Sunday, August 24, 2008

Depression, the Dark Slide

Depression is a damn dark place, even with the sun shining brightly. People I love annoy me with their cheerfulness. Kindness feels like intrusion and reminds me how sick I am, how utterly incapable I am of returning even a smile. The list of things I have to do grows daily, and I don't make the slightest effort, because just feeding the dog and answering the phone takes all the energy that I can muster. If I knew how to turn the phone off I would. I don't cry, that would require too much effort. I leak tears. I leak tears because Martin Luther King is dead and we still are a racist country. I leak tears, because I no longer have the energy to kill myself, and yet tomorrow I go to see the other cardiologist, the one who knows what to do with the hole in my heart--and I know nothing can fix the hole in my heart. Oh you can probably patch it up, but I'll still have a hole in my heart.

Phillip, who has helped me so much, now scares me. His anger is righteous. And I'm such a coward, I don't have the balls to listen to him. I have turned off the Ichat. I have disappointed him, and he had such faith in me as a writer. He should be mad at me.

Larry, my oldest friend and first boyfriend, is mad at me, or maybe he has finally gotten fed up with trying to keep a friendship alive with a woman who might just slap him in the face for no good reason. Maybe it's because he loved Maggy once, too. Maybe it's because he's comfortable and happy without me. Maybe it's just because I'm never stable enough for him to get the timing right--is it safe to talk to her now? No. No, it's not.

Last time I wrote a post it was to say I was giving it a rest. I was starting the downward slide into depression, and thought if I laid off the daily blog post, I might at least retain a bit of credibility, a bit of good feeling from my fellow bloggers. I said I was going to edit, finish Maggy, finish writing some short stories. I thought I would give myself a break and clean the house, work in the yard, loose a couple of pounds, pull myself together. But I'm just hoping for oblivion. You might be thinking, "Snap out of it! Get up off your ass and do something." Good advise, but mine are deaf ears, so save your breath. Nothing you can say will get me out of this.

Last time I talked to my shrink, it was to ask permission to increase the dose of my daily antidepressant. She asked me if I was into real depression. I said, "No, I'm leaning that way, but I think I can head it off with a slight increase in my dosage." I was teetering on the brink and didn't quite know it then. I thought I could squeak by, slip past the darkest part and emerge smarter, brain engaged and still competent. I was wrong. I am depressed. And now, like every other bout I've had with depression, I'm afraid I'll never emerge from this place where even despair would be something. There is no competence now. No one shouting at me to get off my ass will move me. Only my dog's needs for food and the time outside to pee, will get me out of bed.

I have increased the dose of my doxepin to 100 mg--the standard dose. It might work given a bit of time, but till then I still have to go to the heart doctor tomorrow. I'm paying a friend to drive me there and ask the right questions and take notes. I know I'm not capable of doing it myself, and she needs the money.

Nick wants to take me to a movie on Tuesday. I'll go because he's the only man I know who doesn't get mad at me when I'm an asshole. He takes my word for it that I can't help myself. In the meantime, I'll be sleeping with any luck at all.


Freida Bee said...

Dear, I'm sorry you're stuck down there. I hope that you are able to see what there is for you there, so that when you do emerge (and you will in your timing, not mine) you can bring it with you.

A man who doesn't get mad at you when you're an asshole is priceless indeed. I hope you'll write when you need to. I've rarely felt worse after writing and a good amount of the time, I feel better, even if not ideal.

(BTW- Tell me about your experience on lithium, if you will. My daughter's on it. I can know what she's dealing with with antidepressants, but not the lithium- yet, perhaps.)

Randal Graves said...

And even if you still feel like shit after writing, you've still got something down, and nearly everything can be salvaged. If not, you've got something to ball up and shoot hoops with.

Utah Savage said...

