Random (but not really)

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Better Living Through Chemisty

Someone on FB linked to an article about the medical management of mental health disorders: What It’s Like to Know You’ll Be on Antidepressants for Life.

The essay starts out noting the following:

The notion that people who take medication for mental illness are weak seems rooted in internalized social stigma. There’s still this strange divide in thinking about mental illness, where much of society seems to dismiss those illnesses as somehow less “real” than ones that are considered “physical.”

That’s unfair, yet true. We’re not supposed to talk about mental health issues. It’s ok to have diabetes or high blood pressure but depression or anxiety are secrets to be kept. Issues to be hidden.

To believe that my mental health issues make me a weaker person than someone who has a physical health issue is absurd. Yet it’s a common belief: depression and anxiety are weakness that can just be overcome by hard work and the correct attitude.

Part of it I suppose is historical: Suicide was a mortal sin that would send you directly to hell, so wouldn’t that make the mental state that made you suicidal a moral failing as well?

Part of it might also have to do with many mental health issues being more common in women than men, and women have historically been seen as weaker, both physically and mentally.

But perhaps a greater part is because mental health issues are less visible. You get a cast with a broken limb. You get scars from surgery. I can show someone my scars and X-Rays from my broken ankle, but what do I have to display for more than 30 years of mental health issues?

(Life insurance rates three times higher than my husband’s because I was honest during my interview about my past aren’t really anything you can display as a wound.)


After Robin Williams died, I remember being enraged by people who couldn’t understand how he could be so weak as to take his own life.


When I broke my ankle I didn’t cry–I wasn’t even certain at first I’d broken my ankle, because I was certain it wasn’t painful enough to be broken bones. Yet I have felt emotional pain that was so harsh it took my breath away. A misery so strong that all I wanted was for it to end because it was unbearable.

I knew I could take medicines for relief from physical pain, and that over time the wounds would heal and the pain would eventually be gone.

Mental anguish is different. When you’re given anti-depressants, you’re told they might take up to a month to work. And that some meds are better for some people than for others so what you’re taking might not make things better. And again it’ll be a month before you know for certain.

Know what? I’ve had meds that not only didn’t work, but actually made things worse. That took more than two months to resolve.

Two months of something that no one could see. Two months of something I was certain was a moral failing: A weakness on my part.

A weakness.

During pre-marriage counseling, one of the questions we were asked was whether we suffered from mental illness.

“Yes,” I said, “depression.” (At this time I hadn’t yet been diagnosed with anxiety or OCD, even though they had been part of the mix since the beginning.)

“Not like that,” the counselor replied, “they’re asking about serious illness.”


Here’s the thing: I’m lucky in that I’ve always been able to work through my depressive episodes. It may have been a struggle, but I was able to get out of bed and be physically, if not emotionally, present.

I know I will be on meds for the rest of my life. I’m fine with that, because I have a strange quirk where I remember feelings painfully clearly. I remember the angst of being a teenager. I remember the shame of being different and unable to fit in. I remember breathtaking misery of grief. I remember the feelings of all my mistakes and the belief I would never get past them. I remember how it feels to believe I was worthless. That I was unworthy of love. That all I ever have done is cause harm and create misery.

I don’t want to live with that agony in the here and now, so I’m glad to take meds.


My primary fear is not being able to recognize if the meds start to fail and I begin to slip backwards into the abyss.

My secondary fear is of failing to recognize someone else who is suffering. Of missing the person who thinks they are the only one who feels they way they do: lost and broken and unworthy.

Which is why I share things like this. Because we aren’t alone. These things aren’t moral weaknesses or failures. They’re just physiology, and even if it takes a while, these things can usually be fixed.

Because these issues might be permanent but they don’t have to control me.

Because we are more than our illnesses and because we can live through them and be happy.

Written by Michelle at 6:50 pm      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Depression,Science, Health & Nature  

Sunday, November 5, 2017

If You Have Been Bullied, Harassed, or Assaulted

Just a note to those who have lived through bullying, harassment, or assault: You do not have to watch, listen to, or read the news.

You don’t need the reminders that society often protects the bullies and perpetrators over the victims.

It’s OK to turn off the news and take care of yourself.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255

Written by Michelle at 6:20 pm      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Depression  

Sunday, April 10, 2016

The Tyranny of Clothing

I have several bathrobes, which I wear all the time.

