“Elaine, do you think I would go willy-nilly into a situation so obviously fraught with potential complications?”

The Depression Monster is sitting on my head.  I’m ignoring him out of spite.  It makes me feel powerful (because I’m winning.)  Unfortunately, I’m still moving slowly and taking (really) long pauses to overthink.  It’s messing up my schedule.  I also got an invoice from the legal office negotiating the partnership at work.  I cried a little (because it’s fair despite feeling like robbery.)

I was raised by Great Depression-era parents in the 80’s.  (Everything about money makes me anxious.)  It’s irrational because they also taught me to be generous which means I’ll likely never suffer from lack of resources to survive.  I’m still fascinated by how well it works.  All the religions I know of teach it.  Giving things to other people is painless for me, but it’s been tainted by suggestions I’ve been taken advantage of a few times by relatives.

I’ve learned being used is bearable.  It can change the dynamics of a relationship, though.  So there is sometimes loss involved, but it’s subtle.   Some political news penetrated my defenses and set off this round, I’m guessing.  I really hate having to shield myself from reality in any way.  It makes me feel like a child.  I do it anyway because it’s necessary for me to survive.

I’m stronger now that I know about Stevie Nicks.  She’s a wise guide who is open, honest, and hella famous.  It’s as if she knew all along part of her journey was to help others.  When you study her interviews, it’s clear even from when she first became famous, she’s cognizant of her influence.  She probably knew she would be famous long before it happened.  I’m guessing her mom talked to her at some point about this aspect of fame.  It’s entirely something my mom would have done.

My anti-depression toolkit is super useful, now.  I’ve been teaching M. how to have fun.  He thought playing is just for children.  Now he knows play evolves as we age, but should never be forsaken.  He’s making his first game for IOS.  He’s also coloring on a daily basis.  It’s breaking his addiction to TV, (which is good because I canceled all channels except Netflix and Amazon Prime Video.)

I watched the first episode of Atypical.  I recognize I’m not its target audience.  It’s a show for neurotypical people to better understand autistics.  Therefore, it’s speaking in their language.  I still enjoyed it.  I’m pleased the show exists.  When they use FX to demonstrate how it feels to be the autistic main character, it’s jarring and nearly unbearable to me.  I walked away and came back when that part was over.  I recognize the actors playing the parents, but everyone else is new to me.

My immediate thought was to wonder why the hell the lead actor wasn’t masking.  It’s uncomfortable to watch.  It feels like watching someone walk on a highwire with no net to me.  I cringe when I see him actually say or do the things I spend a lot of energy suppressing.  But again, it’s because the show is not only for entertainment, but it’s teaching.   Also, masking is a skill, and trial and error are how it’s acquired.  (It’s a cruel, mean school.)  He’s young and just discovering how masking can make life less painful.

We age and develop at different rates, and grow based on different experiences.  There will always be a broad spectrum of traits and behaviors associated with autism.  When I was in high school, I didn’t mask well and my energy and time management skills were non-existent.  The difference between then and now is shocking to non-autists.  This is why no one should put limits on our potential.  Especially not where we can come across or overhear them.  (That’s abuse.)  I’m off to beat my drums.

“Don’t despair, my friend.”

Content Warning:  Depression is talking, probably.  (I’m only typing this on my blog instead of a text document because I’m hoping someone has a logical rebuttal that refutes the shit out of my perspective.)  Otherwise, skip it.

 

Today has sucked since 2:38 AM.  That’s when the Depression Monster mentioned a distraction from reality is my only survival strategy.  I tried to disprove it and failed.  It’s ironic.  Maintain sanity by forcing myself not to focus on the world outside my head (much.)  It’s not optional (for me), which pisses me off.  I don’t have free will in this life.  I have to protect myself or peace out.

Psychopaths are the only ones with free will on this planet.  Reality keeps proving those who feel no empathy or remorse survive.  I had no idea I was an NPC (non-player character.)  I’ve joked about being an extra in someone else’s life lots of times, but I didn’t believe it.   We’re all extra’s in the lives of psychopaths.  Earth is their domain.

