Laugh, It’s Depression

You wake up and it’s the most depressing way to start your day. Rolling over you see the face of your sleeping significant other and it makes the fact you woke up a bit better but not by much. Guilt pools in your eyes and you blink them away, determined not to feel anything other than happiness today – but you already know it’s not going to happen from the pit in your stomach and the shake in your hands.

They wake up and your world brightens a bit more with the light in their eyes and their sleep laden voice. Their hands stop the shaking but nothing can stop the pit in your stomach and the sand that seemed to have gotten in your joints that prevent you from flowing. Luckily the creaking and groaning is only in your head but the sluggishness is obvious to anyone looking.

You spit out what used to be your favorite food – spaghetti and meatballs – in hopes of getting them off of your back about brunch, as bad as you feel about it. Too late you realize that means going out to eat and that means getting ready. Your bones break with a sigh you barely hold back.

Brunch is an ordeal: the place you go to doesn’t have spaghetti and meatballs so you order something else which is perfectly fine, just… now you don’t feel like eating but you have to so you scarf the food down in record time and feel sick. It takes everything in you not to throw up but you smile and laugh through brunch with your significant other. Hold their hand. Meanwhile the pit in the stomach is growing bigger and it has nothing to do with the meal you just swallowed whole.

Watching your significant other play their console is another thing that eases the shaking in your hands, especially as you’re playing with them. Concentration is needed and you can’t spare as much to the pit in the stomach, the sand gathering in your joints, or the black looming behind you just around the edges of your vision. Laughs are shared and smiles are shining. Eventually all good things seem to end though.

You leave the house. With other people: their niece and mother. Stress.

Stress.

The pit in the stomach grows and grows and grows. The shaking starts again as miniature vibratos. The sand is leaking from you and you are surprised there isn’t a beach in the house from all of it you can feel coming out of you. Getting in the car the small chat is strenuous for you and you wonder how to impress. Or how to impress upon them that you are not at the moment dying of asphyxiation from anxiety.

Shopping is another ordeal. Stuck between staying with your significant other who wishes to go ahead with the niece in the cart or the mother who lags behind to look at shelves for things she needs. Leaving your love behind, or in front, and staying with their mother for politeness sake but feeling the pit in the stomach grow from ditching your love. Staying with your love but feeling the pit in the stomach double in size from being rude. No winning and stuck in the middle. And still smiles.

Getting back you eat, another moment of scarfing food down your gluttonous hole then feeling sick, and hide out in the bathroom with the excuse of a shower. And your hands shake, the sand turns coarse into rocks, and the darkness overwhelms you. The breath catches in your throat too fast and too loud in your ears. It goes on for far too long, too long in someone else’s restroom. No one comes knocking.

A shower clears your head enough to stop the shaking and you get ready for bed to start the day over again with the knowledge that both soothes and grows a pit:

Tomorrow’s another day.

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All Pain, No Gain, Migraine

You feel the warning signs and ignore them,

“It’s just a headache.” You tell yourself. Hopeful.

Your neck is sore and the “headache” is building from your right side where it always starts for you. You decide to stop being optimistic for once in your life and pop some pain killers. Instead of reaching for the prescription you reach for your advil and take double the dosage, still hopeful. Still wanting for your migraines to not be migraines.

A handful of minutes pass and you have to consciously stop yourself from frowning at whatever you are doing. From swallowing like a parched man every half second because your saliva is coagulating in the back of your throat and threatening to gag you.

The light is blinding in the white walls and you curse yourself for your weak body. You feel the nausea and track the nearest trash can.

There are weights on the back of your neck and no amount of stretching or massaging will get it out, you know it so you don’t touch it out of fear of aggravation. The perfect posture your mother instilled in you is ruined by gravity suddenly deciding to get heavier on your temples that quakes to your foundation.

You’re slouching over yourself, whatever you were doing forgotten behind your eyelids and the pounding that has started. You leave it. Desperate for silence and darkness and soft clothes that don’t rub against your skin the wrong way. The entire walk to darkness and silence and softness is making your migraine worse with the thumping of your footsteps, the light peeking through your squinting eyes, and the texture of your pants rubbing against your thighs while the floor slides against your feet in entirely the wrong way.

