carose59: common unhappiness (empty and aching and i don't know why)
"Well, If He Actually Went Mad—Or Thinks He Did . . . ."*

-:- -:- -:- -:-

So, I woke up this morning feeling terrible in a vague, existential, maybe my body is on wrong kind of way. I spent a long time in the bathroom working crossword puzzles because that soothes me and will sometimes make all the bad stuff go away.

It didn't.

I got ready for work, even managed to hit the post office to drop off the latest Netflix DVD without screaming, or crying very much. Got to work.

I took my blood pressure before I left the house and I don't remember what it was.

I took it again here and it was OK, but my pulse was 115, which probably explained my headache. "I am having a terrible, no good, very bad day," I said to nobody.

Actually, what I said was, "I'm having a fucking panic attack." And I took my blood pressure eight more times and kept getting error messages, which my brain insisted on interpreting as the little machine looking at my real numbers and saying, "Oh, my fucking God, this cannot be right!"

Though it probably wasn't.

I considered the logistics of the emergency room. Methodist is close, but I don't know where to park. Community is a little farther but the parking is easy.

Leaving would be considered an incident and would go on my permanent record.

I told myself I wasn't ready to die just yet, then I started crying and took my blood pressure again. The numbers were normalish. My pulse was down to sixty-seven.

This crap has been going on for days now, and why not? My mother died and I'm exhausted and the people in charge where I work hate us all the way Donald Trump hates us. And the new slacks I bought are weird and I was late for my appointment with Diane the other day and just can't seem to get anything right.

And I'm disturbingly aware of the back of the left side of my head. It doesn't hurt, and I know what it is—it's a muscle thing coming up from my left shoulder, but when I'm scared it becomes an aneurysm waiting to explode in my head.

It's not an aneurysm.

As I was sobbing just a moment ago, head down on my desk, I was thinking that this was what I was supposed to be doing when I see Diane. Only what good is that, having somebody watch me cry? It's like having somebody watch you vomit when you have food poisoning, it's a symptom—a good symptom, you want to get the poison out. The crying is what brought down my pulse rate. I need Diane for other things.

I don't know why, but I always think of Kimberly in moments like this. I miss her.

*Randolph Carter
carose59: health matters (an intuition of mortality)
"Oh, Great, I Have To Work. I'm Always Working When The World Ends."*

-:- -:- -:- -:-

This isn't a menopause thing, it's a Cymbalta-withdrawal thing, and you have no idea how happy this makes me. I thought I was either dying or losing my mind—those are my default assumptions about anything that happens to me. An unpleasant chemical reaction to the lack of a drug in my system is like a picnic in the park compared to either of those.

I'm crying a lot lately, too. That could also be a withdrawal thing, or it could be just me going back to being me, and I can deal with it. Maybe this is also why I've been feeling sort of dizzyish lately. Cymbalta. Actually, lack of Cymbalta. Not panic attacks, not anxiety, an actual real not-dying thing happening to me.

You know what that means? It means I get to be nice to myself. It means I don't have to be stern and unforgiving when I can't do perfectly ordinary things like drive to the north side of town where I've driven many, many times before. I can stop feeling like a failure because my stupid behavior is being caused by an actual thing instead of just my mind suddenly forgetting that driving over a bridge is perfectly safe.

I cannot tell you how wonderful this is.

-:- -:- -:- -:-

In other news, I'm reading this book called, What Alice Forgot, and it's one of the things that's had me on the edge of tears. It's about a woman who gets amnesia and loses ten years of her memory—ten years in which she had three children, her best friend died, her beloved sister drifted out of her life, and she and her husband are getting a divorce. And she can't understand why her sister and husband seem to hate her because the last thing she remembers is being happily married and close to her sister. I feel so sorry for her, though it looks like things might work out.

It's a relief to actually cry about this, instead of just absorbing it and having the sadness be a part of me. Crying drains off the poisoned groundwater, of which I have oceans. Really, it's amazing I don't cry more.

-:- -:- -:- -:-

I dreamed about my mother the other night. She was alive again—that is, had been dead and now wasn't. My mind is very stubborn on this subject. And I was so annoyed because she had all of these chores she wanted me to do, and then she tells me brightly, "And on Saturday you don't have to do any chores because we're going to spend the whole day cooking and baking," as though she was taking me on that picnic in the park instead of expecting me to spend a whole day in the kitchen. And all I could think was, "I don't fucking want to spend my day cooking! How is that not a chore?!"

And I was wondering when she was going to die again.

I hope I'm not supposed to feel bad about this, because I don't. I find it funny. I loved my mother, but we didn't have the perfect relationship and I spend a lot of energy not being angry—and not showing I was angry when I couldn't avoid feeling it—and I'm relieved not to have to do that anymore. I'm relieved to be able to feel the unacceptable emotions that have always been there.

*Dr. John Carter
carose59: friendships gone wrong (and my poetry to protect me)
If I Am Indeed Different, Who Am I Different From?*

-:- -:- -:- -:-

I could explain why—at least, I could tell you what she told me. I'm assuming that from her point of view it's true. My point of view doesn't matter. So let's not bother with that.

