I don’t remember asking for your opinion

I’ve been me for a long time now. My whole life, in fact. That’s 44 years now, a respectable chunk of time.

I went through puberty at… well, that takes a few years to go through. I started at age 8. I finished up around 11 or 12-ish. Still a respectable chunk of time ago. 36 years, give or take.

Medical doctors have to attend college, and then med school. They have to study for a long, long time to get smart enough to be doctors, a long time before they are allowed to practice medicine, prescribe drugs, cut on people if they’re surgeons, etc. Like 8 or 9 years for schooling, then 3-7 years of internships, and then finally they are doctors. Let’s say 16 years to be a real top-notch pro. So a fair chunk of change out of their lives. And I appreciate that. They are experts on the average human body.

But I am not the average human being, and I am not living in the average human body. I should know, having been me my entire life. Post-pubescent me for 36 years now, even. I note post-pubescent because puberty is when one’s body chemistry does the “chrysalis” thing and shuffles, re-arranges, and when you’re done, the adult form emerges. I’ve been living with my adult chemistry for a good 36 years now. I know how my body works and how it does not work. I am an expert on being ME. I’m more of an expert on being me than any medical doctor is on the average human, it might be noted. I know me really, REALLY well.

My body chemistry is not average. If it were, I would not have need of any specialized medications to control it. Clinical depression is an imbalance of body chemistry. It is not sadness. It is not a lack of properly balanced chi. It is not a poor attitude. It is not laziness. It is not my diet. It is not God’s punishment for a sin I have committed. It is a physical imbalance like diabetes or autism that makes me different from the average human. In that respect, it is no different from my Meniere’s. It is part of the genetic lottery I drew at birth. It is what my body is.

It is not who I am.

It is also not something that’s gonna be controlled by happy thoughts and tai chi. Please stop telling me you know more about my body and my condition than I do. Stop pretending you care and the overabundance of your great heart makes it okay for you to insult me. We both know better. Get down out of my face with that care-trollery, you sanctimonious buffoon.

I have been unmedicated. I know what it’s like. You were not there, you didn’t see me, didn’t experience me at my horrifying, suicidal, nihilistic worst. You did not hold me while I sobbed my guts out, literally crying until I vomited for hours, or tore bedsheets to one-inch squares in my frenzied panic attacks. Years later, my mother was still finding pieces of her shredded bed linens behind her bureau drawers. Unmedicated me was only safe to be around because I had something besides a person to shred. My mother sacrificed her linens willingly…

I have a relative who has told me right to my face that “…things were better in the 50s when people didn’t talk about their problems all the time, and didn’t take lots of drugs to mess up their heads.” She is in complete denial of her own mental health issues which are so clear to everyone but herself, it’s kind of heartbreaking. But to be told that the medications I take daily to keep my head clear, that those are what are causing my problems? – THAT is a special brand of madness reserved only for the tin foil hat wearers and conspiracy theorists. And she doesn’t see it. She doesn’t understand. She just grinds on in her ignorance and her anger and her addiction to painkillers, cigarettes and alcohol. Merciful heavens, I know she’s in pain, she survived esophageal cancer for crying out loud, but she’s not doing a thing in the world to try to better herself, not one single, solitary thing. She is, however, trying to drag me down to her level because misery loves company.

But I won’t go.

She’s not the only one. There are so many, many people out there who are convinced that Big Pharma and Big Brother are one and the same, and they are Out To Get Me ™ any way they can. Now I’m no fan of the tactics and woefully lacking ethics of Big Pharma, nor am I living in ignorance of their multitudinous crimes and sins against humanity and general decency.

But I am chemically imbalanced all on my own without their help, in my natural, un-anything’ed state. I was unbalanced long before I took my first medication. I was a freakin’ mess, folks. And I’m here to tell you that without those medications from Big Brother Pharma, I would probably be dead today, just like Robin Williams.

