April 22, 2012

A Very Sad Day

                My heart is breaking.  The horse I’ve had more than half my life has arthritis.  We started to suspect it last spring, but the vet said if I got some weight off her and gave her anti-inflammatory meds every time we rode, she’d probably last awhile longer.  She rested most of last year.  She lost a lot of weight this winter and got down to a healthier weight.  And it didn’t work.  She limps just walking around the pasture.  Today we made the official decision that she’s done.  I will never ride her again.  No more ten day fishing trips in the Wind River Mountains.  No more week-long hunting trips up behind our house.  No more goofing off in the pasture and hoping I won’t fall off because I’m being stupid.  She’s done.  And the way she’s walking, she’s got to be in a lot of pain. 
                I remember once we were riding into the mountains for another fishing trip.  The flies were particularly bad that year.  The first few times we crossed the creek, she pawed at the water and splashed herself (and everyone else) in an attempt to get some relief.  When that didn’t work, she took the next creek crossing opportunity to lie down.  With me on her back.  To say she has a mind of her own is an understatement.
                I want to share more stories, but for now, thinking about it is making me cry.*  She’s a fat, cantankerous old mare.  And I love her.

*I’m really grateful to be in a place emotionally where I can cry.  This sounds horrible, but it’s nice to feel sad for a reason and not just be depressed.

April 21, 2012

Depression: The Up-Side

I can't tell whether this is funny or depressing.  Maybe a little bit of both?  Either way, totally true.
  • ·         You save money on laundry soap and wear and tear on your clothes.
o   When I don’t get out of bed until three in the afternoon and only wear my clothes for a few hours each day instead of wearing them all day, I have to do a LOT less laundry.  And my clothes wear out more slowly.
  • ·         Less wear and tear on the carpet.
o   When I'm depressed, all my clothes end up on the floor.  And I spend a lot of time in bed, anyways.
  • ·         You save on groceries and restaurants.
o   I just don’t feel like going out, so I make do with what I have.
  • ·         You really get your money’s worth on your Netflix subscription
o   It doesn’t take me long to get through all ten seasons of Stargate SG-1 when I’m depressed. 

April 20, 2012

Self-Injury and Me

                I wanted to address something really important with this post, but I don’t know how.  It's a tough subject.  I want to address the question, “What is self-injury?” and all the details that encompasses.  As I’ve thought about it trying to tackle the question, the only way I've come up with to really do it justice is to add two words to the end- “What is self-injury to me?”  Because if you wanted, you could just go read a textbook and get clinical definitions.  But you’re here, so instead of boring you with dry factoids about endorphin release, I’ll bore you with my own personal experiences and opinions. 
                So what is self-injury to me?  For me, it’s a way to turn off all the noise.  When life gets too loud and I’m just feeling too much all at once, sometimes I hurt myself (though I wish I could always refer to my self-injury in the past tense, it has yet to stay there for more than three years at a time- psychologically it’s easier to keep it at bay if I’m not concentrating so hard on confining it to a single tense).  It just shuts everything up so I can breathe again.  It’s like in the movies when someone is hysterical and they get slapped in the face and calm down.  Sort of.  It just snaps things back into perspective.  Or more often just makes the crap go away so I don’t have to deal with it at all.  At least for a few minutes.  Not particularly healthy, especially in the long run, but effective in moments of crisis. 
It’s also a way to address nebulous, overwhelming emotional pain in a concrete manner.  I know what to do to heal a skin-deep cut.  I have no idea how to heal soul-deep wounds.  This part of the equation isn’t particularly concrete.  It’s more a subconscious thing that I’ve realized over the years.  I’ve got to figure out some way or another to take care of myself, and since I can’t seem to address the one thing, I create something I can address.  Yes, I fully realize how screwed up that is.
It’s NOT a suicide attempt.  It’s a way to avoid suicide.  It’s a way to address problems before they get to a point where I really truly can’t deal with them anymore.  When I can feel suicide barreling down the track straight for me, self-injury gets me clear of the track and disaster is averted. 
It IS a scary thing.  And part of the reason it’s scary to me is that it’s not scary.  It seems like a perfectly logical response.  And so I have to fight it.  And each time I feel the impulse, I have to think really really hard to figure out something else to do instead.  Sometimes I think hard enough, sometimes I don’t.  So far 2012 is a good year.  But a lot can change in a day.  For now, I’ll keep on fighting when I can and hiding when I can’t and hope to always have strength to wake up in the morning.

April 16, 2012

Winning the Depression War...

            So, I wrote a play.  It was a one-act, and it wasn’t that good.  But then for an assignment this year, I butchered it and turned it into a ten minute play.  And then my group decided to perform it.  Which was basically incredible.  So I re-wrote it so it would suck less.  And then stuff went down and I had to star in it, too.  Which was terrifying.  Not the being onstage thing, I’m fine with that.  What was terrifying is that the main character is sort of me.  AKA she’s a self-injurer.  And she does it onstage.  Which means I had to pretend to cut myself onstage.  I haven’t cut myself at all during 2012 *knockonwood* which is crazy considering I checked myself into the hospital for it just last October.  So I was a little worried about what would happen if I had to pretend to go there.  But you know what?  It was surprisingly liberating.  As the lights faded to blackout and the audience began to applaud, I felt free.  And I felt strong.  And I felt like, “You know what?  Maybe I can do this whole ‘life’ thing…”

April 4, 2012

Depression: A (Good) Day in the Life

                Today, I woke up an hour after I was supposed to.  But I’m going to focus on the fact that I didn’t sleep two more hours like I wanted to.
                Today I was ten minutes late to class.  But I’m going to focus on the fact that I went at all when I had to convince myself not to turn around and go home every step of the way across campus.
                Today I messed up on a test in my dance class.  But I’m going to focus on the fact that I showed up to class and took the test.
                Today I felt like I was on drugs all day because of the Nyquil I took last night.  But I’m going to focus on the fact that I slept better than I have in ages.
                Today I didn’t have any major breakthroughs with my therapist like I wanted.  But I’m going to focus on the fact that I didn’t have any major breakdowns either.
                Today the dinner I cooked for my roommates wasn’t as tasty as I wanted it to be.  But I’m going to focus on the fact that I made it instead of hiding in my room hating myself like I wanted to.
                Today I snapped at my roommates when they didn’t deserve it.  But I’m going to focus on the fact that I was able to interact with them at all.
                Today I ate too much junk food.  But I’m going to focus on the fact that I ate a well-balanced dinner, too.
                Today I didn’t go for a run.  But I’m going to focus on the fact that I worked out five of the last seven days.
                Today my niece cried when I held her.  But I’m going to focus on the fact that she smiled and laughed, too.
                Today I was depressed and had a crappy day.  But I’m going to focus on the fact that I didn’t focus on the crappy things, and if I do that, maybe I’ll be able to get out of bed tomorrow.
Thank you for coming. I hope you get something out of this. I hope you learn about yourself. I hope you get help if you need it or give it if you can.