Tag Archives: wife

The Brain Fight

dt_150501_depression_brain_dna_800x600.jpgThings change, whether you want them to or not. A method you use for years can slowly stop working. You may start to like slightly sour candy over sweet. The road you’ve driven down for years will suddenly have a new speed bump. How we react to the changes often leaves a mark on us as individuals. But as I’m constantly reminded change will come, whether I’m happy about it or not. Just like it has now.

I deal with major clinical depression. For a good portion of the last four or five months, it has been knocking my ass to the ground and dancing an Irish jig on my face. So I am now in the process of changing around my medications. The process of trying to wean myself off one prescription and figure out if the new one is working, I will say, is exactly as fun as you imagine it to be. I’ve encountered one drawback so far and we’re back to my previous baseline. Those of you that have personal experience with mental illness can likely relate. I went back to read some of my other blog posts, in particular the ones where I discuss my own depression. I realize that I’ve given a recap of the road to diagnosis and a brief piece about going to therapy. But what I haven’t really done is attempt to explain to you just what it feels like when this disease hits me. I’m going to try to do that. Let me emphasize that this is specific to myself, not anyone else with mental illness. The brain is complicated and we all have different battles with it. I’m going to do my best to try to describe mine.

There really isn’t any fixed situation that sets it off. Sometimes I wake up in the morning and I can already tell it’s not going to be an easy day. I may go to bed when suddenly, something will hit me and then I’ll be up all night with insomnia. Or I can go days being perfectly functional and then, suddenly, I want to climb in bed and stay there for the rest of time. So if you think that I can plan ahead for a bout of depression, sorry but it doesn’t care what my plans are. It just waltzes up to my brain, punches it a few times, and say it’s in charge now.

Sometimes it shows up as exhaustion and apathy. I don’t want to get out of bed or interact with anyone. My body can be sore for no reason. I flat our just stop caring. To put it mildly, it sucks. With very few exceptions, I don’t want to be unproductive everyday. It gets boring and I have kids to take care of.  So it’s a fight with myself to get anything done and sometimes I don’t win.

Sometimes I’ll become anxious and irritable. I’m already prone to worrying and things just get intensified. I become angry for no reason and my heart can race. My mind will over-think everything. I have trouble clarifying my thoughts and stumble over words. I  have to try not to snap at everyone. This makes things more difficult when it comes to my kids. They’re too young to understand what’s going on in my head and I don’t want them to think of their dad as just an angry asshole. So I have to try to stop my depression from parenting for me.

Things have been really bad on those times when it all hits me at once. This is despair. There isn’t another word I can use for it. Full, cold despair. I have been suicidal. I do not and have not harmed myself, but it has gotten close. This is one of the reasons we are looking at a medication change. When my mind starts going to that place, I know something isn’t working. This is also why I will never let myself purchase a gun. I’m not making a political stance here. I’m pointing out that, for my own health, I think a having a gun in my home is a bad idea. If you know me outside of the internet and ever hear that I’ve bought one, consider that a HUGE red flag. Let me say again that I am currently safe. I’m not planning anything and I’m not a danger. But my mind has gone to that place. I’ve thought about how maybe my wife can do better than me and I’m ruining her life. I’ve thought about how I must be damaging my children and they’d be better off without me. Yes, I’ve shaken these thoughts off but they come back. Medication helps. Therapy helps. But the facts remain that this is something that can’t be completely cured. This is my brain. I can’t hire an Igor to transplant a new one. This is what I’ve got to work with, so I will do the work.

Interactions with other people can be a coin flip regarding my depression. They can help bring me back or make things worse. Being an introvert can make it harder, since big party situations exhaust rather than energize me. But I will tell you it’s worth making the attempt. I will try my best to reach out to others, but when most of my brain says no one wants to talk to me it makes that a struggle. I very much count on others to make an effort. In fact, I encourage all of you who know someone struggling to do the same. Reach out to them. Don’t just say you’re there for us. Come to us. I know it isn’t easy and we don’t always respond. Being the friend/spouse/child or any close relationship with a person in my situation is hard. But if you can do it you’re being an amazing person. I can’t express enough how helpful it is when friends at least try to hear you. You probably won’t understand everything. But this is not something we’re trying to use as an excuse or a way to manipulate you. We don’t want to be this way and we’re trying. We’re fighting. So don’t give up on us.

