Krissie: Bummer

I am truly bummed about Robin Williams. In fact, I’m grieving for him. He was fearless as an artist, and that fearlessness made him brilliant, even with missteps. If you don’t make missteps then you’re holding back, and I admire going for it more than anything else in the world, I think. That’s why I adore the movie “Tin Cup.” The ending to me is so triumphant and glorious — throwing everything away for the one perfect shot (and I don’t even play golf or like it much).
That’s the kind of artist Robin Williams was. And his death feels personal. Well, this is one of those weeks with one of those things I no longer mention because everyone says “why don’t you remember the good stuff?” and I can’t really explain that the good stuff hurts even more.
But I digress. I mourn today.

Oh, and remember I said yesterday that this time Erin and Tim were truly split. Uh, not so fast. I heard him on the phone when he got home and he ended it with “love you, bye.” And I asked him who he was talking to. Erin. She came over for dinner, Richie and I made ourselves scarce.

There’s a saying we learned in a parents’ support group back in the bad old days — don’t go on the roller coaster ride with them. I got Richie to take me out because I didn’t even want to stand by the ride and hear them scream. We went over to the lake (to the one house that remains in the family) and I sat out on the dock and wrote longhand and waited for the moon to rise while Richie went for a walk. I saw five loons glide in front of me and then dip into the water. Beautiful. Then we went and did grocery shopping at 9 rather than waste daytime doing it, and drove home looking at “bella luna” while I sang “Quando m’en va” (Musetta’s waltz from La Boheme – one of the themes from “Moonstruck”) and “That’s Amore.” Yes, I know some opera, and I sing it terribly, but I love it.

I got masses accomplished yesterday, mapping out the end of the book, and yes, I did swim in the lake and float in my pool. Tonight we’ll go see Guardians of the Galaxy, partly in honor of Robin Williams, who appreciated a laugh more than anything.

People don’t understand depression, don’t realize how awful it can be, how bleak. You get blinders on and can’t realize how loved you are. For today, for the week, for the rest of your life, I hope we all (me included) can try not to get annoyed with what we see as constant moping. Many times there’s no choice in the matter. Who would feel bad when feeling good is a real choice?

Enough of a sermon. Back to work. The cold weather is coming in, and I need to get to work (book due on Friday).

Go out and hug a depressed person, whether they like it or not. And if they can’t take a fuck, joke them.

Krissie: Friday, Bloody Friday

I don’t know what’s wrong with me. I go for days being upbeat and cheery, and then suddenly I crash and become leaden and morose. That happened last night — At five-thirty I just lost all energy and interest and went up to bed. I woke up for a couple of hours at ten and then went back to bed, sleeping relatively well the entire night.
But waking up in a major funk.
But does our doughty heroine simply submit to the forces of depression? Never! I called and made and appointment to get my hair cut, I called to find out when I see my shrink (Monday, thank God), I called and got Tim’s phone working. And then I decided, rather than sit in my chair unable to move, to get up, put on my bathing suit and drive to the pool (25 miles away), because supposedly exercise is as good as anti-depressants. And so I did. I did water walking, and dreaming about the book, and a few stretching exercises, and by god I felt better. So here I am, late in the day, telling you about it.
I get to go see Crusie next week, which is glorious. I just realized I have to put my writing into high gear, though, and that makes me edgy, but I was always able to work in Ohio and I don’t see why I can’t work in NJ. All I need is a recliner and Jenny’s got one.
So I’m at page 130 — I want to be at page 300 by the time I leave NJ (on the 31st). Lemme see — that’s 12 working days if I don’t take any of them off. Twelve goes into 170 …. ugh. 14 pages a day. In the old days that would have been easy. Nowadays I’m not so sure.
I guess I just have to be disciplined. Allow myself fun with Crusie but get that work done. Good thing is I love this book, and know where it’s going, so that helps.
I also did an experiment. Problem is, when I write I get sleepy. It only makes sense — I used to tell myself stories when I went to bed, from the time I was very small, so it’s an automatic trigger. If I don’t sleep the night before I get sleepy and nap instead of writing. If I take the meds that are supposed to help me sleep then I’m sleepy the next day and nap instead of writing. Damned if I do and damned if I don’t.
So I figure if it’s late at night and I’ve been lying in bed unable to sleep I should simply go downstairs and write.
Which I did.
I tend to sleep well at Crusie’s, so that’s not a problem, and she needs her alone time too, so I won’t have trouble writing. It’s a good plan, and it’ll work. It has to.
I think it’s my sense of impermanence that’s causing the edginess and anxiety. We don’t know where we’re going but we can’t afford to stay here (VT is very enlightened but the taxes and utilities are mind-boggling). And I’m screwing up my courage to get my knees replaced next year. Ugh.
But meanwhile, I’ve got to write. And there are good things waiting to happen.
Most of us have such a love/hate relationship with work. We’re the ones who are responsible — there’s no boss, no co-worker, only your own ambition or imagination or even guilt if that works. I use whatever I can to whip myself into my office.
Fortunately right now the imagination is working overtime, and I bet there’s hot sex by Monday. That always cheers me up.
But I guess that’s the price we pay for doing what we love. There’s never any boredom here — more likely high drama. I just have to remind myself that it’s going to be all right. Everything is in the end.
I hope.

