My mental illness is a motherfucking leech

Wednesday, I hid.

I called out of work. I threw on some headphones. I buried myself under my comforter, afghan, and fleece blankie. I stayed like that for about an hour or so, falling in and out of sleep while listening to Lacuna Coil’s “Shallow Life” and Silversun Pickups’ “Swoon”, my current comfort albums.

I thought about going to the hospital. I thought that maybe I should talk to someone, someone who would get it and would be able to point me to a therapist who would get it even more. I imagined being handed a prescription to try, that might give me more energy and a little more sparkle inside.

I finally got up to go get dressed and eat so that I could go to the hospital, but I could barely eat and didn’t have the energy to get dressed. I crawled back into bed for another hour or so.

I know it was bad. I know that I need to get my ass into a therapist’s office. I know that I need to be tested for bipolar disorder, put on some medication, and need to go through pain management therapy. I know all of this, and still I shy away.

I make passing references to the people around me about how I’m feeling, but I don’t go all the way and say, “THIS IS BAD. IT’S REALLY BAD. I REALLY NEED HELP.” I don’t reach out. Instead, I keep it all to myself. I drop little hints, enough so that I can tell myself I said something, but not enough for anyone to get really concerned. Because, if I did truly say how bad it is, they might be very concerned.

It’s been a long time since I hid like I did on Wednesday.

In a way, it was just what I needed. I needed to regroup. And yet, on Thursday I felt the same as I did the day before. I felt drained, like I wasn’t really here, but at the same time it felt as if there were little teeny jumping beans inside of me and static fluff in my head. I barely sleep, I barely eat, and I feel like I’m barely making it through the days. Thoughts race through my head, about everything going on: about Popi, about Dad, about my stupid mystery autoimmune disease, about my relationship with Mike, about my new niece, about my clients, about my day job. On Thursday I felt like, at any moment, I was going to split into two. Or four. Or nineteen-thousand.

Today, I felt sort of normal — if normal means being on the verge of tears one minute and wanting to laugh like a maniac the next. At the moment, though, I feel okay.

It’s not just everything that’s going on; I go through these cycles all the time, for as long as I can remember. Last week, I thought about killing myself. For two or three days after, I felt high on life. And then I dropped again. I didn’t feel like dying, but I still dropped.

Part of me is ashamed. Part of me admonishes myself. “This was supposed to be over,” that part says. “We don’t want to go back to therapy. We were already there. Things should have been resolved then.” But the other part steps in and say, “That therapist didn’t do her job, and neither did the second therapist we saw about a year ago. We need to be tested for bipolar disorder. We need pain management skills. We need someone to talk to about everything.”

And the argument goes ’round and ’round, until I’m so tired of hearing these thoughts wrestling each other that I consider cracking open my head and throwing a grenade in there. (That’s a joke. You can laugh. I’m not actually going to grenade my brain.)

The truth is, my friends, that I NEED HELP. I am drowning, and with all of the external things going on as well as what is normally in my head, I’m having a really hard time staying afloat. I don’t want to die. I don’t want my mental illness to kill me. I don’t want to be the zombie I feel like. I’m tired of faking. I’m tired of being afraid to say anything to the people around me, partially because I’m afraid they have enough problems of their own and I don’t want to be yet another weight on their shoulders.

It’s also because I am partially ashamed of going back to therapy. I don’t want to. I tried it again, with Kitty Bhide, and she sucked. I know that if I just try a few different people, I’ll find the right person. But then I make the excuses of, “Well, I don’t have that kind of money,” and “It’s going to take forever to get in anywhere, and by the time I get in, I won’t feel this way anymore.” Even though that’s true — hi, that’s why I need to be tested for bipolar disorder — it’s still not a good enough excuse, because I still know that soon I will feel this way again.

I go through this, every time.

And it’s draining.

Wading through the motions

I’m typically what I like to call a “functioning depressive.” When I’m depressed, I can still perform everyday tasks. It just takes every ounce of energy I have. I can’t remember a time when I just completely shut down and couldn’t get out of bed.

