Thursday, January 10, 2013

WIBWIW ~ Soul-Crushed

In this post I talk about depression and menstruation. The squeamish probably shouldn't read on.

Like, I hadn't prepared anything to post for today and was just gonna refer folks to yesterday's post 'cause, you know, I dig it when folks read my stuff, and whatnot. (Also, y'all know I'm lazy as sin. Sloth, you dig?) But then some stuff went through my mind and I just felt like getting it out. Releasing it.

Not that anything bad happened today. In fact, I happily anticipated the day, as I was to work with some colleagues at my day job that I only really work with a few times a year, some cool cats whose company I enjoy. One came ahead of the group, as he and I had some preliminary set up to sort out. He asked how I was and somewhere in my reply I said the words "soul-crushed." He looked a bit concerned at first but, as he then proceeded to repeatedly reference his fear that he might crush my soul inadvertently, I finally had to tell him to quit breaking my chops or I'd call HR and complain about my hostile work environment. Good times. :-)

Sitting here this evening, gobbling down my third Mrs. Fields cookie, it occurred to me that I really have felt "soul-crushed" often in the past...oh, I dunno...five years? Anyway, yeah, I've certainly felt that level of despair, but I've been on antidepressants since late August, which help me stay on an even keel...except when my monthly comes, I must admit. Oh, how the hormones rage! It's so bizarre, being a woman...and being human.

I've mentioned feeling desolate in the two weeks immediately after Balthazar left for his first year of college. I wept for those two weeks, all day long that first day he was gone, then sporadically and suddenly. Over the next two weeks I frequently had to close my office door at work, because the tears struck stealthily, apropos of nothing. I had fits of despondency. That, too, was surreal. I just couldn't control myself. God, it was awful.

Adding to the sense of loss and crisis of identity, the move back to my parents' place, necessary so that I could cover the tuition/room and board fees not covered by Balthy's scholarship and financial aid, weighed heavily on my mind. To finance the loss of my birdling, I had to lose the nest. WTF? Surely the first loss was painful enough?

Eleven days after the Kid left, I suffered an attack of ick so powerful, I felt like I needed to tear it out of my body. I grabbed my laptop and started typing:

This ache for my kid, for my life, for all I'm to lose, and all I never had,
roils in my gut, an omnipresent nausea
threatening to erupt in a projected stream of sorrow, suffering, and misery.
And then I blow and it all pours out, like the terror-filled howl of a beast in the wild.
Only, no answering howl comes, and so I shuffle and snivel back into myself,
uneasily anticipating the next outburst of grief.


It didn't really help. Plus, it's dreadful poetry. Blerch.

Balthazar going away/me losing my apartment weren't the triggers of my depression, they were simply the tipping point when I knew I needed help. Since the meds, the only times I get that close to hopelessness are when I've got my period. Or, you know, when I get rejection letters from agents, and whatnot. Just kidding. It's actually when agents get their periods that I feel all shook up. I'm sensitive that way.

So yeah, it's le suck being soul-crushed. Yay, drugs!

PS: Cheery affirmations about how folks can help themselves feel better by "thinking positively" and that negative thinking leads to "self-fulfilling prophecies," are bullshit, and aiming that crap at a seriously depressed individual is stupid, insensitive, and should be criminal. You want to help? Tell the person you're there for whatever s/he needs and then make sure you are. 

30 comments:

  1. I learned in the last few months that my anti-depressant is not optional. In fact, I think I need to increase the dosage slightly. My family deserves the best me possible - I know that's cheesy but it's the truth.

    I hate that soul-crushing. It happens too often with me as well - although of course the meds help.

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    1. Thanks for sharing, Azara. And yes, THANK GOD for antidepressants that WORK! I really feel for folks who suffer from depression and aren't helped by anything they try...

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  2. I have to call that PS centuries distilled wisdom. It is totally and completely true.

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    1. Thanks, Al. I think folks don't always know how to help so they latch onto something desperately. It's like that thing I've often heard adults say to kids when they complain of being treated unfairly, "Well, life's not fair." And how, exactly, does that help the kid? It doesn't.

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  3. People who say "just think positive!", particularly to someone who actually suffers depression, need a good punch in the face. oops, did I say that out loud? hmmm!

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    1. Hear, hear. I think, unless folks have really been there, they don't have a mechanism for completely understanding the situation. They can relate to a rough patch, or feeling blue for a bit, but they don't know depression. I can be happy for them, so long as they keep their stupid mouths shut. :-D

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  4. (Not sure why, but I can never read your first comment. It always overlaps onto the labels, reaction, location stuff at the bottom of the post.)