It turns out, empathy and remorse are terrible for my health.  It leads to agonizing over things with which I have no control.  Things that have already happened.   Things others choose to do.  It forces me to shield myself from reality out of self-preservation.   But of course, it’s not always possible.  I’m sofa king tired of being triggered on a daily basis.

I know too much and have seen too much.  When I initially found out about AIDS, it took a long time to convince myself existing still had merit.  It was the first time in my life I realized I have to pretend to survive.  It sometimes makes me feel unreal.  2017 is an unrelenting trigger for the worst day of my life.

I visited the Dachau memorial in southern Bavaria while stationed in Germany.  I saw Schindler’s List.  It leveled me.  But it still didn’t compare to spending hours walking around, seeing, touching, and processing the reality.    It rained the day before we visited, and while it’s probably a hysterical reaction, I could smell death.   I went with a couple from my church.  They were wonderful people.

I had to get away from everyone as soon as we left the entry building, where they showed horrific footage of mounds of gold teeth, a pit full of naked, emaciated human bodies, etc.   You couldn’t tell male from female, they were just skin over bones.  I walked the perimeter along the barbed wire fence first.

I was in a daze.  I felt like I swallowed a watermelon, and it lodged in my throat, like on a cartoon.  I looked at (memorized) every art installation.  I stood in the crematorium and the gas chamber.  I was surprised by how low the ceiling was in the gas chamber.  It looked like a community shower for Hobbits.  (6 ft. -ish)

I ended my tour by laying in a bunk inside the only remaining barracks.  (The others were just outlined on the ground.)  They were narrower than a twin bed, made of wood, and three levels high.  Most people would have had to climb over other bunks to get to their own, as there was no space in-between.  I lay on the top level near the wall and wept.

I don’t remember how long we were there, or the ride back.  I just remember calling my mom and begging her to come to Germany (because I didn’t want to be a human anymore.)  I hate that I’m bawling as I type this.  Time doesn’t heal shit.  (At the time, I was about a year into recovering from being raped and left for dead on my first night in the country.)  My mom told me to go out and see as much of Germany as possible, so I could bury the bad memories in good ones.

Her advice was spot on, but visiting Dachau was so much worse.  Every negative thing that’s ever happened in my entire life combined pales in comparison.  I’m just one person.  I thought I knew what evil was before I visited.  I had no idea.  It did put my aftermath into perspective, but holy shit.  It made me afraid of myself at first because I know the people who participated in this evil are fundamentally no different from me.  It forced me to recognize my capacity for evil.

It was when I began obsessively training my mind to choose righteousness over all else, including my life.  I only went back to church once after that, and it was just to tell God off.  (Despite the fact I’m rambling and seem to have no point, this is helping me settle, for some reason.)  My mom stayed in Germany for two months.  When she left, I had a survivable perspective.

It was the beginning of the end of my military career, however.  I managed to have an incredible last year, though.  (Then I paid for it.)  I’m still glad I did it, though.  It’s the only time I’ve ever been in awe of myself, and that’s a wicked awesome feeling.  I don’t like being a civilian, but whatever.

Sigh.  I inhale and exhale because I know I’m strong-willed and will absolutely resist participating or contributing to the evil going on all around me at all times.  I breathe because nobody will ever manage to force me to harm another.

I guess I accept I need to live my life as joyfully as possible for whatever time I have left.  Even if it ends tomorrow, it will still have been an incredible ride, and for that, I’m grateful.  I’m off to pretend my heart isn’t shaking.

“That’s funny, George. You’re very quick. I feel like I don’t have to explain every little thing to you.”

The Depression Monster ambushed me in my sleep.  I got about an hour of rest first, so there’s that.  I just hate when he gets me at my most vulnerable.  My bullshit detector doesn’t work when I’m asleep.  (It barely works when I’m awake.)  I haven’t managed to find a way to avoid this sadistic slumber party, yet.  Aside from not sleeping, that is.

I wake myself up from weeping in my sleep when this happens.  Then my bullshit detector has to warm up.  It usually takes about an hour before I manage to talk me back from the ledge.  Humor is my most effective (and probably only) weapon against the Depression Monster when I’m half asleep.  It’s the one instance where being a smart ass with a twisted sense of humor has paid off.