Is it so wrong, then, that I want to do just that now? I feel like I’m running out of energy. I don’t want to function anymore, dammit. I just want to hole up and kick the world out for a little while. I want to call out of work. I want to sit in my own little bubble and numb everything out.

Honestly, I feel like I can’t take much today. I don’t feel very strong. I just feel like an open target. I want to hide. I’m tired of going through the motions, pretending that I don’t feel like shattering. For once, I just want to tell the motions to fuck off.

A directory for people struggling with depression

I have a favor to ask you all.

Some of you might know that I run a pen pal support group, Letters of Love, for people with depression, self-injury, etc. Some of you might know that I suffer from depression, that I used to self-harm, that I have on several occasions wanted to take my life. In the almost two years that I’ve been running Letters of Love (LOL), it has grown very large, helping many people.

I’d like to take it a step further.

I’ve long been wondering why there isn’t a directory of organizations who help people with mental illness, as well as a directory of bloggers who struggle with mental illness. I mean, we spend an awful lot of time feeling alone. I’ve been using LOL to try to connect us all, but I really think I need to do more. I’ve been wanting to put this directory together, but wasn’t sure how to tackle the job.

I’ve finally decided to do it, but I need your help. If there is an organization, such as LOL, Holding of Wrist, or To Write Love On Her Arms, that you know of that helps people with depression, or a blogger you know of who openly writes about his or her experiences, please comment with a link to their website. (I will, of course, ask any bloggers for permission before linking to them in this directory.) If you could also write a short description of who they are, what they do, and why you recommend them, that would be great.

Please pass this link along to anyone you think might want to help or who might benefit from the directory when it’s complete.

Thank you.

Why do people separate instead of working through their issues?

Maybe I am just jaded, but I wonder why people who claim to love each other but are having problems in their relationship decide to separate. They say, “Maybe we can resolve this in X months.” I’m wondering, why not now? Why perform what is the equivalent of breaking up but staying friends with benefits, rather than sitting down and facing your problems?

I once was in a relationship where things were not working out. He lived over an hour away, did not have a job or any motivation (he couldn’t even hold a job for more than two months), was beginning to get into hardcore drugs as opposed to just smoking pot, and I was having second thoughts. I cannot count how many times we took a break. Looking back, I can clearly see that things were never going to work out, and that instead of wasting time taking breaks, I should have just broken up with him and moved on. I had tried discussing our problems with him, but it did no good. These problems were unfixable, and I see now that I did not love him in the right way; the way I felt toward him was more like the way a sixteen-year-old party animal loves someone else’s child that is thrust upon them permanently. (This analogy might suck. Bear with me, or I will sic the spambots on you.) I spent more time taking care of him than actually being in a relationship.

I am now in a true love kind of relationship, the kind where I know down to the marrow in my bones and the little teeny atoms in my heart that we are meant to be. This is the kind of relationship where, five years or so from now, we will be married. Eventually we will have kids. We will constantly be working together and sharing a life with each other. It may sound naive and absurdly romantic in true Virgo fashion, but it’s true.

That being said, I cannot imagine taking a separation. To me, when you love someone deeply but have problems that do not involve cheating, physical/sexual abuse, drug/alcohol abuse, or a few other Get Out Of This Relationship Now issues, you need to face them now — not six, eight, nineteen months from now. If you truly love each other, it is worth working through those issues and facing the demons that come with them.

For example, it drives me absofuckinglutely insane when I ask Mike if he wants to watch a movie and he immediately says no, or when we actually do go to watch a movie and I get no vote in which movie we should watch. There are many fights over this. I say things like, “You never want to do what I want to do,” and he says things like, “That’s not true,” even though we go through this at least once a month. I’ve come to accept that this is one of our quirks, trivial things that we will probably argue about until the day we die. (Or until he either kills me for nagging or I kill him for being a movie vote hog.)

I also tend to be a bit of a brat when I want to do something and he doesn’t. I drive him apeshit. I think he sometimes wonders what he got himself into. If I want to hang out and he doesn’t because he is tired, it is too late, or he is sick, I say things like, “Why don’t you want to hang out with me?” He says things like, “I never said I didn’t want to hang out with you,” in a completely tired, “Why do we keep having this discussion?” tone (similar to the tone I use when I say, “You never want to do anything I want to do!”).

