Coffee Shop Ghouls

Flipping pages in a sketchbook.

“Oh, and a ghoul.”

Continues to flip. No need to pause. No second thought given, since the first barely registered. Nothing meant, but something received.

 

She does not mean dismissal, the finality of her nomenclature, that this creature is more monster than person. It’s not a calculated sentiment.

But it pierces me to the core.

 

The picture, the woman in the picture, is in fact, a woman. Not a ghoul. She is gaunt, raw, skin stretched taut over too long bones and too sharp joints. She is kneeling, arched back as she tears at the hole in her chest, jaws wide in a silent scream. She is terrible and terrifying. But she is a person.

Rather, she is a personification. She is the constant scream in my head, the hole in my chest. The tightness and discomfort I feel in my own body as my emotions try to eek out an existence on the physical plane. She is my depression, my mental illness.

 

Everyone wonders why no one used to speak about mental illness. Why that, even now, so many people with mental illness, anywhere on the spectrum, have a hard time speaking up or expressing their journey.

 

But maybe we have. We were just ignored as ghouls.

An Interview

What have I been praying for for months?

An interview.

What did I get a call about today when I woke up?

An interview.

What did I go do today?

An interview.

What did I want to skip to the nth of my being?

An interview.

What went astonishingly well and ended with a trial hire?

An interview.

What made me cry on my way home?

An interview.

What good did God provide today?

An interview.

What did not constitute a sale of my entire life and free time from now till eternity?

An interview.

What did I do today?

An interview.

Not to Brag or Anything

I remembered right before I fell asleep last night that TODAY I had a doctor’s appointment and if I wanted to get there on time, I was going to have to severely alter the alarm I had set.

There’s nothing that ruins your morning faster than knowing you’re going to be awake for a great deal more of that morning than you had originally bargained for.

 

But no matter. I did manage to get to the appointment on time. Half an hour early, actually. Which is basically a miracle given the traffic on I4. I was not complaining. I got to listen to more of my audiobook and knit.

Yes.

I’m old.

Deal with it.

 

The therapy session went relatively well and I didn’t cry. I always consider that to be a good day. And I came home with some homework. To do at home. Work. At home. Home work. Yay.

 

The assignment? To create a “brag board.” Every day, I need to post one positive thing about myself: something I accomplished, I thought, I didn’t do, I corrected, didn’t freak out…

But every day. At least one thing a day. And stupidly, that terrifies me.

 

I’m really good at saying…less than flattering things about myself. Trying the opposite of the strategy is entirely out of my comfort zone, and honestly, I don’t like things I’m not familiar with.

But I threw some washi tape on the wall to frame out a box posted a sticky in it.

 

I also fed my radiator Starbucks for the return voyage home. Two Venti waters, no ice, to be exact. Don’t want him to feel like I don’t appreciate all he does. And the fact I didn’t ruin the engine today should also go up on the board, now that I think about it. I can fill a radiator with the best of them.

 

May the brags be ever in y’all’s favor.

Sleep Yet?

There are perks to being unemployed and not worrying about being fed or clothed. Actually, that’s all perks.

 

But one of the depression specific perks is that you can basically sleep for eternity (Aurora anyone?) and it doesn’t really matter.

I didn’t get up until 2 pm today.

I kept thinking: the next time I wake up, I’ll feel better. The next I roll over, I won’t have nightmares. Then next time: it wasn’t better. Still nightmares. Still felt like crap when I woke up.

 

Next solution: spending an hour on Instagram will definitely make me feel better. I will be able to get out of bed and and my pores won’t hurt and my brain won’t feel like someone’s kicking it with hobnails.

 

That also didn’t work.

So I got up.

Regretted it.

Frantically did chores around the house and finally ate and still felt like, “I’d rather be asleep.”

 

Next solution: continue to apply for jobs! Because nothing boosts the mood like filling out information multiple times with no results! Thankfully, I’m finally further along in one application and I may actually have a part time job by next week.

 

Next solution: Make dinner. Didn’t ruin it. Ate quickly and went off to a social function I’d never attended before. Because social anxiety has absolutely no bearing on depression.

 

And finally: I felt better. Without expectation. I had fun. I played games. I made some nice connections. And I felt better.

 

But it’s time for bed again. And that’s very necessary. And hopefully a solution.

Generally, there are few things that ruin a day more than a visit to a doctor. Any doctor. Any reason. Any length of time. Any turn out.

I hate going to the doctor. I don’t have white coat syndrome apparently, because my blood pressure is so pristine, I’m basically the poster child for proper living (what an irony!).

The real reason I hate the doctor is because they ask you personal questions. And for them to do their job properly, YOU have to be truthful. And even when you’re truthful, you don’t always get a result.

 

My mom has an autoimmune disorder which the doctors couldn’t find for years. My sister likely has one, but her years of testing hasn’t yielded anything. And so when I have weird nerve sensations or struggle with blackouts or have depressive symptoms, I don’t like telling a medical professional.

Because I’m tired of being told it’s all in our heads. And even worse, I’m tired of telling myself it’s all in my head. The doctor is the personification of the ugly voice that whispers to me everyday that I’m losing my grip on reality, that I’m too melodramatic, that I take everything too seriously, that what little intellectual consequence I used to have is gone…

 

So going to the doctor sucks.