After I got her email telling me she would no longer speak or correspond with me, my first thought was that I was going to tell Diane I had not set this bridge on fire. Diane and I had discussed how there was something I really needed to talk to my friend about, and I had done what Diane told me to do. And my friend hung up on me, then responded to my email by telling me, among other non-responsive things, that I need to see a psychologist. Yes, she knows I see Diane. I cannot explain this. Also, I need drugs.

Anyway, since then some things have happened that have led me to understand that the bridge didn't catch fire, it crumbled under its own weight.

I've been feeling like a burden for some time now. I've been pretty sure that we were talking too often, and that my friend was talking to me out of pity because of Pat being dead and all. I couldn't figure out what to do about this, how to walk our relationship back some so that it would keep functioning—and I knew it wasn't functioning. I knew she was bored with me, either because our interests have drifted too far apart or because I have stopped being someone she enjoys. I'm even more sure of this now.

I spent Sunday, the day we used to talk, feeling alternately like crying and so relieved I was giggling. I knew I had been feeling bad—dull, stressed out about trying to be interesting. I wrote about it just last month. But I didn't know how bad it was until I knew I didn't have to feel that way anymore.

There have also been things I've done lately, movies I've watched, and TV shows, where normally I'd make a mental note to mention them to my friend. I'm still doing that—it's an old habit—but now it's followed with two thoughts. First is, "Oh, right, no need," then, "Even if she was speaking to me, she wouldn't be interested."

On some level this is sad. On some level, I'm sad. I miss my friend, but what I'm missing is who she used to be and who I used to be: two people who had stuff in common, who laughed a lot together. We aren't those people anymore.

*Aaron Raz Link

Oh, Happy Easter

Sunday, 27 March 2016 12:51 pm
carose59: the rose behind the fence (rose is a rose is a rose)
The Worst Thing Of All Is Not Knowing What You Look Like.*

-:- -:- -:- -:-

So I was sitting here, crying and beating myself up over my (possibly imagined) sins and it seemed like a good idea to put them in black and white pixels.

It's my own fault I'm fat and will probably die younger than I "should."

I have wasted my life being unhappy.

I'm responsible for Pat's death, and I have now lived to be older than she was when she died.

I'm responsible for the deaths of several of the cats who loved me, particularly Mimi.

I was unkind to Shere Khan (who was mostly Pat's cat) because she had issues that annoyed me.

I honestly do wish my mother would die.

I was a terrible daughter to my father.

For several years I had a mad infatuation with a dead guy who I believed was talking to me in my head, and I did not keep this a secret.

This is not what I was planning on writing today, but I've stopped crying.

We are all each others' mirrors.

*Aaron Raz Link
carose59: dealing with people (the same as people who aren't different)
"Oh, No, I Haven't Seen Anyone For Years."*

-:- -:- -:- -:-

Saying anything out loud to anyone has begun to lead, invariably, to anxiety and self-recriminations. No matter how mild the encounter, the odds of my walking away from it feeling like something other than a failure are slim to minuscule. I always say the wrong thing, even if only by saying too much.

I'm not interesting.

I can see the interest die in people's eyes practically the moment I open my mouth. But sometimes the urge to connect is too strong and I ramble on for seconds at a time, pouring out what are supposed to be amusing words, thoughts, ideas.

What comes out instead is rambly disjointedness.

I work well only in support, in being interested in what other people have to say. My interests are weird, esoteric, or old and passé. We've all moved on, I hear people thinking. Nobody cares about that anymore, so even the height of eloquence and wit are tedious and irritating.

Recently I reached out to a former friend. I'd been thinking about her and having . . . I don't know. Not premonitions. Strong thoughts. I wanted to check. (Two friends have died without me knowing about it, so I'm a little sensitive on the subject now.) So I wrote.

And she wrote, said she was fine, asked how I was.

I should have known better, but I answered. Used words. Spoke of myself.

I won't hear from her again.

A weekly phone call from a friend has come to mean an afternoon of tears. I shouldn't have spoken so much. What was I thinking? I try to talk only about the things that are interesting, but what would those be? My life is not interesting; my interests are not interesting. I'm looking for a way to tell her I can't do this anymore, a way that tells her how grateful I am for her forbearance and that I enjoy listening to her, but I'm afraid: afraid of hurting her and afraid of crying. I don't know what to do.

*Venus Flytrap
carose59: poetry (by Henry Gibson)
I am not a writer.

I know this because I have been assured that what makes a writer is, writers write.

Writers write.

I post pictures, and poems by people no-one has ever heard of, and things I wrote years ago, to avoid writing. Writers write.

Writers write even when no-one reads the words. A real writer would write words that would live their lives in a drawer, never seen by anyone else.

A real writer would write in the sand, never despairing of the tide coming for the words.

Writers write.

A real writer can withstand any criticism.
A real writer develops a thick skin and feels no pain.
A real writer can endure the harshest edit.

I went to the library yesterday and there was an authors' fair: writers clumped together in a small meeting room with shiny displays of their books and bowls of candy to entice the unwary, the potential readers, depressed girls like me.