This is partially because I like bathrobes (I have three–a heavy terrycloth robe for winter, and two waffle cotton robes for summer) and partially because we shower in the basement, and it’s a trek to make in the winter.

The softest robe has been causing problems for the past couple months–the overlap has been getting smaller and smaller, and it’s a bit to small to contain… me.

This, of course, made me feel badly about myself.

Until I realized that the loops for the tie were no longer at my waist, but are now just underneath my armpits.

The damned thing has been slowly shrinking, but I was convinced that the change was in me.

Nevermind that all my other clothes fit fine, and I’m still wearing the smaller jeans (I have jeans in two sizes; 10 and 12. I’ve been wearing the 10s) but I was somehow convinced that I was getting bigger.

Brains are stupid.

Also, I’m totally getting another robe to replace this one.

Written by Michelle at 9:54 pm      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Depression,Science, Health & Nature  

Thursday, March 24, 2016

On Showing Weakness

I had a very interesting (and quite lovely) conversation with an faculty member today. He’s older, and he’s not originally from the US (or the West, for that matter), which has bearing upon how the conversation progressed.

I interrupted him on the phone to ask if I could update his computer, and as he finished up, his voice changed and it became quite clear he was talking to a child. (He wasn’t speaking English, and I was able to start on what needed to be done, so I didn’t feel awkward about being there as he ended a private conversation.) (1)

I asked him if he was talking to a grandkid, and his face lit up and said yes, and I asked him how many grandkids he had, their ages, how far away they lived, etc. This brought the conversation quite naturally around to me, and I told him I didn’t have any kids.

“Why?” he asked.

“Because I’d make a terrible mother,” I said, giving him my standard reply.

This obviously didn’t make any sense to him, and so as we continued, I decided he really was curious (no need to tell me he was being a jerk, it was none of his business, etc. He really wasn’t–he was honestly curious, and believed that I would make a marvelous mother). (2)

So I told him that I suffer from depression, and there was a distinct possibility that I would have serious problems with postpartum depression if I got pregnant.

He was taken aback. “But you’re always so happy! So cheerful!” (He repeated this several times, he was so shocked.)

“When I feel bad, it makes me feel a little better if I can make people happy,” I told him. (It was a longer and more complicated than that, but you get the gist of it. (We also clarified depression and dementia and Alzheimer’s, just so he was certain about his “D” illnesses.))

After some consideration, he said that perhaps he understood. That he’d often met men who were friendly and outgoing and great guys, but as (I think) an elder of his church, sometimes the wives of these men would ask him for help/advice, because at home these men were not so wonderful.

“The outside doesn’t match the inside.”

“Yes,” I said, “except that the horribleness is turned inward to me.”

We talked a little bit longer about how long I’d dealt with this, and medicines and such, and as I finished what I was working on and got up to leave, he gave me a huge hug (and no, not a creepy hug–I think he was afraid he had upset me, asking about depression (he hadn’t)).

And here’s the thing: There are many things about that conversation that probably shouldn’t have happened (seeing as how it was at work) but it was a good conversation, and more importantly, a useful one, because I got to share with someone that depression happens to everyone–even the people who seem cheerful and happy on the outside.

Could anyone do this? Most likely not.

I’ve discovered over the years that something about me makes people willing to ask questions to which they really want to know the answers (3). Probably because I try to make people comfortable and put them at ease. (4)

But even if this exact scenario isn’t something everyone can do, I believe it helps to remember that anyone can share their weaknesses. That in this age of constant horribleness in the news, it helps to remind people that depression and mental illness aren’t the providence of monsters, but something that anyone can suffer from.

And a reminder to us, that we aren’t monsters, and that what we feel on the inside often has little bearing to what people see on the outside.


(1) I actually love listening to conversations in other languages, because usually there is some random English word dropped into a sentence of what is otherwise incomprehensible to me. My favorite was “blah blah blah blah school bus blah blah.”

(2) It would probably also confuse anyone who follows my Flickr feed, in which a variety of kids make regular appearances.

(3) One of my favorites from years ago: “In traffic, this guy waved at me with one finger. What did it mean?”

