jianantonic: (Default)
It really hurts my heart when people say they struggle with depression but don't want to try prescriptions. I have a few friends on Facebook who are saying this very thing right now, and it just makes me sad. When I first went on antidepressants, I expressed concern to my psychiatrist. What if it makes me empty inside? Or I don't feel like myself anymore? She said that if that happens, it's the wrong medicine for me, and there are plenty of other meds out there that we can try until we find the right one. That's why they require follow-up visits after prescribing. That put me at ease, and luckily I have had a relatively easy time adjusting to medication. I am infinitely better off because I take these pills, and they do have some negative side effects (weight gain, difficulty orgasming, lower libido), but the benefits are so worth it. And those negative side effects are all things I've been able to overcome with varying degrees of success. It just takes some time to adjust.

It just makes me want to scream when people know they need help and know medication exists but don't want to try it. It's like the simplest thing a person can do to improve their life the most, and yet so many people just create reasons in their heads that it's not worth it. Or they have a bad experience with one medication (maybe not even antidepressants) and swear off prescriptions forever. I just...ARGH.

Fine, I guess. Your body, your choice. But it sucks to be here watching someone self-destruct when the solution is so simple and obvious. Especially when they post to Facebook "what should I do about this?"
jianantonic: (Seahorse)
I'm behind. I feel like I'm behind on everything lately.

I'm okay...mostly? I had a long conversation with my friend Eric tonight about how we're both doing. Personally, I'm okay. I think my future is pretty good. But I'm fucking terrified for the country and the world, and I can't really enjoy my own triumphs as much as I'd like. I think I'll still be here when we're done dealing with the clusterfuck that is our government...in one, four, or twenty years...and I think I'll be living well in that time, unless catastrophe befalls Beaverton directly, or our population in ways we can't see now. I do recognize this is a possibility. So, yeah, it's all qualified.

I lost a real estate client this week. That's a huge bummer, and if I had the energy, I would fight for it. The reason he's bailing is very much a misunderstanding on his part, but I feel like reeling him back in would lead to at best an awkward and uncomfortable continued relationship. I just...no. I do need to find something to energize me, though, because I need to have a better professional year than I did in 2016. I need to network more aggressively. I need to not get sick so much...I need to feel better about myself...I need...to cry for a little while.

I'm also thinking about moving my journal to another site. But that seems overwhelming. This is 15 years of me. :/
jianantonic: (Seahorse)
I spent all my energy and then some today, but it was really worth it. I'm home in bed now, not especially sleepy, just wiped out, and I have nothing on my schedule tomorrow until the evening, so I can take my time rejuvenating.

I've been in my depression drug trial for over six months now. It forces me to think about and talk about my depression at each appointment in very clinical ways, whereas my therapy appointments are all about my emotions. The clinic stuff has taught me a lot about myself. Mainly that the way I've been affected by my depression is very, very different than it used to be. For a long time, I thought my depression made my marriage worse, made it ultimately fail. But I'm coming around to the idea that it was actually my marriage that made my depression worse. And the more I move on from that, the less my depression affects me. I'm not naive enough to think I'll get over either thing entirely, ever. I'll always have ~feelings~ about Z and my relationship with him, and I'll always have depression. I'll continue to treat both as needed, but this new perspective I have is really empowering for me.

One thing that SUCKS about the drug trial, and is really hard for me right now, is that a major side effect of the drug I'm on now is a voracious appetite. I've gained back most of the weight I lost earlier this summer, and I'm pretty upset about that. I mentioned that to my clinic doctor last week, and he dialed back my dosage to hopefully alleviate that effect. I have noticed that it's helping. Hopefully soon the scales will start to move back the other direction again. I am disappointed, but not in a super dark place with my body image right now, which I guess is good. But I certainly don't want the trend to continue the wrong direction. And I feel this constant need to explain myself to people -- like hey, I see you noticing that I've gained weight, here's why...but that's not a conversation I actually ever have. I just...erg. It's uncomfortable. I don't have to be a twig, I just want to look healthy. And right now I don't. Shrug. I continue to work at it, though. 
jianantonic: (Seahorse)
I'm at that point in the trip where almost everything is irritating me and I just want to be home. It's too hot to get comfortable, and every time I attempt to relax, someone is knocking on the door or barging into the room. My brother wanted to go to a restaurant in the next town over tonight. He's been here before and wanted to visit that place before we left. He invited me, but I declined, saying I wanted to go relax on my own for a while. He and Rachel both scoffed and laughed at me, saying "You need to relax after the long, taxing day you've had?" (I've been in my room resting almost all day.) YES, I DO.

This is how I am. Depression manifests in constant fatigue. I may have other health issues contributing to my fatigue. My shingles is flaring up again. I'm sleep deprived. My ankle still hurts. I miss my routine. I miss my cat. I miss my boyfriend. I miss my friends and the things we do together. I miss my city. I love my family but I need alone time.