I was given a sheet to get stamped. A fully-stamped sheet would win me the opportunity to win a prize I don't remember.

Everyone was smiling, everyone was welcoming, everyone was enthusiastic. When asked, I told people my favorite kind of book is mysteries. I listened to what their books are about and feigned enthusiasm. I got my sheet stamped. I was given bookmarks and business cards and at one table, a small red bag with a bookmark and business card and small disposable package of kleenex.

I took a piece of chocolate. Hershey's Special Dark.

I made it halfway around the room, then I pretended to get a phone call. I had a heated imaginary conversation with my mother about where I was and when I would be home. I walked out of the small room, preoccupied with my imaginary difficult mother.

I escaped.

I sat in the car and read about Shirley Jackson and thought about how if I had to do this to sell a book, I would kill myself.

Which is all right, because I am not a real writer.
carose59: health matters (an intuition of mortality)
[Written June 9, 2012. Saved with the title Post Today. Never posted.]

"I'm Not Always Depressed, You Know. Every Now And Then I Have A Good Day. It's Between Those 'Nows And Thens' Where I Have All My Trouble!"*

-:- -:- -:- -:-

I knew you were waiting for me to whine and complain, so here I am.

Do you want to know what I had planned for today? My weekly conversation with a dear friend, a graduation party for my cousin's kid (where I had plans to shmooze my godson and his brother about building us a swing), a possible drop-in at the Gay Pride parade (never been to one), and the Unbroken Bones Society's storytelling event tonight.

You know what I think I'm doing as of right now? Sitting around the house watching TV. Because Tuesday night I did something stupid.

I have two fans in my house that I use on a regular basis: one in the living room window, very high powered. I use it as an exhaust fan at night. It's heaven.

In my bedroom, I have another fan in my window. It's a pedestal fan, and it sits at window level. Normally I have it pointing kind of up, so it's just moving air around the room. But Tuesday night, it was pointing pretty much directly at my face. I lay there thinking I really should move it, or turn it off, but I didn't (story of my life), not until late in the night when it was already too late.

I woke up Wednesday morning with a sore throat.

I woke up Thursday morning with a sore throat, a cough, and my sinuses hurting. Strangely, I was in a pretty good mood and went to work and to my appointment with Diane.

I woke up Friday morning with a sore throat, a cough, my sinuses hurting, a headache from hell, feeling like pounded crap, and deep in that horrible despondency that comes with being well and truly sick.

The worst part of yesterday was when I called my mother, the second time.

The first time, she didn't answer the phone. She had called me earlier, told me she was having stomach problems, so I was calling to see how she was.

The second time, she didn't answer the phone because my uncle did. He and my aunt were there to give my mother Communion.

He didn't say anything bad to me, it's just that I sounded like an idiot. And I spent the rest of the day leaking tears and thinking about how they don't like me.

For me, it's all part of being sick.

One kind of amazing thing is that when I'm sick and need a nap, Meg will come in and nap with me. I mean, come in from outside. He's very supportive when I'm sick, very sweet.

I'm better today, at least so far. I can't talk without coughing, which means I can't talk to my mother at all. (Talking to my mother means yelling, and I can't yell, period.) I still have a headache, but I've taken some drugs.

Charlie Brown
carose59: friendships gone wrong (and my poetry to protect me)
"OK, I'm Glad You Had This Little Talk With Yourself."*

-:- -:- -:- -:-

There used to be a show called The Days and Nights of Molly Dodd, starring Blair Brown. It started off on NBC, but was cancelled; then it was picked up by Lifetime. We first watched it because it looked interesting, but the tone was discordant. Then I found out David Strathairn was on it (he wasn't to begin with) and we started watching it again.

David Strathairn played Moss Goodman. He hires Molly to work in his bookstore and they become romantically involved. He was strange and shy and awkward—probably somewhere on the autistic spectrum. When Molly says she wants to talk to him and he thinks it's about their relationship, he can't look at her, he wants to go out to buy bagels. When she tells him she wants a raise, he brightens up—he's happy to give her a raise, he just can't talk about emotional stuff. When pressed, he tells her a story about how, when he was nine, he saw Ingrid Bergman bathing outdoors, and how he had thought that was the most beautiful thing he'd ever see until he met Molly.

Throughout this you can see Molly's impatience. Why is he telling her this story about Ingrid Bergman? Is it even a true story? Finally, she becomes interested, involved, and when he gets to the end, the part about her, charmed, touched.

That happened because this is a TV show.

When I was a little girl, this was my favorite joke:

Who's there?
Apple who?
Who's there?
Apple who?
Who's there?
Apple who?
Who's there?
Apple who?
Who's there?
Orange who?
Orange you glad apple went away?

I loved this joke, but I seldom told it. At a very early age I understood that what made the joke funny was apple being annoying. If you only did the apple part a couple of times, the joke wasn't as funny; the more you could do the apple part, the funnier the punchline was. I knew this at seven, eight years old.

I also knew nobody would let me tell it right. Nobody would listen long enough.

Nothing has changed.