He usually plays the race card first:

Depression Monster: You should just kill yourself. You know damn well it’s just a matter of time before a cop shoots you for existing while being black.  And autistic.  And mentally ill.  Um…  How are you still alive?

Half-asleep me: I knew it! This sucks!

DM: Even I have to admit it’s pretty messed up.

HM: But I don’t want to die.

DM: Everybody dies. It’s the only thing you can assume without putting your foot in your mouth, which is something you often do, I’ve noticed.

HM: Hey! I’m eleven days into creating a new habit to correct that. You’re mean.

DM: At least I’m honest.

HM: No, I don’t think that’s right…

DM: You think? Since when? I thought you medalled at First to Reply, not First to Edit. More like, reluctant to edit, right?

Me: I hate you.

DM: So?

M: When will you be dying?

DM: What do you suppose Stevie Nicks would think if she heard that evil question?

M: I don’t know… Shut-up.

DM: Make me.

M: I don’t make trash, I burn it. (Not really, I use city sanitation.)

DM: Rote!

M: You’re a figment. Fig Newton. Farfegnugen.

DM: Rude much?

M: Nope. I save it for you.

DM: I’m touched.

M: I know.

DM: You know… It’s too bad you’re not at least a man. At least then you’d have fewer people who hate you for existing. Also, you wouldn’t have needed a Ph.D. if you were born with a penis. It’s your paper penis.

M: (singing) Have I told you lately that I hate you?

DM: This is why all the hashtag gamers hated your guts. So much. You don’t even understand what funny means.

M: Remember figgy pudding? It was the rudest part of that song. So demanding. Fig.

DM: If someone says the n-word around you in any context, you cry. Every. Single. Time. I don’t think normal black people do.

M: Now I’m going to live just to spite you.

It drags on for a while, but I ended up laughing at myself, (after bawling a little.)  Once I’m fully awake, it doesn’t take long to shut him down.  It’s no wonder I get lost in the shower if I don’t follow my checklist diligently.  The only strategic hint I got out of today’s adventure:  Work on having fewer insecurities.  Sigh.

“She’s like an expensive car with one of those motion-sensor force field alarms.”

I’m still struggling to entirely free myself from the grip of the Depression Monster.  I’m doing better, thanks to our Stevie Nicks party.  When I think about what she’s taught me, it helps free me from my inner asshole.  I quit beating myself up for having depression and focus on forcing it back into remission.

I watched an interview on YouTube in which Stevie Nicks was royally pissed off.  I had to view it a few times to recognize she was angry, (this is one of my known bugs.)  When it clicked, I realized she gets pissed precisely the way I do.  We both talk a whole lot of shit to cover up how powerless and hurt we’re feeling.

I’m kinda glad there’s someone else on this planet who reacts this way besides me.  When I reach that point, I’m incredibly compelled to throw out unbelievable threats against whoever has me riled.  I know as it’s coming out of my mouth how ridiculous it sounds.  I just need to say it anyway.

As I age, I’ve improved slightly.  It’s been decades since I’ve threatened to hit someone with the Empire State Building.  It’s symbolic of my rage, not literal, (although, if I could, I might need a timeout to prevent it.)  To me, I’m merely stating exactly how pissed off I am.  Others usually choose to find it amusing, (which only makes me want to replace the Empire State Building with the moon.)

Before I acquired this um… Skill…  My only way of expressing rage was crying.  This is better.  Just so you know, the best way to react to someone losing it like this is to remain silent and avoid eye contact.  Perhaps no sudden movements, too.  Please, don’t laugh, it just makes it worse.

 

NVIDIA Titan Xp Star Wars Collector’s Edition

Tomorrow morning at 7AM PST, the pre-ordering begins.  Of course, there’s a dark side version as well.  It’s red instead of green.  I was in the process of researching my new gaming build, when this popped up and said, “Strong with the force, I am.”  Gamer’s who also prefer their machine to look like a brilliant, (damn near garish) alien artifact:  May the force be with you.  Always. 💜

I’m getting ready to watch comedians on Netflix.  Laughing until my face hurts is my way of going nuclear against the Depression Monster.  I keep it in reserve for this use.  I’m not pulling out my secret weapon just yet:  Wanda Sykes.  I do need to start watching Conan again, though.  He’s like America’s Prozac.  I love him.  Okay, I’m off to laugh like there’s a prize.