I came back to my room and got online, started to read some articles, and chill. Frankie and my mom walked in about 10 minutes later. "Mom, I came back here to have some alone time."

"You've had it!"

"Mom, really. This is my room and I'd like to be alone in it. There's nowhere else I can go to be alone here."

She gave me this look like I was breaking her heart. Like I was committing some huge betrayal by suggesting I'd prefer to be alone when I only have a few hours left to be with my family.

"I'm serious, Mom. Please."

She took Frankie and went to her own room, finally. I have every intention of playing cards with them later when WT gets back from his little excursion. I just want this time to myself. (I'm sharing my room with Lucy, who is super respectful of my need for down time -- she seems to have similar needs -- so I haven't had true alone time all week.)

I'm so ready to be home. My flight isn't until 5pm tomorrow, so I have what I call a lame duck day. It's one of those days where you're going to travel/have to check out/are all packed so you can't really do anything, but it's still a full day so you've got to entertain yourself somehow. I don't get into PDX until almost 1am. So I'll get home to Beaverton around 2. I can't wait...then hopefully after a good sleep and a shower, I can go pick up Cleopatrick and he will still love me.
jianantonic: (Seahorse)
Was it just last week I was celebrating being able to have an email exchange with McKenzie without crying? It's as if he read that and took it as a challenge. We've had some of the kindest, softest exchanges of the decade we've known each other in the last couple of weeks. That fucker.

Things that are true about me:
I love Toby and want to be with him. I'm fully committed to him and happy about it.
I love and miss McKenzie.
My life is better than it has (ever?) been.
There will always be voids that only McKenzie can fill. And sometimes I'll really wish they were filled. (Haha maybe that's a vagina joke! Except no it's not. Also not a butt sex joke, for the record.)
I may or may not want to date other people and have varying levels of romantic relationships with them over the years.
Right now I'm emotionally capped at casual dating, no sex. But I'm open to the possibility that this could change any time.

Anyway that's where my heart is now. Happy for what is, sad for what is not, excited for the future that is possible, devastated about the loss of the future I once may have had.
jianantonic: (Seahorse)
Having a self-pity party.

I was on a roll, and then...I got thrown off course. I know I'm not starting from ZERO, but it's still frustrating to have to retrace steps when my relapse wasn't actually due to laziness or anything I brought upon myself. Usually it is. This time, though, I got food poisoning, then shingles, and I've been unable to get out of bed most of the last 7 days. And I need to work, and make money, and pay bills. I haven't run in over a week. I don't know how much I will be able to run when I get back to the gym. Maybe tomorrow? Probably not until Friday at the earliest, though. My shingles rash still hurts a lot. Even though it's not on my legs, any physical activity aggravates it. It's slowly improving, though.

I'm currently taking 5 prescriptions, and 3 different doctor-recommended OTC drugs. 15 pills a day plus three ointment applications. I'm 33 years old and I take care of myself! Ugh. Thank heavens for my insurance, anyway.

The brightest spot in my day, though, was hanging out with Shanon, Mary, Sloane, and Gwen this morning. The little girls are 23 and 20 months old now, and both getting more outgoing. They're more comfortable with me playing with them and snuggling them. The five of us went to the park near Mary's house, and both girls wanted me to hold them and swing them and join in their games -- which were largely incredibly boring, but fulfilling at the same time because their giggles were the best. It was win-win for everyone, because the moms were happy to unload their toddlers on me for a while, and I'm happy to indulge the kids, too. But I was telling Mary and Shanon that it's so much easier for me to enjoy playing with kids when I don't have to do it all the time...because the shit they like is really boring. We spent several minutes with both girls putting playground bark dust in my hands and laughing with delight when I emptied my hands back onto the ground, saying "goodbye!" I mean, I'm glad they like me! But I'm super glad I don't have to do that all day every day, too.

I accidentally left something at Mary's house, so I had to go back at dinnertime to grab it. Gwen came running to me, and was all hugs and smiles while I was there. I'm really pleased that she's starting to recognize me and bond with me. I really love that kid.

Taking a moment to vent and then relive the happy parts of the day has me feeling a bit better. I think I'm actually going to do some chores tonight -- it won't improve my bank balance or fitness, but I'll feel a little accomplished, anyway.
jianantonic: (Seahorse)
Things are mostly really good right now and I've been feeling awesome for the last few weeks. I don't have any major new issues contributing to my depression, and the things that were really weighing me down have subsided quite a bit -- real estate is moving again, my finances are in order (thanks to help from my parents), my fitness is improving, and I'm really just enjoying myself a lot. And of course there's that crazy kitten. He's a burst of joy, too.