I used to think the writers of The Days and Nights of Molly Dodd weren't very good. When Molly first started working for Moss, she liked his strangeness. They'd spend days in the bookstore just reading, not talking to each other, just being together in their books. Then she became impatient with him, constantly annoyed because he was the same person she'd liked. I couldn't figure out what was going on; it seemed abrupt and badly written.

Maybe it was. But it's also what's usually happened to me.

*Lance Sweets
carose59: MKK (richer than i you can never be)
I've Got Nothing To Say And I'll Only Say It Once.*

-:- -:- -:- -:-

The oddest thing about it all is her perverse tendency to hear the opposite of whatever I've said. If I say "It's not going to rain today," she hears "It's going to rain today." And this isn't about sentence structure, or assuming the worst. If I say, "It's going to rain today," she hears, "It isn't going to rain today." It's so bizarre, it feels deliberate.

My favorite moment of being misunderstood was when I was trying to give her a telephone number over the phone. (This was not my idea, and I protested its uselessness, but she insisted.) I got to the number zero, and she simply could not get it. She thought I was saying Jell-O. Because randomly throwing in the names of food items is something I would do while giving someone a phone number.

And this can't be blamed on the stroke; it was two years ago. Really, giving someone a phone number on the phone should be the easiest thing in the world. There are only ten options, and none of them sound anything alike. (Maybe five and nine. Do you know why six is afraid of seven? Because seven eight nine. [Read it aloud if you don't get it. That was Pat's favorite joke.]) If you hear Jell-O, ask yourself what number sounds like that. But of course she doesn't do that. She's busy making up her own stories about what you're saying. And I wouldn't care, but I'm doing all the heavy lifting while she's playing, and getting angry at me because she's not getting it. It's all my responsibility and my fault and LA-LA-LA-LA, she can't hear me!

The second worst part of this is the sheer unnecessariness of all of those years of yelling. I'm furious with her for that, for treating me so thoughtlessly all that time, wearing me out so that now when it's important that I have patience with her, I just don't anymore. She's used it all up, it's entirely her own damn fault, and she doesn't get it. She blames me.

But that isn't the worst part. The worst part is how this erases me in her life.

She's told me more than once that nobody has ever made her laugh the way I do. I'm funny. I've always been funny, and making my mother laugh was the best. I do that with words, with wit. But now my words disappear before they reach her, and I cease to exist. I'm just the pack mule that carries everything, that pushes the wheelchair, that moves the furniture. I have no wit; I'm silent, mute, an annoyance when I try to speak. I'm no longer the daughter she loved for making her laugh because she took that away from me.

Maybe that's why she doesn't love me anymore.

*Floyd Smith
carose59: health matters (an intuition of mortality)
If You Think I Understand All This, You Will Be Profoundly Mistaken.*

-:- -:- -:-

I've been on vacation this week, and so far I've spent two mornings sitting in Pat's old chair, wrapped in a blanket, sleeping with the TV on.

It's very comforting and very relaxing.

I've got a C-PAP machine, and I've been using it for the last month. According to the machine, I'm doing great. But I feel like I'm not relaxing, and I wake up with a backache every morning from laying funny. (I have to lay with my face off the pillow so the mask doesn't get pushed out of position. I don't like sleeping on my back, and it's not recommended anyway.)

But I miss is the sensual pleasure of just sleeping like a normal person. It's like being put on a diet of pills, pills that are perfectly calibrated to give me the right nutrition, but what joy is there in taking pills?

And I can't get past the ridiculous, pointless thought of how, if Pat was alive, it would make things so much more complicated: no more just snuggling and falling asleep, I'd have to strap on my mask and turn on my machine and figure out how to lay. It's been ten years since I could do that anyway, but that's the thing that makes me so sad.

On the plus side, it's a very quiet machine. I can lie in bed and listen to it rain. And after one night of just staring at the box all night, Meg decided it's not dangerous, and now he ignores it and sleeps with me the same as before.

*Aaron Raz Link
carose59: common unhappiness (empty and aching and i don't know why)
All That You Love Will Be Carried Away*

-:- -:- -:-

Last year, my house got broken into twice. The second time, the burglars were more successful. They didn't vandalize my house, but wanting to leave through a door rather than the window they'd come in through,** they tore the place apart looking for a spare key to let themselves out. There is no spare key.

I haven't tidied things up. It's not just depression that's kept me from doing that; I simply cannot bear the idea that more is missing than I originally thought. My mother and I now talk about when things get stolen, what we'll do.

It was around this time that I mostly stopped wearing earrings. There were pairs I couldn't find, and also so many where I had lost one by going out into the world wearing them, I just couldn't bear it. Even with that, I managed to lose one of Pat's cat earrings on my birthday.

The day before my second cataract surgery, I lost Pat's wedding ring.

I wore it on my little finger, next to my wedding ring. The two identical rings were happy next to each other. I got up in the morning and saw that the small ring was gone, and my first thought was, "Where did I put it?" Because it almost seems as though I took it off in the night, in a dream.