(4) Let me tell you, this, combined with a sense of humor, is an invaluable asset in face-to-face tech support, and has led to many spontaneous hugs, as I fix what had seemed like an insurmountable problem.

Written by Michelle at 11:06 pm      Comments (2)  Permalink
Categories: Depression  

Thursday, January 9, 2014

I’m Sensitive

I really hate the way it sounds, “I’m highly sensitive” but that doesn’t make it less true.

There’s an online questionnaire you can take, and for me, some of the questions are gimmies:

I am particularly sensitive to the effects of caffeine.
I startle easily.
I make a point to avoid violent movies and TV shows.

Hell, I’ve been teased about all those things for years. “GOD NO! Don’t let Michelle drink coffee!”

Of course, some of the things don’t fit. I don’t see myself as more sensitive to pain, but I am super bothered by some physical sensations, like itchy clothes or the seam on my socks being in the wrong place. And “I find it unpleasant to have a lot going on at once.” is false, perhaps because I’m simply used to chaos.

Does this discovery matter in the long run?

Not really.

But it is interesting. And I found some interesting suggestions on how to deal with being sensitive.

Realize that you’re the one and only master over yourself, and no one can have power over you unless you let them.
Don’t take things personally.

Both of those are easier said that done, and are things I have a very hard time with, but, as with many things, it sometimes helps to know that it’s not that I’m crazy, it’s just that I react differently than many people.

Not bad, just different.

Written by Michelle at 6:00 am      Comments (0)  Permalink
Categories: Depression,Non-Sequiturs  

Tuesday, December 17, 2013


Went to another funeral today.

Anyone got any good jokes? The blacker the better.

Written by Michelle at 9:48 pm      Comments (5)  Permalink
Categories: Depression  

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Love This Life

As a post script of sorts to the last post, there are some songs that make me feel better.

Love this life
Don’t wait till the next one comes
Gonna pedal my faith
The wheels are still turning round, turn round

Maybe the day will come
When you’ll never have to feel no pain
After all my complaining gonna love this life, gonna love this life
Love this life, love this life

And apparently I can’t embed this one, INXS – Bitter Tears

Bitter tears taste so sweet
I’m seein’ my way for the first time in years
When the love around begins to suffer
And you can’t find love in one, in one another
Push away those bitter tears, bitter tears

Also: fun, Carry On

If you’re lost and alone
Or you’re sinking like a stone.
Carry on.
May your past be the sound
Of your feet upon the ground.
Carry on.

And lastly, The Mighty Mighty Bosstones, The Impression that I Get

Written by Michelle at 7:28 pm      Comments (1)  Permalink
Categories: Depression  

Depression Is a Fucking Liar

This is National Suicide Prevention Week.

As many of you know, my friend Janiece lost her daughter to suicide this summer, and another friend’s cousin committed suicide earlier in the summer, so this week has been on my mind more than normal this year.

First, my thoughts and love are with Janiece and her family, as they learn to live with this terrible loss. Second, I want to note that JR and Stacey are doing a memorial walk in honor of Janiece’s family.

But mostly, I just want to remind people:


I’m not just saying that because The Bloggess says it, but because I know it to be true.

I’ve suffered from depression, anxiety, and obsessive compulsive disorder since I was a teenager, though it wasn’t until my late 20s that the OCD was diagnosed, and it I was in my mid thirties before my anxiety was diagnosed.

Uncountable are the number of days where I struggled to get out of bed, struggled to keep from self-harm, struggled to keep going.

Uncountable are the times the voice in my head has told me that I was worthless, that my very existence caused more harm than good for those around me.

I know how hard that voice is to silence, because it’s coming from inside your head–somewhere you can’t escape–and it’s repeating and replaying every cruel thing that has ever been said to you, and every time you have hurt someone, even if cruelty wasn’t your original intent.

I know how your brain can be an echo chamber for all these negative thoughts and horrible memories.

But even still, I know–I KNOW–these things are lies. I know that I am much more than the sum of all the mistakes I’ve made in my life.

For me, what keeps me going is the knowledge that there are people who would be hurt–and hurt terribly–if I was gone. So I keep going, because I don’t want to cause more harm than I already have.


It’s not all dark days and despair.

To counteract the dark inside my head, I try to look, every day and all the time, for beauty and joy and silliness and happiness in my life, and to cultivate those things, so I have more moments of joy and silliness.