“No matter how depressed I get, I could always read the sports section.”

The Depression Monster got me.  It took all of the last night and most of today to take back control.  I feel like I just finished playing professional tag for three hours.  I’d kinda like to cry, but I’m too stingy with what little energy I have remaining.  At least my thoughts are slow for a change.  Time certainly seems to pass more quickly when I’m fighting a bout of depression.

I just wish it wasn’t because everything takes far longer to pull off in this state.  M. suggested we have a Stevie Nicks party this weekend to send the Depression Monster packing as quickly as possible.  I’m totally going to marry him.  I know I agreed already, and all that.  But this was precisely the moment I knew with all my heart he’s The One.

Geez, I’m grossing myself out.  Heh.  (Mostly because I mean it.)  I don’t know what this feeling is called, but it’s the same way I feel about four chapters into every book by Stephenie Meyer.  I always think to myself, “Dammit, she did it again!  She tricked me into reading a romance novel disguised as speculative fiction!”  (Please note, I’ve read everything she’s written, and will continue because I love her.)

I pay close attention to the way M. says things.  He’s never put his foot in his mouth that I’ve noticed.  He didn’t fall into the trap of suggesting a way to “get over my depression.”  Just a way of getting through this round more quickly.  With him.  This is two new things to consider.  Usually, I send him away when I get depressed.  He figured out how to invite himself to hang out.

Damn, he’s brilliant.  I’m sure there are several ways he could have accomplished this, but a Stevie Nicks party is a home run.  Or maybe a touchdown.  Whichever one is better.  I’d be printing out Stevie Nicks quotes on pretty backgrounds and hanging them all over the place if I could get up.  Tomorrow,  I’ll gather some hardcover notebooks, my best pens, and my favorite blanket.

Then we’ll sit on the blanket in front of the TV and watch my ocean scenes Bluray, and write poetry.  (M. will probably write poems about surgery.)    Then a live concert DVD or three.  Yes, this will send the Depression Monster running in tears.  Perfect.  I love reading poetry written by people who insist they can’t write a poem.

They don’t know the rules, or what’s expected.  It frees their creativity.  Some people are naturally poetic.  I think of them as graceful minded.  I like being near people like this.  I’m probably hoping it’ll rub off on me.  I have a lot of faith in osmosis, apparently.  I’m off to read.  🙃

You got a problem with paba?

The Depression Monster is kicking my ass.  I’m doing surprisingly well, despite.  Well, in that I’m too numb for it to touch my spirit.  The buffer has always existed, but it’s only recently occurred why.  I’m delighted by this new insight.  I’ve decided to accept it without analyzing it (to death.)  My understanding is enough.  How rare.  But I don’t dare linger here.  The brain zaps from Prozac withdrawal are happening every few moments, now.  It feels a lot like being excessively high on cannabis.  It’s almost out of me forever.  Yay.

I’m glad I went on the marijuana tour last year, or this would probably freak me out.  (Okay, definitely.)  I was awed by the amount of weed I was able to consume without consequences during the tour.  I watched the younger tourists consume far more simultaneously, also without repercussion.  It had the intended effect of eliminating rote fears.  Something about cannabis works the same way Prozac does on my brain.  Does this mean I’m going to replace Prozac with pot?  Nope.   😂  Fuck drugs.

While I had no compunction with legally consuming in the past, I’ve grown since.  People who were off my radar then are now present in my world, and their influence is intense.  I could legally smoke a joint in front of both Michelle Obama and Lisa Bloom (my imaginary personal life coaches) without feeling like I was hovering over a pit of doom.  I couldn’t do it in front of  Stevie Nicks, though.  I can’t even do it knowing Stevie Nicks exists.  So here we are.  Post pot life.  I’m glad I experimented, but fuck feeling like I’m hovering over a pit of doom just to get high.