Weights on your neck keep your head at a weird angle the entire time; only that one right spot seems to ease the ache just a bit but that just a bit seems a world of difference already.

You’ve forgotten about your prescription pills from the pain already.

You’re too busy running from your family whose voices are too loud to care you seem to be forgetting something.

You trip and stumble into your migraine outfit. Old and worn out clothes and brand new ones that you bought for this exact purpose – soothing your skin when hypersensitivity starts. You can breathe a tiny sigh of relief for now but then a car rumbles pass eleven floors down and it sounds as if it was a racecar right next to you and you cry.

Tears flow down your face and you close the door shutting out your family, windows are something you have no energy for, fans are another noise you can’t handle so you prepare to sweat, and you lie down and cover your face with a pillow. You cry.

The TV lowers in the living room but it still blares around your skull, your family does not understand the need for complete silence or whispers softer than whispers, and you cry. The pillow scrapes your skin but with no earplugs or eye masks you make do.

A car honks in the distance but it sounds as if it was downstairs to you.

A flinch, a scrape, a moan, a tear.

You hear the door creak open and then a too loud voice ask if you are alright. You aren’t. You shoo them away. The light is blinding and the noises are deafening and the well meaning affection are just seem a slight to you as it seems they don’t care for your migraine.

You tell yourself they just don’t understand. It’s not a slight, it’s a misunderstanding. You will understand the misunderstanding better when you are up and drinking cool water without throwing it up. For now?

You snap up and jump for the trash can and heave. Gagging you grip your head as your own noises pound it. Eventually you throw up after multiple heaving episodes and you cry while crawling to the bathroom to rinse out your mouth in the dark.

Back in the room, you lay back down and you eventually pass out, a combination of pain and being tired of fighting the pain. When you wake you will feel better for a while.

However… unless you remember to take your prescription medication… you will soon be in pain again for another day or so.

Happiest State In the U.S.A.? – Long Read

To quote a previous blog of mine, “Laborious days are ahead of us, behind us, and walking right along-side us.” (“It’s All About Those Tears”, Paragraph 2, Sentence 1.) That doesn’t change no matter where you live. Even if it is, apparently, the happiest state in the United States of America… That’s right folks, even if you live in the Hawaiian Islands.

Now I live on the island of O’ahu among the Hawaiian Islands which is also called the “gathering place” as everyone used to gather here back when there were Kings and Queens to meet as this is where the castle is. Now? It is called the gathering place since all the tourists tend to come here due to airlines mainly coming to O’ahu. (More about the Hawaiian Islands in a future blog.)

It truly is paradise on Earth…. discounted the traffic. And the cramped space. And the rent fees. And the gas prices. And the… well…. everything really. But really, paradise.

So you must be wondering, “MessyBlogHealthyLife! Why… Whatever could have made you attempt suicide not once but twice in such a short time frame while living there?????” Cue disastrous look and a horrified face emoji.

Well strap in and buckle down because let me tell you.

Life is hard. And that changes nowhere. Not even in paradise.

In fact…. I would argue it’s harder here. As we are a small island with limited resources, mental health is still stigmatized to some degree and I see it every time I go to the hospital for suicide or suicidal ideation. The nurses have visibly treated me differently and the wait for the psych ward was long and arduous with little to no updates given to me unless I asked. The psych ward itself? Harsh. I can’t begin to describe how horrible it was in there and when I spoke to an old friend of mine recently who moved to the mainland and was hospitalized there… she said it was so. much. better. The staff was kind, not judgmental (or if they were they didn’t show it), they updated her as frequent as possible, were warmhearted and sympathetic to her cause, and the psych ward was hospitable as a hospital could be while having actual activities for her to do throughout the day.

I didn’t get that. I couldn’t understand. I had to keep asking questions and I could feel her pity and understanding as she too had been hospitalized here before she moved and she understood my confusion towards the idea of hospitable people.

Now back to why I did it.

