abilify, made me feel great for about a month before I was taken off of it for a 10 pound weight gain. I would be put on it another time at a lower dose, only to be taken off it once more after a few months because I was climbing the walls. I also developed a tendency to shop online which, along with gambling and other risk taking, is another possible fun side effect.
By the time I finally found another psychiatrist, I had been hospitalized three times. I fully believe that people should go to the hospital if they are suicidal or even just so desperate they can no longer cope. But after the first visit at my hospital, the other two were lousy experiences. I have a couple of these stories on the blog as well. However, the one good thing about the hospital was that you did not have to cope with the outside. They gave you meals. They gave you pills. You went to group. The other people could be kind of scary, yet you still felt a belonging with them. And while you wanted to leave, it was hard to return to the outside.
My new shrink is not perfect, but at least he looks me in the eye and seems to care. I encourage everyone, if possible, to shop for a good shrink. This guy is messing with your brain and body. It’s good to trust him if at all possible. No, most shrinks are not going to have long talks with you. They prescribe medicine because they have big brains filled with knowledge that does not always include common sense. Common sense is for counselors. Don’t be afraid to try talk therapy if you can, because it can be very helpful. Some people are able to get by with it alone. Some use it and medication. But for some, both of these stop helping after a while. I found myself on a cycle of new pills, everything okay, new stress, pills fail, rinse repeat. Finally my doctor suggested ECT.
I know I haven’t discussed much about the actual ECT, but I plan to in the next posts. My history is important though, because all of this weighed into my decision to try this treatment. It is my hope to detail the process of getting ECT (it is NOT easy) and then the actual ECT itself. Since I am told I will lose memory, I figure I should write down what I can when I can. My hope is to help other people who are faced with such a decision with information and not just fear mongering. ECT could fail. I could be worse off than before, but then again, I could be better. My family deserves for me to try this. I deserve to try this. I don’t want to spend a life in misery, and I’m willing to try whatever it takes.
I will officially start ECT on June 5th.
So here goes. Geronimo.
No, really, I mean – what? I have been sick a few days with what we Americans, or maybe just Southerners?, call the CRUD. I have a doctor who said that all upper respiratory infections, tonsillitis, bronchitis, laryngitis, oompalitis, etc are basically the same. So I have one of those. I don’t know. But I have been miserable. You know how miserable? Think of those ASPCA puppies and kittens they show you all the time. The ones that look like Hitler just electrocuted their mother right in front of them. They’re shivering, they’re hungry, they’re wondering why people are just filming them and not doing anything. Which I know I AM wondering. Like sheesh, get the puppy a blanket, and some dog chow you fiends. Sheesh.
It occurs to me the puppies might be actors. If so, well done, puppies.
Anyway, I have been just as miserable as those animals, only not nearly as cute. I was chatting with my friend Merbear on my phone and since I now have a Smart Phone . . . yeah. They got me. But not with the latest, greatest literally exploding phones. No, I have an old Samsung, but it still works. Like it lets me take videos of myself lying down and coughing into the phone so I can show my friend just how bad off I am. And she was like, “Have you tried steam?”
And I’m like . . . steam? I mean I have been having respiratory ailments since my teens and I am like now not a teen and I don’t know how many times I’ve used steam both for myself and my Things (kids for any of you newcomers. More on newcomers later) and I hadn’t thought of it yet. So thanks, Mer, I used steam and it helped a little. I still feel like crapsters, though, and I missed more work than I have time allotted for that, which hadn’t happened in a while and was quite annoying. It’s like my illnesses all hang out and try to figure out who gets to like jump me first. No, no, depression it was your turn LAST week, now let’s give stomach a try. No he had it before. What about me, the bladder – you know the one that – er – leaks. Okay, we’ll let you in, because the cough and that leak thing go together. Yay!
Where was I? Oh, right, sick. You know just when you think you have it all under control, one of those guys pops up. Or better, a new one comes in. Remember how in that emo post I wrote last time I mentioned Lice and other Holiday Tales? Well, yeah, lice came to visit. I hate bugs in general, but bugs that are like, ON YOU? Yeah, that’s beyond awful. So we treated Thing Two and then treated her again and then oh whew and then Thing One got it so we treated her and again and then later . . . they were back. Cause Thing One has very thick, curly hair and my husband and I have very little patience for combing with those awful combs that couldn’t go through a doll’s hair. But I had something up my sleeve. Research. That’s what I do, unless, you know, it’s for a post. So I found this comb, and wow it is like the Allah of Combs judging from what must be real reviews because these reviews were super intense. These people have war stories. So I ordered it.
Guess what Amazon Prime is late on getting to my house? Yup. I WANT MY COMB AMAZON.