I've gotten into a few new board games lately. My two favorite new ones are Istanbul and Quadropolis. Both like medium-level think/strategy games, but still pretty light for Euro-style. Toby also recently taught me backgammon, and we've been playing several games a day. Games are good :)

I'm doing a lot of substitute trivia hosting this month, so I'll see a little bump in the cash flow from that. I've been Ubering a few days a week for a few hours at a time, and my Airbnb room is pretty constantly rented. The last few years, I've had interns rent it for whole summers, but this year it's just been a string of short-term rentals. More money in the long run, because they're not getting discounts for longer rentals, but more work for me, doing laundry and changing the bed every day. No biggie, though. It's helping me keep the house (somewhat) clean, so there's that!

I continue to feel just disgustingly good about my relationship with Toby, and I'm pretty happy most of the time.

Sleep is still a problem -- I'm not doing well following the guidelines my doctor gave me, and that leads me to ignore them, and nothing improves. My own fault, I know. But as with all my other health changes this year, I've had to be ready, and I guess I'm just not ready to make big changes to these particular habits. It will come in time, though. I'm not letting it bother me much :)

Cleopatrick has been trying to sneak out more and more -- he's still confined mainly to my bedroom, with the closet and bathroom doors closed as well. For some reason, he LOVES going in the bathroom, and will sprint in there in a hurry as soon as someone opens the door. But there's nothing in there that he does, really. He just likes to see the places he usually doesn't get to see, I guess. Same with the closet. But he's pretty good about coming out when we dangle a toy or something to lure him so we can close the doors again. He's also made a handful of escape attempts out of the bedroom door, so we decided we'd try letting him out on supervised leave for a bit and see how he handles the rest of the house. Turns out when he's allowed, he's terrified. I picked him up on Saturday and as soon as we were past the threshhold of the doorway, he started freaking out. I thought he'd calm down when I brought him downstairs and he could see that everything was okay, but he totally lost it. As soon as I put him down, he raced back to the bedroom. Toby tried the same thing with similar results the next day. But that makes it easy for us. If he wants to stay in the bedroom, I don't have to worry about my jigsaw puzzles or craft table or the cat escaping out the front door. Works for me. I imagine he will want a larger range eventually, though.

One last happy thing...or, like, 80% of it, or something? One of my close friends just entered her second trimester of pregnancy. She's told most of her friends, but I guess it's still not public knowledge, so I'm not naming names yet, but the pregnancy is healthy and I'll have another niece or nephew in a few months. Of course I am thrilled about this, and will write more on the topic when I get the green light to gush freely. 
jianantonic: (Seahorse)
It's been a hellish few weeks. I've had bright spots and good times mixed in, but things have been really hard lately. My birthday last week was really great -- a lot of good friends came out to celebrate and we had a lovely time doing escape rooms and drinking fancy whiskey at the Multnomah Whiskey Library. Then Saturday was DASH, which was also a blast. We finished well but did not repeat as world champions this time around. Next year.

On Friday night, my computer died. It held on just long enough for me to see the end of the Blazers game six vs the Clippers where they won and secured their advance to the second round of the playoffs. I could hear several of my neighbors cheering when that game ended. It was awesome. But shortly after the game ended, my computer informed me that it was done with life, and swiftly crossed to the other side. I was thinking of getting a new computer soon, but the timing was not ideal as I was starting to build some momentum with work, and also was still in a big debt problem. So I ended up replacing it with the cheapest ChromeBook I could find, instead of a full laptop. So far I'm loving it, actually. I haven't missed having a "real" laptop at all. But if it turns out that I will need one, Toby has an old Macbook that I can have.

I had made a promise to my therapist to take my first Uber drive -- I've been licensed to drive for them for several weeks now, but just hadn't ever done it. So yesterday morning, I watched a few training videos, then logged in and gave it a shot. I picked up two riders in the span of about 15 minutes, and made $17 in a half hour of driving around Beaverton in the middle of the day. I feel really good about my prospects if I can do that in a really not-at-all-peak time. But it was getting really hot and I realized my A/C wasn't working, so instead of continuing to drive, I took the car in to my shop to have them check out the A/C. Turns out it's not a simple fix. The compressor is blown, and because it's a hybrid, the quote to fix it was $4000. So much for the $17 I made. I called around for a bunch of second opinions, and everyone quoted me even more. My car only cost me $7000 and it's going to need a new battery pretty soon, too, which is another $5000, and no. I can't do that. So after a lot of crying about money and freaking out over what to do, I took it to a few dealerships to get quotes for trade-in value. Toby came with me so I wouldn't get the single woman treatment, and I found some cars that are pretty good options. All the dealers were willing to give me pretty decent trade-in value, and I found a used Prius that would be a really ideal trade. But there's still the matter of coming up with the money to pay the difference. And I'm NOT applying for a loan because I have this ridiculous credit card debt (a result of depression-fueled carelessness over the course of 2015).