I did it because, like I said, life is hard. I have multiple mental illnesses and I felt the stigma at every turn and every blazing Hawaiian sunrise. If I could even get out of bed to greet the sunrise. My own family had stigma against certain illnesses and I could never call them out on it because of my fear of losing their love.

I realize now, and isn’t it such a pile of dog poop that you always realize things after the fact, that if only I stood up for myself more often I may have had far less problems as I sit here today. If only – I tell myself – I did that instead. If only. If only.

IF ONLY.

Even paradise and the happiest state in the U.S. can’t take that doubt away from us.

And in the end that doubt is what tried to kill me. Because those doubts turned into mistakes. And those mistakes turned into more doubts. It’s a vicious cycle broken only by the fact that one day you are too depressed to do anything more than lay in bed and do nothing.

It wasn’t the fact that I failed a class that lead me to suicide. It was the little things that lead to me failing the class that lead me to suicide. It wasn’t the fact that I got in a fight with my future boyfriend that lead me to suicide. It was the fact that I stuttered when I first met him that led me to suicide. It was all the little things that turned into big things that made me think, “yes, this is what I need to do.”

I recently burnt a batch of cookies and spent a good ten minutes crying on the floor until it turned to anger and I threw them out only to bake a chunk of plain soda bread to redeem myself. Here is what happened broken down.

I woke up depressed because of a bad phone call in the morning that told me that I went to the emergency room for a non-emergency and to not do it again. It reinforced my belief that emergency rooms are for suicidal people only and I had wasted resources and a bed despite the fact that my boyfriend reassures me I went in for the right reasons. I was in extreme pain and discomfort with a strange irregular ringing in my ear, a fever, a two day migraine, dizziness, nausea, actually throwing up, and also a history of epilepsy. My family and my boyfriend had told me to go in and I had gone. Then I woke up to this phone call a few days later that ended with what summarized to, “Next time for non-emergencies please utilize our after hour health clinic instead of the emergency room.”

I spent the next hour in bed. Crying on and off and making my boyfriend reassure me while placating me with love and comfort over messages as he worked.

I finally got up out of bed to make some cookies – as baking is something that can get my mind off of things – only to ruin them. It was my last bits of chocolate chips too so I couldn’t redo it which only made the situation worse in my eyes. The burnt and flat cookies laughed in my face and my face crumpled and tears pooled. The bright sunlight blinds me through the refractions and I close my eyes as I lean on my refrigerator and cry.

At this point ruining a batch of cookies tells me that I can’t do anything right. My boyfriend tells me they still look edible over the pictures. I want to scream. I tell him I can’t even get them off of the wax paper. I’ve been crying for ten minutes give or take a musical song playing on pandora now and my self worth is starting to shine through thanks to my self help via therapy and boyfriend.

“If I f**ked up the cookies then bake a g*****n bread.” I tell myself.

I get up, throw away my failures, and isn’t that so satisfying and wasteful, wash my hands and bowls and bake a g*****n bread. And I nail it.

Getting mental health help has been the hardest thing I’ve done for myself I believe, and probably the best thing I’ve done for myself. Mental health is one of the steps I’m taking in bettering myself and well…. I would like to think it’s helped. Of course it still doesn’t help everyday and I still have many little voices that tell me many bad things. But as my boyfriend says, “It’s a good thing I’m loud.”

Because the Hawaiian Islands may have been voted the happiest state but do not mistake that to believe we have the happiest people.

Because to this day I still do believe.

“Yes, this is what I need to do.”

 

To Pill or Not To Pill

You’ve managed to grab your prescription pills and hide away in the bathroom with the door locked.

The door is locked. And the bottles are open.

You close the bottles again for the second time and wonder if this is really the right thing to do.

The last few days, months, years, come flooding over you. All the little mistakes you’ve made. The stutters, the twitches, the sleepless nights.

Yes. It is.

You open the bottle again and you’re ready with some water. You wonder how many you can take in one swallow. Shrugging you shake out a handful and toss it back easily. Marveling at how you did that so easily and yet feeling the wave of sudden calm come over you you shake out another handful.

Yes. This is the answer.