Krissie: Well, duh

So I went to see my shrink yesterday. Actually I have a shrink and a therapist. The shrink does the meds, the therapist does the therapy. Anyway, I went to see adorable Dr. M, who wears a polka dot bow tie and smiles and is a sweetie, and I talked about how I was feeling a little depressed, but that it was the time of year my mother went into the hospital and subsequently died, leaving me the last one standing except for Mini-me, so it was reasonable that I’d be feeling down. So his first response was that my reaction was entirely reasonable, and we should see how I do when the anniversary is passed, see whether the doldrums had gone.
Made sense. So then he asked me what I enjoyed doing. Uh — I couldn’t think of anything. Well, I could think of floating in the pool listening to audiobooks, but it’s in the 60s and the pool isn’t up yet. I don’t do any of the other things I used to enjoy. I haven’t sewn or quilted, I haven’t done anything with the house (overwhelmed by it). #1 sign of depression: check.
Then he asked how I was sleeping. Terribly. #2 sign of depression: check. I told him I can’t keep anything in my head. I’m doing a couple of on-line interviews and I read the email at least half a dozen times and yet I still thought they were both today instead of one today and one Wednesday. Fuzzy thinking = #3 sign of depression: check.
How’s my relationship with my husband? Do we go out and do stuff? He’s wanted me to and I haven’t been in the mood. #4 sign of depression.
I cry. #5. I sleep during the day (all day on Sunday). #6. Afraid this isn’t going to get better? #7.

So sweet Dr. M said, is it possible you’re more depressed than you realize?
Yup. He said he didn’t want to talk me into it, but what I was describing were all classic signs of depression.
And in fact, that makes me feel better. I couldn’t understand why I was feeling so punky, because the last increase in meds is keeping it from spiraling down to the very bottom. It helps to realize it’s just the usual, complicated by a really tough year and the first anniversary of my mother’s death.
So, now that I know, I can start figuring out how to make things better.
I don’t have to feel shattered because two of Adam Levine’s singers got voted off The Voice. (I was taking it very personally). I can curl up in my book and enjoy it, knowing things are going to improve.
It’s funny that I didn’t recognize the obvious.
Anyway, I have a plan. I’m eating better. I’m getting a new cpap mask, which I desperately need. Tim’s visiting friends for ten days, so that will be nice for Richie and me to be alone for a while, and then I’ll take the luxury bus down to see Crusie. It will all be just fine.
Deep breath. I wish these things weren’t coming so often nowadays, but life has been a challenge the last few years. However, tomorrow I’ll tell you about the movie that’s going to change my life.
In the meantime, I’m taking more effexor.

Krissie: Banging my head against the wall

Photo on 3-19-13 at 11.11 AM Sorry I’m late — I overslept.
Okayy, just about nada yesterday.
Oh, I should mention I’m not depressed. Cranky and frustrated but not depressed. The Big D lifted sometime in the new year. You can never pick an exact date — just one day you notice that life has colors again.
But I digress.
1. Didn’t get into my office until noon because my BFF came over (and I was thrilled to see her, since she’d been gone for a while, but it threw me off)
2. Wasted too much time food shopping and forgot (misplaced) the papers for the bank.
3. Forgot to pay for the storage areas
4. Bought a morning glory muffin
5. No exercise
6. Grumble grumble
7. Wrote about 250 words (if that).
8. Slept in til after 10 o’clock

However. I only ate the one muffin, and didn’t buy chips or coffee cake or cinnamon bread (I can go through a loaf in two sittings)
I did actually get 250 words done.
I was happy to see Sally.
I’m making real progress on my office.
My son is still missing and a wonderful adult has taken his place. This is months now.