I called my parents and explained the whole situation to them -- how I'm feeling healthier now and I'm doing the best I can, but I'm in this hole and I need help. My dad wouldn't let me through without some stern lecturing about responsibility, but my mom reminded him that his own depression has led to some bad choices, too. In the end they were both incredibly sympathetic, and agreed to loan me the money I need to both get the new car and pay off my credit card debt. They are tacking it onto the mortgage I have with them already, but not raising the payment, just making it a longer loan. I am so incredibly relieved. It's a huge weight off...but I also hate that I'm 33 and have to get my parents to bail me out. I hate that I can't trust myself to control my life. I'm doing better now and of course there's a lesson learned, but all the lessons and good judgment in the world are shit up against mental illness. I just can't guarantee myself or anyone else that I won't be back in that state some day. I was crying about this with Toby last night -- both before and after my parents agreed to come to my rescue. And he held me and told me he would always be there for me. When I said I was afraid I'd get sick again and lose control and fail at life, he just squeezed me and said "No you won't. I'm looking out for you." And I just sobbed big ugly sobs when he said that. It's one thing for my friends to say they're always there for me (and I know they are! and I'm grateful!), but the problem with depression and its effects is that it's easy to disguise. My friends can watch out for me and I trust that they'll speak up if they're concerned, but only someone who is in my life every day can really catch it. And it's a lot to ask someone to commit to a partnership so potentially volatile. I've warned Toby a million ways about how I've been in the past and what I'm afraid the future could hold. And he's here. He's not going anywhere. I feel really secure in his commitment to me. I feel really secure in my commitment to him, too. As a young person with two divorces under my belt, I just can't let myself completely believe in forever, or even plan for it -- it's important to me to take care of my own debt rather than turn to Toby and his tech salary to help me. He would if I asked him but I'm not asking him.

I guess I can't really put in writing just how he made me feel when he held me last night, but I just know that he meant everything he said. I just know he's got me. And I hope the ways I'm able to be there for him are as meaningful to him...but he is a lot more stable than I am. He says I make him very happy, though, and even through deep, dark clouds of depression, he makes me very happy, too. I never thought I'd find a better match for myself than McKenzie. But Toby and I share so much more than I ever did with Z...and he's KIND to me all the time. I will always love and miss McKenzie, but this relationship that I'm in now? It's so much better. I didn't think that could exist. 
jianantonic: (Seahorse)
Each of the last several days, my emotions have been a complete roller coaster. Something will trigger a huge frustration/sadness/worry, and I'll have a debilitating reaction to it. I feel really, really awful for a few hours, then I gradually start doing healthy things that pull me out of the funk and back to at least a decent, if not sometimes really good, mood. How about that? Make good choices, feel better about life. Maybe there's something to that.

For what it's worth, I do think the new anti-depressants I'm taking are working just fine. I'm fairly certain these are the same reactions I'd have under even the best circumstances. I've just been steamrolled by several crushing stresses and new things to worry about, you know? But, one foot in front of the other, pick up, move on. (Sometimes after a nap.)

I finished week 5 of the Couch to 10K program today. It escalated quickly! Up through week 3, it was at most 90-second jogs. Week 4 had a mix of jogs anywhere from 1-5 minutes, but were still at least half walking. Then today it was warm up walk for 5 minutes, run for 20 minutes, cool down walk for 5 minutes. Okay then. Guess we're not messing around anymore.

I also went to my real estate office to have a chat with a mentor about strategies. He helped me flesh out some ideas, and I'm feeling pretty pumped to get going on them. It was right after that meeting, unfortunately, that today's crash came. I was in such a good mood that I actually answered my phone when it rang. Caller ID told me it was this old bridge friend, and I was pleased to see him calling me. Here's the thing about this guy -- he's a total doofus and I don't take him seriously about anything, but he's a nice guy and he always strokes my ego because he's had a crush on me forever. So I was happy to answer the phone. I haven't talked to him since my last NABC, a year and a half ago. He's not on social media, so we haven't kept up at all. After the initial hellos, he tells me he's calling because he didn't realize McKenzie and I split up. He had seen McKenzie last week and asked him why I didn't come to tournaments anymore, and McKenzie's answer was "I haven't seen her in over a year and it's the best thing that ever happened to me."

Okay, this dude is a total moron for telling me that. Of COURSE I didn't need to hear that. I made an excuse about having to go to a work meeting and got off the phone just before I started sobbing. I know McKenzie is thriving without me. That's not news. I know he's doing well and he's happy. But I was still under the impression that even though the divorce was good for him, he cared about me and was supportive from a distance, even though he's not in my life right now. But to hear that he's just cavalierly telling acquaintances that leaving me was the best thing he's ever done -- motherfucker, that's a gut punch. And humiliating on top of it. So I went from my go-getter, can't-wait-to-put-these-ideas-in-motion attitude to pajamas under the covers while I cry myself sick. I texted Toby and told him, and he kept encouraging me to go for a run (I had planned to take the day off and just work). I told him I knew he was right that it would help, but I just couldn't pull myself together enough to do it yet. After about two hours of crying to myself and halfheartedly trying to nap, I decided I should listen to the man who DOES love me and go for a run. So I did, and it did help. I still felt/feel really shitty about the McKenzie stuff (there's more to it than just what my friend said -- I sent McKenzie an email asking him to think about how cruel his statements are, and his reply was half apology/half even more hurtful), but I put taking care of myself ahead of feeling bad about myself, and when I got back, I was able to get a little bit of work done. Still not all that I'd planned, but enough that the day wasn't a total waste.