 

Suddenly there is a banging on the door and you hear your sister’s voice filled with panic leak through. Her voice barely filters through your heart racing as you realize your friends have betrayed – yes betrayed – you and called your family after your final goodbyes.

The handful goes down.

You mumble something out to your sister as you shake out another batch, you’re not quite sure what, an apology or a reassurance. But her voice panics more and she runs off to your parents and your fathers voice booms across you soon enough.

The handful goes down.

Another mumble. You’re losing your calm and you don’t like it. You’ve always panicked when your family did and this is no different. The air is getting thin in your chest and you can’t catch it.

You close your bottles. You open the door. Your family stumbles in bewildered and crying.

Your sister is already on the phone with 911 and your dad screams in your face.

You muster up tears from somewhere and apologize because that always got him to stop.

“I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I’m sorry.”

He doesn’t stop screaming.

So you stop. You don’t mean it anyway. The only thing you feel is disappointment and anger because you know it’s not enough but the sound of panic had always made you panic.

They make you throw up. You do your best to make sure nothing comes up, stick your fingers down shallow and are successful in one aspect at least.

You best friend comes from 3 floors down – the perks? the downside? of living so close to them – crying and bawling and screams in your face also. You apologize yet again and don’t mean one syllable. You cry with her but only to show remorse that you don’t feel.

Paramedics come to pick you up and you’re separated from your family.

The elevator closes behind you.

ER? More Like VR?

“Is this real life?” you wonder to yourself.

“This can’t be real.” The only thought running through your head the entire time.

You’re in the emergency room and you’re beginning to wonder if it’s the same one you’ve always been to. It can’t possibly be. It’s too different.

The walls are the same drab blinding white, the noises haven’t changed, and the air conditioner is blasting same as always. The people filter through at the same pace and yet…. nothing seems the same.

In the last half year, maybe less, you’ve been in this exact emergency room three times. Three times… and none of them like this.

Three times were filled with tears and heartache and an uncertain future. Twice with a pit in the stomach that could be attributed to too many pills. Once with a hole in the mind filled with the thought of suicide.

Suicide.

Suicidal ideation and Suicide.

The big block in your life that no emergency vehicle could save you from no matter how fast they drove. The big wedge in your family that you didn’t mean to be alive to see.

The one you said sorry to…. and didn’t mean a single letter about.

Three times you visited… with lights flashing and people carting and needles poking and people stationed outside your room. Three times.

Three times you visited… with judging looks and statements and blasé attitudes because you didn’t swallow enough and textbook obedient statements of “You are so much better than that” with hollow eyes. Three times.

Three times you visited… with no choice but to have to wait for permission to get visitors and getting everything taken from you no matter how much you say your ears will close and getting your toes frozen off. Three times.

Now.

Now you forget you can go in for something other than suicidal intentions. Now you forget that emergency rooms can be safe spaces. Now you have forgotten that emergency rooms are rooms for all emergencies.

You tug on your earlobe and feel your earring as you wiggle your toes and feel the warmth and you wonder… if this is reality.

The smile as your nurse comes in is genuine and the small talk comes naturally, they don’t judge you as much when you squirm for the needle, and they actually laugh.

You can actually laugh with them. And it’s genuine.

You wonder again whether this is the same emergency room.

You know it is and you want to cry. There were familiar nurses as you had passed by and you wonder whether they recognized you. You realize later they probably didn’t or your stay probably would have been much different… again.

You tug your earlobe, wiggle your warm toes. and laugh with your family.

Pick Me, Only… Don’t

“You not feeling well?”

A voice filters through the haze of your mind and you answer in some form of bewilderment because what could possibly give them that impression.

“You’re picking again.”

They’re right, of course you don’t admit that. Your fingers already feel raw from the day before but you can’t stop and you already feel the itch to start again. The nails on your hands are hurting, who knew they could, from scratching skin that refuses to peel while the area around it is red and stinging from being forced to come off. You’re lucky you’re not bleeding… yet.

“Nothing’s wrong. I’m fine”

Of courses nothing is fine. Your fingers reach for each other but theirs are faster and you can’t help but hate them just a little. The itch grows stronger.