It’s not even ironic.  Stevie Nicks specifically said to avoid cocaine, bourbon, and weed because she used the hell out of them, and it almost killed her.  She added Klonopin to the list of never do’s, too, stating it was the worst of them.  Through watching her documentary DVD’s and the interviews on YouTube, I learned of this dark chapter of her story.  It made me grieve for what she endured.  (That’s the only part that didn’t surprise me.  😂)   Do as I learned, not as I did before learning.  That’s fucking powerful.  I’m amazed by this turn of events, but not upset.

I’m pretty confident I was born high enough.  I don’t need mood altering substances to tease reality.  I can just read a Stephen King novel.  Or Clive Barker, who is rapidly gaining my loyalty as a reader.  I abandoned Tess of d’Ubervilles by Thomas Hardy quickly, and read Duma Key by Stephen King, instead.  If you’re an artist, read Duma Key.  You’re welcome.  (It’s an excellent story, regardless.)  I’m done reading fiction that centers on women as victims.  I’m basically abstaining from the Lifetime Channel variety of novels forever.  ‘Cuz holy shit.  It’s like forced empathy training for sociopaths, (as if that would work.)

What?  Your novel is about a woman who got raped?  (Visualize me running away, screaming “Fuck!”)  I don’t even watch TV anymore.  I have four TV’s, two of which are newer 4k LG’s with HDR.  I’m going to give away the other two.  The new ones are still useful for movies and video games.  And to watch Will and Grace when it starts, of course.  My other show, Better Things, I buy to stream via Amazon.  I’m going to give away my Fire TV, too, since I just realized I haven’t used it since I set it up a year ago.  Oops.  Roku made it redundant.  I haven’t even looked at the Apple 4k whatever.  I’m good.

I need to give away my excess computers, too.  My house AI can stay once I adjust her, but all the single card computers can go.  I don’t need to know the humidity level of my bedroom while I’m  sleeping, for starters.  I regret I’ve crossed the line between smart home and smart ass home.  Sigh.  I thought I would love it, but it turns out I find it incredibly annoying between the hours of 2 and 4 AM.  Even Wanda Sykes couldn’t make me laugh during that time…  On second thought, she probably could.  😂  But until she shows up to try, I’ll be sleeping during those hours.  I’m off to debug de-feature.

I hear everything.

The Depression Monster has me in a Full Nelson.  (I had to use Wikipedia.)  I’m no longer able to ignore him, but I’m flipping him the bird.  I’ve learned studying Stevie Nicks requires a commitment of sorts.  You have to accept the fact it’s going to hurt sometimes, or you have to move on.  I didn’t even need to think about it.  I like earning my passage into her world.  It’s calmer.  I also like how it doesn’t matter that I’m out of sync in time.

I’m on the second documentary now.  It’s called Stevie Nicks:  In Your Dreams.  I’m at the point where Katrina happened.  Fuck.  I wasn’t ready.  You can tell Stevie directed and edited.  It’s raw where it needs to be, and soft where it’s not.  I suppose this is a trigger warning.  Pause when you see the first hint of Katrina coming next.  It will be obvious now.  Make sure you’re in a safe place to ugly cry.  Get tissues and a few bottles of water.  Round up your pets, and your favorite blanket.  Then take a deep breath, and hit play.  You’re welcome.  (I do this because I love you.)

This hasn’t happened since I spent hours listening to Amy Lee (Hartzell) sing, Hello and Like You on repeat, while I wept with her over losing our little sisters.  It’s a good thing I eat intensity for breakfast.  I never thought I’d say that.  I’m so used to people telling me I’m too intense, (and having it sound like, “fuck off.”)  I’m glad it keeps proving valuable where it matters.  I slept on Tuesday night, so I should be good for a while.  I started writing my short horror story last night.  In hindsight, it may have been better to do it in the morning.

I learned some secrets about fear years ago.  It has a ceiling.  There’s nothing beyond scared shitless.  Further, I discovered there’s a limit to how long you can remain terrified.  I’m sure with practice you could extend it, but for most of us, it’s a relatively rare event.  It’s intense until you run out of energy.  Then it’s surreal.  It stays surreal while you recover a bit.  Then it repeats a few times, like a chorus.  But it has diminishing returns.  Your initial level of terror is greater than your fourth course.  Eventually, it just becomes hysterically funny.