At that point, I could use one eye or the other, but not both together, and neither of them worked terribly well for searching for small, round, silver things. I consoled myself with the idea that the ring, though missing, is still in the house; even though I can't see it, I'm living with it. It's like living with a ghost. Maybe Pat took it.

It's mostly my own ring I feel sorry for, being alone. I briefly considered putting on another ring, so it wouldn't be lonely, but a Peanuts cartoon stopped me. Lucy has stolen Linus's blanket, and Linus is inconsolable. Charlie Brown suggests he use a dishtowel to replace his blanket, and Linus scathingly replies, "You would give a starving dog a rubber bone."


*Title of a story by Stephen King

**The window was two stories up, over the ramp that goes into the garage under my house. They reached it by dragging over a trashcan to the edge of the ramp, and leaping up to the window. I was burglarized by Spiderman, or one of the flying Wallendas. I now keep all my windows closed when I'm not home.

Posted simultaneously on LiveJournal and Dreamwidth
carose59: the rose behind the fence (Default)
"She Wanted To Be In The Glass Menagerie, But She Wasn't Glass, So . . . ."*

-:- -:- -:-

The other day I got an email from An Archive Of Our Own telling me I had to make a decision about a story I wrote a long time ago for Yuletide.

I don't belong to AOOO; I don't belong to anything. The last time this subject came up, I was called names by the supporters of AOOO, and ignored by the person in charge of Yuletide. I was in better shape then, and I got through it.

Now I just keep going through this vicious circle: We want your story. We want you to be a member so we can have your story, and any other stories you have. We do not want you. That's where I start crying and saying, "I don't blame you, I don't want me either. But I'm still not giving away my stories to people who don't want me. I have nothing of any value—because God knows I'm of no value—but my stories. I wish I was dead." I would contact the AOOO people, but why would they want to talk to me? And all I want to do right now is apologize—to everybody, for everything.

*Tim DeKay

Posted simultaneously on LiveJournal and Dreamwidth.

New poem

Monday, 8 April 2013 12:48 pm
carose59: poetry (by Henry Gibson)
Fifty-four years old. I want to play in the backyard.

Nobody asks if you want to be the grown-up.

All of a sudden, you're responsible for everything, and how did that happen?
Not only for yourself, which is bad enough, but for other people, and cats, and why?

And when you get sick, you think about dying, and
what will happen if you do,
because look at all the balls you're juggling!

Or just picking up off the floor
squeeze them
here and there,
one under your arm,
one under your chin—

Let me tell you, they aren't going to bury those balls with you when you die. Somebody else
is going to have to juggle them, and who might that be?

And where are they now, when you're feverish and crying?

And everything you do is wrong.

Even when it's right,
it's wrong
because the next thing will be wrong, so the right thing you did doesn't count.
The right things never count, only the wrong ones.
And sometimes you just want to sit in the car and read so you don't have to go in the house
even though there's nobody in the house.

You have to make decisions,
and they're wrong, too.
And what the hell are you going to have for dinner?

You had nothing for breakfast, and
peanut butter cups for lunch,
so maybe Pop-tarts. A hot meal would be good.

Because whatever food you buy has something in it that's going to kill you
(and it will be your own fault you're dead)
and there's nobody to cook for you—there's nobody to do anything for you, except the cat:
he purrs for you,
and it's a comfort,
but it's no help.

And if only you were getting some of it right, it might seem bearable,
but you aren't,
not any of it,
purchases have to go back to the store,
and your credit card's probably overdue,
and you got a disconnect notice for your gas, even though there's money to pay it.

But that's another failure.
Because the gas company's right down the street,
you should walk there,
you have walked there,
only you're so tired, how can you walk anywhere?

And driving's an admission of failure.

So the easiest thing is just not to pay the gas bill until they threaten to shut it off.

And everything's like that.
Don't look at the credit card bill, it's just going to tell you things you don't want to know.

And it's finally spring,
you're supposed to be better,
why aren't you better?
Have you always been this big a mess?

There's no-one to ask, but at least the cat purrs.

Posted simultaneously on LiveJournal and Dreamwidth

Wasting space

Wednesday, 23 January 2013 05:14 am
carose59: poetry (by Henry Gibson)
If a space opened up where I sit right now,
that would be fine.
Nature abhors a vacuum,
so someone would fill it.

People need me, I know that.
But where they need clarity and reason,
all I can write is poetry, and
where they need action,
a good deal,
where they need coherency,
I either laugh or cry.
(Sometimes both.)

I make lists I can't follow
and plans that don't pan.
My mind and body are strangers to me,
to each other.
I can't hear the future because the past won't stop echoing.

I know people care about me.
I know I should respond,
but what to say?
It isn't that I have no words, but I've said them all before,
again and again.
There is nothing new in my mind or my soul.

The disturbing thing is, I don't feel bad.
I'm simply no longer myself—
an exact replica with the same scars on the outside,
but no fingerprints on the inside.
It's only when called upon to do what she did
that I find myself wishing
for a space in my place.