And I try to remember that depression is a fucking liar, and without me, the world would be a far less silly place, and that can’t be a good thing.

T-Rex eating a shuttle with skeletons in attendance

Suicide Prevention Resource Center

International Association for Suicide Prevention

How to Help Someone Who Is Suicidal

Veterans Crisis Line

Post Secret on Suicide Prevention

Written by Michelle at 6:00 am      Comments (6)  Permalink
Categories: Depression  

Friday, June 14, 2013


This week has been filled with anxiety.

Not anxiety over something interesting.

Not anxiety for something at work.

Just anxiety because my brain hates me.

Yesterday I spent the evening on curled up on the sofa with blankets over my head (but just my head, because it’s warm and humid here in Mo-town).

Today, I feel like crap.

My brain is in a fog and I’m filled with self-loathing, but I’m going to work, because staying home in bed feels like giving up, giving in.

So, this is really just a note to tell you all I’m here and alive and I’m taking it one day at a time.

Written by Michelle at 7:12 am      Comments (6)  Permalink
Categories: Depression  

Friday, February 1, 2013

Comfort, Whilst I Slowly Fall from Grace

It’s really horrifying, how I could believe I had everything under control; as that control slowly unwinds, I watch the bits and pieces of normalcy fall away.

I forget, somehow, that my depression and my obsessive-compulsive disorder are tightly linked, and that the longer my depression goes on, the more severe my compulsions get.

I find myself failing to control compulsions I’ve been free of for years.

Annoying, that.

But, it’s logical, in that strange twisted way only mental illness can be.

As I lose control of my mood, my need for control in other parts of my life ramps up, hence, the compulsions.

My disordered mind finds solace in patterns and repetition, wishing to see there the seeds of order I lack elsewhere.

But of course, as calming as these compulsions and repetitions may be, they only feed my self-loathing: if I were a GOOD person, I could control these things. I can’t control them, therefore, I’m every bit as horrible as the lying bastard depression tells me I am.

Meanwhile, the rational part of my mind is bound and gagged in the corner, yet still attempting to get the signal out (through morose code, of course) to the emotional basket case part of my mind, “This too, shall pass. This too, shall pass.”

So tonight, that’s the repetition I’ll take with me:

This too, shall pass.

This too, shall pass.

Written by Michelle at 10:50 pm      Comments (1)  Permalink
Categories: Depression  

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Just a Fucking Ray of Sunshine

I’ve really been struggling recently.

I was sick for several weeks–I thought that was it.

But it wasn’t.

Instead, I’ve been in a downward spiral, feeling miserable, which keeps me from getting anything done, which makes me miserable…

You know, the vicious cycle.

The one I know I’m in, but I can’t seem to escape.

That’s the thing, of course. I know depression is a fucking liar. Yet, when I’m in the throes of it, knowing doesn’t mean a damned thing.

I feel like I’m the most horrible person in the world.

I wish I could just give up, except that I know that doing so would hurt people, and that would make me an even WORSE person than I already think I am, so I keep trudging along.

Get out of bed. Go to work. Feel overwhelmed and worthless. Pretend everything is okay, because worthless or not, we need my paycheck. Come home. Try to distract myself. Go to bed. And the whole thing starts over.

I was IMing someone today who has the same struggles I do. I said that I didn’t want to blog about how hard I was struggling, because I didn’t want to cause people to worry. Because, you know, that makes me even more selfish.

So many people in my life right now are struggling: Two friends have mothers who may have late stage lung cancer. Other friends have family members going through various serious medical issues. My extended family is still reeling from two unexpected deaths in less than six months.

What right do I have to complain? To whine? To talk about my own problems which exist only in my brain?

But my friend reminded me that it helps other people to know they aren’t alone in their struggles. That if I don’t talk about it, then those other people who are struggling might think they are alone.

And they aren’t.

So here it is–my continued struggle.

But it’s something more than that. It’s a reminder to myself that depression is a fucking liar. And that I will keep going. I’ll get up in the morning and go to work. And things will get better.

Maybe not tomorrow. Maybe not the next day. But they will get better.

Because depression is a fucking liar, and I won’t let it get the best of me.

And thank you again to my friend who reminded me of these things.