Because Depression is a killer. People weep when Cancer kills a victim. “Oh, she was so brave, she fought to the end, she was so heroic, alas!” But people blame the victim when Depression wins. “She was weak, she gave up, she stopped trying, she was selfish and didn’t care about those who loved her. She should have tried harder.” Stop it. Depression kills. It kills as surely as Cancer ever did, as surely as a car crash or having a piano dropped on your head will kill. It is a deadly poison that eats away at your mind from the inside, a poison created by your own body, a poison that whispers to you in a voice no one else can hear, until you can hear nothing else, and it screams and sings and whoops its war cry and drowns out every other sound in the world until you go mad from the repeated mantra of you’re-no-good-no-one-loves-you. Who amongst you wouldn’t be desperate to get that demon out of your head any way you could?

Guess what?

The drugs quiet the demon.

And the kicker is that it’s a lottery as to which drugs will work for which person, too. Because the standard drugs don’t really work all that well for me. I’m on something that turns most people into a zombie (Thorazine), and it’s brought me to life. I am vivacious and happy and energetic on this med (in combination with two other psych meds), and it was out of a desperate need to sleep that I rolled the dice and took the prescription my doctor offered me. I knew I might get the “Thorazine shuffle” as it’s known in the psych med community. I was suffering from horrible insomnia, and at that particular moment, didn’t care what it took. I needed to sleep. And accidentally stumbled upon a miracle. Because everyone who has whacked-out body chemistry is whacked out in a slightly different way, and responds to the meds in a slightly different way. My doctor admitted it. He understands. He’s been around the block a few times. He’s seen it happen. Random results. YMMV. One man’s meat is another man’s poison, and there’s no way to predict or control the results. It really is a roll of the dice. I got lucky. I’m now getting the sleep I need, and as an added bonus, extra energy and cheerfulness! Not the usual Thorazine patient.

The point is, everyone is an individual. You cannot just walk up to someone and say “This is bad for you, you must cease and desist,” without knowing them, knowing their history, and knowing their situation. Someone online, who doesn’t even know my real name. Someone who has maybe seen a profile pic and therefore knows I’m overweight. Someone who knows nothing about me besides that, and truly, not even the reasons for that. That someone can’t freaking prescribe for me. Stay out of my life. You don’t know. I know. I know what’s best for me.

My doctor and I have sat and discussed it rationally like two intelligent adults, and we have decided what works best for me. Him, an experienced psych doctor with years of accumulated knowledge in his field, and me an experienced me-be-er with years of accumulated knowledge in my field.

You’re just some schmoe with an opinion.

Which I did not ask for.

So keep your schmoe opinion where it belongs: between your ears and out of my life. Because you’re not an expert on being me. I’ve been adult me for 36 years now, and I know how it’s done. You don’t know me at all.

What NOT to talk about?

Jeez… it seems like I can’t think of a thing in the world to blog about, then I can’t seem to shut up. What shouldn’t I blog about? So much is going on in my world, my head spins with busy.

 

  • My apartment next door is empty.

    Sort of. Well, my cousin moved out over a month ago, but some of her stuff is still here. I can’t exactly rent the place out, because I have nowhere to put the stuff that she’s left behind, which she either doesn’t want or claims is mine. Two pieces I know are mine, that’s fine. The rest of it? I’ve got no clue what to do with it. Sell it, I guess, or put it in the storage shed. Of course, I can’t lift ANY of it, so that means “get some strong friends to lift shit and move furniture for me” and that’s so much easier to type than to do.

    She’s also left the back yard a pigsty. The derelict chicken coop which takes up at least a quarter of the yard, where all the chickens died last year but hey, let’s just leave that coop sitting there, testament to her failure to keep the animals alive. Because Josie probably wants that, right? Yeah. Sure. And the hutch where their rabbit died, well somebody tore the hutch to pieces, but those pieces are… you guessed it, strewn all over the yard still. Then there’s the swingset, the play house, the kids’ cars (you know, the kind little kids sit in), the garbage can full of carpet, and all the dogshit everywhere. No grass, just dogshit. I don’t own a dog. Never have. Hate them. Yeah, thanks for taking care of the place when you moved out, cousin. I really appreciate all you did for me there. I’m going to sell your kids’ stuff out from under you when you’re not looking. Maybe that’ll make up for the back rent you owe me…. *mutter, mutter*

    A friend said he’d help me spackle in the nail holes and repaint, but since he’s a volunteer, I can’t exactly criticize the fact that he’s nowhere to be seen. I mean, I can, but what a bitch, right? No. I’ll behave. So there’s that.