Posted simultaneously on LiveJournal and Dreamwidth

Short update

Tuesday, 27 November 2012 07:32 am
carose59: the rose behind the fence (rose is a rose is a rose)
[Written November 14, 2012]

The One Function TV News Performs Very Well Is That When There Is No News We Give It To You With The Same Emphasis As If There Were.*

-:- -:- -:- -:-

I tried to post the other night, but was unsuccessful. Some of it was technical difficulties, and some of it was trying to deal with technical difficulties with a cat lying on my arm while I was juggling a keyboard and a trackball on my lap. It took me hours to get something posted, and I never did get the formatting worked out, so I scrapped the whole thing. If I'd been posting something serious, I'd have worked it out later, sans cat, but it was just a bit of ephemera—not only not worth the time I'd already spent, but it would have been stale by morning.

I have not yet cried today. The last few days, I've cried every day. I developed an irresistible desire to listen to The Sweetheart Tree by Johnny Mathis, a song that has always made me cry. I'm still sinking.

I'm also still cleaning. I'm still thinking about cleaning, and still enjoying myself, in a more subdued way. I'm thinking about writing, but not doing any, except for this. Sometimes I feel like the need to write is slipping off me, the way skin follicles die and float away. Would it matter, as long as I'm reasonably happy anyway?

For the record, I was nowhere near the explosion that happened on the far south side of Indianapolis the other night, nor have I, myself, independently exploded for any reason.

*David Brinkley
carose59: meds (into patients of whom they know nothing)
I Don't Even Know If I Mean That . . . And I'm Massively Confused, And You're Ambivalent.*

-:- -:- -:-

It's time to come out. And I've abandoned Bruce Springsteen.

About a month and a half ago, after finishing Richard Whitaker's Anatomy of an Epidemic, I made the decision to stop taking Cymbalta.

It's scary.

I also made the decision not to tell anyone. I just didn't want anyone telling me I shouldn't do it.

I changed my mind about that and told a select few people: my mother, my boss, one of my best friends. I did this because I didn't want to be alone in this, and because I wanted other people keeping tabs on my behavior. And I emailed another friend about it, and I joined an online support group for people withdrawing from psychotropics.

The first thing you really need to know is that back when my psychiatrist upped my dose from 30mg to 60mg, I only went with that dose for a very short time, then started taking the 60s every other day, and that's what I've been doing ever since. My first step in my withdrawal was to stop doing that. Instead, I started taking 30mg a day. Well, a little less because it didn't divide quite evenly.

At that point I was counting the little granules in the capsules, and I discovered there weren't the same amount in each one. Also, my mother kept bringing up the subject when we talked, and she asked me to tell Patrick because he sees me pretty often, and we talk. So I did that, and I went online and bought myself a scale so I could weigh the milligrams. I showed it to my mother the other day, and she was very impressed. And I think she's less worried.

So far I've made one cut; I've gone down from 114mg to 111mg. "One hundred and fourteen? How did 114 get into it?" I hear you cry. Well, with the inactive ingredients (which include a time-release coating), 30 becomes 114, more or less, don't you see?

(I tried to do the math to figure that out, so I'd know just how much I was cutting, but I don't know what the equation would be. There's only so much math you can learn from watching Numb3rs.)

So far I don't see any difference, and no-one has said anything. I'm mostly feeling pretty good. I'm mostly--

I feel like there's two of me: the one who mostly feels pretty good, and the one that feels strange and stressed and worried. It's like I'm Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde, split in two. I don't know which one is the real me. I don't know if I'm changing because of things, or changing Pat died, or I'm changing because changing I'm not dead and change is what everything living thing does. Or D, all of the above.

Anyway, I've made a pro/con list of going off Cymbalta.


01) I'm concerned about long-term effects.
02) Except for the Lorazepam, I've never had problems stopping a drug.
03) I don't trust the people who are pushing the drugs.
04) It's followed the same pattern of all the other anti-depressants I've used--it helped at first, but I don't see any difference overall.
05) I'm being extremely careful.
06) They're expensive.
07) I don't feel like writing anymore.
08) I don't feel like doing much of anything anymore.


01) I don't know what the long-term effects are. (It's a newish drug.)
02) I'm terrified of withdrawal effects, and I've never been on a drug this long before.
03) Am I being unduly swayed by Richard Whitaker's book?
04) I'm feeling relatively good right now and I don't want to mess with that.
05) Except for the support group I've found, I feel like everyone I know disapproves or is fearful of this.
06) Being part of this support group, I feel pressured to continue.
07) I don't know if anything I'm experiencing has anything to do with the drugs.
08) I don't know anything.

I don't know who I am anymore, and I live in a vacuum, and I was never good at decisions but now--

I'm a bat in an open field, with nothing to bounce my sounds off of.

*Amita Ramanujan


Wednesday, 19 December 2007 01:28 pm
carose59: common unhappiness (empty and aching and i don't know why)
"A Lot Of People Are Dead. Eventually, Everyone."*

-:- -:- -:- -:-

Imagine you're on a boat, which is sailing away from the shore. You're watching as the places and people you used to live in and with and amongst gradually disappear as the boat moves farther and farther away. Eventually, all you can see is water.