I've refused to try lithium because I've been told, by many who know through experience with it, that it's a creativity killer. It's also a drug that adds drug weight. It's also a life saver for so many, but I won't take it. Stubbornness, and the desire to say something brilliant before I die, keep me from any experience with lithium. And I'd rather die than be locked up again. Death doesn't scare me, but the loony bin does. Last time I came out of the bin, I felt like I'd had a lobotomy. I was on depakote and geodone and zoloft and was so disoriented I couldn't find my way to the grocery store. It was as if the earth had shifted on it's axis and I was lost, but it looked vaguely familiar.

Madness is not much fun. The only time being bipolar is in the least bit enjoyable is the phase that's called hypo-manic. That's the motor mouth phase where you have unbounded energy and the mind shoots brilliant sparks and you can't wait to get to the keyboard so you can get it all down. And it turns out to be really good, even in retrospect, even with distance and calm returned. I'm so sorry for your daughter's suffering. No one who has bipolar disorder can be talked out of their feelings, pushed into reason. Those feelings are as real and valid as anyone's.

Naj said...

"You might be thinking, "Snap out of it! Get up off your ass and do something." Good advise, but mine are deaf ears, so save your breath. Nothing you can say will get me out of this."

Utah, are you being sincere?
If you didn't want us to "say" something, you wouldn't be writing any of these things down.

And if you were really depressed, you would not have been at your computer. I seriously think you should NOT BE ON ANTI-DEPRESSANTS.

If you were depressed, you would not be seeking friendship from us, the faceless, nameless admirers of yours. whoever is your shrink, he/she must be old fashioned!

I am sick of psychotherapists who threat narcissism and extroversion with anti-psychotics, and melancholy with anti-depressants.

Anyways, since your being here, so SOON after you said you would go away, is a sign that you have snapped out of it, then I won't be saying "Snap out of it" :D

Anonymous said...

If you need to write, but don't want to post, you know that you can do that, too. Email me or another of your friends. Just keep writing if that's what you need to do.

Hang in there.

Ghost Dansing said...

have you ever played with my pet bat Wraith on my blog? you can wake her up and then click on the bottom right corner to release a little bug. the bug flies around, and then Wraith uses her bat sonar to locate and ultimately consume the bug. it is very fascinating....

hope you are feeling better soon....

Beach Bum said...

People I love annoy me with their cheerfulness. Kindness feels like intrusion and reminds me how sick I am, how utterly incapable I am of returning even a smile.

Never the less as much as we can be we are here for you.

enigma4ever said...

Oh dear Utah...we are here for you...even down in the darkest depthes...we will sit quietly with you..asking nothing...offer you tea and sit and wait for the meds to do what they need to do...we understand about chemical imbalance and that the shift, the slide does not change how we feel for you....

namaste.... you need anything....

Naj said...


some person has dropped me a line, lecturing me to be sensitive to you and etc. I hope (am sure) you know my sense of humor. But, I also think I very WELL understand what you are going through.

I know you don't need lecture from a little girl like me, and I am glad you are not taking lithium, and that's why I am asking you to rescue yourself from taking drugs. You are too creative to need that! Your posting here, even when you are depressed, is a PROOF of that.

So, anyone else here likes to lecture me about sensitivity? ;)

enigma4ever said...

we are here for Utah, not you, if you wish a discussion on your blog that is another matter.At this time we need to be here for Utah and be able to support her and help , and just be with her.

There is no humor in the Dark SIde of Depression.....and no need for you to cause trouble when we are all trying to be supportive.....and caring..

It is quite simple....
When friends sit in the dark- We Pass The Candle-
We do Not Judge, we do Not Question....we let each other lean...sometimes in silence..and we offer a shoulder...a hug....Being There is a state of mind and an open is about being a Friend...

We Love you Utah...and we understand The Battle...
We are here for You.....

Unconventional Conventionist said...

It appears your ass needs kicking. I am here to do so.

Dude, you haven't figured it out yet that above ground is better than fucking BELOW GROUND, or ashes or whatever the hell it is you have planned, or not planned, post death.

Nope, you ain't got SHIT planned and that's half yer fucking problem.