But Friday, I went to a therapist. And she asked a lot of questions. It was primarily history gathering.

But I left there feeling like our plan of attack made sense. I didn’t feel hopelessly invaded. I felt like she didn’t think I was crazy or making things up or less of a person because I struggle with things. She even praised me and my family for the steps we’ve taken.

 

One thing that can make my day faster than anything else is a roller coaster.

So Mom took me to Universal after the appointment. We ate Taco Bell (also one of my favorite guilty pleasures), Dad ate with us, and then I rode roller coasters until I nearly puked.

 

Net day balance: Not too shabby.

Already blowing my writing resolution, but to be frank, I didn’t open my laptop last week. Primarily because we were in and out of the apartment at all hours and on campus for the majority of awake time.

 

It was a crazy week.

 

But O is officially a year older and has successfully completed her role as Sophia Grey in Sense and Sensibility.

 

I can officially feel my toes again, which is a substantial gain in my book. I missed them, but the snow was nice.

 

That’s about all I have to report.

Till tomorrow.

Or next week.

Something.

Pieces of Me

I have depression. This isn’t a newsflash to basically anyone on here and you’re all probably tired of reading that. Fair enough.

 

The point is that I never stop being ashamed of saying it. It never stops feeling like a major revelation each time I have to admit to myself or a new person or even someone who already knows that I have/struggle with/experience depression. It never stops being humiliating that I can’t do something or go somewhere or want something anymore because I deal with this…whatever this is: chemical imbalance, spiritual issue, Fall disorder…

Every time I tell a new friend that I’m having a bad day or I feel bad and I have to explain that it’s not a cold or a flue or even allergies, but my brain and body squishing out my will to live…I feel a little bit of me die. Withdraw. Shrivel up. Because now the relationship expectations change. I’m now the broken one. The one with something wrong that the other person doesn’t exactly understand. That they want to help fix or alleviate, and so they tentatively offer support or hot soup or to “talk.” And they look at me like I’m a ticking time bomb about to go off. One day, she’s going to lose it, go ballistic, kill herself, kill someone else, what if she cries in public?!

 

But.

None of my real friends or family or work team has ever actually said any of those things. They have never expressed that kind of distaste for my presence or fear about anything other than my well being.

So those questions. Those fears. Those accusations.

They come from me.

 

I’m going to embrace me. And no, I don’t mean hug myself like patting myself on the back. I’m going to stop apologizing for being depressed. I’m going to stop caving in around myself and blaming myself and castigating myself because my behavior dictates how other people see me. How I react to my disease/imbalance/sin problem influences how other people react. If I’m ashamed and scared, why shouldn’t they treat me as something shameful and to be afraid of? But if I am open about this part of myself, that it hurts, but that it’s no different than a chronic illness or a preference for a certain type of weather…Then that’s what other people will treat it as.

 

I had a bad day. I didn’t follow through on a plan. And I had to tell someone that I couldn’t follow through. And told them, as a result, that I struggle with depression. Because of that convo, I questioned whether this person would ever talk to me again. Would they accept me or shame me or freak out and run away because OH NO SHE HAS DEPRESSION.

But for heaven’s sake. It’s not the plague. They can even cure that now, I hear. So I have bad days. Sometimes I cry irrationally. Or take a few extra minutes to get out of bed in the morning.

And seriously, almost everyone does that, with or without depression.

So here’s a promise to myself, to God, to my family, to my friends, to my one day friends: I am going to accept this piece of myself. I will be okay with it. I will heal it to the best of my ability and I will not apologize for it (as long as I’m not actually hurting someone else). And that is going to be pretty darn near impossible for me, but that is what I want to do.

Thank you for sticking around.

Because you really should.

 

I’ve been told I’m worth it.

Horse Rides

They tell you when you fall off a horse to get back on. What they don’t tell you is that in addition to the actual, physical pain of falling off is the humiliation of falling off the darn thing. And that you feel abashed about falling off in the first place for no good reason and are getting back on again for no good reason.

In other words, I’m back, baby.

And it’s bad.

 

As a quick recap, last semester I did a stint as a GA at BJU. I also worked a second job as a glorified bus girl at a fine dining restaurant (which was a ton of fun, but didn’t contribute positively to my sleep cycle). I was busy, made some great memories and nearly had a complete breakdown, but I quit everything right in the knick of time, much to my chagrin.

Because really, I liked both my jobs. A lot. And I hated both my classes. A lot. But it was the never eating, sleeping, or exercising that really kicked me in the gut. So I quit. I made the correct tactical, spiritual, physical decision and severed my contract, stopped doing pre-med, and left the restaurant. But it still feels like quitting.

 

So I’m back home. Currently unemployed. Searching for jobs, living in my parents’ non-basement.

But I’m also back home. With my parents. My favorite people on this earth.

I’m getting involved in church, slowly but surely. I even added a college and career group from a completely different church.

I’m spending time with Jess and the DFL.

I’m sleeping. What a miracle: I’m sleeping.

 

And as much as I didn’t have a good excuse for dropping the blog last semester, I have even less of an excuse now. So I’m going to eat a slice of humble pie and try this whole thing again.

And finish this pair of socks I started.

 

Except for the “not financially contributing to the house” part, unemployment isn’t too bad.

Maybe the horse isn’t, either.