We may go around and around and around this, but we face it. I don’t say, “Listen, Mike, we need a break. Maybe two months from now we can resolve this.” No, it needs to be resolved now! Or else, resentment builds up and the relationship becomes more and more strained.

I’m not trying to make anyone feel bad. I just feel like I’m seeing a lot of people giving up rather than fighting. Don’t get me wrong, some people out there are facing their problems. It might take a lot more work than you ever thought would be necessary, but it’s worth it, I promise you. There have been a couple of times where I almost didn’t continue to fight for what Mike and I have. Looking back, the problems at hand were so small compared to the bonds between us. Had I let those little things break those bonds, I would be cheapening what we’ve worked so hard for throughout our time together.

So, if you are in a relationship and are having second thoughts, please think about it before doing something drastic. Please don’t give up fighting (unless, again, it’s a Get the Fuck Out Of This Relationship Now kind of problem). Don’t take a break. Don’t separate. Sit down and talk.

Lizards instigating zealotry

I just have one question for you today, my friends: When Twitter goes down, and you want to tweet about it, what do you do? I think you need to sign up for rehab. And yes, I’m actually talking about myself.

I forgot to set goals for this month. Yes, I set New Year’s resolutions, but in the grand scheme of things, the little goals are what will carry me through and help me accomplish the bigger goals. Or at least make me feel like I’m accomplishing them.

The problem is that we’re already almost halfway through January. RATS! So I’ll just have to settle for even smaller small goals:

  • Finish the Kirk section of Secondhand Mom. This is a section that flashes back to my main character’s second most important past romantic relationship and accounts for who she is in the present. It also sets up one of the most important subplots in the book: The Love Triangle. I grew up loathing love triangles, but it’s pretty integral to this story. (While we’re talking about writing, could you please give me some advice?)
  • Code WordPress theme for Perpetual Smile. I seriously need to JUST DO IT. Hopefully, this week will bring the end of a HUGE client project, which will give me the free time necessary to do this.
  • Code “Super Secret and Exciting Web Project” and release into the wild. This should literally take me a day to do, and it’s going to be a great piece for my portfolio, so I need to JUST DO IT, too.

Meanwhile, I also need to not lose my mind. There is so much going on that I don’t even know how to begin writing about it. I really wish life would give me a break.

Now it is real

Would you stop playing the fucking DS? I screamed in my mind.

I stood with one arm on the top of the rocking chair Mike sat in. When he rocked, I reeled.

Stop fucking rocking.

I watched my grandfather put one hand over his chest while his left arm sat on the arm of his chair, tensed with pain and numbness.

Is he really still trying to watch TV?

Followed him with my eyes as he got up from his chair and sat down in the chair next to the dining room table.

Make it stop.

I watched my grandmother put the blood pressure cuff around my grandfather’s arm. Watched him fuss over the position of the wire from the blood pressure machine. Saw the pain in his eyes.

The blood pressure cuff tightened and the little machine measured. Even if I could see the numbers, I wouldn’t know what they meant. Had the doctors told Noni what good and bad blood pressure numbers are?

Mike shut off the DS. For a moment I wondered if his stony exterior was disguising the memories running through his head, memories of his little brother having a stroke.

She said something that meant, “You’re blood pressure is fine,” but the words themselves meant nothing to me. “I don’t think it’s your heart,” she said.

I didn’t relax. I was under water.

Lesbians in zebrastripes

I decided that, for the next week, I’m going to title all of my posts using the letters in my nickname, L-I-Z, no S. I’m doing this because the spambots think I’m awesome, so if my human readers think it’s lame, at least I have the bots. Here’s what my newest fan, a bot named Luciano, had to say after reading my post on the super excited girl at the bar who decided to have a baby because of me:

Merely want to say your article is striking. The clearness in your post is simply spectacular and i can assume you are an expert on this subject. Well with your permission allow me to grab your rss feed to keep up to date with incoming post. Thanks a million and please keep up the effective work.

This is what spectacular looks like in the morning.

