Dear adrenal glands

Dear adrenal glands,

You shit me. Honestly. I know that you’re just trying to keep us safe, but coffee does not indicate an imminent threat, nor does the baby upstairs crying by the way – if you think for a moment you’ll remember that we do not in fact have a baby of our own, so when you hear one, don’t worry, it’s not our problem.

While we’re on the subject, here’s a list of other things that do not constitute an emergency:

The delivery man from the postal service ringing the doorbell – his name is Barry and he seems like a nice guy, anyway he’s about 80 years old so I reckon if it one day turns out he is a threat we can totally out-run him, or just bop him one on the nose, so chill.

Mr Kitty scratching his scratching post loudly, this is definitely not a problem, in fact it’s a behaviour we’d like to encourage so maybe let’s not jump out of our skin every time he does it.

The neighbors loudly slamming their front door every f’ing time they leave their house – it’s not a signal of danger, it’s just a signal of inconsiderate people. And god knows we can’t go around fighting/flight-ing every time we encounter those we’d never get anything else done.

Sitting in the doctors waiting room, literally nothing bad is going to happen here, I mean, at worst we might get yet another bloody blood test, but we’re not actually scared of needles sooooo… seriously, we’re here to get happy pills, be happy.

Making phone calls – look, I know this one is a long-standing problem for you, but think of all the thousands of phone calls that we’ve made over our lifetime, consider it for a second, how many of those calls have resulted in anything scary?

There are more things that I could mention but perhaps that’s enough for now. Give this some thought hey.

Yours Sincerely,

The bitch who’s supposed to be in charge of this lump of carbon.

 

Post Script


Apparently I just had my first officially diagnosed episode of hypo-mania. Which explains a lot really.

The depressive crash has been quite disappointing, though I’ve spent most of it asleep, and if it’s been the cost of those days of heady joy then I’m willing to pay it.

I woke up tired today, but decided to fight for a day of Awake, so I drank coffee for the first time in months and now my hands won’t stop shaking – it’s very hard to type, and I’m struggling to breath normally, I do believe it’s setting off a panic attack or something like one. Ick. I’m sweating. Ick. My vocal cords are tight from the adrenaline. I broke a glass trying to wash the dishes but have walked away from the mess for now, I don’t think I can deal with it safely. So instead I wrote the post above, I hope somebody somewhere finds it entertaining. 🙂

 

 

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Elation

“What are you thinking about?”

Elation.

“Welcome to, something like elation when you first open your eyes, just coz it means that you must have finally got to sleep last night.” (Ani DiFranco)

Last night I kissed you, tomorrow I’ll miss you, remember I’ll always be true…” (The Beatles)

True to your word…

…(pause: cat jumped on my desk and started chewing my fingers)

Stop biting me kitty. “Kitt-eeeEEH!” (Cartman)

Horse and cart

Buggy whip makers, they went out of business, they recovered, the world goes on and you can’t stop progress for the sake of a few broken eggs

Eggs, vegan, I’m vegan now, no more scrambled eggs.

My brain is scrambled.

Like bad code, maybe I need a duck to talk to.

Or maybe a computer, the void.

Oh shit now I’m self aware again.

Type type type I can’t sleep why can’t I sleep

flashing electrons in my brain interconnected nodes electricity is the spark of life are we any better than Frankenstein’s monster animated flesh will AI answer the question is consciousness nothing more than a sufficiently complicated network and a power source? who are we what are we really? who am I? what am I?

Why can’t I sleep? Why must there be purpose? There is no purpose. I’m a collection of atoms on a speck of dust hurtling through space. And it’s the grace of physics I haven’t fallen into the sun.

Sun. Sol. Solar System. Ra.

“Ra-ra-rasputin Russia’s greatest love machine.”

Oh how we danced.

And danced.

And didn’t care at all.

When we were young

“When WEEEEeee were young” (Adele)

“Turning tables oooOOOowweeeoOh. Next time I’ll be braver, I’ll be my own savior, when the thunder calls to mMeEEEeeee…” (Adele)

I love thunder storms, I feel the ions in the air, the electricity snaps at me, awakens something in me that I wish I could access on command, an awareness, a liveliness, my senses sharp, my mind fast, and on odd sort of adrenaline filled elation.

Elation.

Inflation. Balloons. There were hot air balloons on new years day rising up, up, up.

“Up, up up up up up up…” (ani difranco)

The stocks went up, but the market’s inflated, the bubble will burst, bubbles

Bubbles are pretty.

(pause: visualizing bubbles)

Elation.

The emotion I feel when he shyly smiles at me.

The emotion I felt when he kissed me and my brain. shut. up.

“Oh, nothing.”