Don’t give up on me. I am 38 years old and have been dealing with this monster for longer than I knew what it was. If I could just clap my hands together and change everything I would. This would also mean I’m an all-powerful wizard, which would rock. But this isn’t my reality. My reality is depression is a part of my life that I have to deal with. And whenever I see other people lose their battle, it terrifies me. It makes me wonder how much longer I can keep this up. So I remind myself that I’m stubborn. I can fight. Mental illness may be a huge venomous snake that slithers around my mind, so I need to show it that the brain it’s picking on is a mongoose. It can’t win. I won’t let it. Claws out and we’ll go another round.

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That “F” word

Welcome back, folks. It has been over a month. I was going to try to make a return in small steps, but screw it. I’m pissed and I have a little ranting to do.

All right, people. I’m not the best person to do this but I’m giving it a shot. Here it goes. Being a feminist isn’t a bad thing. I’m ashamed to say it took me some time to admit this, but I’m more pissed that there are still people who don’t understand that it’s not something bad. It’s about people getting equal treatment regardless of gender, not man-hating! This isn’t to say that there aren’t women who treat men like dirt. There are and those women are assholes. THEY ARE NOT FEMINISTS. They are simply assholes. Vaginal assholes, if you must, but assholes and nothing more.

Now I’m trying to be better about being an active ally. So if I catch people being assholes (and it’s mostly “bros”) to women, I make a point to call it out. The response tends to be that I’m either trying to get laid or a social justice warrior or white knight. Fine. I’ve been called plenty of names that were much worse and I’ll survive. But it’s not okay that this is an issue. It’s not okay that my friends get cat-called or my wife has men telling here she should smile more when she’s at work. It certainly is fucking ok to make death threats when a woman doesn’t want to listen to your lame pick up lines.

Why is this pissing me off so much right now? For one, there is no reason anyone should be treated so poorly or have to be scared so much. All lot of people want to pretend these problems women have aren’t real. I never thought it was as bad as it is, until social media came along. The scum really seems to come out now. Also, when women get stereotyped it hurts men too. Why is the most common way for guys to insult another man something in the vibe of “Stop acting like a girl” and such? Why do fathers taking care of their kids get compared to babysitting as opposed to just being a parent?

What is particularly important to me is I have two daughters who are going to grow up someday. I do not want them dealing with this shit. There is a lot of scary crap going on in the world and this is a big part of the problem. Feminism is something that can help, but it’s been dragged through Hell by a lot of gross talking heads over the years. People are afraid of it. They don’t need to be.

This probably wasn’t the best subject for my first post after a hiatus. But anger is a motivator and I’d rather be constructive with it if I can. I promise I will talk about silly kid things and nerdy stuff again soon. But like many people, I’m tired and angry about a lot of things. This is a big one. And we need to start owning it and not ignoring.

Nightmares

Some people sleep  easily. I don’t. I’ve fought insomnia for years. In the last six, I learned that it’s likely connected to the depression. That actually helped me manage it a bit better, but a good, restful sleep is still a challenge. I have to take an over the counter sleep aid most nights, otherwise it takes me a few hours just to drift off.

I don’t usually remember dreams. I know they are pretty much my brain trying to work through stuff while I’m asleep. I’m just not one of those people who consistently remembers what they were dreaming. I do believe that whatever your mood is on any given day can connect to what you were dreaming the night before.

Today feels like it will suck. I spent most of last night having nightmares. My wife had to wake me up twice because I was yelling out in my sleep. I know in at least one of them, something terrible happened to my kids. I remember that they disappeared. I think something inhuman took them. There was nothing I could do. I can’t recall anymore than that. So I’m very tired. I’m irritable. I’m worried what triggered those dreams is something I saw and my brain is trying to warn me about.