In short: my writing is striking, spectacular, and I am an effective expert. Thank you, spambot.


The problem with this title scheme, guys, is that there are only so many Z words. The only Z word I can think of is zebra. This is where you come in.

I need you to leave me comments with your favorite Z words. I’m especially counting on the spambots, since they are getting pretty damn smart. Not that you humans aren’t smart. I’m just saying that the spambots tend to spit stuff out depending on what they see. So if they see the letter Z, they are going to go crazy and leave all kinds of Z words.

In fact, I think that spambots are the next superior race on planet Earth.

What spambots will be saying about us in the future on their spambot oatmeal packets.

They will be so much more advanced than us, in ways that I — in all of my spambot-blessed expertise — cannot ever imagine. I mean, they’re already ahead of us. They are INVISIBLE, for crying out loud! If a spambot was here in my house right now, looking over my shoulder as I type this, I wouldn’t know it.


They also have a great sense of humor. The spambot in that post is funnier than Mepsipax, Avitable, and Allie combined. (Then again, Allie made a great documentary about the Battle of Twitterloo. If you don’t believe me, press play.)


So maybe Allie can one-up the spambots. I’m not sure. But I do know that they are going to be the next superior race, and before this happens I need to write as many L-I-Z acronym posts as possible. (My apologies to those of you who thought this one was gonna be about lesbians in sexy zebra stripe underwear.) So give me your best Z words, or the Fun-Size Kitty of DOOM will eat you!

The glowing eyes mean that she is charging up for ATTACK!

Donated Z Words:

Please note that Z words are rare and endangered. Donating a Z word to my blog will keep them safe from spambots and Fun-Size kitties.


Zig (Mike)

Zag (Mike)

Zipper (Mike)

Zinger (Mike)



*Z names count. If you don’t believe me, prepare to answer to Fun-Size kitty.


Zombie (Me, Taliana83)

Zap (Allie)

Zaps (Allie)

Zapped (Allie)

Zapping (Allie)

Zoo (Allie, Taliana83)

Zenith (Allie)

Zany (Allie)

Zodiac (Allie)

Zephyr (Allie)

Zealot (Allie)

Zeal (Allie)

Zealous (Allie)

Zen (Allie, Taliana83)

Zero (Allie)

Zest (Allie)

Zesty (Allie)

Zestful (Allie)

Zimbabwe (sagasky)

And then @BookGeekGal kicked some major Z ass

(01/10/2010, 12:49am):

Spambots, you are letting me down! Are you really going to let a bunch of humans out-Z you?


Update 01/10/2010, 12:56am: The spambots are fighting back, but instead of Z words, they’re insulting me!

This means war!!


Update 01/10/2010, 1:34am:

They’re going to overtake us!!


Update 01/10/2010, 2:34am: It’s totally fucking weird that I’m updating EXACTLY AN HOUR LATER, but it’s even weirder that the spambots are now kicking our asses. They can speak an assload of Russian, so they win this battle 3-2. I am too lazy to take and post a screenshot, but believe me, they dumped a whole mess of Russian into my blog comments. (Thank goodness for Akismet, or they would have taken over my blog!)

Their hefty block of Cyrillic smack-talking translates to:

Listen up, puny Earthlings. We are INVISIBLE, have no need for Z words, and can DESTROY your bandwidth with just the power of our MINDS. Also, we speak Russian and 19 million other languages, including ones you have not discovered yet. Surrender now or prepare to fight! Meow, that’s right!†

We will get them next time…


Is there a lawyer in the house?

All right, my lawyerly friends, I have a question for you.

In the novel I’m writing, my main character (Gigi) gave up her son (Owen) for adoption when he was born. She was young, the father (Ric) was a douche, and she felt that the kid’s best chance was to get as far from Ric as possible. She chose an open adoption, and three years later she met her son for the first time. Naturally, she fell in love with him. He stuck in her head, infiltrated her every thought, and before she knew it, she decided she wanted him back.

I know that, in CT, adoption is permanent unless you had a temporary agreement (sort of like a foster home for the child until you can get back on your feet). This information came to me through a friend who has a friend who has an open adoption agreement, so I’m trusting her word. If we’re wrong, please correct me!