“Stop.”

You can’t. They know you can’t but they try to get you to stop anyway. Distract you. You admire them for their efforts and even try your best to put in some yourself. It doesn’t work.

One hand picks at its own thumb and it eases the inner discomfort just a little while raising the physical one just a bit. You pick. They notice. You look away in shame but can’t stop.

You can’t stop.

“Stop.”

You can’t stop.

Their hands are quick and nimble compared to your pain filled fingertips and they lock you up in theirs. The key is thrown away somewhere and you don’t know what to do. Panic sets in along with the itch and the urge to do something, anything, is strong.

You pretend everything is fine. You loosen your hands. You loosen your body. Your mind is everything but.

Itch. Pick.

Your fingers twitch. Theirs tighten. Eyes lock.

“I’m fine.”

Lies and you both know it.

Itch. Pick. Twitch.

 

It’s All About Those Tears

It’s not all about the bass in here. It’s only about the tears.

Laborious days are ahead of us, behind us, and walking right along-side us. Sometimes all we need are good friends to show us the way ahead through the haze. And sometimes still all we need is a good cry to clear it.

My family will tell you I’m one to cry easy, my friends will also, my boyfriend? He’s soaked in tears in the months we’ve met and not all of them happy. I’m not one to cry to my family about my problems often though. I am a firm believer in keeping my problems away from them for their own good as silly as that sounds and as asinine as that is. I know it and everyone knows it: I have problems. That doesn’t stop me from crying in the shower by myself.

I’m not one to hide things from my significant other though, for I am a firm believer in also showing oneself to the one you love and wish to dedicate yourself to. It’s not quite the same as a therapist, trust me it’s far from it, but he’s a lovely partner, patient ear, and a tissue supplier.

Tears are… controversial in some areas.

I’ve grown up believing I was weak for crying so much and I know many who believe the same concept. Not of me but of themselves. Tears also are harrowed as strength in men for emotional reprieve and openness. So what really are they?

They’re just tears.

I know I know. They’re more than that. They’re shed when pain is too much, or when you’re too emotionally weak to know anything else to do – oh boy do I know that -, or even when you’re so happy you don’t have the words to spare. I’m quite fond of the last. But you see, in all of these, they’re all just tears, and everyone should shed them just to shed them.

We’re humans with emotion.

I remember when my kitty was taken to the vet for the first time. He shed actual tears in the car ride over thinking we were giving him away again. I almost cried myself. Of course I didn’t thinking it weak but why should I have? Because I was with my mom and sister? Why?

Let us play devil’s advocate for just a paragraph here.

Tears show weakness because it shows that you don’t have the strength to hold them back. Tears show weakness because it shows you don’t know how else to react. I suppose they can also show you’re weak in front of people because they can judge you.

Now back to the agenda.

If you can’t hold them back doesn’t that mean you’re just full of heart and emotion that your body can’t contain them? If you don’t know how else to react but to cry that must mean something. Something either hurt you so much you don’t know what else to do so it’s a sign someone should help you, you’re so lost in life that someone should help you, or you’re just so happy that you don’t know what to do. Also, if people judge you for crying, that says a lot about them as a person rather than you as a person for being the one that is crying.

Get it? Got it? Good. Moving on.

My life lately has been soaked but I’m all the better for it. I’ve gone without crying before, or tried to at least, and it ended with me being emotionally withheld and judging myself while thinking everyone was still judging me. Of course depression still makes me emotionally withheld to some degree but not as much to the point where I’m trying to pretend everything is fine even to myself.

Because everything is not okay, and it’s okay to not be okay.

It is okay. To not be okay.

Did you catch that? One more time.

It is okay to not be okay.

Okay?

Now go ahead and cry. I know I will.

Cancelled Appointment By Appointee?

So… you wake up and the first thought isn’t that it’s hot or you clearly didn’t have enough sleep. It’s that you actually woke up. Oh. Oh well. So now the next thought in your head is that it’s hot and miserable and you’ve not had enough sleep. Awesome.