    Just before I had my third child, I had a real problem with PMS. Like for 2 weeks at a time. I told my doctor. He offered antidepressants. I asked him what else could I do. He said, 'Calcium supplements.' WTF? And it did help.

    When I hurt my foot and no doctors could help, Dr. Google told me to try 100 mg B-Complex vitamins. I took 50 mg - and they immediately made me feel normally and happy like maybe other people feel all the time. (I should take one right now.) I told my doctor, and he agreed that's been known to help. WTF?

    Now I take calcium and vitamin B (when I'm feeling down or when I remember to) and only reach the brink of crazytown for about 4 hours a month. I wish my husband would get a clue and leave the house for those 4 hours.

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    1. That was supposed to say 'normal and happy' - something must be wrong with my keyboard.

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    2. LOL about your husband! :-)

      I've certainly read about the B-vitamins being helpful. I've picked up a Vitamin Shoppe women's multi which has higher numbers of the Bs, similar to the counts you might find in a B-complex pill. My big problem is that I'm not great at remembering to take stuff regularly (and the days I forget to take my happy pill are not good ones, though I've now started taking it the very first thing in the morning, after going to the bathroom, so I don't forget!!!!!). When I asked my doc about antidepressants, I also told him I had a hell of a time getting to sleep most nights, and that I needed not to be so regularly sleep deprived. He suggested melatonin (which definitely has helped, a lot) and also a Calcium/Magnesium/Zinc cocktail. That's also been forgotten, frequently, but I see the value in getting them into my daily regimen (for my bones, for one, and the magnesium is supposed to help take the edge off menstrual cramps).

      Whew. Baby steps to getting better, right? :-) Thank you for sharing, too.

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  5. Damn. Your words are spot on... "You want to help? Tell the person you're there for whatever s/he needs and then make sure you are."
    I'm here for ya, babe!

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    1. Thanks, Doll!!! ((((((((((Jackie))))))))))

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  6. I friggin HATE my period. I'm sick of it. It messes with my mood so bad, not to mention the pain and discomfort prior and during, then the post-period headache. I'm 48, never had or wanted kids anyway, and had my childhood ripped from me at age 11. It's time for this shit to stop. (can you tell I'm on it right now?!?!?).

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    1. (((((((((((((JoJo)))))))))))))

      I hope the worst of that's over right quick. xoxox

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  7. Hi Mina - Thanks for visiting my blog...I was blessed with early menopause, but I remember those dark days. I definitely ascribe to all things positive. The husband calls me the eternal optimist!

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    1. Would you believe I rather look forward to menopause?! Except I've really no idea how I'll survive the hot flashes, if they come! 0_0

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  8. sorry to hear re soul crushed - I can relate to that empty feeling when kids leave, well no I can't relate but I can imagine how it feels. Also oh yeah those positive thinkers are usually trying to kid themselves anyhow because they are out of control and while I can have seize the day moods, there are times when so much is going down I feel overwhelmed. Can't really comment re periods :)

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    1. C'mon, Dave, you're a creative fella; you could TOTALLY comment on periods, if you gave it a shot! ;-)

      And I agree with you: I think lots of folks deceive themselves because they can't handle the truth of not being anywhere near having all the answers to the ick of living. (My God, that *sentence* was outta control!) :-D

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  9. Oh my God. Thank You!!! For having the guts to talk about this and then having the guts to call out anyone who thinks taking medicine is weak or unnecessary. ANYONE who feels that way has clearly never suffered from any kind of clinical depression.

    I know you saw my beginners blogfest post about Caity. When all that started--my daughter drinking, partying, lying etc...my mother also happened to be dying from cancer and we had JUST lost a house we'd thought we were going to be able to buy. The house we were living it. It was sold out from under us when my then brother-in-law (who had verbally agreed to sell to us) got addicted to crack (this was seriously out of left field, as the guy was a mr. upstanding/rich/insurance salesman. He burned through all his money and ended up getting so in hock to his dealer that he gave him OUR house. We had thirty days to get out.

    So, all of that was going on and, at some point during it, I decided I no longer wanted to get out of bed. Big surprise, right? And I went to the Dr. and she prescribed me anti-depressants and, after about two weeks on them, I started to feel better.

    After about four weeks on them I was an entirely different person. Turns out I'd been suffering from clinical depression for YEARS but--having never known anything else--I thought feeling like crap all the time was normal. Those pills saved my life and permanently changed it. I am a happier person today than I have ever been.

