So it's here, unedited, just as I wrote it, a little out of date for some things, but still...and if it helps you realize you're not alone, and you're not crazy and it's not in your head and you can't just "get over it," then good.
So I’ve been thinking about saying anything the past few weeks, on one hand, maybe it would help someone understand what people like me cope with, maybe remind someone like me that they aren't alone. On the other hand, is going to just look like some drama queen wants attention?
I don’t have a bad life really. I have beautiful child who if she has a few mental issues, they aren't the worst a parent would ever have to cope with. Physically, she’s healthier than a horse. She’s a good kid. Recently she scared me when she didn't answer the phone when I called from work to check on her. I asked a friend to go check on her and what was she doing? She had the Wizard of Oz turned up so loud she couldn't hear the phone ringing. Not many parents of 16 yr olds can say that.
I have a full time job. The benefits suck, the hours suck, and the travel to and from my job sucks. But it pays the outrageous rent, it keeps the lights on, puts gas in the car, buys food(not the most nutritious, but you eat what you can afford each payday, right?) It stable hours, and I can usually count on three or four days off every week. Those twelve hour shifts have their uses, yeah? Sometimes it even buys a few extras, like a trip to Devil’s Tower, or some DVDs or books. It’s still payday to payday, but it’s not as thin as we’ve survived in the past. Ramen noodle months are only a couple times a year. It’s more than many have, and while the politics are making me more insane than normal, I’m still loathe to give up the stability and time off. If I can make it to GRL, as I hope to in October, I don’t even have to worry about having to fight for the time off, I can just ask, and it’s mine. Not many can say that, yeah?
I have my writing that I’m trying to build into a career. Something that I can depend on not only to help me retain what’s left of my sanity, but maybe someday will mean I never have a ramen noodle month ever again. Something that will mean I can spoil my kid with all the neat stuff out there, instead of wondering how the hell I’m going to buy at least three more pairs of jeans for her, so she doesn’t look like she dressed out of the mine rag bin when she goes to school. I’ve got good publishers, Rooster and Pig, and Dreamspinner. Fireborne is off to a good start, and I’m glad I’m going to be part of that. I not only survived Silver Publishing, and the theft of my royalties, I may have even survived better than some, simply because I never worried about how I was going to pay the rent, thanks to that EDJ that drives me nuts. I have a contract with DSP to re-release my first published book, Absent-minded Astrophysicist and its sequel, Loving the Astrophysicist later this year as a collection. My series, Whispers From a Hidden World, with R&P, that I’ve been writing and working on for more than four years, is having it’s first release soon. Moving Mountains, with DSP releases on Monday. I’m starting over basically from the demise of Silver, but it’s a good start. I learned a lot, and that’s not bad. Rainbow Con was an absolute blast, I had a good time meeting so many people I only knew online. Enjoyed spending time with Vicktor and Lor, and Willow the Wonder Dog, and Princess SO. Made some new friends. Enjoyed being used for demonstration purposes by Andrew Grey. My cleavage came in handy for once. A bit funny the only man to play with it in years is gay...
So why would I be depressed? Why would I, almost as soon as I came home excited from my trip, having gotten several problems fixed, thanks to the networking, and panels and being able to talk to people in person, fall into that fucking hole? Why have I spent since May barely functioning, struggling to get through edits on time, and often failing, struggling to make it through work, unable to write anything, unable to stay awake for more than a few hours unless at work and that was only out of fear of losing the job?
That’s a question that’s been asked a lot lately, with the death of Robin Williams. What the fuck did HE have to be depressed about? He had fame, money, great career, family that loved him. Great life.
So what the fuck do I have to be depressed about? Like I said. I don’t have a bad life. I get by, better than many times in the past, and better than many others.
There isn’t an actual answer. It’s all mixed up in chemical imbalances in the brain and past history and current stresses. Sometimes the answer is: Just fucking because.
There’s really no other way to put it.
The last time I was this bad, my daughter wasn’t even three years old. I passed my Section 8 housing inspection because the inspector felt sorry for me, and didn’t want to make things worse, not because my apartment was fit to live in. The only time in my life where my sink was full of dishes covered in mold, because I could barely function enough to find food for my kid, let alone actually clean enough to safely cook. It took nearly a year to climb out of that hole then.