Peggy, your plan needn't be perfect, complete, beautiful, artistic, intelligent, long lasting, or require anywone's approval. YOU JUST NEED ONE.

So pull it out of your ass. Anything will be beter than nothing. Seriously.

Jesus Frikking Buttery Christ, I just saw goddamn Blue Oyster Cult last night. They havent had a hit in 30 years, and are beyond relevant, yet everybody in the street withme, call it about a thousand goddamn souls, we're having a GREAT TIME! Just being there, and being stupid about it.

So get over it, and start having a good time! I know you want to, and I know you can.

I am, despite whatever personal bullshit, and I know others are too.

So get on your dancing shoes and get WITH IT girlfriend!
/end rant

D.K. Raed said...

UT I commend you for finding the strength to sit at your keyboard and post today. You are very strong. You know that. I think Enigma is right, we will just sit here in the dark with you & be here when you find the energy to talk. You've been through this before, so you know eventually the light will return. Give your dogs lots of hugs! I know from experience that their fur is worth its weight in gold for soaking up leaky tears. Good idea about bringing a friend to the cardio doc. See, your brain is too still functioning.

Unknown said...

Its a hard hole to emerge from Utah. It seems to be too deep a hole, but its really not.

Give your shrink a call...please. You can lay in bed and talk to her.

Hopefully the increase in your meds will help. I heart you and wish I lived closer, its hard for folks that don't suffer depression to understand it or have the coping ability to deal with it properly. Its not their fault, and its not yours either.

Please remember that last part..ok?

DivaJood said...

Depression is as mysterious a disease as is alcoholism. People who don't have depression or alcoholism don't understand the vagaries of the diseases (they're quite similar, and many alcoholics are also depressives who self-medicate with booze. Imagine that, tossing a depressant onto depression.)

When in the throes of depression, kindness does feel like an intrusion. The sense that it will remain, that you will never see the light of day and everything will remain grey is so pervasive that it almost hurts to breathe. Well-intentioned people try to motivate with some tough-love; others coddle; the truth is that the best thing that you can do for someone who is depressed and in the throes of it is to treat them the same way you always do.

Because Utah is bi-polar, it is difficult to get meds regulated. The chemical imbalance that causes the mood swings is not as easy to regulate as it is with someone who is a common, garden-variety depressive - and believe me, depression is NOT just feeling blue. Depression is a deep, deep hole and has physical manifestations.

The good news: Utah is going to the doctor with someone who will pay attention. This is a good sign.

To Utah: you leak tears because you are depressed. Not because of any outside reason - as colorful as it sounds, Martin Luther King Jr. being dead is not the cause of your depression. You have a chemical imbalance that needs regulating. Let the doctors do bloodtests. If you need to go into treatment for a time, go into treatment. As hopeless as you feel today, it will not always be this way. You can get regulated.

Ingrid said...

I know that nothing anyone says can help you and depression is NEVER a 'snap out of it' thing anyway. I've dealt with it myself so I can honestly say I know what you're talking about. And that's it. For now, I'll only say I hope you stick with the blog posts because WE do care.. so while you're out feedin' the dawg and letting him/her out to pee, you might's well spend the time typing something up..
at sometime, the meds will kick in to help the depression (and yes, note to Utah's self; trust your instinct, when you feel you're're teetering.. been there done that too, don't you just hate that that you knew better all along?? damn!)
the meds will do their thing and then you'll get back in gear a little a time.. good luck with the doc tomorrow (and ask if any heart meds is aiding the depression, don't know if Enigma, nurse mother has said anything but that's what occurred to me, so tell the person you're taking to be sure it gets mentioned..

so all I can do is give you virtual hugs and we'll be checking in with you,



Nan said...

Hope the cardiologist is able to give you some answers. Having that hanging over you has to make everything else harder. I don't need to tell you that stress aggravates depression.

Randal Graves said...

UC, are you saying that Secret Treaties is the secret to momentary bliss? I cannot argue. Let's fucking rock out, young people.