Written by Michelle at 9:11 pm      Comments (7)  Permalink
Categories: Depression  

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

What Makes You Happy?

I have to go to a funeral this afternoon; my wish for the new year is not to have to go to any funerals for the whole year. Especially closed casket funerals for people who are younger than I am.

So, cheer me (and everyone else) up. What makes you happy?

Written by Michelle at 7:50 am      Comments (4)  Permalink
Categories: Depression,Family  

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Gotta Keep the Devil, Way Down in the Hole

(So, apparently a customization I made to my template keeps me from embedding YouTube videos. I’d tried to embed The Blind Boys of Alabama “Way Down in the Hole”. Now you can’t listen to it while you read this.)

Thursday evening, we learned that Mr Brown had died.

Mr Bill and Ms Helen were Grandmom’s neighbors, and the reason she was able to live on her own for as long as she did. Ms Helen took Grandmom to the grocery story. Mr Bill took care of Grandmom’s lawn and took care of her trash cans. Both of them checked on her every day, to make sure she was okay, and got her mail when she was out of town.

Mr Bill had been battling cancer for years now, so this was not an unexpected death; we were told his grandkids had come to visit that day.

It doesn’t seem fair that such kind and generous people should have had to deal with such pain, but, as the saying goes, life is pain.

Last Tuesday (a week ago today), I had my happy doctor appointment.

The short of it is that we doubled my anti-depressant. We’ve left my anxiety meds as they are for now, and he added in a medicine that is supposed to alleviate some of the side effects of the anti-depressant (grinding my teeth and vivid dreams).

The subject of lithium came up as well.

And not for the first time.

This feels like such a damned failure to me; I’ve spent the week ignoring this change, and refusing to talk about it (but I have been taking my meds) but not talking about it doesn’t change the fact that I’m not getting better.

Sometimes I feel like the only thing that keeps me going is guilt: it’s my responsibility not to be a burden on those around me, so I have to get out of bed. I have to go to work. I have to do the things that normal people do, because it’s not fair for me to cause other people difficulty.

But I don’t think that getting up every day because of guilt really qualifies as living. I mean, it’s better than the other options, but it’s not a very joyful of existence.

Not that the depression allows me to believe I’m worthy of joy, but I just tell my brain to shut the fuck up and move on.

I don’t actually have a moral or an ending to this. I wish I had an ending to this. I wish one day I could wake up and be a normal person with a normal brain, but that’s not in the cards.

So for now, telling my brain STFU and moving on is what I’m doing and how I’m doing.

Written by Michelle at 9:16 pm      Comments (7)  Permalink
Categories: Depression  

Friday, October 12, 2012


: readily or frequently changing: as
a : readily or continually undergoing chemical, physical, or biological change or breakdown
b : characterized by wide fluctuations (as in blood pressure or glucose tolerance)
c : emotionally unstable

And that pretty much sums up Michelle these days.

Over the course of the day I go from feeling like I can do anything to wondering why I bother because I fuck up everything I put my hands on.

Every day is like this: Up. Down. Down. Up. Down. Up. Down.

I’ve been through a fair amount of upheaval in the past several months, so–as usual–I am having a hard time separating what is from what should be.

I had two emergency dental appointments in an 8 day period of time for broken and cracked teeth, almost certainly because I have been gritting and grinding my teeth. And of course, broken teeth are–quite literally–one of my worst nightmares: the dreams from which I wake up in a cold sweat and am freaked out for hours afterwards.

(Yes, I have a mouth guard for sleeping. Yes, I am trying to be aware of when I grind and grit my teeth when I am awake.)

I’m trying to exercise regularly, and typically have a minimum of 10k steps–that’s five to six miles–a day because I know that exercise helps regulate my mood.

I get a massage every three weeks because I know that helps me deal with stress.

I’m eating well.

But still, the mood swings.

Yet, I’m functional. I go to work every day and do my job (a job which most of the time I enjoy). I do laundry and occasionally cook and bake and clean the house (which is normal).

So I am trying to figure out of these moods are coming from my brain trying to adjust to events from the summer or if something has changed in my brain chemistry and I’ve shifted from Dysthymia to Cyclothymic (Please, no.) and I have no answer. Or, maybe I’ve just become a psychological hypochondriac. Wouldn’t THAT be fun? (Next up: self diagnosis of schizophrenia followed by a self-diagnosis of borderline personality disorder! Wheeee!)