Why don’t I remember good dreams? The closest I get is the random really weird dream. The ones I can never forget. I had a dream in high school where I was toasting bagels at Burger King for the Red Hot Chili Peppers, which they kept ordering with no stop in sight. Years later, I dreamed that I had been cast in a new musical and every other member of this cast was made of Play-doh. Again, weird stuff.

Otherwise, it’s nightmares that throw my whole day off. And why pick on my kids, brain? It was bad enough when you gave me that dream where our cat was stomped on and thrown in a trash can, sadly mewing the whole time. Then I had the one where my wife sent ghosts after me. So now we’re picking on the girls? Seriously? Is it because I’m not giving you as much sugar as I used to?

Today is definitely going to be a long day. That’s not even counting the large amount of pooping I’ve already had to do.

Before the coffee kicks in—the iced coffee edition

I have one child down for a nap. I have the other one playing with toys and enjoying some Nick Jr. And, importantly, I have a glass of iced coffee. We keep a pitcher of coffee in the fridge for this purpose, and we enter the time of year when my consumption of the stuff increases. Now I will let the cold caffeine molecules slither about my brain and work their magic. Meanwhile, my figures will type out the mental speed bumps they hit.

The cat is staring at me. I just cleaned her litter box. She’s probably wondering what I do with all the poop I take out.

Medical bills suck.

Phoebe had her first dance recital. It was one of the cutest things I’ve ever seen.

Zoe has tried peanut butter and jelly. She seems more interested in the jelly.

Have you ever pooped so much your tail bone is sore?

I realized I now have favorite Disney princesses. When the hell did that happen?

I will never feel guilty about buying books.

My wife is very smart. In most ways, smarter than I am. But sometimes she forgets words exist and doesn’t complete a sentence. Sometimes I have to guess what comes next. I often guess it involves monkeys. I’m often wrong.

It’s probably better for the world that I can never do in real life what my D&D characters can do in a game.

Can the cat see ghosts? I’m pretty sure she can see the spectre of Death. I bet they make fun of me.

Choosing the right flavor of ice cream is important and should be taken seriously.

Two of the kid shows the girls really like are math-based shows. I can only hope this keeps them from inheriting my numerical ineptitude.

At least once a day, I want to punch myself in the face. I never do it, but it’s there.

I very much like animals and think we should be good to them. But I’ll probably never be a vegan and I’ve killed as many bugs as the average person. Not sure what that makes me other than just another human.

Never underestimate the power of guacamole.

My iced coffee has been consumed. I have nothing else to mutter about. Hope everyone has a nice day. Maybe get yourself a cookie. Or whatever your preferred treat might be. Don’t let me force a snack choice upon you.

Escape routes

I live in Massachusetts, which like many places is getting repeatedly slapped on the ass by winter. This has caused quite a bit of cabin fever for folks I know. Myself included, if I’m being honest. I’ve heard the phrase “I need a vacation” pretty frequently.

The weather has also impacted my workplace, causing it to be busier and higher in the stress department. Someone inevitably says the same thing, at least once a day.

I need a vacation. I just need to get away. I need to escape.

Now of course, the reality is that a lot of people just can’t snap their fingers and be on vacation. Some people can. Good for you. I won’t pretend I don’t envy that a little.

Then there is a little thing that I’ve seen show up on the old Facebook feed. I’m not quoting it directly, but it boils down to instead of wishing for a vacation try having a life you don’t need to escape from. I don’t remember exactly where I saw that. I’m sure it was meant to be one of the motivational things we all share on occasion. I will say this, though. To anyone who really feels that way.

You. Are. A. Liar.

Sorry but I don’t buy it. As different as people are, I have never met a single individual who has a life they don’t need an escape route from. If you really think you do have such a magical existence, perhaps you’d be interested in buying this magic rock I have that repels flying alligators. I’m happy to sell. Name your price.

I happen to think there are a lot of great things about my life. I’m married to a very smart, very cute woman. I have two gorgeous little girls that I adore. I have my own home. I have a few other things going for me too. But do I have stuff in my life that sucks? Yeah, quite a few things. And if I want to get away from those things, then that’s normal.

