Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Need a New Nickname Since "Bitch" No Longer Applies

Tom Cruise, if you're reading this, you might want to close the browser, take another hit of acid, and return to your space ship. Or you may want to jump on my couch. Either way, fuck off.

So last winter was rough on me, mentally speaking. Actually, all Minnesota winters stretch the limits of my sanity, but last winter was singularly terrible and I hit new emotional lows in which, hourly, I counted reasons left to go on, ticked them off on my fingers as a reminder not to just quit, and then when I realized I only needed one hand to count them, that's when I knew it was bad.

No amount of writing, no amount of vitamin D overdoses, no amount of whining or sleeping or hating everything...NOTHING HELPED.

And then I broke my arm, and it was either the flurry of activity (and subsequent inactivity) which kept my mind occupied, or it was the magical happy place that is vicodin that made the anguish more bearable, but by the time Mummy Hand returned to the tomb, I was more or less shaking off the fog that is my seasonal hell. Er, depression.

So everyone made me promise that this year, I'd follow through on my annual pledge to be proactive about my mental health and to get some help before winter gets me. I've made this promise before, every year since I moved to Minnesota, actually (except for that first year when I decided that getting drunk and calling the cops on myself was the best coping mechanism at my disposal)((I blame Obama for that one, and also the fact that I was 18)).

Yesterday was my first counseling appointment with Dr. Crazy (who really should be downgraded to Dr. Golf Socks, but it just doesn't have the same ring to it, huh?) who listened to me describe what I feel are my most troubling symptoms (suicidal thoughts, the desire to etch my name backwards with blood on every available surface while crab-crawling backward and biting heads off rats, the overwhelming urge to try lutefisk - you know, the usual symptoms of depression).

Then he listened to my concerns about what I always thought might be an anxiety disorder that I live with even during the "human" months of the year, and then I filled in the details of my family mental health history (which, when I said it all out loud in a row like that, sounded eerily like an episode of Jerry Springer, and when I mentioned this to him, he did not disagree).

Then I filled out some basic screening forms, and as Dr. Crazy Socks (good compromise, no?) perused the scores of those forms, he tapped his pen on his lips and said, "Hmmmmm," which either meant this was about to turn into a scene from my Taboo Anal Pleasures VVXI video, or he was thinking really, really hard.

And then he sort of surprised me by explaining that he thinks my anxiety isn't the primary concern, but instead is a symptom of what he called "smouldering depression" (dysthymia), something for which he thinks I can probably thank genetics (so the giant nose and the absent adult incisor aren't the only things my mother passed along to me)((remind me to send a thank you card))(((full of spiders))).

During the late winter months, it's likely that I dip down into major depression due to the lack of sunlight and the temperature-induced isolation. But he feels the major concern is something I never realized I had: the low-grade, smouldering depression. The fact that my "normal" isn't normal for other people, it's below normal. Kind of like my I.Q.

He asked me if I could tell him how much of every year do I feel depressed and I honestly couldn't answer because I'd never thought about it in those terms. So instead, he took a piece of paper and drew a line graph: the horizontal line represented time or months of the year, and the vertical line represented moods over that time.

The very top of the graph was "euphoria" and the very bottom was "major depression", and he said that the horizontal line in the middle was what healthy people consider "normal".

IMMEDIATELY, I understood what he had asked originally. Without further explanation from him, I pointed about half an inch below the "normal" line and said, "THAT'S my normal," and he said, "Yes, I think that's true," and so now I realize maybe why I hate everyone all the time. I guess I just figured I was a bitch.

So Dr. Crazy recommends medication to try and get my brain chemistry to realign it's "normal" (I need to find a general practitioner for that) and he also recommends counseling to teach my brain now to stop thinking like a depressed person (I'm seeing him again next Tuesday), and I think by the time winter strikes I'll be better prepared to handle it.

Of course, the lack of dead baby this year should help, but even so: THERE'S A CHANCE I WON'T WANT TO DIE THIS YEAR. Do you know what this means?!

It means I won't lose 4 months of the year to a fog of sleep and pain!
It means this blog might suck a big dick!
It means I'll need to find something new to blame on Obama!

Gray and I have discussed the fact that this winter is our final shot at making a life here in Minnesota. We are living in a house that we LOVE that is near to things we LOVE TO DO and people we LOVE TO SEE (except my Jill who might as well live in Iowa at this point) with jobs that we LOVE TO GO TO. I will be MEDICATED and less likely to drive off a bridge!

THIS? Is our last chance.

If I cannot be happy in Minnesota this winter, we will be making plans to move on, and I'm not sure that I want to do that when I've built so much life here already.

Plus...FUCK. If I have to move Gray's t-shirt collection one.more.time. so help me god I will burn them all, and then he would be left naked, and I don't think I have the heart to do that to you all.