Now, imagine that you're not on a boat, but this is happening anyway. Only it's not that you can't see them; you just can't remember why you wanted to see them. You look at a favorite sweater and you cannot remember why you loved it. You buy a favorite food, but you don't cook it because the preparation is just too much trouble; it isn't worth the bother. People around you are amusing, but you have to force yourself to pretend laughter, the movies you used to love seem too long, too familiar—just dull. And don't even get me started about that whole reading thing. What was fun about that, anyway?

You're not sad. You're not unhappy. Things feel fine, sort of. They don't hurt, anyway. They mostly don't feel like anything. Sleep is good, and sex is still the same, and there are moments of soaring exhilaration, but they come for the most unlikely reasons: going out to clean the snow off the car, or folding laundry. You haven't stopped laughing, but you're pretty much laughing only at your own private jokes, and that feels simultaneously giddy and terribly sad.

This is what's been happening to me for the last few months. Sunday night, I bundled up to go over and look the lights on Kildare. I walked to the corner, and I could see that the lights were on, but . . . it was cold out. I didn't want to walk that far.

'That far' is about a block. The day before, I walked two miles in a pretty good sized snow. My point is, it wasn't about the distance. I stand there and look at those lights and they're very pretty. But they mean nothing. I try to remember how it felt to love them, and there's nothing there.

It's like—and, I'm sorry, but it's always like. My brain always goes towards analogy. It's having a dream where you discover the meaning of everything. You wake up in the morning and for a few seconds you're really buzzed. You know the secret of everything!

And then you realize that "the secret of everything" in your dream was "postage stamp orange teddy bear cardboard wastebasket."

And that means what, now?

Nothing. No matter how many times you go over this marvelous revelation, there's nothing there.

New York is the same way. I've been watching Seinfeld lately, and there's a shot of the Empire State Building they use that used to fill me with longing. Now—nothing. It's a pretty shot, but—nothing.

(And I feel like such a fool for having rambled on about it so. It isn't my place; I have no right to love it. I've always felt that, but before I was so overwhelmed with feeling, I could barely contain it. Now that the feeling is gone, all that's left is the shame.)

On the plus side, I may have found a way of dealing with my fear of intersections.

Yes, I have a fear of intersections. I have this fear that I'll be driving through one and be broadsided, probably because the light changed suddenly. I started wondering if this was a manifestation of the other things I've been broadsided by in the last few years. So this morning when I was going through the scary ones, I started screaming out the emotional broadsidings I've experienced: Pat dying, Giovanna violating me, Susan betraying me—

It seemed to help, though I'm not sure if it was what I was screaming, or just the screaming that did it. I guess I'll know if I keep doing it and the fear goes away.

*Charlie Crews
carose59: common unhappiness (empty and aching and i don't know why)
[I wrote this two months ago. I have no idea why it took that long.]

"All We're Trying To Do Is Keep a Lot of People In One Place While We Shoot At Them. Why's It Have To Be So Hard?"*

-:- -:- -:- -:-

I can't sleep.

That's not completely true; I can sleep at work. I can sleep here in my chair at my computer. I can sleep on the sofa, if there's a movie on I really want to watch. But in bed, in the dark--


Bed has all the relaxing qualities of a blank sheet of paper I'm required to fill with proof of my literary talent. I have hot flashes; then I'm freezing. I itch, usually in places like the bottom of my foot, or the middle of my back, or, if I'm lying on my side, the hip I'm lying on. Itches that require not just scratching, but major shifts in position, disturbances in the entire eco-structure of the bed (I usually have a cat either on my head, or lying right next to me. On the other side, I have Pat. When I move, everybody moves. I feel like Shamu).

And my brain won't shut down. How much vacation time do I have--is it enough for going to Media (yes) and coming home and being off the week after, while we have guests--

if we have guests--

Should I go back to my desperate house-cleaning? Maybe if I got up and washed dishes, it would make me sleepy, maybe.

Almost every item of cloth in the house is clean, if not yet put away. I could put them all away, which would clear out the living room pretty well--

I need to clean the bathroom.

(I tried to clean the bathroom yesterday and nearly killed myself. I was dusting the overhead light--which is not the overhead light that my grandfather and uncle put in, because that one burned out--not just the bulb, the whole fixture, and the only saving grace is, it didn't cause a fire, because they knew nothing about electrical wiring, nothing, nothing, nothing, and the light fixture itself burned up. So what I have in there is a hanging lamp my parents gave me for Christmas one year, many years ago, which hangs from the previous light fixture and is plugged into an extension cord that's plugged in in the hall because there is no outlet in the bathroom, except the one over the mirror that the toothbrush is plugged into. Anyway, the old fixture came loose--hanging a few feet from the ceiling by a couple of wires. I dropped the lamp entirely. The bulb didn't shatter, but it did break. I had to stand on the pouffy toilet seat lid to hang the thing back up, and I'm very afraid of heights, particularly unstable heights. I broke out in a cold sweat up there, trying to yank the old fixture all the way off, wondering if I was going to electrocute myself. I finally got it off, and got the lamp hung back up. Then I spent the rest of the day lying on the sofa, watching movies and wondering what I'm doing and why I'm doing it.)