I’ve got more than a month until my next doctor appointment. I believe I should continue “Give it time,” and “Let things continue to settle out.” But a teeny voice in the back of my head wonders if this is going to be the start of a downward spiral.

I don’t know. I really don’t. All I can say is that I’m trying. Every day I get up and I keep going and try to take joy from everything around me and I think that should be ok for now.

Written by Michelle at 6:40 am      Comments (3)  Permalink
Categories: Depression  

Saturday, September 29, 2012

I Hate My Brain

The way (I presume) a normal human brain works:
“I wish I’d have switched dentists YEARS ago. I can’t believe I let him screw up that many of my fillings!”

The way MY brain works:
“OMG! My bones are dissolving! I must have some rare disease and will be dead within six months!”

Yeah. And this is AFTER taking my anxiety meds.

In case it isn’t obvious, I broke a molar today, this one on the other side of my mouth. This was one of the fillings that first made me think maybe I needed to find a new dentist. But still–rare bone degenerating disease is OBVIOUSLY the more likely cause.

Written by Michelle at 8:04 pm      Comments (5)  Permalink
Categories: Depression  

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

WWA: Kindness Edition

As previously noted, I’ve been feeling sad and melancholy recently. So, this week’s word association is going to be a one-time thing.

This week, I want you to name someone, and then say one kind thing about them. Doesn’t matter who that person is, and you can come back multiple times if you want. If the person is online and I should know ’em, then link to them.

I just need some kindness in my life, and I’m counting on y’all to come up with some.

Here’s the first, to get your started:

Michael = patient

Written by Michelle at 6:00 am      Comments (27)  Permalink
Categories: Depression,Fun & Games  

Wednesday, September 5, 2012


I’ll try to get back to our regularly scheduled fun and games next week. For now, I’m just feeling melancholy.

And broke.

I feel so all alone
no one’s gonna fix me when I’m broke

Written by Michelle at 10:53 am      Comments (3)  Permalink
Categories: Depression  

Saturday, August 18, 2012


A post on depression has been fermenting in the back of my mind for quite awhile, but I’ve mostly been ignoring it, because, at some point, I feel like there’s not a damned thing I can say that I haven’t said many times before, so what’s the point?

But then I feel depression creeping in from the side, sinking its claws in, coming in under the cover of stress or grief or anxiety.

But that’s the thing, you see. How do I tease out depression from all these other things? How do I determine what is an acceptable reaction to events and what is depression being a big fat fucking liar?

As with Grandmom, I am going through periods of intense sadness. Stupid things will make me burst into tears. That, I am pretty certain, is grief.

But in between, I think, are the sneaky tendrils of depression.

I don’t just feel sad, but I also feel utterly alone. I feel as if it’s wrong for me to want to talk about my sadness and grief, that people just don’t want to hear it.

Or even worse, that I’m not eligible for my grief, that I’m not justified to feel so sad.

Part of that comes, of course, from the fact that I feel mortified by my own reactions. When we buried Grandmom, I knelt down to touch her coffin one last time and burst into uncontrollable sobbing. I could not stop myself from what felt like hysterical crying, not matter how hard I tried.

I felt like I was making a huge scene and hated every moment of that lost control just as much as I hated saying goodbye to her.

That’s just weakness, the darkness whispered.

So now, I struggle again, trying to understand why I feel this way.

Why do I not accept my own feelings as valid? Why does this sorrow make me feel like an imposter in my own mind?

Intellectually, I recognize this as my depression speaking. That my feelings are valid and my own reaction and no one–NO ONE–has the right to tell me I’m doing it wrong.

But I can’t stop myself from telling myself that.

Which really fucking SUCKS, let me tell you.

So I’m letting myself feel. And I’m being really damned careful about how much I rely upon pharmaceuticals–but that in and of it self is a Catch-22. Short sleep will kick-start a bout of depression, so I’ve been taking half doses of Tylenol-PM so I sleep, but then I worry that I shouldn’t be relying upon drugs to sleep, that it’s bad to take them, so I berate myself for my “weakness,” which of course makes me depressed.

That’s a fun game that can be played endlessly, let me tell you. (You may remember a similar game I played two years ago when I broke my ankle, over whether it was OK to take pain meds when I was hurting.)

