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Our Daily Bread - Body by Henson, brain by Seuss. [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
Kelly J. Cooper

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Our Daily Bread [Aug. 21st, 2008|02:12 am]
Kelly J. Cooper
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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.

That's me.
linkReply

Comments:
[User Picture]From: rmd
2008-08-21 09:08 am (UTC)
That's me.

*points*

THAT'S MY BUDDY!
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[User Picture]From: kjc
2008-08-22 04:21 am (UTC)
Awww.

Thanks, best bud!
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[User Picture]From: gilana
2008-08-21 11:05 am (UTC)
Thanks for sharing that.
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[User Picture]From: kjc
2008-08-22 04:21 am (UTC)
Thanks for reading and letting me know that you did.
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[User Picture]From: sweetmmeblue
2008-08-21 11:50 am (UTC)
Thank you for sharing. I work with people who have blankets and mountains the way you do, where depression or overcoming the voices he or she hears is more than a full time job. One person in particular, who is newer to managing depression and chronic pain, I spoke to about how everything interrelates and connects including what is ingested down to what socks the person wears.

If you do want to talk about some of the harder bits let me know. If there are places where you could use some new tools just ask and I can talk to the people I work with and see if they have any suggestions.
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[User Picture]From: kjc
2008-08-22 04:21 am (UTC)
Thank you for caring and commenting. I appreciate the offer of help.
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From: moria923
2008-08-21 12:20 pm (UTC)
Yes, thank you indeed.

Actually, I love hanging out with you!

Sometimes I struggle a little with what and how much to tell people about my own disability-related adjustments. You know the question: Given that I don't want anyone feeling sorry for me, how much will people need or want to know, or be able to understand?

So thanks so much for confiding what you did.
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[User Picture]From: kjc
2008-08-22 04:25 am (UTC)
You're welcome and I enjoy hanging out with you as well!

I'm always interested to hear what people have to say about the best way to interact with them. So if a friend is hearing impaired, it's good to know which ear to speak into. If s/he is distractable, it's good to know that I sometimes need to steer the conversation. If there are things you'd like me to know or want me to tell you to make interaction smoother and you more comfortable, I'm glad to know them and try hard to remember.

And I'm always interested in other people's hurdles. Like others have said in these comments, it makes me feel less alone. And you should feel perfectly within your rights to say "don't feel sorry for me, just listen & try to understand" when you talk about your frustrations.

Sometimes I want hugs and reassurance, but other times I just want understanding.
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[User Picture]From: wonderreader
2008-08-21 02:28 pm (UTC)

our daily bread

I always marvel that you can be so empathetic, kind,insightful, thoughtful and funny with all that going on!
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[User Picture]From: kjc
2008-08-22 04:26 am (UTC)

Re: our daily bread

Heh. I had a good teacher, Ma.

Thank you.
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[User Picture]From: gem225
2008-08-21 02:36 pm (UTC)
Thank you for sharing this. You're my friend, and I love you just the way you are. (And I go through some of this stuff too, so I understand how it can be.)
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[User Picture]From: kjc
2008-08-22 04:27 am (UTC)
Hey, you're welcome. One of my friends said it helped her to hear about my depression. And sometimes it helps me to talk it through. So the fact that I'm making people feel less alone gives me enough courage to talk about this stuff.

I love you the way you are as well!

*smiles*
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[User Picture]From: ckd
2008-08-21 02:38 pm (UTC)
I wish this stuff was just easier all around. For you, for me, for our friends, for everyone who's having to fight their own body, brain chemistry, or whatever.

Sharing your experience like this does make it a little bit easier, though; the power of a simple reminder of "you're not alone" shouldn't be underestimated...and I particularly needed to hear it today. So for that, I thank you.
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[User Picture]From: kjc
2008-08-22 04:28 am (UTC)
You are welcome. And thank you for letting me know you read this.

I hope that whatever it is gets better for you.
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[User Picture]From: kjc
2008-08-22 04:32 am (UTC)
the very word "blind" or the sight of somebody with that trait often squirts every single one of a person's brain cells out the ears and into the dark matter.

*laughs*

That's a great way to put it.

Does this shit make any sense to you?

Oh hell yeah. Unsolicited advice from well-meaning persons can drive you bat-shit. I've been hearing that most of my life with regard to sleep issues and weight issues.

Thanks for the compliment. I hope you can write soon. You're a funny guy and it's good to hear from you.

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[User Picture]From: kjc
2008-08-22 04:33 am (UTC)
which i often describe as being like those lead vests that they put on you at the dentist's office.

Yes! That heavy hand, pressure-type feeling square in the middle of your chest. Hate that.
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[User Picture]From: dpolicar
2008-08-21 04:51 pm (UTC)
(nods)
Nothing useful to say, really... just listening, is all. And thanks for saying it out loud.
But mostly just (nods).
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[User Picture]From: kjc
2008-08-22 04:33 am (UTC)
Thanks for reading.
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[User Picture]From: lillibet
2008-08-21 06:50 pm (UTC)
Thanks for reminding me what's going on with you. If I ever find the magic wand, you're high on my list :)
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[User Picture]From: kjc
2008-08-22 04:33 am (UTC)
*grins*

Thanks! I appreciate that.
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[User Picture]From: drwex
2008-08-23 11:56 am (UTC)
I have never thought you were a jerk.

I won't pretend I have any idea what it's like to be living with all that, but at least I understand a little better the laundry list of "stuff you have to deal with."

Thanks for explaining.
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[User Picture]From: kjc
2008-08-28 09:07 am (UTC)
Thank you for reading.
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[User Picture]From: cmeckhardt
2008-08-24 05:52 pm (UTC)
Thanks for writing this. I don't know you that well, and we don't see each other often (which is too bad!), but I'm really glad to know what things are like for you.

I feel the constant knowledge of the medical problems and the always knowing you aren't normal, the dumb advice people give because they're uncomfortable that you have to deal with things that suck that they don't understand, the uphill slog to get the everyday things covered. My current daily slog is better than it's been in a really long time (and not as tough as yours), but I'm aware that the rug could be yanked out from underneath me any time.

So yeah. That was good to read.
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[User Picture]From: kjc
2008-08-28 09:09 am (UTC)
I'm glad you found it to be a good read.

I'm kinda socially ingrown these days... I'm not sure what to do about that. There needs to be more parties during the weekend days under big shady trees so we can socialize, enjoy the outdoors, and not get skin cancer.

You're welcome and thank you for reading.
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From: allessindra
2008-08-30 01:26 pm (UTC)

*raises hand*


heard, observed. more and more of it in myself, fwiw.

Hope to see you at the party next weekend. Not sure when we're getting to it.

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