Clap Your Hands
May 26, 2010 in Deeper Than Down
I’ve started therapy again, with a nice woman on a sliding scale. After an attack on my emotional state aided and abetted by medication roulette, I’m back down to just one anti-depressant, at a dose that makes doctors raise their eyebrows just a tad. And I’m still making it to the gym at least a few times a week. I’m doing all the things you’re supposed to do, so why is it that when my therapist asked me the other week to talk about the most recent time I was happy, I couldn’t think of one?
I don’t spend every day crying hysterically and rending my clothes. That would actually feel like something. No, I spend most days feeling like I’m wrapped in blankets, struggling through a lake of molasses. Everything about me is dulled and slow. It is a struggle to leave my comfy bed and warm cat, something I put off to the afternoon unless I absolutely have to get up and go somewhere. As long as I’m in bed, I’m safe, the world hasn’t started. If it weren’t for my pets, I could easily see myself not leaving the bed for days. I just don’t have the energy. It’s like trying to run in knee deep mud, trying with all your might and getting ahead only a few inches at a time. Few things seem worth that effort.
Being unemployed doesn’t help. Having a job would get me out of the house, give me something to do, distract me from the loops playing in my mind. What is wrong with me? What did I do wrong? Which thing that I did wrong was it, that brought me to this point? There are things I could be doing, should be doing. I have writing to work on, a script to finish. But when your brain is sluggish the words don’t want to come, and when they do, you’re sure it’s crap. I should be applying for jobs, sending out resumes. What’s that old saying, that insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different outcome? Hope can seem like a form of insanity at times, when you’ve done something over and over and it hasn’t worked, but you have no option but to try it again. Having spent a good portion of the last ten years under- or unemployed, I’ve lost track of how many jobs I’ve applied for, how many resumes I’ve sent out, even of where I’ve interviewed. There was the top producer who thought I was “delightful,” but the choice was really up to his writers. There was the VP who worried I’d be bored too quickly, in a job a rung above the one I’d been doing well for the past year. Delightful doesn’t necessarily get you hired, and neither does being able to walk in and do the job from day one. I’ve run up to kick that football so many times, and have ended up cracking my head on the ground in the fall after it’s not there.
And even though I feel wrapped in blankets, numb to things around me, I can also feel flayed, like every nerve ending is exposed and raw to the slightest nip. The littlest thing can set me off, even worse is turning my head to look at the things I’m trying to ignore, the problems I just can’t face without wanting to curl up and surrender. I forced myself to get out of the house the other week, go get some magazines, get a burger at my favorite diner, just remind myself that the world outside my front door is a fine place. But the diner was closed, something was being filmed there. I went somewhere else, but the food wasn’t as good, they messed up my order, and they cleared my plate and magazine when I went back inside to get a slice of cake. Nothing much in the scheme of things, but I was shattered, wanting to cry my head off. I dragged myself to the gym and sleep walked through my routine. I don’t buy that exercising gives you an endorphin rush; if I keep pushing myself after I’m wiped on the elliptical all I feel is dizzy and light headed. But the muscle weariness of the weight machines makes me feel like I’ve done something, honest work, a worthy ache.
I told my therapist the other week about how I’ve been feeling, the lethargy, the lack of motivation, the lack of anything. She went over what I had said, asked some questions, and told me that that was depression. Having suffered under it for years now, you’d imagine I’d know that, but hope is a funny thing. When you’re taking the meds, doing what they tell you, you think it will get better. I think it will, it’s just going to take more time, maybe another spin of the medication wheel. In the meantime, I hide when I can, fake it when I can’t, and hope for moments when I feel normal, OK – maybe even happy.
Maybe if I clap hard enough, really show I believe, it can last.