So, we come back to the fact that I know depression is a fucking liar, but it’s like a horrible take on those gawd-awful horror movies–the lies are coming FROM INSIDE YOUR HEAD! If only I could run out of my head to get away. Or even grab a ball bat and beat the living hell out of the vicious invader.

But what I can do is try to keep myself honest. I’m allowed to have these feelings. And if I need to cry, I’m allowed to.

But I also have to remember to search out the joys that exist, and seek out the things that make me laugh. Because just as I am allowed to be sad, I am also allowed to laugh. And it’s my job to share light where I find it, to remind myself and others that we don’t live in the darkness, and even if I visit there, it’s not my home.

Written by Michelle at 11:31 pm      Comments (7)  Permalink
Categories: Depression  

Friday, August 10, 2012


Last week on Facebook I made the following comment:

I didn’t cry once when I broke my ankle. I think I gasped during the x-rays, but otherwise? Nope.

How can this hurt so much worse?

When Grandmom died, I had a hard time. I missed her, but it was for selfish reasons. She’d been my North Star for my entire life, and without her I felt lost and cut adrift. Yet I knew she was tired and ready to die. She’d had 93 and a half years and was ready to go.

This loss, Ben’s death, is so very different and so much harder.

I’d mentioned before that Ben was like another little brother. I held him when he was a baby and babysat him when he was older. I went to his high school graduation and drove halfway across the damned country for his college graduation.

Just like a little brother he sometimes annoyed me, and I often didn’t understand him.

That’s an understatement.

In many ways, I don’t think it would be possible for us to be much more different. Ben loved taking risks and trying new things and meeting new people and going new places. I’m family-centered and anxious about everything. I quite literally could not even imagine myself doing the things he did. I stress out when confronted with talking to strangers and will often avoid parties, because the thought of trying to talk even to people I know stresses me out.

Which is kinda funny, because people are the center of my world. The core of my job is helping people, and I love doing it. I love helping people.

I just don’t know how to talk to them unless I’m being helpful.

Which is another part of what has made this so very hard.

I can’t help anyone–I can’t even help myself. I’m full of grief and anger and frustration that overwhelms me. I’d gladly break my other ankle or take any other kind of physical pain than continue to deal with this grief.

But of course, it doesn’t work like that. That’d just give me broken bones AND grief, which I’m pretty sure would suck even worse than what I’m feeling now.

How can something intangible hurt so damned badly?

Written by Michelle at 12:54 pm      Comments (3)  Permalink
Categories: Depression,Family  

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Goodbye Ben

If you love somebody
Better tell them while they’re here ’cause
They may just run away from you

You’ll never know quite when, well
Then again it just depends on
How long of time is left for you

I’ve had the highest mountains
I’ve had the deepest rivers
You can have it all but life keeps moving

Take it in but don’t look down
‘Cause I’m on top of the world, hey
I’m on top of the world, hey
Waiting on this for a while now
Paying my dues to the dirt
I’ve been waiting to smile, hey
Been holding it in for a while, hey
Take you with me if I can
Been dreaming of this since a child
I’m on top of the world.

I’ve tried to cut these corners
Try to take the easy way out
I kept on falling short of something
I could of gave up then but
Then again I couldn’t have ’cause
I’ve traveled all this way for something

Take it in but don’t look down
‘Cause I’m on top of the world, hey
I’m on top of the world, hey
Waiting on this for a while now
Paying my dues to the dirt
I’ve been waiting to smile, hey
Been holding it in for a while, hey
Take you with me if I can
Been dreaming of this since a child
I’m on top of the world.

‘Cause I’m on top of the world, hey
I’m on top of the world, hey
Waiting on this for a while now
Paying my dues to the dirt
I’ve been waiting to smile, hey
Been holding it in for a while, hey
Take you with me if I can
Been dreaming of this since a child
I’m on top of the world.

And I know it’s hard when you’re falling down
And it’s a long way up you make your round
But get up now, get up, get up now.

–Imagine Dragons

I like to imagine that’s how you felt at the top.

It’s so damned unfair you left the rest of us down here, with a huge aching void.

Written by Michelle at 6:46 pm      Comments (9)  Permalink
Categories: Depression,Family,music  
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