Initially, I was going to have Gigi see several lawyers, each of them telling her that she can’t get him back. But the second lawyer came up with a loophole. The adoptive parents sort of breached their agreement. Gigi is supposed to be able to have long distance contact with Owen as well as mandatory visits twice a year. The adoptive parents wouldn’t allow her to send him a birthday gift, so the new lawyer is going to use this as a loophole. He’s a sloppy but vicious character.

I was so not planning to write any court scenes, but this lawyer insists that we use this loophole. He’s one greedy, scrappy fuck (and he’s cute). Since I am not a lawyer, have only been to court twice (once to accompany a friend for a child support hearing, and again to attend jury duty for the first time), and am not entirely sure how to proceed, this is where you, my lawyerly friends, come in.

(This is also where my initial plan for the ending gets entirely screwed, so thanks, Mr. Lawyer Character.)

I need any advice you might have as to how this guy can use this loophole to try to get the kid back (and make a lot of money in the process). I also need advice on how to run the court scenes. I guess what I’m asking for is a person with lawful knowledge to answer my million questions as they arise. If you help me, I’ll give you cookies and mention your name if the book ever gets published, as well as send you a copy of said book if it makes it to the shelves.

Thanks in advance.

If you lend me your ear, I’ll lend you mine

I want to tell you all about so many things, like Christmas Eve, my latest bout of depression, the Nintendo DS I bought myself as a treat, all of the pain I’ve been having lately, the insane workload I’ve been carrying, and a few other things. But when I sit down to write, all of my thoughts blow away like clouds on a clear summer day. I could tell you about how I lost my appointment card and have no idea when my next rheumatologist appointment is (or was). I could tell you that I feel like it does no good to go anyway. I could explain to you how amazing Mike is and that without him I would not have made it through the last few days.

I want to tell you how badly I want to reorganize my life right now, because it feels so messy and everything I want feels so out of reach. I want to tell you that not every moment in my life has been gloomy; I’ve had some good happy moments lately, too. I want to tell you all about how my family is doing, the love, the fights, the eggshells.

I just don’t know where to start, my friends.

I’ve been reading everyone’s blogs and it seems like we’ve all been having more than our share of ups and downs. I can barely get my thoughts together enough to leave a comment worth reading let alone encouraging. Everything feels so chaotic right now. My own head is a mess and my heart is lost. There is so much to fight right now, but I feel like every time I swing, I miss by a wide berth. (Can you tell I’ve been running around as Link in the latest Zelda game for the DS?)

I know that the end is in sight. I tell myself that, as soon as I finish my big client’s project, things will get a little better. But I know it isn’t just the project that is weighing me down. I spend so much of my time worrying and stressing that when it comes time to take action, I freeze. I think this is defined as ANXIETY. I know that I should probably grab a phone book and call a therapist. I know that I should call my rheumatologist’s office and find out when my next appointment is (or was), since I’m worrying myself sick that I might have to pay a fee if I missed it.

I worry, worry, worry.

I wish that someone would guide me through this, like some sort of magical creature that will say, “Okay, do X and Y will happen, so then do Z and it’ll be all set.” I wish someone would take care of me, even though I am old enough to take care of myself. I need a rope, friends. A thick, knotted rope that I can climb up to the top where I can see everything.

Or maybe I am already able to climb up and look. Maybe I only need to let myself SEE. Maybe I have become so comfortable with the bottom that I’ve allowed myself to stay there. To quote Silversun Pickups, “I don’t care, I’m still here, everything seems perfect from down here.” Except it’s not.