It’s been three months this time. I’m climbing out of the hole. I knew and understood what was happening this time. I’m mentally healthier to begin with this time. Years of therapy, and just plain TIME. There were even people I could have reached out to. My therapist wouldn’t have kicked me out, even though I’ve not been since April. Even have meds in the cabinet that were supposed to help, but instead, the Prozac left me in desperate need of the Vicodin, because everything HURT worse. So no Prozac for me, thanks, the depression physically hurts less.
And yet the ONLY reason I didn’t swallow that entire pharmacy in my cabinet just called me at work to ask if she could make herself some chocolate milk while she watches the Three Stooges. Maternal responsibility isn’t the worst reason not to commit suicide. It’s not the best though. I’m writing this literally because I have to stick around to make sure she eats every day. But she won’t need me forever. I almost care about what happens next time I have an episode this bad, and she’s NOT in the house any more. But if I’m lucky, that’ll be another ten years or so. And maybe in another month, I’ll actually care enough to try to plan ahead to deal with it if it happens.
Depression doesn’t listen to logic. It doesn’t listen to anything positive. It only hears the negative. Only remembers the negative. It HURTS. It makes your joints and muscles ache. It destroys the progress you made in losing the 37 pounds you lost, piling back on 25, bringing your weight back dangerously close to three hundred pounds. It makes you avoid anyone else, because as much as you might want to help, or listen, you can’t cope with the cesspool in your own head, let alone the drama going on in other people’s heads. It even makes you forget to do things that might actually help, like going back to the therapist. Or at least going to the ER and ask them to write the prescription for the Zoloft, since you can’t see your doctor, cause he retired, and you’ve not found a replacement. It reminds you you can’t afford the expense of another hospital bill, because you can’t afford insurance either. It reminds you of all the blocks, and you can’t understand it when someone tells you a way out. It tells you nobody wants to hear it from the histrionic drama queen.
No trigger this time. No unusual stress in my life. I’d even had a break from the stress in my life.
Just fucking because.
Chronic depression and PTSD have chemical and physical/emotional causes, but they don’t just go away. Depression doesn’t go away just because somebody else doesn’t think it’s real, or that you have no reason to be depressed. It doesn’t need a reason. It’s generated out of chemical imbalances in the brain, that may be exacerbated the circumstances of one’s life. It just happens.
Just fucking because.
And that’s why it’s hard to cope with. You might KNOW, there’s no reason feel too tired to move, after you just slept for 18 hours. You might KNOW, it’s not good for your health to eat half a loaf of bread, because you’re hungry, sort of, but you’re too tired and hurt too much to cook something better. You might KNOW, that you have things pretty good, and there ARE one or two people in the world that will love you no matter what, and one of them is standing in the doorway, with a worried look on her face, because she’s old enough this time to realize something’s wrong, even if she doesn’t understand what it is. But depression just is. It doesn’t acknowledge these things. It doesn’t recognize that there’s anything to be happy about.
So while I may be climbing out of the hole, I’m still in that fucking hole. But I WANT to write again. I need to again. So that’s something. I want to find out what’s going on with everybody, even if I don’t want to leave the house yet. That’s something else. I’m stalking my editor for edits that I’m not struggling with anymore. In the long run, that’s better.
There’s no cure. There’s no sign above our heads that says, “Depressed person, handle gently.” And just because we KNOW we’re depressed, doesn’t mean we can just…DO something about it. It takes time and support to DO something about it, even when you understand what it is. It takes time.
Experience says it will pass, even though that nasty little voice is still whispering that it will never change, that nothing will get better, no matter what I do, so I might as well not bother.
Experience says it WILL get better, just like we tell the kids being abused and neglected, trying to keep THEM from committing suicide. Today I can say that. Today I can write this. But two days ago, I didn’t want to crawl out of bed again. And tomorrow might be the same way as two days ago.
I don’t have any advice except find whatever will get you through it, and won’t make it worse. And try to remember when you felt like it would never pass and it finally did. Try to believe the light at the end of the tunnel isn’t an oncoming train. Even if you can only believe that for an hour. Then try to believe that hour is one hour closer to when it will finally pass.