NYE 2018

I wanted a night without pain, without anxiety, a night of freedom. So I took Diazepam for the social anxiety, Oxycodone for the pain, a glass of whiskey for good measure and then off I went on my grand adventure…

The night was beautiful the night was dark and I was flitting from conversation to conversation, person to person, befriending all, if leaving them a little puzzled. Words rapidly tumbled from my tongue, sometimes into a beautiful metaphor that flew forth like a butterfly, sometimes falling into a tangled mass dead at my feet. I danced, I drank,  I hugged and hugged and hugged. One woman asked me if I was one of the fae, another asked if I was on amphetamines. Still, my heart felt full, I kept telling people “I don’t remember the last time I felt this good!” and “I can’t believe I’m still awake!” the lights sparkled, the stars twinkled down at me, and I felt alive. I kissed somebody at length. I laughed so often and smiled so hard that my face began to ache (and still does.)

I walked home around 7am on the 1st, I sang a song to and then fed my cat, I showered and that shower was glorious I felt like a water nymph. I felt beautiful and free. I lay in bed and realized that I still didn’t need sleep! And my body still didn’t hurt (much) and I could have stayed out even longer. I lay there with my brain chattering away for hours, giggling to myself, eventually I fell asleep. When I awoke a few hours later I noticed that my ankles were badly swollen and that my back was sore, but mostly I was just overjoyed to be awake again and feeling so well rested as well! I ordered delivery and I began to eat but the food tasted bland, it was so disappointing, I realized that I didn’t want food, I didn’t need food.

I tried to read but my eyes couldn’t follow the words on the page, they just kept jumping ahead trying to read three sentences at once, it made me laugh. I did some online shopping, but it was hard to do because I kept forgetting what I was searching for. I tried to go back to sleep but it evaded me. So I watched YouTube videos on and off play-pause-play-pause between bouts of mentally reliving moments of my night out. Morning came again, the 2nd!

I don’t remember much of January 2nd, I think I might have just watched Netflix all day long in the same manner that I watched YouTube the night before. I know that I forced myself to eat dinner, tofu and broccoli, I tried to tell myself as I ate it that I needed the nutrients, that the food was good, healthy, and giving me life but the whole meal was an effort. I know that all day I still felt alive, awake, and happy, just a bit physically sluggish, so I slugged it up on the couch. I think the day went by very quickly.

And now it’s 2.30 am on January 3rd and I’m still not tired at all, my brain is still chattering, I still can’t focus for long. I’m typing this and I’m amazed that my typing is creating coherent sentences – maybe it isn’t, maybe I’ll re-read this later and discover that it’s gibberish! But I can’t sleep I’m not tired. I feel great. I feel amazing. I feel as though right now in this moment I am the best version of myself. If I was like this all the time people would like me more, everything would be easier, I’m more fun when I feel this way, I’m funnier when I feel this way. And so what if I accidentally tell my secrets to strangers and overshare details that would usually mortify me if I can’t feel mortification. This feels wonderful. I want life to always be like this.

But my fingers are starting to hurt from the typing, I keep making typos, and a little ghost who lives in the back of my brain is starting to whisper little questions that I don’t like very much: “Is this healthy?” “Is this normal?” “…is this mania?”

To forget, perchance to live

My brother told me he can’t remember a thing of our childhood, from his description he has retrograde amnesia so vast as to span the years 0 to 30. And I am two parts horrified, four parts concerned, and one guilty little part envious. What that must be like! To forget the violence, the screaming, the tears, the beatings, the hollow house we called our home. He always seemed like a ghost to me, he could hide in plain sight, slip from rooms without question. I could never disappear no matter how I tried, I was held onto, made example of, gripped and thrown and taught lessons. If he was born to hide then I was born to hurt.

But it’s no wonder then that he seems so confused by the familial disputes of the present day, with no context our interactions must seem thoroughly obtuse. Yet he has achieved what I’ve so often sought, in drink, in drugs, in music, in therapy – forgetting. And now he demands, angrily, enviously, that he wants me to remind him, to tell him everything that I remember – and I’m not sure that I can be so cruel. I think at least that our psychologists ought to be present for such an unraveling, I don’t feel qualified to administer such truths without causing harm. I will have to try to remember good times as well as bad to share, who knows how one finds that balance. I think I need a session before I even consider an attempt. I feel like falling to a fainting couch, hand to head, letting out a dramatic cry, at the very thought of it.

He seems, more than anything else, angry. And that anger was directed at me for want of a better place to go, “Why did our Aunt leave something to YOU in her will, but not to ME?!” he demands, as if I will have an answer. “How MUCH did she leave you?” He spits, sending my spirit cold with the realization that he cares about the money and not the sentimentality, or that perhaps that he equates them. How dismissive he is when he discovers she left me a handcrafted item, something with no cash value, but full of love. “YOU don’t have a mental illness,” he says accusatorily “so you wouldn’t understand.” I stare for a moment deeply confused, and hesitantly correct him. He flies into a rage once more “Why didn’t I KNOW that?” I suggest, gently, that he needs to see a doctor as soon as possible, because in fact he did know that, and it is amongst the things he has forgotten.