Don’t look at me, I didn’t create these rules, I’m just reporting them.  This is how humans process prolonged fear.  At least the ones who don’t pop straight away, that is.  It’s not good news, but I believe it’s better to know up front.  I hate surprises.  So anyway, my point is I’ve learned how to cope with fear.  I don’t flee at the sight of it.  It’s a bitch, but so am I.  And you can refocus your eyes, I’m done giving myself a pep talk.  I plan on writing more tonight.  Last night I wrote two pages, then deleted them and started over.  I thought about an outline, then didn’t create one.  Finally,  I wrote two better pages.

Creative writing clearly had a far greater influence on my writing than English Grammar.  I love rules, except where creativity is involved, at which point it reverses.  Rules are for one type of thinking.  Creativity is for the other.  They don’t mix.  Mixing them should cause profound halitosis.  That’s how serious I am.  Incidentally, when my orchestra instructor tried to tell me how to feel about Beethoven, I noticed he had funky breath.  (I don’t believe in coincidences.  I’m far more impressed by irony.)

This is the closest I’ve ever leaned into my blog.  I’m incredibly impressionable, so it’s likely Stevie Nicks’ influence on me.  I’m becoming a little more open.  I didn’t see any of this coming.  Despite the tears, I’m having a fabulous time.  It’s a little like following a rabbit down a hole if you know what I mean. 😉  I have a long night ahead.  I’m off to get to it.

Do you know how hard it’s getting to tell people I know you?

I’m having a decent day.  I made a big decision.  I’ve decided not to seek medical care in the future.  As a service connected, disabled veteran, I’m entitled to health care at the VA Medical Center.  I’m also still on the health plan for my software company. (I no longer work there, but I still own 50%.)  I’ve never used it.  In the past, I’ve gotten all my care at the VA.  I’m no longer willing to put myself through the experience.  I’m hoping this will make the nightmares stop.  At least the VA nightmares.  I’m confident it will work as I usually have them the night before an appointment, or if I’m having an episode of depression.

When depressed, my mind recalls every terrifying or soul crushing experience from my life and plays them back like a really fucked up movie.  Good times.  All my life I’ve bent over backward to avoid stepping on others.  It’s my default, and so it shall remain.  I know I’m naive.  I don’t see it changing at this point.  I acquire more information, but my mind still processes thoughts from a compassionate viewpoint.  I value life.  It hurts to care.  But pain is the only negative consequence I’ve discovered.

Seeking medical care is a nightmare for me, every single time.  It’s illogical to subject myself to trauma when I have a choice.  I’m tired of the astonishing ignorance of some medical professionals, who in 2017, still believe African Americans don’t experience pain as strongly as Caucasians.  It taught me how to cope with physical pain intense enough to render me semi-conscious.  It taught me to be wary.  It taught me never to rely on medication I can’t purchase at a convenience store.  It proved my military service doesn’t count because I have a vagina and brown skin.  I’m no longer willing to enter such a hostile environment.

I realize I’m shortening my lifespan by this decision.  I have a week of medication remaining, both for depression and hypertension.  Eight days, to be exact.  Prozac has a long half-life.  It will stay in my system for a while, but as my body transitions, I’ll have the random brain zaps from quitting cold turkey.  Honestly, when I consider how long I’ve taken it, that’s getting off incredibly easy.  I know you’re not supposed to quit a beta blocker cold turkey, but oh well.  My body can handle it.  I’ve had hypertension since I was a child.  I sincerely believe it’s a physiological reaction to my environment.  It’s like White Coat Syndrome on steroids.  When I’m running, my blood pressure is lower than when I’m walking into the VA.  I eventually refused to have my blood pressure checked at the VA.  It’s like checking for a fever while in a sauna.