  • I haven’t written anything in my novel series for about three years. Yeah. My mom passed away over two years ago now, and I was about a year into a dead zone in writing when she passed. It’s like my muse just up and moved out or something. Can’t say as I blame her, really…
  • I have a pet snake now. He’s awesome, and I adore him. His name is Orion, and he’s a baby ball python. Baby as in he was born in February. Yes, I said “born” and not “hatched” because pythons are live-born, they don’t lay eggs. About 20 or so inches long atm, he’s just gorgeous. Unless you’re not a snake person, in which case he’s creepy and slimy the way all snakes are. Don’t worry, I’m not offended. I understand. I’m that exact way with spiders.

    My boyfriend Dave bought Orion for me as his birthday present. He was given money for his birthday, and instead of being responsible with it, he bought (among other irresponsible things) a pair of ball pythons, one for himself and one for me. As a romantic gesture. Now don’t get me wrong, I love Orion, but what the actual f*ck was he thinking buying someone a pet as a gift? That never goes well. What if someone isn’t expecting this? Because I wasn’t. We had discussed the possibility of doing this someday, but then out of the blue, surprise, here’s your snake, sweetie! No, that’s just rude. So now I am a snake owner. And he’s awesome. But kind of like an unplanned pregnancy, really.

    Orion eats live mice. It may be sick and twisted of me, but I love watching him eat. I do. Put him in the feeding tank and watch him throw his coils around some poor, witless mouse and suffocate it… I’m in heaven. It’s a vicarious thrill, I guess. I wish I could do that to some people, some days.

    Orion is spoiled. He’s got a huge tank for a tiny snake (he’ll grow into it), a humidifier that makes his tank look like it’s in a rock video, two heat lamps (day and night), rocks, soil, basking platform, water dish, the works. He is stylin’. He is also a very mellow guy, likes to be held, friendly as you please. We sit and watch tv together, it’s nice.

  • My cat Jack needs surgery. He’s been pretty grumpy for a long time, but it’s been getting worse, so I took him in to the vet and they did some X-rays and lo and behold, he has a bad back. Vet showed me the pictures, and sure enough, what I saw would’ve made me grumpy, too. So the vet wants to do surgery, but it’s $2,000. Like that’s gonna happen any time soon! So she gives him a pain shot for “in the meantime” and I take him home. I put up a GoFundMe page for him, try to raise a little money. Actually managed to raise $505 before the donations stopped trickling in. Which makes Jack the richest cat I know. Yes, he’ll get his surgery, eventually, but not right away. Maybe let me get that apartment next door rented out and some rent money coming in from that first….
  • Anyway, money being tight, I’m not going to the family reunion this fall. Can’t afford surgery for a cat, I’m surely not gonna drive 2,500 miles across the country to go live in a cabin for a week and hang out with the old folks. Much as I would love to, that costs a lot more than two grand, and the money just ain’t there. Maybe next year, if I’m lucky.

And so on, and so forth. Plenty of stuff to talk about, see? In the meantime I’ve found a wonderful website that I’m very excited about called projecturok.org, which I’d highly recommend anyone with any mental health issues check out. It’s aimed primarily at troubled teens, but will work for troubled anyone, really. That’s Project You Are Okay, not Project You Rock, although they do rock. It’s full of videos and blog posts from people who are depressed, or other mental illness sufferers/survivors, so it’s kind of like this huge peer-support group online. The main thing is that in every video, you have to say “you are okay” somewhere in it. I’m making a video, how can I not? I’m excited to share!

I also got a new tattoo recently. It’s a semicolon. Because of Project Semicolon. This is something I’d heard about a long time ago, and I didn’t know they had a website and were all organized and stuff. It was just this idea I’d heard floating around and wanted to do. So I did it, then when I was sharing my photos of my tat, I found out it’s this whole organized thing. Who knew? Well, there ya go. And now I don’t have to go into this lengthy explanation of what my tattoo means to me, because it’s all there in the other website, put more eloquently than I would probably have been anyway.  I got mine on my inside left ankle, and it’s very fancy-looking because me, do something ordinary and normal-looking? Yeah, right. As if.