Blundering through the process of getting ready you realize you should probably do something to your face; you remember you have to go in to help in an office for volunteer work after the appointment. You slap on some bright red lipstick, call it a day, and drag yourself out the door – tired already.

The bus comes, and therefore arrives, late as always but you’re leaving early on purpose so you don’t mind but the sun seeps energy it should be giving. You’re the opposite of Superman and it weakens instead of strengthening. I would say it’s your kryptonite but at this point in life, everything but sleep is. After the bus spits you out into the stifling heat and you drag your feet through what feels like melted cement all the way to where you need to go… you can’t find the entrance.

Tears form.

GPS says, “You are at your destination.”

You are and yet you aren’t. You want to scream at your phone that you can’t be at your destination if you don’t know how to get into the building. You can’t take this.

Then you see it, better than the pearly gates at this moment, the entrance. As calmly as you can you walk towards it and find the elevators. Someone is with you. Breathe. In. Hold. Out. Press the button for the elevator. It won’t press. Why?

A key seems to be needed for the elevator and again, you want to cry. You desperately glimpse at the stranger and you stab at the button once more in what seems a futile attempt.

“D… does it need a key?” You manage to slowly stutter out in shame. It doesn’t make sense. Why hold an appointment in a building with a key? The stranger reaches for the button. You let her.

A light.

Shame.

The ride up is awkward, made worse by going to the same floor, and even more by the fact you’re going to the same room. You don’t hold the door open in a moment of panic.

Shame.

You rush to the receptionist to sign in and sit down, desperate to hide yourself in the light of your phone screen. They look for your name. They look. They ask again. They look.

They look.

Another person comes. You know it’s bad when another person comes. It’s like when someone calls for a manager only… you didn’t call for the manager. They ask for an ID, ask when you made the call to make the appointment, whom did you speak to, they ask questions. Questions, you’ve found in life, are not always a good thing.

You answer.

You’re not in the system they say. They never made an appointment. You have to come back another day they say. They say a lot of things but sorry is not one of them. It doesn’t matter. Tears are pooling and it’s easy to tell. Your lips tremble with anxiety? With frustration? With that feeling in your stomach and your heart that seems like it wants to burn and disappear at the same time? Which you guess is both?

“Please.” You whisper, because you aren’t sure if you can get yourself out of bed that day. You aren’t sure if you can get yourself out of bed any day but you made it today. They look at you with ill-contained pity and say, finally, say,

“I’m sorry… you have to come back another day.”

Life’s Hard, So Are Phone Calls

One thing that people seem to forget is that phone calls are hard for people with mental illnesses. Or at least it is for me. The sweat starts pooling in the small of my back and my saliva starts gathering in the back of my throat. It begs to choke me as I dial numbers. Even thinking of it makes my hands shake and my leg quake.

As I get put on hold it’s worse. I wonder if they did that not because they needed to but because they were tired of talking to me even if the conversation only lasted a minute. “I was a bother. I shouldn’t have called. I can’t do this. I shouldn’t have done this.” The only thoughts running through my head amidst the droning hold music. The longer I’m on hold the faster the thoughts run and the closer my finger creeps towards the end call button.

They finally pick up and I know not whether to be relieved or cry. I pick to speak. Making an appointment is well… for able bodied and able minded people… like running head first into a cement wall while wearing weights for me. I know I just have to get past the wall but I know it’ll hurt. I’m wearing the weights while making the appointment – sluggish and reluctant – but I hit the wall once I make it there – crying and in a mess about pain and cruelty of life. I suppose that’s one way for me to explain it, yeah.

So I make the appointment over the phone right? And I’m on the verge of a panic attack because I feel as if I’ve run, to keep with the analogy, with weights this entire time. And then they call back two times because they forgot something or someone cancelled and “Would you like a sooner appointment?” Which yeah you kind of would considering the week. It’s like a triathlon now. Three calls in a row. I’m gasping on the inside and I can barely talk without stuttering.

Then… “Goodbye, have a nice day.” Ahhh. Sweet reprise. The best feeling ever. It’s like taking those weights off if only for a moment in the day. Like taking your bra off after a long day or taking a cold shower during a stifling heat wave. Relief.

Relief.

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