And then as I was winding down, I got new facebook friend requests from the guy who ghosted me over the weekend and his wife. They explained what had happened (poly drama, wife got scared that husband was falling for me too quickly, freaked out and asked him to stop seeing/talking to me, which is about what I guessed), both apologized a lot, and I chatted with both of them for a while. They're both coming to my birthday party tomorrow, and I'm glad I'm not left hanging. Also glad to not actually be cut off. It was a brand new thing and I'm not even really looking to date anyone else, but it turned out that I did like him quite a bit -- I think if I'm going to date him now, though, it's going to have to go at a snail's pace, which is actually what I prefer in this case anyway. Toby and I are leveling up more and more all the time, and I'm pretty focused on that relationship. Did I mention here that we adopted a kitten? He's not ready to wean yet, so we still have to wait a little while, but sometime in May, this house will have a new master. I can't wait :)
jianantonic: (Seahorse)
By almost anything measurable, my life is better than it was in my 20's. Every individual factor has improved. So why do I feel so fucking sad all the time? I know I had depression then, too, but I don't remember being this SAD.
jianantonic: (Seahorse)
Right after I posted that I needed things to go smoothly lest I melt down, everything went wrong.

I finally pulled myself together enough to get started on the important parts of my to-do list (not the angry notes part), and I got one bad news item after another. And tomorrow is my wedding anniversary and...meltdown.

I had my first panic attack in years.

Toby talked me through it and offered as much comfort as he could from his office, and I eventually calmed down enough to take care of a few essential errands before coming back home and collapsing into bed. I've canceled my plans for tonight and I'm going to take a nap now, because if I can't make my problems go away, at least I can sleep through them for a little bit. Super healthy, I know. Don't judge me.

I'm going hiking with Mary & Gwen and Mary's parents tomorrow. It will be good to be out in nature and in the company of wonderful people. Gwen is a good anti-depressant, too.
jianantonic: (Seahorse)
It's been a week + since I dialed my Prozac way back. I'm not experiencing withdrawal symptoms, but I am experiencing pretty heavy depression symptoms. I don't know how I lived without meds before. This suuuuuuucks. I'm getting through, though, because I know I get to start a new program in few days. But seriously. I hate this so much. I didn't get out of bed until noon today, and my to-do list includes three separate items of "write angry complaint to [entity]." I'm so fucking grouchy without my meds. I at least recognize that I'm grouchy because of the lack of meds and not because anyone has really wronged me. But it would be really fabulous if things could just go really perfectly smoothly for the next few days. Even small hitches are huge rage triggers for me right now. So far I haven't directed any of that rage at anything with feelings, though, so I think I'm handling it reasonably well. Still. It's fucked up that I can be aware that my reactions are outside of the realm of reality, but I can't not feel the rage/sad/fear/whatever. Ugh.

DEPRESSION SUCKS, YOU GUYS.
jianantonic: (Seahorse)
It's been nice having my folks in town. Yesterday was my dad's 75th birthday, and we picked Adrian up at the airport and then all went out to dinner to celebrate. (A Chinese buffet, of course.) On Thursday, I took them to Spirit Mountain so they could get their penny slot fix. Toby tagged along both nights. I'm really pleased with how my parents have received him. I know my mom wishes I were still with McKenzie, and I worried that would translate to some hostility toward Toby, but she seems to get that he's a good guy. He wasn't with us today, and twice she commented that it was too bad he was busy and couldn't spend the day with us.

Today was a loooong day. We started by going to the Evergreen Aviation Museum in McMinnville. I've been a few times -- I love that place. But you know how when you've been somewhere a bunch of times and everyone you're with is seeing it for the first time, they want to stay way longer than you do? We were there for four hours. I had a good time, though, and I was glad they enjoyed it so thoroughly. Our next stop was Lincoln City, to see the Pacific Ocean and to get some Tillamook ice cream. On the way to Lincoln City, we passed Spirit Mountain, and I joked about going back there tonight. My brother said he'd be up for it, and of course my parents were happy to return, so that's where we spent the rest of the day. I played pai gow the whole time. That wasn't really my plan, but all the other tables were full and I was winning, so I stayed. Everyone else at my table was losing a lot, but I just kept getting lucky hands. I think in the 2+ hours that I played, I only lost 2 or 3 hands. Most hands in pai gow are pushes, though, so it's not like I was winning crazy money, either. When my family came to get me, I had a little more than doubled the $100 I'd started with. So, yay, a nice profit.