Non Je Ne Regrette Rien said...

when I'm depressed, my skin feels heavy. I mean, I truly feel the weight of it. I plod slowly through the days. dragging and spiraling downward. I give in and take to my bed, feeling anchored. and wait for it to pass.

ugh. not to make things worse, just to let you know I understand and have gone there often.

chill out, get the remote and watch the DNC. its fucking hilarious, a real comedy act. and when you're able, harass me at my place. I'll repay the favor.

Unknown said...

I agree with Non, Je ne regrette the DNC dog and pony show chica!!!!

How did it go at the Docs..update if your up to it m'dear. ;)

Ingrid said...

hey honey..just checkin' in with ya. Did you turn off the lights? are you watching and boohoo-ing for the DNC? (she said snifflin' at Teddy kennedy for goodness sakes..sniff) Caroline was going down the list for the things we're supposed to be thankful for for what he did (which i don't know anything about so no comment from the peanut gallery here)..
I just got swept up in the sniffle sniffle 'damn we're such good democrats' snif! And I'm an Independent for christ I had to turn the dang thing off, I mean, geesh..can't change colours now can I?? [g]
I'll be thinking of you tomorrow, just wanted to stop by and have you hear me talkin' to ya.. tomorrow 's another day day at a time..the dog will be forever grateful!



Stella by Starlight said...

Just wrote you, dearest Utah. I'm here.

enigma4ever said...

Hey there...
Utah...I am a nurse of over 20 years..( okay more...) an RN...and I worked a ton of ER and psych...I know that you are battling a hard disease and to have Heart issues on are one brave lady....and coordinating the care between those two problems and still Write and write WELL...and real..that matters...
that is real courage...

Even in the Dark please know that you have that...Courage..

and yes, you have friends still here...we don't want anything...just to be able to let you know that you matter and we care.....

it is that simple....

Mark Prime (tpm/Confession Zero) said...

I have always...
Since we first conversed,
found you to be
a spirit worth troubling...

A blunt object
for those in need
of a lashing...

A truly gifted writer
and wonderful story teller.
But I repeat myself.

A woman with a mouth
that moves her narrative
and gets who we are,
or who we want to be.

A powerful woman that roars
as much as she purrs.

When I'm tethered to the floor
and even my muse is of no use,
and I am serious about this-
I read me some Dr. Seuss!

Okay. I don't, but I think it may be a damn fine idea! Not because it came from my pea-brain, but because- Why did it come to me?

And that's reason enough to give it a shot over the bow, so to speak. Right?

I can tell you something that I actually do when I sink to the bedraggled bottom of hell fire and damn depression,

besides cry and not answer the fucking door when someone rings,

I go outside in the sunshine and find some nature to wrestle with. Squirrels, opossum, robins, June bugs, and the like.

Okay. I don't literally wrestle the critters, but I do go outside...and scream! O! That I most certainly do!

Of course... I do that even on my good days so that isn't really much help, now is it? Damn! Damn! Damn!

Shit! I came here to try and help you!

Fuck! I am messing this job up worse than my last!

It's like, over there are the damn Romans motioning for me to get a move on, and I'm like Jesus fleeing down the fucking hill!

It's about goddamned time! Where the hell have- Okay. My muse has decided to finally show up!

Where the hell have you been? I'm mucking it up! I'm probably depressing her more than-
You've been with me the whole time? Really?
Well what the hell were you thinking?
Why let me go on like that?
You stood there letting me prattle on like some deranged lunatic without an nth of reasoning in the whole of my entire Goddamned body! Fuck, muse! What if-
Oh. Okay.
What? Ummm. Yes.
Okay. I will.

Utah, I am supposed to tell you that my muse has just informed me that I should shut up now. and leave you with this- ta ta...

I will not die an unlived life

I will not die an unlived life
I will not live in fear of falling
Or of catching fire
I choose to inhabit my days
To allow my living to open me
Making me less afraid
More accessible
To loosen my heart
So that it becomes a wing, a torch, a promise
I choose to risk my significance.
To live so that that which comes to me as seed
Goes to the next as blossom
And that which comes to me as blossom
Goes on as fruit.