I'm trying to work up some enthusiasm for going to MediaWest, but all I'm feeling is anxiety, about time, about getting everything done, about packing, about picking up the rental, getting Pat to the doctor on Tuesday, how much time will that take? About forgetting things, necessary things, will I get all the necessary clothes washed, will I forget the damn toilet seat raiser--again?

Seriously. Ernest Shackleton worried less about preparing to head off to Antarctica--and I'm only going one state up, from Indiana to Michigan. The only really important thing I could forget would be something to do with Pat's motorized cart. We fucking go to Meijer's virtually every day. We're not destitute. If we needed something, we could buy it. There's nothing life-threatening, or earth-shattering, that we could possibly leave behind--

What if the rental's not right? It's a full-size, we're promised a full-size, that should be big enough, right? It has to carry our suitcase, and the wheelchair, and the cart--there should be plenty of space, right? And tall enough--low to the ground cars are no good, Pat can't get out of them, not unassisted.

Will she be all right?

I worry. What would I do if--

I'm buried in ifs, bad, mean, awful ifs that suffocate. And what will people think?

I've talked about my grandmother, my mother's mother, who worried about what the neighbors thought. My mother always talked about her as if she was paranoid, although from things she's said lately, the neighbors really were talking. And much as I hate and despise the need to do things because of the opinions of other people, I know what my grandmother was talking about. She could feel those opinions on her skin, like drops of steam sizzling downward. There are days when I swear I can hear people thinking about me. And no matter how conceited or paranoid it sounds, when I think of my grandmother (and how the neighbors really were talking about our family), I can't just shake if off, can't just bundle myself up in my sunglasses and baggy clothes and go out into the world and not care. It hurts. Going out is an act of will, and believe me, it's scarier than heading off to the Antarctic, in a bikini and without Shackleton.

I was talking about something when I started this. I don't know what it was. I'm going back to the sofa.

*Flake Project X
carose59: common unhappiness (empty and aching and i don't know why)
Life Is Not a Cabaret. And Stop Calling Me Chum.*

-:- -:- -:- -:-

Somehow, right now the minutia of my life seems downright microscopic, and writing it down seems ridiculous. What am I going to write about--how it got humid again and I'm running the a/c? How I wore myself out cleaning the hall carpet and I'm still not done? (I do kind of love the new carpet cleaner, which worries me. It's just cool to watch it suck up the dirt.) How I've been baking and eating chocolate chip cookies all weekend and feeling fat and ugly? How I don't want to go back to work Monday?

If it's boring me, I can't imagine anyone else being interested in this shit. Tomorrow I'm just going to have to have a more interesting life, so I'll have something to write about. I'd put a poem here instead, but I can't seem to get the formatting right. In the meantime, a joke that sums up why I may be fallen away, but in my heart I'll always be a good Catholic girl.

St. Peter was standing at his post at the gates of heaven when Jesus came up to him. "Peter, we have a problem. My Father says He's noticed a number of souls up here of people who aren't supposed to be here. He's sent me to talk to you, to find out what's going on. Now, you do understand how the system works, don't you?"

St. Peter looked very serious, and very nervous. "Yes, Lord, of course I do. When someone arrives, I check the list. If they're on it, I let them in. If they aren't, I don't."

Jesus nodded. "Well, if you understand, then what's the problem?" St. Peter didn't say anything, he just sort of looked over Jesus' shoulder, like he'd rather be anywhere else in the world. "Peter?" Jesus prodded gently. "What's the problem?"

Finally, Peter looked Jesus right in the eye. "Lord, I promise you, if the person's name isn't on the list, I haven't been letting them in."

"Then how are they getting up here?"

"Because, Lord, as soon as I turn them away at the front gate, Your mother lets them in through a hole in the back fence!"

*T-Shirt Slogan
carose59: flowers and nature (there are no straight lines)
Chris Isaak, Singing Flying

-:- -:- -:- -:-

The morning-glories are beautiful this year. They didn't do much along the back fence, but out in front they're climbing across the front of the house to wrap around the out-of-control yew on the other side of the sunken driveway. There are some beautiful hybrids--lots of pinks and purples, some Heavenly Blues shot with pink, a magenta I don't remember ever seeing before. There are also some tiny blue ones that I think I got from the alley last year. That was my coping mechanism 9-11-01, I walked down the alley, got my socks and pants legs filled with stickers, and harvested seeds. I needed some life, and nobody was offering me a kitten (which is good; the flowers are all I can handle).

And the other ones, the ones with the tri-leaves, are vining up, but I can't tell if they're blooming. The vines are so entangled, so it's hard to tell what belongs to which, and they don't say. Of course, they don't care, they're all just plants together.

Sometimes I wonder if the peach tree misses the m-g's that used to climb it. Should I write out all the craziness here? Pretend there's someone listening? The climbing, the striving, the ache for the sky makes me cry (Word of the Millennium: Weltsmertz. It means world pain, the weight of the world laying on your body like gravity). I don't know why all His lost hopes and dreams have settled on me, nesting in my hair. Distraction, I suppose.

It's time for more brownies.

July 2017

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