We got back to Beaverton around 9, and I've been unwinding at home since then. My brain keeps going to sad/frustrated/angry places, though. It's a combination of going to a lot of places that McKenzie took me when I first visited Oregon and bridge things. Nationals are going on and whenever I talk to another bridge player, they say "it's not the same without you here," but I know they're having a good time, and no one has reached out to me to say they wish I was there. The first few nationals I missed, I got dozens of inquiries from friends and acquaintances saying they'd hoped to see me...now I kind of feel forgotten. That sounds so melodramatic. But...ungh. I feel like an angsty teenager with this shit.

I have this huge conflict in my reality where I miss McKenzie and want desperately to have him in my life again, and the fact that I've missed out on so much of his experience now (and I know he's been traveling the world and doing amazing things) that I don't know if I could reunite with him in any way without feeling intense jealousy/sadness/I-should've-been-there-too feelings. I mean I have those anyway, but I guess I don't have to confront them quite on the level that I would if McKenzie and I had some kind of relationship again, you know?

I have so much regret about our marriage. I know that regret isn't a productive emotion, but people who say "no regrets" are people who have never experienced grief the way I do. They are people who probably don't have crushing mental illnesses that inhibit their ability to make good choices. They are people I want to punch in the face when they tell me I "can't" regret things. Yes I can and I do and the supportive thing would be to respect that it's hard for me, and be a friend. The tough get-over-it-and-move-on approach does not work here. It makes me feel worse. I wish people wouldn't tell me (or anyone) not to feel what I feel. Whether the feelings are good or bad, they're real, and I feel really invalidated when the people close to me don't recognize that. (This is more of a preemptive rant than a commentary on the way anyone is currently treating me. My support system is amazing.)

I'm in a place right now where I can appreciate and enjoy the many good things I've got going for me, but my sadness around my divorce is stronger than ever. I do believe it gets better, but I can't picture what that looks like right now. It feels a long way off, and right now I just need to honor my own sadness. 
jianantonic: (Seahorse)
Next week, I'm beginning participation in a clinical trial for a new depression treatment. As part of the trial, I will be required to switch anti-depressants. This scares me because things were awful in ways I wasn't even aware before I started taking Prozac, and I'm afraid that I may not notice problems if I switch meds. So I'm putting my friends on alert. One of the biggest challenges to facing my depression before Prozac was that I never really recognized when I was out of my mind. I was always able to articulate and function, but I'd have reactions to things that just didn't make sense. Missing a turn on the road would cause a sobbing meltdown. Getting the wrong topping on my pizza would ruin my day and I'd be pissed at everyone involved in it. I was a volatile asshole. And I couldn't tell the difference between when my outrage was righteous (these were the Bush years, after all) or not.

So, friends, please look out for me. I won't find it patronizing. I need this from you for my own good. If I seem unpleasantly different, call me out. I might be a dick about it in real time, but if you help me recognize that I need to get out of the trial and back on my old meds, or make any other necessary changes, I will be grateful later. I hope that I don't get shitty. I don't think it's a high possibility. But because the possibility exists, I want to be extra clear to everyone that I may need help.

I'm sorry to burden anyone with the task of babysitting my brain, but I trust my friends to come through if I need it. This is my written permission to be forceful with me if I'm being unreasonable. Okay? Okay.
jianantonic: (Seahorse)
Most days this week, I've been in my pj's well into the afternoon. But even though I still have bedhead at 1:30pm, I am being productive today. I've gotten a lot more cleaning and organizing done in the house, but it's such an ongoing task...I'm proud of the progress I'm making, still overwhelmed by what's left, though.

One of the biggest challenges in this process is all the memories I uncover. So many little things I'd forgotten about, or just wasn't actively remembering...it's a kick in the gut. Because the memories are good and I don't want to throw the thing away, but it's a predictable amount of emotionally difficult, too. Right now I have a drawer dedicated to "painful memories I don't want to lose." It's got things like pictures, my wedding rings, notes we wrote each other, little gifts.

I'm also particularly emotional right now because the NABC's have just started. When I played regularly, it felt like eons between nationals, but now that I don't attend and they're such a huge emotional trigger for me (it's really hard seeing half the people I know all talking about it on Facebook and not being part of that group), it feels like there's ALWAYS an NABC going on. So I've had some crying jags today.

Despite the sometimes-crippling sadness, though, I'm not letting it completely derail me. I've been adulting hard this week. I've spent hours cleaning and purging my house of things I don't need. I've done work things. I've done personal financial things. I'm being healthy. I have to give myself big props for all that I've done, because I'm nailing it. I wish it were faster, easier, etc...but I think the work is good for me.

I want to another thing going on in my life but I think that deserves its own post. Coming right up.
jianantonic: (Seahorse)
I had a doctor's appointment today to follow up on some of the things I've been working on and to check in. Have I mentioned how much I love having good insurance? I see my doctor every month just to check in like this. It's an amazing level of support.