So things have not been going that well for me. I was afraid I would never be funny again. This was my greatest fear here, not like dying of CRUD which I kinda thought I might a couple times cause holy crap it’s awful. But yeah, it’s humor, you got to have it. And when I wasn’t able to write, well that was lousy – uh – wrong word. But here I am, writing, and I don’t have a plan to it (did you pick up on that yet?) and it only has one pic in it which I had stored but hey I did it. Cause people have been looking at older posts of mine. So then I check them out. And I laugh because I like my own stuff. But also because it is memories of my life, like with my kids, my work, with me. And the sicks aren’t going to get me. Okay they will, but not like forever there will be days when I’m not sick of some sort! Or have bugs! Possibly! But also if I don’t write then I will not get to expose the really stupid people who have lately been commenting on my old posts. Do you remember booger guy? The one who corrected my grammar on a post about boogers? Well, there’s more of that kind of snot, get ready.
Eventually. Because there are people extremely concerned about my virtual family, a heretical Christmas song post, my knowledge of Sophia the First. Etc. But at any rate, I am trying. So the best thing you could do is not say you are sorry for me because life is life. We all have crap. Heck, our whole country got one big piece of it today, but I didn’t see any of it, or care, cause I was sick. So there are some good things about sick, I guess.
Please like and follow and comment because just one like or follow or comment could save this sad puppy from the horrors of this post.
Hello, all, for a change I decided to write a post on stupid politics. This one, though, is about the effect of politics, and this election specifically, on mental health. I know – who would get mental problems from this election? It is posted on a mental health blog called Canvas of the Minds. It’s a great site where bloggers from all over blog about mental health. Sometimes with snark – if they are me. So please visit Canvas and check out the other authors as well, or let those in your life who deal with this fun stuff know about it too. I will close comments so people will, hopefully, comment over there.
Couldn’t figure out how to reblog. So here is the link. LINK DROP!
I haven’t been posting as much lately. I’m not sure if very many people have noticed, but I have, and there is a reason for it. Put out an APB for one sad pony and one squirrel possibly high on meth tainted nuts.
In case you don’t know much about these two (any first time people who somehow stumbled over here can find out more on my About page) these guys represent my depression and anxiety. Guess which one is which? I’ve been having issue with both of these little hairballs, and since I’m allergic to fur, I’m pretty sure I’m allergic to both of them as well. Some say they are just pictures, but believe me, they are a little too real.
These guys didn’t always represent my issues. Originally Sad Pony was just a funny meme I found somewhere that I tossed onto my page. I loved him so much I did this quite often. There is something about a pony that just looks this sad. I realize he probably isn’t really sad, he’s just tired, you know, typical pony burnout. But he sure looks pathetic in that picture. Added to the humor (my sense of humor is a little different, like me!) are the words “Sad Pony is Sad.” I find this dopey redundant sentence totally hilarious. But also fitting. Because even depressed, I can see humor everywhere. Sometimes, with enough distance, I can see how humorous some of my depressive thoughts can seem. Like Eeyore on steroids.
At some point, Sad Pony just became another character on my blog, just as he is a character in my life. I am not depression, and depression isn’t me. In this case, it’s a fat pony that just flops down on top of me and says “Take a break. Take 50.” It’s rather hard to get things done with this thing sitting on you. Forget the black dog. I have a Sad Pony, and ponies are heavy, especially when lethargic. Or so I’ve heard. I’ve never met a real pony – er beside this one who is REAL. Somewhere. I mean I have no idea who shot this picture. But I thank them.
But I’m not always just sad. I also have anxiety. And the best way I’ve figured out to describe anxiety is with a squirrel. Have you ever watched these guys before? Holy crap, it’s like some wire in their brain is being repeatedly shocked so that they have to dart from here to there and back again for no particular reason that I can tell. Maybe it’s because they are toward the bottom of the food chain, and don’t want to get eaten. The only time I’ve seen them remotely calm is on the college campus where I currently work, and that’s because college students are always – purposely or not – feeding the little suckers. They’d grown so unafraid that they will actually sit on your foot. The squirrels, not the students. These squirrels can never leave campus or they will be killed almost immediately.
Squirrel also started out as a picture I threw into posts partly because of the Disney movie “Up” where a dog is given the ability to speak and, not surprisingly, he has little to say and is often distracted. He can be in the middle of a sentence, spot a squirrel, and yell randomly “SQUIRREL!” That’s my anxiety in a nutshell (pun intended bwaha). I can be totally fine and then suddenly feel extreme panic. I am fearful of what most people are not, like say going to work. Sure they might not want to go to work, but their adrenaline doesn’t shoot up because they are going there. This anxiety would be considered normal if I worked in, say, an ER. But I work in a library. Rarely is my life in danger at a library, though we have had snakes, bats, spiders, wasps, and yes, once a squirrel invade. Also when people shoot up campuses, they often go for the library. I learned this is our Active Shooter Training at work. It really helped with my anxiety.
As you can see, these two fellows often interact. Depression makes me see anxiety as even more ridiculous, causing me to feel sad, then spiraling me into anxiety because oh no I’m sad again and how long will this last and then back to depression because come on, you have nothing to be afraid of, Alice. Well, except maybe the possibility of a Trump presidency. Then again, if we do get him, we probably won’t last long as a country because we will be bombed off the earth. Either by other countries or ourselves.