    So I'm all about doing whatever you need to do to take care of yourself and cope. I'm sorry you had such a soul-crushing year. Your blog is definitely one of my favorite ones. We would be friends in real life--I can tell. :) I really hope 2013 is better than 2012 for you.

    You must be REALLY proud of your son. Him going off to college so young is an amazing accomplishment. You clearly did something right!!

    Crap. I just wrote a book on your blog. SORRY!!!

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    1. LOL, don't be sorry, it's awesome! I so appreciate when people share their stories; we can learn from one another and derive some hope from knowing we're not alone in the boat. At least, it encourages *me*, you know?

      And DANG, what a shocker, to have your house taken away from you so suddenly! I'm really sorry you had to deal with THAT on top of everything else. (Another one of those platitudes I utterly despise just came to mind: "God never gives us more than we can handle." Oh, right. Gah.)

      Thanks for your good wishes, and for everyone's!

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  10. Vivid and true. I hate the cheery talk too. I usually just tune out. Sometimes, if they're fierce in their positive chat, I imagine they burst into the flames. I do wonder why that helps. And chocolate. Yup.

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  11. I'm sorry for the rough times and the depression. I also suffer depression and am having a very hard time coping/maintaining right now after finding out some terrible news. One can grasp at whatever comes along, and have positive speak up the wazoo, but it makes very little difference when someone's soul is being crushed. So let's just be frank. Depression sucks (souls), and so do hormones.

    Shannon at The Warrior Muse

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  12. @Christine - LOL at the flame-bursting comment. I think I'll try that! ;-)

    @Shannon - I'm sorry for your terrible news. If I can put my blogging to good use for you, just let me know. I also have prayers on tap and an excellent ear. I'm wishing you the best.

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  13. *hugs* Depression is definitely no fun. I can't imagine how hard it would be to have a child go away to college. It's sometimes hard thinking of my little sister (she's almost 18) moving away. I'm glad to hear the meds are helping, though. I was on some a few years ago, and they did help, but I hated not being able to think.

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    1. The first meds I tried, earlier in the summer, made it hard for me to think, too, which is why I switched to, not just a different brand, but a different type of antidepressant. For some folks, it can definitely take a while before they find what works for them.

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  14. I'm so glad you found medicinal help. I've been feeling very soul-crushed the past 4 months, can't write, can barely blog. At least I went through the change a few years ago (best thing EVER) so I don't have to deal with horrible monthlies. Maybe I should seek medicinal help instead of wallowing and being in a permanent state of grouchiness. (I'm sure my hubby would appreciate a respite.) Thanks for writing so honestly; it makes me feel I'm not alone.

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    1. Thank you, Lexa. I don't think it'd hurt to at least talk to a pro, tell her/him what you've got going on, and trying out various therapies. The stuff I'm on helps me to hang in, but when I get bad news I still feel severe drops in well-being. I'm beginning to think I could benefit from talking to a therapist, not just my primary MD about dealing with my condition.

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  15. I get you 100%. I've gone through being soul-crushed before, because of my university courses.

    And yeah, it just annoyed the shit out of me when people said I need to think positive thoughts and keep going.

    I'm going to put another spin on what you said we shouldn't do and hope it's okay:

    This is what happened to me. I reached what I call rock bottom. A place where I was so deep in a hole I didn't want to go deeper. I grew so desperate to get out that I started thinking out of the box for ANYTHING that would help me do it. I found my way (and myself) and never looked back since.

    Although rock bottom and that search for the way out is immensely painful, I hope you get to that point too, because the pain isn't nearly in the same range as getting to that point in the first place.

    Praying for you. *hugs*

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    1. Thanks, Misha, and prayers for you, too. I feel like I've been at rock bottom for some time, for sure. I don't expect to rise up to the heavens, but I'd at least like to maintain a stable place near the mouth of the hole. :-)

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  16. You've been through so much change in the last little while. You are a champion, regardless of the soul-crushingness of it all. PMS and MMS ("mid-menstrual syndrome") suck the big one. For me, nothing else brings on the crazy quite like PMS. Usually I wish I could climb out of my skin. Needless to say you've got tons of my respect and sympathy. Drop me a line any time, sister.

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    1. Thank you, Elizabeth, you're very kind. And "MMS" - LOL! Though it's damned hard to laugh about it when you're smack dab in the midst, ain't it??? :-)

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