Anyway, one of the things we did was rate how I feel about various areas of my life/health on a 1-10 scale. I had high scores in a couple of areas, but mostly I've been feeling like a completely useless failure, and that's affecting everything...most of the scores I gave myself were in the 2-4 range. I mentioned to my doctor that I'm feeling overwhelmed with so much I need to work on, improve, etc. But I did give myself credit for the work I've been doing around my house. I've been working hard, getting rid of a ton of clutter, and I'm proud of myself for that. She gave me lots of encouragement here, as well as an analogy that helped me step back from a lot of the negative self-talk I've been doing.

You know how when you clean a big mess, you have to spread things out and it looks even messier before it can be clean? She said that's where my health is right now. I'm doing the right things (giving up soda, changing some dietary habits, working out hard/frequently, continuing therapy), but my body is in the early stages of a major overhaul, and it feels like a train wreck right now. But that's one of the phases I have to go through to get to where I want to be. Okay then. Onward.

It was really helpful to have so many of my struggles validated. I really feel like this doctor understands and cares. She also checks in by email every couple of weeks. I've mentioned I love this insurance plan, right? The difference between this (silver level) and the plan I had last year (bronze) is night and day. Last year I paid $173/month to cover mostly nothing, really. This year I'm paying $273/month and I have NO copays, and I've already had like 12 (seriously) doctor visits this year. I can go to these doctors for ANYTHING I need, and it's covered. There are always same-day appointments available (ZoomCare only lets you book day-of for basic services). They have every kind of specialist I've ever heard of, and I can get on-demand appointments with any of them. $273/month is not a small chunk of change, but considering all the care I'm getting in all arenas of my health, it's a fucking bargain. But I'm privileged enough that I can afford this -- I don't feel like I should have to pay this much -- no one should. I think this is what healthcare SHOULD be at all levels. But we've got some shit to clean up before that's a reality. Soon, I hope.
jianantonic: (Seahorse)
Today was almost entirely a do-nothing day. I guess I needed it but I feel kind of guilty for how much I didn't do...

I took Toby to the train in the morning, then came home and went back to bed. Slept until noon, got up and made lunch, then almost immediately fell back asleep. I woke up just in time to catch the tipoff of the Blazers @ Knicks game, which was 4:30 pacific. While the game was on, I did some organizing in my room and filled two giant boxes of stuff to take to goodwill, then after the 3rd quarter, I drove to the bar where I host trivia and I did that. And now I'm back home and in bed. So...I don't feel great about this day. But I'm going to call it a personal day and get back to productivity tomorrow. I don't have a choice -- I have meetings scheduled all day with folks who will ensure it.

Depression sucks.
jianantonic: (Seahorse)
For no particular reason, today has felt kind of crappy. I was going to let myself stay home and be lazy all day, but I got bored of even that, so I went to the gym for a cardio workout and also made dinner plans with Ben. But I'm still just feeling kind of bleh. I've been feeling this way a lot lately, and I decided a good antidote to the bleh would be to get another foster dog. I'm picking up at least one and possibly two dachshunds tomorrow afternoon. I don't know if I can handle more than one, but maybe two will entertain each other a little? Or they'll just be twice as demanding of my attention? Anyway I will have at least one new snugglebuddy tomorrow, and I predict this will lift my spirits.

I don't give any fucks about Valentine's Day, but this is the anniversary of the last time McKenzie and I were together. We split up for good on like the 15th. The following week was the Portland Regional, and I spent some time with him at the hotel there, but it was understood that this was not reunion time. And we haven't been together since. And I feel so conflicted and sad, and I don't know if the fact that it's Valentine's weekend is adding to those feelings at all, but it doesn't make it any easier.

As I dragged myself out the door to go to the gym, I got a text message from Toby. "You are awesome and I love you!" I don't know if he sensed I needed a pick-me-up, but his timing couldn't have been better. I'm really crazy about that dude. And I'm lucky to have him, and grateful that he understands what I'm going through with regards to my divorce blues. He's confident in us and knows I love him even when I'm crying about McKenzie, and he's supportive in everything. He never knew me pre-Prozac, and even though I've told him honestly about how I used to be, he says he only has evidence that I'm wonderful now. I guess I've done a good job turning my life around, even if the depression itself still rears its ugly head all too often. I mean, I think I've always been a good, kind-hearted person. I just wasn't very easy to be around in the past. I'm not totally shitting on my former self. Anyway. I do think Toby's right. I'm awesome! I'm fun and funny and helpful and kind and I give a lot of myself to those I love. And I surround myself with people who have these same qualities, and I'm so happy to have so many great people around me.