I read. I play video games. My wife and I try to have people over for D&D or other tabletop games regularly. They aren’t big expensive vacations, but they are still escape routes. Would I love to go on a big vacation? Sure. But it will take some planning and saving. And the financial gods aren’t always with us. In the mean time, I try to enjoy what I have and am allowed to want a break once and awhile.

I’ve also begun to notice that the ones who claim to have “magic lives” seem to take a lot of vacations or weekend getaways. So basically, your life is one big attempt to run away from something? And I’m not allowed to want to catch a break from mine? Like I said, you’re a liar. Fuck you with a cactus that has a spider on it. I hope it gets stuck and you and the spider have to be roommates.

To the rest of you, remember that we can take the little vacations. We have our tiny escape routes. And yeah, they don’t last. No vacations do. That would make them everyday life. Which is what you take a vacation from. Confused? Yeah well, maybe you need to eat more whole grains or something.  I’m not a doctor.

Another year

2014 is done for. 2015 has arrived. So far, it doesn’t feel any different.

It has been a few weeks since I last posted, primarily due to holiday insanity. This has left my brain in a state which resembles some form of pudding. I’ll be honest, I’m not sure when it will fully recover. Perhaps I should eat more bran?

I am not one of those people who makes New Year’s Resolutions, mainly because I know I will not keep them. So I will not pretend that I’ve miraculously changed just because I have to remember it’s 2015 when I sign my time sheet at work.

What I will do is share a few things that I hope I can accomplish this year. I will call these my New Year’s “I Think I Cans”.

1 – I will actually make an effort to eat better because I’ll be damned if I’m buying bigger pants.

2 – I will make sure that my wife, as “crazypants” as she can be, never questions that I love her.

3 – I will finally convince the cat that the world is not trying to eat her.

4 – I will make sure my girls continue to grow into beautiful people and not smelly jerks.

5 – I will play as many games, both video and table top, as possible.

6 – I will not let work stress me out as much as I can help it. I am, of course, human and prone to bitching.

7 – I will come up  with more interesting blog posts than this one.

Things that were said

How often are you surprised by what comes out of your own mouth?

At least a few times a week, I say something which then causes me to just take a moment. Usually, it is either to my wife or my daughters. Sometimes, it’s to the cat. Once in a while, it will be to friends or other people. I’m not talking about stupid stuff that might make someone chase me down with a pitchfork. Mainly, these are a collection of words that I just never thought would leave me lips. They almost always sound weird out of context. Honestly, sometimes even knowing the context doesn’t help.

So for your enjoyment, I have compiled a short list of these little word gerbils. Some are from awhile back and, try as I might, I have never been able to live them down. Take from them what you will.

1) “Do not ride your sister!”

2) “There are cookies in the squirrel.”

3) “Do you have fart amnesia?”

4) “Why is there a price tag on our daughter?”

5) “Stop licking my slippers!”

6) “Maybe you have butt fleas.”

7) “Don’t make mommy sniff your foot.”

8) “So you have tuna pants now?”

9) “We appear to have a sink cat.”

10) “Now I’m covered in yogurt.”

Before the coffee kicks in – Round 2

Let’s return to a previous experiment. I’ve been up for a few hours and my brain is still in a state of pudding. My level of crankiness is on par with a surly marmot. I am on my second cup of coffee. Time to see what I can fart out of my head before caffeine starts to work its magic. I will write as things appear.

My life involves sweeping Play-doh off the floor.

I think the cat is trying Jedi mind tricks on my kids.

Penguins are smarter than some of the people I have to talk interact with.

I wish I had more pumpkin fudge.

Sometimes I wonder if being a daddy is like herding monkeys.

My wife is cute. She may also be the Horseman of War. Go me.

I wish I could play D & D every weekend.

My little girls are beautiful.

Sometimes I wish “Hulk Smash” was an acceptable reaction to things.

Do I give enough hugs?

Do I have enough patience?

I should have an army of skunks. Or at least ducks.

Well, I think I should stop. My thoughts are becoming more coherent. Also, my kids keep trying to escape the play room and run wild. Time to herd monkeys.