Comforting thoughts, there. Not really, but what is comforting is that I have this blog. And over the years, I’ve had others identify with these two, and even encourage the figments of my imagination. It’s great when other people willingly share in your delusions. And no matter how much that squirrel runs, no matter how much he distracts me, no matter how much he encourages me to scroll through the Internet all day long or do impulsive things, I have a support system. Same with Sad Pony. There is usually someone – like friends Lindy, Jody, my best blog friend Merbear and naturally my Things (among others) – to eventually help distract me from the distraction of that squirrel. There is usually someone who, while maybe unable to lift that pony, will lie down with me until he leaves.
So I’m having a lot of ups and downs. Meds really help with this, especially this last one that injected several of Squirrel’s best friends directly into my bloodstream, leaving me wanting to literally climb the walls and run out of my own skin. You are ready for anything to help you at that point, even a fat pony to sit on those squirrels. But I stopped that med, and I continue to hope for the future. For even the most sarcastic people have hope. I thank this blog, and my blog readers, for helping keep up that hope. I thank them for letting me be Alice.
P.S. As a little aside, I have started another blog about my dolls, titled appropriately Wonderland of Plastic. I only have an introduction and one review up so far (Wonderrrr Womaaaaaaaaaan!), but promise more to come. I discuss the dolls and history and since it’s me, Alice, of course I have snark. I’m not sure I can totally write without it. This is also where I’ll be moving my doll stories with the Things. We have more torture planned for our Disney princess housewives. Because there is life after the fairy tale.
It’s Monday, ya’ll, which means another full week OF DREAD. I like to be prepared, so I started my dreading early – Sunday night – when my anxiety reached top notch and I had to decide how to calm it down. Oh, sure, there are lots of ways, but you have to be able to GET to those ways in order for it to work. For instance:
Music can be calming. But once you reach Maximum Squirrel Overload, you are kind of past that. No kind of music, saying you were calm enough to find a music player, is going to make you feel better. There are a few types of music. Sad music: bad idea cause you are already anxious and probably depressed about being anxious and sad songs won’t help. Happy music: bad idea too because what business do people have being happy when you are freaked out? Then there’s rap music most of which I think is best classified as Angry music because there is much talk of popping caps in posteriors. Popping a cap might help with anxiety, but the jail time afterward would not, so don’t try it. Also, what are your chances of being able to find the gun?
I love when people say to work out your anxiety or depression with exercise. Look, people, I have no idea where any of my sweatpants are, and if I did, they would be dirty. Then I would have to wash them. And dry them. And put them on. That’s way too much work when your mind is going 1,000 miles an hour. You are already getting a mental workout, and trying to add physical to it can be too much. I guess the best way to describe it would be to expect someone to solve 500 quadratic equations, cure Cancer, and write a symphony, then tell them they had to do this all on the treadmill or elliptical. Now yes, if you manage to get to a gym before you reach Squirrel Overload, you have a chance of physically beating that anxiety back, but if it comes on suddenly, it’s just way too late.
Hot, soothing beverage!
This is usually my best bet, except this time I could not make the cocoa because even though I had cocoa packets, I did not have milk. Well, I had milk, two half gallons, but they had both expired. Saying I was able to force myself to pour the milk (which might come up in chunks which milk should never do) down the drain without barfing, I couldn’t because there were already dishes in the sink. So first I would have to put the dishes in the dishwasher. Except the dishwasher is full so then you have to put the dishes up except that they didn’t all come clean, so they have to go back in the sink. No one wants milk curds on top of that. So forget it. Finally I drove to McDonald’s for some, but they “broke” the machine. I would break it too if I worked there, but still. I had to drive yet another place before I finally got my cocoa. Then I remembered I hadn’t taken some of my pills, so I swallowed them with cocoa only to swallow them wrong and get heartburn. Once I had finished taking care of the heartburn, I managed to go to bed. That, my friends, is way too darn much work.
The last thing I feel when under Squirrel Overload is funny although I probably act rather amusing and or terrifying (it’s such a fine line) when under the influence. This morning I was not as sparkified, just dreadish, and telling myself that I just had to go to work for a little while even though I wanted to stay home. So I drove my Things to school and somehow the conversation diverted to dead dogs because – are you really surprised with us? Anyway, we discussed Where the Red Fern Grows which is a classic children’s book because it involves two dead dogs AND a dead child (for more on the dead dog topic see my post on dead dogs in literature. It’s a real romp.) And the Things, who were both forced to read this book, reminded me that the bully in the book was killed and I was like oh when he was mauled to death and they said no, an ax fell on him. Which is such a great image there. And I was like, dang, that author had some sort of personal vendetta against dogs and boys named Billy. And Thing Two said, “Mom, it was just an AXident.” Get it? Well, we did, and we laughed, because we have problems. But not as many as the author of Where the Red Fern Grows.
So the dread is still there, but at least I made it to work. And when I think of that horrible pun about an ax falling on a kid, I smile. I guess when you are on Squirrel Overload, it helps to have a couple of Things handy. I’m willing to rent them out.