But all the great people and all the great love in the world do not fill the void where McKenzie is not. I miss him so much.
jianantonic: (Seahorse)

For the most part, things are good these days. I'm happy and comfortable most of the time. But there are so many triggers, every day, that make me think about McKenzie and make me sad. Really sad. Not just like bummed, but like uncontrollably weepy. Eventually it passes and I pull myself together and I'm able to enjoy the rest of my day, but still. This catches me off guard all the time. Usually the trigger is contact from McKenzie or discussing him with someone else. We were so in tune with each other, there's not much out there that doesn't remind me of him. I've got so many great stories about things he said or did, and I want to relive them. I want to tell about how one time this thing happened and he said this other thing and then I choked on my own laughter. So I guess a lot of the triggers are my own fault, but I don't want to bury these memories, either. They're important to me, and they're part of me.

The contact I do have with McKenzie is still very businesslike. We're finally finalizing the transfer of the condo in Virginia from me to him, and that's required a lot of back and forth. It's really hard, just to see his name in my inbox, and then to open it up and everything he says is just dry and emotionless. I got upset with him about something he was asking me to do last week -- he had access to the information he wanted from me, but he wanted me to dig it up. I replied to him that I know he doesn't want things to be emotional between us, but he needs to know that every time he contacts me, it's REALLY hard, and so contacting me unnecessarily is not okay. I told him it would be different if we were having a conversation, but talking to him and NOT conversing is incredibly hurtful. I just hate that he's out there living a life I have nothing to do with.

And he refuses to engage in any discussion about emotion. He did take care of the thing himself, but he never acknowledged that I said I was really hurting. I know he doesn't want to get into it. I know it's self-preservation for him to keep emotions out of our interactions. But I wish he could ACKNOWLEDGE my feelings, ever. It's really invalidating the way he just ignores it. But I do understand why. He's doing what he needs to do for him. But it's hard for me.

I have dreams about him all the time. We're usually in some stage of barely togetherness, and as the dream progresses, I lose him more and more. The thing is, this isn't how our relationship ended. Well, not exactly. I was much more at peace with the end when it happened than I am now. The distance has removed so much anger, added a lot of understanding and empathy, and without being angry at him, all that's left is the love I've always had. I don't want our marriage back, not like it was. It was crazy fucked up, and it was both of our faults. But I feel like I have the tools I need now that would make it a great relationship...but the past has already made that impossible. It's weird because I do long for him, but I don't know if he's changed (or if he wants to change) the things that made him a shitty partner. I know there's no fairy tale in here. There's a lot on his end that would need to change to make being together a reasonable thing, and I have no control over it, and if he doesn't want to change it or isn't working on it, then all it is that I ache for is just hypothetical anyway. But at the base of it all, we were two people who were incredibly well-matched. Various internal and external struggles drove us apart, but the best version of me and the best version of him could be the best pair the world has ever seen. And that ship has probably sailed, but I still ache for it, and mourn it every day.

People say it will take time. I know that...but it's been a year. People say that's not much time at all. Okay. Maybe. But I still feel like I don't think I'll ever not be sad about us. Maybe I'm wrong...but I also look at it this way -- if I do "heal" to a point where I'm not sad that McKenzie's not in my life anymore, does that mean I've shed all the parts of me that are so very much him? Because...I don't want that. I like who I am and he's a huge part of it. I know I'm my own person, but almost everything that makes me laugh has a connection with my marriage. I don't see myself separating these things...I don't know. It's hard. And I need to cry about it. But then I'm able to function and have fun, too, and I guess that's a win.

jianantonic: (Seahorse)
I stayed over at Toby's last night, but didn't sleep very well. My plan was to come home and get straight into bed. But I remembered that tomorrow is trash day, so first I pulled out my cans. Then I realized I had dishes that needed to be done, so I handled that. Then I opened the fridge to think about grabbing a beverage before coming to bed, saw the fresh eggs I'd bought yesterday, and decided to fry myself some breakfast. Then I washed the pan and came upstairs to get in bed...but noticed I had laundry that could use washing, so I started that. All in the 30 minutes since I got home. I don't even recognize this girl.

Yesterday was a similar story -- I was up early to drive Toby to the MAX, but my plan was to come back home immediately after and snooze some more. But I put on gym clothes for some reason, and after dropping Toby off, I stopped at my gym. I got on a treadmill to do a one-mile warmup jog and went for 3 miles. Then lifted weights and did a little more cardio, just because I felt like it. Then I ran errands and came home and took care of my health insurance for next year. I also made some phone calls to local music shops on Toby's behalf to research his next banjo purchase. Then Dave came over and we had lunch, played games, and I helped him edit the bridge club website. I was busy all afternoon, and the bar that I went to for dinner and to watch the Blazers/Cavs game just happened to have trivia, so Toby met me there and we stayed to play, and we won. We got back to his place around 11, did a NYT Sunday crossword, and finally dozed off a little before 1. No nap, and I was super fucking productive all day. I am not used to having this kind of energy or motivation. It's awesome.

I'm still going to take a nap now, though.

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Meg

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