I Think The Worst Is Over

So, I'm not wearing my father's legit Navy peacoat from 1965. I stopped a couple of days ago and switched to this Guatemalan number I bought from two guys selling them out of a bag on Monroe/Wells in 1997. A slight upgrade, but not much.

What matters to me is that it's not my "winter coat." I'm still wearing a hat and a scarf, but I'm no longer wearing my winter coat. I have hope that this thing, that was this terrible winter, has finally passed -- shit, I'd hope so, we're heading toward mid-April -- but it's a hope, since it's snowed in May here before.

I went to see my psychiatrist today (this IS supposed to be a blog about mental illness, right?) and I was minorly nonplussed. I don't know that you can be "minorly" nonplussed, but I minorly was.

As has been the case for years now, save for my one amazing psychiatrist, I have been on the same meds for years, and kind of end up going in there and just telling them what to do/write. Yeah, I need one refill of this and one refill of that, etc. They pretty much just do what I say, which in some regards is nice -- it must mean that I look fairly sane and that I'm stable enough for them to just stay with the status quo -- but in other regards, is kind of bumming me out.

I don't really know what I want to happen -- I was off my meds for several months last year, and ended up getting back on them because I thought I was being unreasonable/irrational about living with a person who was very *particular* about how much she cleaned and kept things. I know I can be cluttery and such, but I definitely rein it in much more when I'm living with someone. So, I thought ... man, this is really stressing me out, maybe I'm a little mixed -- maybe it's because I've been off my meds.

I went back and found a new psychiatrist and paid a nice, big first appointment fee, and here we are. She moved out anyway -- which is something I haven't talked about with many people -- and I wonder if that is something that has been subconsciously working me over for the last six months and contributing to anxiety, depression. Every day I come home, I realize (somewhere in my brain) that I now live alone, that my former roommate would rather pay half the rent and live somewhere else than to live with me, and that truth be told, she never even TOLD me she was moving out. I just sort of figured it out when she stopped coming home and eventually figured out that her friend was, now in fact, her girlfriend.

So, there. It's one of many things that weigh on me somewhere. But, I don't know which combination of things led me to get depressed AGAIN this March -- but you know what? I was on my meds, and I still got depressed, and it was still EVEN MORE lonely than just being alone in an apartment made for two.(1)

Here's the thing about mental illness (and addiction, to some extent (2)) that's so hard. It's excruciatingly lonely. I try to keep things to myself, but there are times when I want to tell people what's going on and the options go like ...

A. They don't know how to deal with what you're telling them -- the intensity of the emotions and mental spinning is just TOO MUCH, and they offer dumb fucking platitudes because they don't know what else to say (3) or

B. They start to distance themselves from you. They clearly do not want to be around someone who is in a shit spot -- and can you blame them? My mixed episodes turn into energy fueled by anger -- and it's Catch-22'y as people retreat further away, which makes me more angry and resentful and confused and betrayed.

C. If they are in recovery, they can only see it through the eyes of recovery. There's no accounting for the fact that while the steps are amazing, sometimes, there are things which can't be solved by the steps RIGHT THEN. The steps aren't going to clear up my static brain, and I feel even more lonely when people have that to offer and nothing else, as if this somehow were all my fault.

D. I feel like people have no real idea -- they can't. You can't. Unless you've been through something like it, you can't know. And so the blame and the doubt and the side-eye come. You have to be doing something wrong. You have to do these things instead. Why are you this way? What is this? Why are you this way?

So it's lonely. It's lonely to talk about and it's lonely to keep to myself. Thankfully, I do know that it will pass. So far, it's always passed, and I haven't even had to make a secondary trip to the ol' psych ward (KNOCKING ON WOOD). But it's not fun and it's hard when those times come.

Back to the psychiatrist nation -- that's the other thing. I've always emailed or phoned my docs when I'm in these stages, and I just don't think they understand. I end up all perky and good times when I'm in their office -- to the point that the one guy I really liked, I called him after an appointment and just left a voice mail that said, 'If I tell you I'm struggling, just listen to the words coming out of my mouth, not the affect I have when I'm in your office. Because I just can't help myself -- there is a part of me that will always try and look good for you."

So, that's where it was today, I think. I mean, again, these meds are so ridiculous, I don't know what I expect him to do. Changing them all would be terrible, and I'm sure going off them might not be the best idea, either. I guess I just want someone to acknowledge that it is shitty -- but again, I don't know they'd know. It's not like I can have Kay Redfield Jamison for a doc.

So, I'm left to my own devices. I hang on. So, it's passed. What does it matter that I was miserable for a least a month? Maybe it's done for now and the worst is over.

(1) So many people are like ... "Good for you, now you have a whole place, etc., etc." I'm finding it's really most people's dream, to live alone in a place bigger than they could afford on their own. But me, I do better when I live with someone. I might be destined to be an Old Maid, but I guess I'll be an Old Maid with roommates.

(2) The reason addiction isn't quite the same is because there are recovery programs specifically DESIGNED so that you don't have to go through stuff alone. You share with each other, and you work together on this common solution (some version of the 12 steps) to get better. It's definitely, as they say, a "we" program.

(3) Sometimes, I feel it's like grief. There are no words for someone who's just lost a parent or a child or whatever. But I also know that people often just want to talk about the person anyway -- to acknowledge that they existed -- and to be sad about it. To have that deep pain and sadness be OKAY. Even though there's absolutely nothing the listener can do to fix the actual grief, the grieving just wants someone to be able to hear it -- to absorb it -- to not want to run away because it sucks and is uncomfortable.



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