-- by Dawna Markova --


How about some Emily?

Where ships of purple gently toss
On seas of daffodil,
Fantastic sailors mingle,
And then--the wharf is still.

Mark Prime (tpm/Confession Zero) said...

I still think that the Dr. Seuss idea might have some merit...? :>)

D.K. Raed said...

oh poetryman, how does Muse do it? how does Muse ALWAYS find the right things to say?

I was just popping by to entreat UT to examine leaf veins in minute detail. Don't laugh! It worked for me when I was dx'd w/mitral valve prob's & feeling pretty washed up. Something very wonderful in their intricacy seemed to set my mind on a better path. It took awhile but it seemed like staring at them long enough reset my brain or something. Has to be done in the sunshine...I've never told anyone that story...OK well, just know we're all thinking of you.

K McKiernan said...

So sorry times are hard.

My mom was fine on lithium until... until she wasn't anymore and she almost totally lost it.

I applaud you saying NO to it.

I will be thinking of you during this struggle.

Stella by Starlight said...

K! You always know just what to say. Utah, we're all thinking about you and will be here when you're ready. I'm looking forward to catching up on my reading your fiction, which I've not had time to read (to my regret).

For some, lithium is a life saver. For others, it's a poison. I guess depends on the person. I am so sorry, K, that your mom had problems with it.

Whether or not to take lithium involves individual choice.

Freida Bee said...

I appreciate your saying that Stella, 'cause I was feeling pretty darned judged re: litium and my daughter. After years of refraining from psych meds, going to counseling and being as supportive as was humanly possible my ex and I relented to anti-depressants after two psych hospital visits due to suicide threats which became insistent enough that we had to take very seriously. We saw rapid improvement and then a process of backsliding unless dosages were increased over the course of a year which had us rethinking anti-depressants until a serious suicide attempt which put my daughter in a coma for a week made me really question her diagnosis. After months with a very good counselor, we started to ask if bi-polar was going on. After another hospitalization due to her very helplessly asking for help and admitting having suicidal impulses (and this is on top of other very dangerous "impulsive" behaviors on her part), we asked the bi-polar question to the right person. After a summer from hell last summer, we just has a great summer. My daughter said that she was feeling groggy after she took the lithium for an hour or two when she first started taking it and now she says she doesn't notice the effects. She is a very very talented painter and aspiring guitarist and has seemed happier, and not in a numbed out way than I've ever seen her. I am sensing the bi-polar diagnosis is accurate (I have family history of some psych issues, particularly some undiagnosed I would venture) and do feel as though lithium is perhaps saving her life. I know it cannot be continued indefinitely and I know her condition is ever to be evaluated and managed (and yes, DivaJood- being a friend of Bill's and Lois's for coming up on 6 years, the disease concept is very helpful for me to embrace). I just wanted to say....

Mark Prime (tpm/Confession Zero) said...

I really wish I knew... My muse doesn't say much to me in the way of extra detail, she just gives me what she thinks I need and I must accept it... or she will flog me for all she's worth!

examine leaf veins in minute detail.

That, my friend, is certainly a good idea. It is amazing that if one, especially one in deep depression, can focus on something such as you suggested then one usually finds, at least it is my experience, that the mind somehow expands and brings such needed sweet relief. The trick is to get to that point and act upon it. In a state of depression it is much easier said than done, eh?

Utah Savage said...

You guys are great friends. I hate to post anything else because it's been so interesting to listen to you all. Thanks for the words of encouragement and understanding. I think we should be talking more honestly about our mental health challenges.

enigma4ever said...

good to hear from you...and that you let us all just sit and talk and pass the candle...It is good to talk about it...and you are right about we need more people talking on it- thinking...

hugs atcha...

( DNC on cspan - I look at that and think hmmm, we do need alot of better health care...and DANCE lessons....)