The positive changes will include a return to writing poetry and songs.  Prozac stifles creativity in a noticeable way.  It’s probably why a lot of famous artists and writers die from suicide.  The tortured artist is such an accurate term.  Creativity has a cost and usually exacts its toll in tears.  I entered a poetry contest when I was a Private (PFC) in the Army.  It was the first and last contest I entered.  I won first prize, and it deeply disappointed me.  It wasn’t my best poem, just my latest when I entered.  It wasn’t very good.  For it to get first place depressed the shit out of me.  My Commander was excited I won, and I was in The Army Times, and the newspaper at home.  I didn’t go to the ceremony in D.C.  I stopped writing altogether for a few years.

While on Prozac, it’s rare I’m inspired to write a poem.  I’m looking forward to being a tortured artist again.  At least it’s the type of torture I can endure.  I’m getting ready to go on vacation.  I’m in the planning stage (which usually lasts as long as the vacation.)  I probably enjoy the planning more than the vacation most times, but I’m aiming to have a lot of fun this time.  Off to the whiteboard.

Still with the neck hole?

Content Warning:  Descriptions of severe depression, the aftermath of sexual assault.

 

 

I’m feeling much better.  Turns out, it wasn’t a round of severe depression, as evidenced by my improved condition a few days later.  I believe the suddenness (that word is spelled so redundantly) in which my happy-go-lucky stasis was shattered led me to panic and overreact.  My bad.  (Please, dear Universe, don’t use this as an excuse to teach me the difference between mild and severe depression.)  I do remember on some level.  A level I can push away at will.  Usually.

The scenario that stands out the most for me is when I was an inpatient at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.  I was severely depressed.  I remember walking outside to a roofless enclosure within the ward.  I don’t recall any thoughts.  I crashed in a moment.  I had to lay down on the cement.  I remember only being able to muster the necessary energy to lower myself somewhat gently.  Then that was all I had.  I could only breathe and lay there.  It was like I was paralyzed.  I couldn’t move, but I had no idea why.  I didn’t even feel upset or concerned about it because it took more than what I had.  I’m the type of person who seriously considers abandoning my apartment over a spider.  I hate bugs.  I have the willies just sharing that fact.

That’s how I remember severe depression.  It’s nothingness.  No control, no abilities, and no drive.  It’s laying on the bare ground while a Daddy Long-Legs spider crawls on my face (when typically it would have resulted in a frenzied attempt to practically peel the skin off my face.)  It took 18 months of my life to get from that point to the person who could do a task without weeping.  I remember my Mom suggested I do a load of laundry one day after I was out of the hospital.  The question filled me with panic.  I learned how to do laundry when I was 12.  I relearned when I was 28.

The second time required me to trust in myself and my abilities again, after spending so long as an inpatient.  I wish I didn’t remember that part so well.  My mom’s suggestion sent my mind racing immediately.  What else am I going to have to start doing again?  Why is this so hard?  Why are you doing this to me?  Can’t you see I’m broken?  I deeply resent the interruption to my life, the termination of my military career, and the murder of who I used to be.  All because a man decided his momentary pleasure was more valuable than my existence.  The mindset is where I focus my fury.  Those who view women as mere sex toys and worse.

Severe depression is traumatic.  The women who slept on my right at Walter Reed was undergoing ECT for depression at the time.  She was funny, I liked her.  There were people from all branches of the military at Walter Reed.  I met a lot of individuals who were there for attempting suicide, often over their sexuality.  They were always quickly processed out of the service back when it was Don’t ask, Don’t tell.  I’m glad they stopped that bullshit.  It should have been, Don’t treat humans like shit, Don’t drink and drive.  I bet my slogan would have resulted in far fewer deaths.  (Don’t worry, I’m keeping my day job.)

I just needed to clarify the varying degrees of depressive episodes.  It’s easy to get the impression PTSD is a walk in the park based on what I share when in actuality, I’ve been living with it for several years.  I’ve had psych nurses teach me all about coping skills, how to distract myself, and most importantly, how to trust my ability to endure.  Then I had the remedial course, the refresher, and the graduation ceremony, (when the nurse kindly but firmly reminds you about having the skills but needing to actually use them.)  I earned my walk in the park through endurance, experience, and a blessedly short attention span.

Side note: Thanks, J. and M.