I wish that I only had to handle one thing at a time, but that’s not the way life goes. Maybe if I put everything out, examine everything that I’m dealing with, and SEE it for what it is, then maybe I can figure it out. So if you don’t mind, I’m going to do that. Let’s see:

  • The big project. This project is HUGE and is making me a lot of money, which is awesome. The not awesome part is that I’m stuck on a couple of things with it, and being stuck makes me freeze instead of taking action. This needs to stop. I need to figure out how to fix the issues I’m having with the coding. I need to force myself to sit there and work through it. Standing still is not going to help. Letting the anxiety of the Impending Deadline stop me in my tracks is not going to help. If I don’t say “fuck you” to the anxiety, I’m going to be frozen until the Impending Deadline hits me right in the head. I need to remember that it is not only me that will take the hit if Impending Deadline comes and the project is not done. I need to also not let that scare me into frozen fear. I need to keep saying “fuck you” to the anxiety and work through the stubborn code.
  • The pain. Whatever the hell is wrong with me has been pretty aggressive lately. A few days ago, both of my hips flared up, with the ache radiating back and forth, so that my whole front hip area was in agony. The next day or maybe the day after, my right hip flared up, then radiated to my back. The back side of my hips and my lower back were a big glow of RED pain for maybe an hour or two. I fell asleep some time after it started, and when I woke up it was gone. This morning, from the front of my hips all the way to my toes ached so badly, I could barely walk. All I wanted to do was lay down and go to sleep, but I had so much work to do and also had to go to work. It quit around the time I went into my day job, so I’d say it lasted at least three hours, maybe four.I’m so tired of bouncing from doctor to doctor, spending so much time and money when all I get are no answers. It all feels like a huge waste of time, and once again I feel like they are never going to figure out what is wrong. I think I’m going to spend the rest of my life bouncing between mind numbing flareups and a very thin time slot of remission. What I’m experiencing is the definition of rheumatoid arthritis or some other autoimmune disease, and yet all tests come back negative — except for that one double stranded DNA, which is supposed to mean I have some sort of autoimmune disease, but so far my rheumatologist has been unable to determine which one. I know this requires a lot of patience, but I am not the most patient, and I think after almost three years of pain, pain, pain and a slew of other symptoms, most other people would also have lost their patience.I’m also tired of A Certain Person scoffing at me when I complain, as if I am just making this all up. I want to be taken seriously by A Certain Person, but I get the feeling they don’t because they can’t physically see any of my symptoms. I’ve gotten to the point where I mostly say nothing when I’m around them and experiencing symptoms. And anyone who deals with chronic pain knows that it’s so hard not to say anything. Since I spend a lot of time around A Certain Person, I spend a lot of time not saying anything. (And no, it isn’t Mike.)

    I know what I need to do. I need to push the fears of never finding an answer aside once more and I need to call my rheumatologist to either reschedule my appointment or get the date so I can go. When I do call, I need to be adamant about getting in sooner, and I need to stress that my symptoms have once again gotten worse. I need to not let the fact that I feel okay right now get in my way. I need to remember that “okay” can quickly turn into agony and that by speaking up and being a little more vocal, I might be able to get closer to the answers and treatment I need. I need to remember that I do NOT deserve this.

  • My wish to write. While I spend most of my time working, I yearn so badly to get back to the novel I started during November. I know that my client’s project has to be done before I can get back to the novel. I need to remember that the sooner I finish this huge project, I will have more free time and will be able to spend that time finishing my manuscript so that I can start editing it.
  • Taking the time to relax. I absolutely NEED to do something nice for myself once this project is done. It’s time to use that spa gift certificate my uncle gave me for my birthday so that I can go get that massage. I have been treating myself with DS Zelda breaks, but I also need to remember that too many breaks kills productivity. I need to remind myself that I do deserve the breaks, but should try to get more work done first.
  • Popi. This is the hardest of them all, because there is nothing I can DO. Instead, the worry about his health pushes down on me. I don’t know what to do. I do know that I am so scared of losing him.His second round of chemo went well. He was only at the hospital for three days, and came back home on the third day. He hasn’t experienced any side effects. He’s just awfully tired from fighting so hard. I am so proud of him for being so strong. His strength makes me want to be strong, too.I am having a hard time fighting the worry, though.

Whew, glad that’s all off my chest now. I really need to stop bottling everything up and keeping it to myself. I have a hard time vocalizing the worry, though; I force myself to carry it all on my own.

If you’ve read this all the way through, thank you. I’m so glad that you were here to listen. Now I want to return the favor. Tell me, how are YOU doing?