So, there are two things I need to do (I’m trying to simplify.)
Eat right, so I don’t ruin my life.
Once the writing’s done I can do anything else.

Yeah, that’s it. There’s a great feeling of accomplishment and freedom once I get my writing done. That’s when I give myself permission to have fun without guilt.

So I’m paring down. Those two are the basics, anything else is gravy.
Remind me to talk about self-discipline (can’t right now — I have to write a book).

Krissie: I’m baaaack

this is what I looked like last time you saw me, wearing the Disney sweatshirt and trying to finish the book. Finished the book, all hell broke loose and I went into a total meltdown. Such a total meltdown of screaming (mostly on my own) that my voice is still husky. I’m pretty sure I didn’t do anything permanent — it almost felt like it was bleeding.
Here I am this morning, after I went to take today’s picture and saw the last one. Sally cut my bangs and I’m not sure what I think but what the hell. She was taking care of me, so I let her do what she wanted. She put makeup on me and fed me and comforted me.

So here’s the story and there are many parts to it. Maybe I’ll skip over the rough parts. The scoop is, as you know, I’m fighting off a really deep depression. Plus, when you’re working on finishing a book it’s called Deadline Dementia and you’re a physical and emotional mess.
Unfortunately my son chose that moment to not only freak about about the reality of his testing report (he has severe learning issues. He scores very high on verbal skills, reasoning, and something else — I forget. So his LD is mostly invisible unless he tries to write or do math. He’s got ADHD and is severely dyslexic but lots of other stuff as well. And he was facing it. Which god knows is hard, because we’ve always tried to pump him up and shield him from hurtful stuff. To make him feel he could do anything, not tell him all the things he can never do. He’d been to vocational rehab and he was freaking.
But he started attacking. No excuse for it. It was verbal and emotional abuse. And he has to stop it. But he couldn’t, the more I asked him to stop the more he went on, and I finally snapped and started screaming at him. First to get out of the room, and then I just kept screaming, and then I ran out of the house in my socks and drove to where Richie was.

Lots of drama. Lots of tears. Lots of apologies. Tentative re-ordering of things. Plans are being made.

The thing is, I’ve been so protective that in his entire life I’ve never even snapped at him. Definitely never yelled, and no one’s seen me freak out like that. It’s happened twice in my entire life. When I was in my mid-thirties, fighting with infertility, going through intense treatments, my toxic cousin got pregnant and decided to do a number on me. So I drove to a quiet place and screamed (because people told me it would release tension). It didn’t — it made me sick.

The second time I was in the car, parked in the driveway, and my sister had asked me to read my nephew’s autopsy report before she did. I did, and started screaming. You don’t need to know.

So it was bad. But the next day Sally took excellent care of me, Lani and Jenny took care of Refab, and my son apologized, which is amazing. But this isn’t about my son. We can talk about that another time — in the meantime let’s talk about me.
So the next day (yesterday) I rearranged my living room (shoved the piano, the couch around). When I finish I’ll take a photo so you can see. But it made me feel wonderful. Today I’m going to finish the cleaning in the living room (figure that’s the place I’ll be spending most of my time in), do a little in my bedroom and do some sewing (before seeing my shrink).
I’m finally realizing that the book was gone, and it was good. I’m still feeling depression drag at me — so many things I’m supposed to do that I don’t want to do (career stuff), such severe money problems. But one massive source of stress is gone. (Of course, because it was so late, I knew the next deadline would need to be adjusted. I asked, and the book is due on December 15th. I laughed).

But I’m getting to do all the things I refused to let myself do. Nest. Fix up my house. Decorate for Christmas (Alex is coming to help tomorrow).

So we’ve got a lot to talk about in the days. I still want to talk about Depression Lies and everything people talked about that day.
And I need to talk about anger, which frightens me (clearly). So that when I freak it’s way out of proportion and I don’t know how to deal with it.
I want to talk about children, in particular wounded children and how we deal with them, what helps and what doesn’t.

And most of all I want to talk about Christmas because I gotta tell you, I love it and always have. Don’t know why because we had our share of Christmas horrors. But I just freaking love Christmas. And I’m finding “found” presents and ones I can make and I really don’t have to work unless I want to until Christmas is over, because I have had A Hard Time. Officially.

So, lots to talk about. Crusie’s feeling better, Lani’s cat came home, things are falling into place. Maybe they’re falling into place for me too.

Once can only hope.

