|Our Daily Bread
||[Aug. 21st, 2008|02:12 am]
Kelly J. Cooper
Sometimes I feel like I'm not talking about my depression enough.
Sometimes I feel like I'm talking about it too much and it's boring as shit.
Right now, I feel like I want to explain myself.
But I'm not looking for sympathy.
It's just that, people look at me and see different things. Angry, fierce, grumpy, friendly, kind, funny, mean, rude, smelly, weird, helpful, whatever. Most of the time I don't even know what they think. Occasionally I find out years later.
But I feel like there's all this stuff going on in my head and I want to explain it to you, the people who read me or know me or spend time with me. Some of you are content to let me be me, bless your hearts. Others are willing to ask tough questions, and I bless you as well. But I still feel vaguely obligated, mildly embarrassed, and strangely confessional. I guess that I want understanding.
Every moment of every day, I deal with my sleep disorder, my depression, and my medical issues.
Waking up is hard. Getting to sleep is hard. I have a variety of tactics, tricks, and tools for getting around my fundamental inability to be normal. I have pills to take when I wake up and more to take when I lie down for bed. They remind me. I have a special shampoo & conditioner as well as particular soaps I need to use in the shower. They remind me. I am reminded of my medical issues when I look in the mirror, when I brush my hair, when I clean my teeth, when I choose my clothing, when I put on my shoes, when I'm tired during the day. They all remind me. I take the pills or utilize the whatever to stay as close to normal as possible, but none are perfect. All have side effects or issues they don't help cover - I itch, I vanish into the bathroom, I turn red, I get lip blisters, etc.
I have to be conscious of what I eat or drink, when I consume it, and the order in which I consume it. I find myself thinking about food constantly. I'd love to eat this, but it's bad for me. I don't really like that, but it aids my digestion. I wish I could eat more of this but it's too expensive. If I eat this, I'll probably have to be able to find and use a bathroom within the hour. (Nevermind the fact that I'm at least 40 lbs. overweight, desperately out of shape, and have bad self-esteem.)
I experiment. I try different things, hoping to find a type of food, a pill, a pillow, an alarm clock, a book, an article, a blog, a tool, a hobby, a THING, some THING that will make one difficulty or another a little less troublesome. To help me figure out some problem, some bad interaction, some weird combination of factors that causes one of my issues. To bring me a step closer to normal, one step farther away from broken. Also, to maybe ease some (physical or emotional) discomfort or pain.
Each thought reminds me that I live inside of a depression, that I have a sleep disorder that most people consider just plain laziness (and I'm only half-convinced that it isn't myself), that I have serious medical issues that require daily medication, that I will never be normal.
Some days it's all habit with no thought and I can focus on whatever I need to do. Other days it's like a stifling, heavy, hot blanket that I can never take off and even the smallest task - getting out of bed, bringing my car to the shop, opening the mail - becomes a mountain.
(And, on top of that, I think too much. Seriously. About everything from snails to anti-gravity, from homelessness to invasive weeds; my thoughts are always bouncing around on a lot of different topics. So my brain is already busy on multiple levels when a twist of fate can add a whole lot of something on top of what I've already got going and I freak out.)
But because I'm so close to it, it just seems like the landscape to me. A cruddy, dirty, lumpy landscape, but standard. It's only when other people express alarm or sympathy that I realize that not everybody has to do all of this, every day, to achieve a semblance of normality. And, for the sake of balance, there are many MANY people who have it much worse than I do. I have a good partner, good friends, good family, and a host of other blessings.
Like I said at the beginning, I don't need sympathy right now. Not hugs nor soothing words. (Well, maybe some empathy.) I just want people to understand, I guess, that I'm not a jerk - sometimes I'm in physical distress. I'm not a space cadet, sometimes I'm thinking about a dozen different things, weighing pros and cons. (Well, OK, sometimes I'm just a space cadet - but in a nice, funny way. Not the mean-spirited "she doesn't know what she's talking about" sort of way.) I'm not stuck-up (well, I don't think I am), I'm distracted (and occasionally shy, which may be hard for some to believe). I'm not anti-social, I just don't know if people want me to inflict myself on them.