He tells me, haltingly, in a small voice “You stood up for me..?” “Yes” “Did I ever stand up for you?” I pause watching him stare at the floor “Yes, sometimes you did” “What happened when I did?” “Well, then you caught hell as well.” I don’t think it’s wise in this moment to explicate but I wonder, what is therapy dragging up for him? Does he remember that day by the side of the road? The blood on his face? Does he remember blaming me then? I would tell him that I forgive him if I were sure that he remembered, and if I were sure that it is something he would accept – perhaps he thinks it is he who might do the forgiving? He certainly said as much that night. He told me that it’s my fault, that I ought to just take the abuse and be quiet, not stand up for myself, that it only makes things worse to argue.

His belief is patently, demonstrably, untrue, but I understand where it comes from – a childhood of being a mouse in a cage full of lions wherein I attempted to be a lion tamer. The mouse gets injured too.

I asked him if the abuse stopped when I left home, he said a quiet no. I spent an hour or more sidling up on facts, employing my very best impression of a therapist guiding him gently to realities. Father drinks whether I am home or not. Mother shouts whether I am there or not. I was a child and it was not my fault, he was a child too and it was not his fault either. He rebelled the most at this last idea – he is utterly convinced that we were to blame for what went on in that house, even though he can’t remember exactly what it was only that it hurts him.

In a moment of drunken fancy I told him “they made you glass, and they made me steel, it’s not a brag, neither is so grand.” He told me then that I’m like our father, and he’s like our mother, he sounded proud. And I felt sorry for him. Because he idolizes them still, because he’s internalized the idea that haughty cruelty is strength, because he seems so horribly broken and utterly at a loss as to how to begin to rebuild. I feel like a paragon of mental health by comparison.

I don’t know how to begin this business of helping him. I told him that I’m always here, that I’m willing to do whatever it takes to help, that he can call me day or night, that I’ll come see his psychologist with him if that’s useful. I offered to come around for dinner, for a cup of tea, just to talk. But I was waved off. I will try again in the new year. For now at least his wife knows, and she is there with him to remind him that all is not lost. And in this interim period I will try to discard my envy.

Overstimulated and Underwhelmed

Solitude suits me in moderation.
And crowds are easy to drown in.
But a close circle of well-meaning interrogators,
Sets my soul on edge.

I think that I hate Christmas.
I think that I always have.
There’re too many expectations, and too few souls to hide amongst.
Too much family-time, and too many questions.

I like my liquor, on the holidays.
I don’t see a problem, it’s just a few days.
But they make assumptions,
And want to recommend AA.

So I think that I hate Christmas,
I think that I always have.
There’re too many expectations, too many reminders of the grave.
Too much family-time, and too many damn questions.

I want to hear stories, of happy kids and warm homes.
They want poke me in all the old sore places.
I just want to play happy families,
And they just want to start a war.

So yeah, I hate Christmas.
Yeah, I always have.
I hate Christmas.
I hate Christmas.

Meh.

I was so damn jumpy in therapy this week – every sound that rang out, every shadow that glided across the wall, had me on guard and ready to run. Also, I’ve become afraid of the dark all of a sudden. I know, logically, that this is just EMDR dragging all of my childhood trauma back up to the surface and that “the only way out is through” but geeze… what’s next?

My toes have been swollen, sore, and stiff the last couple of days and so walking is an absolute bitch of a thing, I think that might be effecting me emotionally more than I’ve acknowledged. Because right now I *feel* disabled, and that’s not a way I ever ever expected to feel in this life.

I am so, so, fatigued. I didn’t sleep last night at all, but I did sleep most of the day and all I want to do is go back to bed. I still haven’t wrapped my Christmas gifts and that feels like a failure. I feel like I haven’t bought enough for certain people but I don’t have any energy to leave the house and shop, and it’s way too late to have anything else delivered. The Christmas gift bags that I ordered online arrived and are significantly smaller than expected, to the point of being useless. I had to laugh at that. I’m just hoping against hope that I sleep well tonight and wake up tomorrow with a whole heap of energy to go out into the world and get shit done.

Meh. I’m going to back to bed, maybe tomorrow will be better!

 

The unexpected benefits of drinking

Red wine lowers my blood sugar.

This is not normal, red wine should send my glucose up into the stratosphere, but instead, my body takes that sweet, sweet, raspberry oaken liquor and processes like a pro and my blood sugar sinks, I’m down to a 4.2.