Krissie: Losing My Religion

Lots of food for thought yesterday, and I can’t decide whether I want to talk about happiness or my epiphany, but I promised the epiphany, so here goes.
I’m a writer. I know that comes as a shock to everyone, but it’s more than a job. It really is who I am. Writers have told me they wouldn’t write if they weren’t paid for it, that they could turn their back on it. Writers retire. My BFF Sally spent hours trying to argue with me that being a writer is only a small part of who I am.
Nope. I am a writer, I come from a long line of writers (well, maybe not that long). I wrote “novels” in fifth grade on up.
All my life I wanted children, I wanted babies. And yet, when I was going through the unending pain of infertility, I never once offered God a bargain where he could take my writing if he’d just let me get pregnant. And trust me, you make a lot of bargains.
My sexual fantasies are in words, not pictures. Everything I do is in service to writing. I go to movies that will inspire me, or I go see something different so that the break will inspire me. I live and breathe story.
And it’s been eluding me. Enough that I feel like I won’t ever be able to write again. That I’ve finished with it, over, it’s lost, gone. I’ve been wondering whether it’s age, but realized that was crap. Some of my favorite writers are older than me and still writing wonderful stuff. I tell myself I just don’t have any new stories to tell.
That’s wrong too. Less than a year ago I was brimming with so many ideas I was desperate to write that I decided I couldn’t ever die — I just had too many stories to tell.
And suddenly, for the first time in my life, that’s gone.
It’s a combination of “that which shall not be discussed” which is career issues, and the depression, and being horribly late with a new publisher. I always had faith in who I was, knew who I was. A writer.
And now I don’t know any more.
It’s a combination of circumstance and depression. In the past, circumstance would at least remind me that my depressed thoughts were just thought.
Now circumstance is reinforcing those thoughts. Or at least not giving me any respite.
So the hopelessness of this current depression comes from losing everything I thought I was, I thought was true about me. I guess it’s like being a nun and finding out that god is that man behind the curtain, pulling levers, and not the great and beneficent Oz.
I don’t know if that helps, but at least I understand it a little better. So much of this is out of my control, and being depressed and having cosmic temper tantrums won’t change it. It feels like nothing will.
Okay, there’s time to talk a little about yesterday. Acting A Zif. Which is when you act “as if” something is true, sort of “fake it till you make it” kind of thing. I suppose my best bet is to try to summon up enough energy to shut out those voices and pretend. Because right now it doesn’t feel like the depression talking, it feels like the truth.
Anyway, the revisions are moving, and I’m enjoying some of the book. So back I go, armed and dangerous, ready to finish this. I wish I could sleep during the night and stay awake during the day. I wish I could feel better.
But one day at a time.

Krissie: Revisions, Goddammit

So I don’t know what I did yesterday but I certainly didn’t do revisions. And I started out this morning sorting socks. ‘Splain this to me, Lucy.
I did see my therapist, who pointed out that it was amazing I even finished a book while depressed (and yes, I’m still pretty depressed, I’m just not dwelling on it). I think I have to accept the fact that my perceptions are all off. I’m thinking my life is over, I’ll never be happy again, yadda yadda yadda. That kind of garbage. I’m impatient with myself. Why is it we can be caring and kind to everyone but ourselves? I have a certain writer friend in NJ who loves to beat up on herself. I don’t cut myself any slack. Why can’t i nurture myself the way I needed to be nurtured?
Ah, well.
Lost the weight I gained in NJ. Back down to 228 (I was up to 230.5, which wasn’t nearly as bad as it should have been). Been fighting temptation (really wanted morning glory muffins yesterday). When I have a shitload of work to do in a short period of time I usually tell myself I’m allowed to eat, but I’m fighting the good fight. Yesterday I thought about comfort food (after seeing my therapist) and then thought, do I really want to gain that weight back or do I want to lose more. And we know the answer to that.
Nothing but work today. Don’t want to think about anything but the book. If I get too restless I can go to the library and work — that’ll be peaceful. In the meantime, one day at a time, I guess.
My mother always felt put-upon, ill-used, screwed-over by fate and life. It was something that used to drive me crazy. I suppose I could feel sorry for myself in her honor … naaah. I want to be merry and bright.
Just having a hard time getting there.
That’s probably part of the reason people get depressed at Christmas. They feel that they ought to be happy, and there’s something wrong with them if they aren’t.
Hell, I don’t even like admitting that I’m not happy right now.
But I will be. Getting this book done will be a huge relief.
Oh, my. I just had a revelation. An epiphany.
And you’re going to have to wait until tomorrow to hear about it, because I have to get to work.