And so I say “Thank you! Oh, occasionally benevolent universe, thank you for leaving me this. This indulgence that soothes my fragile shaky psyche. I needed this.”

I am drunk on half a bottle of vegan shiraz and eating dry roast salt free almonds like they’re the most delicious thing on earth. I’m listening to Ani Di Franco and serenading the neighbors with the songs of my teen-hood; I’m so much better at singing when I’m drunk, it’s amazing.

Fuck me. I set my VPN to Netherlands and forgot, an ad came on YouTube and I thought I was having a stroke – nope, just Danish. Jeeeeesus.

Bedtime.

Sloth-like

I got comfy, meditated, and took 10 mg of Valium last night and I still didn’t sleep. It feels like betrayal, when your eyes ache, and your body’s sore, but your brain just won’t shut down. I’m so tired that I took my morning meds without food – I forgot that I shouldn’t do that and now my belly is angry.

This morning all my movements are slow, meticulous, I feel like a sloth carefully selecting the next branch for fear of grabbing its own leg and falling from the canopy to the ground below. I’ve taken all of my allowed painkillers for this four hour period yet the pain is still here, I wonder if the pain is getting worse, or, if my body is developing opioid tolerance.

My anxiety was very keen for me to know, at 3am this morning, that if I were attacked by an intruder, my current weakened state would make it very difficult for me to fight them off. Thanks anxiety. I’m not sure how staying awake was supposed to help with that?

My cat is on the windowsill chirping at the birds, such a cute noise for “I want to hunt!” I’m drinking a belated protein/veg shake and waiting for motivation to come and get me. Perhaps I should have spiked it with a little matcha.

I am proud that so far today I have:

  • Gotten out of bed at a reasonable hour
  • Showered!
  • Washed my hair!
  • Taken all my meds
  • Had breakfast
  • Put on clothes that aren’t pajamas

What are you proud of today?

 

My wrists hurt. 

The pain comes like little knives stabbing in my sleep until I dream of vipers latching onto my body, infusing venom and sapping the life-force from me. They curl about my forearms and sink their teeth into my wrists, clasp themselves around my calves and bite into my knees which I then fall to. I cry out and it’s that which awakens me. Heart pounding in fear, sweat beaded above my lip, and these tiny snakes squeezing and striking at me. And I don’t know which is worse, the anxiety or the pain. My mind febrile, my hands shaking, I reach for the lamp and sit up in the silence of 3am.

My cat meows a sleepy inquiry. I feel guilty for waking him but the sound grounds me. I want peace, I want solace, I want somebody to hold me, very carefully, and tell me everything is going to be okay. I drink some water, and I wait, I listen to the clamor of my body with the patience of a mother, “What do you need love?” I wait for the clamor to quieten and coalesce into coherence – water, oxycodone, a hug, sleep.


I wanted to paint today, but fifteen minutes in my wrists began to scream at me like tiny tortured animals and I had to stop. I wanted to cook today, but my muscles are refusing to engage and I can’t even lift the saucepan to the stove-top. I wanted to go out today and have a few drinks at the local bar, but I’m so tired I can barely keep my eyes open and the little howler monkey of anxiety is screeching on my back when I approach the front door and my blood sugar monitor laughs mockingly at the thought of alcohol.

Today I watched some comedy on Netflix. Today I heated a microwave meal for lunch. Today I lay still and stared at my ceiling practicing calculating units of insulin to carbohydrate ratios. Today I contemplated taking a sleeping tablet just to make the day be over, but that seemed like the beginning of an ending.


I went to see the doctor, my usual one was on holidays, the substitute told me “You are too young to be this sick.” I laughed and said “No shit.” He reprimanded me for swearing. He seemed genuinely annoyed with me for being young, or for being sick, I’m not sure why.

I caught the train home from my appointment and sighed out loud with relief when somebody else got off and I could take their seat, I cradled my hands in my lap like an infant, waiting for them to stop crying… strangers looked at me, I didn’t care.

I picked up my prescription pain meds from my local pharmacy and the pharmacist gave no argument and asked no questions, he’s used to me now, he said “I hope you feel better soon.” and I could tell that he meant it. As I left, the kindness overwhelmed me so much that it brought tears to my eyes.


My friend asked me on the phone “How are you doing today?” and I said “My wrists hurt.”

I miss you like sleep.

Anxiety fluttered moth-like in my chest, the tiny writhing snakes of RLS twisted in my shins, my eyes ached to close but my brain rattled off a monologue of upcoming tasks, embarrassing memories, and insults. I got up and took a long hot shower, watching rivers of water twist down my body to the drain. I lay back down and for a little while, a few minutes at least, I felt warm, soft, calm, safe… but then they were back, the moths, the snakes, the thoughts. I stared into the dark in silence until the soft chiming of my alarm signaled me – time to wake up.