Unshelved by Bill Barnes and Gene Ambaum
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Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Trying to reach some sort of equilibrium on the equinox

listening to: 'Patterns' by Simon & Garfunkel (my theme song as a child; I was a very sad child--see below)
feeling: Abyssmal, but hopefully will improve

Happy Autumnal Equinox, for those on the north side of our rock in space (or Mabon, if you're so inclined). I'm sure Aussies and other Southerners are looking forward to spring. I saw something on the news last night where it was snowing on the last day of summer in Colorado. That would be a little annoying, but hey, it's the weather. You deal with it, and high mountains get snow. Maybe they just went skiing.

I haven't felt well physically or mentally the last few days, hence one reason for the dearth of posts (although I've tried to at least post something each day). Fewer posting opportunities are part of it. I miss my home Internet connexion and feel somewhat isolated without it. I didn't realise how much I valued the interactive aspect of being online. I went to UK's Young Library the other night, but found out that they only allowed students of UK/LCC after 10 pm (I guess faculty are screwed?) It's a security measure that makes a little sense, since they're trying to keep down assaults and people preying on students late at night. I did actually get to come in for awhile, since I am still on the rolls of the history department's grad students, even though I don't have an updated ID and haven't paid tuition. Since I was on campus to pick someone up later, I was grateful. No one really verified any of that, but, on the other hand, it's a new measure and I suppose I look like, well, what people think of when they think of librarians, not like what people think of when they think of serial killers (seriously, though, you know, they can look just the same--as Wednesday said in the Addams Family movie (the second one, I think), serial killers look like everybody else).

Part of it, too, is that if I were a Sim, I'd be a depressed Sim, because my little Social bar would be completely red. Most of the interaction I've had has been very superficial at best. D has been very busy (today is her 3rd wedding anniversary, yay!) and we haven't been able to talk more than a few minutes each day. We definitely need to plan something fun, but we haven't really had any money to go out to eat or something like that. Maybe we could just hang out together some night soon or spend some of the gorgeous weather at a park, but finding time when we're both free has been nigh on impossible. I'm also realising that part of it is that I'm at least mildly depressed, and I'm just not taking as much pleasure as I did in things I usually enjoy. The game and watching Charmed with a friend are about it right now for enjoyable social stuff, and I think that's because I'm totally occupied with the activity at hand. I know others out there dealing with much worse, but I think when people are all at a low ebb it's hard to help each other. I just don't feel like I'm doing so well at being emotionally supportive, because I'm distracted by what's going on in my own head, and I don't know how to snap out of it.

Which brings me to the album I'm listening to. It's my favourite of Simon & Garfunkel--Parsley, Sage, Rosemary, & Time. It starts with Scarborough Fair/Canticle (the Canticle part is very important--I struggled in the days before liner notes to get all the words down). I love every song on it...Dangling Conversation, Flowers Never Bend with the Rainfall, A Poem on the Underground Wall (okay, maybe not great to listen to when you're depressed, since it's about a man throwing himself under a train, but Simon & Garfunkel's music always makes me feel better...their poetry and the music itself counteract the dark lyrics, and overall the music eases my mood). But my favourite, the one I clung to throughout my child, was Patterns.
The night sets softly
With the hush of falling leaves,
Casting shivering shadows
On the houses through the tres,
And the light from a street lamp
Paints a pattern on my wall,
Like the pieces of a puzzle,
Or a child's uneven scrawl.

Up a narrow flight of stairs
In a narrow little room,
As I lie upon my bed
In the early evening gloom.
Impaled on my wall
My eyes can dimly see
The pattern of my life
And the puzzle that is me.

From the moment of my birth
To the instant of my death,
There are Patterns I must follow
Just as I must breathe each breath.
Like a rat in a maze
The path before me lies,
And the pattern never alters
Until the rat dies.

And the pattern still remains
On the wall where darkness fell,
And it's fitting that it should,
For in darkness I must dwell.
Like the color of my skin,
Or the day that I grow old,
My life is made of Patterns
That can scarcely be controlled.

You know, in retrospect, I was a child dealing with a lot on my plate. I was both neglected and abused emotionally, violated sexually and betrayed by those who should have protected me, lived in an environment with a lot of upheaval, strove to escape through a rich inner fantasy life, suffering from anxiety and depression and obsessive-compulsive disorder. Most of the adults in my life were at best indifferent and at worst cutting every shred of my self-esteem out from under me. I was ashamed of a lot, and I blamed myself for everything. I was the human equivalent of a dog that has been beaten, who expects any loud noise to be the next blow and cringes in anticipation. Not surprisingly, I suppose, in my 20s, the main album I identified was Pink Floyd's The Wall. But I survived it all and now I'm just trying to be me.

Even after years of therapy, the strides I've made, the coherency I've established, I'm still putting that puzzle back together and hoping to feel whole. The depression I'm feeling now is so mild in comparison to what I once felt. But I suppose I'm afraid of spiralling back to that, even though my life has changed so much. I'm not that frightened little girl anymore, for one. But I still keep away from any real intimacy because not only have I been hurt too often before, but because some part of me still doesn't trust myself to protect me. I've come to realise it isn't that I'm not ready to trust others, it's that I still don't quite feel I can trust myself, even though I think from a more rational level that I can.

So I've been trying to work out some of those issues, use the skills I've learnt the last few years to support myself. So far, I think it's helped in the long run. But when you bring up those memories, examine the emotions, it's like lancing a boil...you can't just put it back into a box and close off awareness of it. It oozes and bleeds and is painful, and slowly it heals, leaving a scar.

[Caveat: I know the next little bit isn't really the 'ideal' from a medical standpoint. I would prefer to not have this going on, and I wouldn't recommend it to others, but sometimes you do what you need to.] The last week or so have been a little more difficult because of where I was in my menstrual cycle, and after somewhat unconsciously rationing out my medication for awhile (I checked--a 30-day supply was filled in early July) and now I'm out. Last night I was having some withdrawal, a really bad headache and I also had a panic attack, where I couldn't sleep, my mind raced, I just sobbed, felt like running away--or worse--but I just used my skills to embrace the anxiety and control it, ride it out, and then, like that, it was over.

I have had someone offer to get my medication for me, but currently it's $25 for my co-pay, and I'm not sure when I'd be able to repay him. I'm trying to rely more on my own resources and stretch them out rather than being too beholden to others (Yes, Y, the word you seem to hate :}). But...I did check with the pharmacy and I may have a solution. I take Paxil CR (extended release), but apparently there is not much clinical difference in effect between the CR and regular, which is now in generic form. We switched me to the CR when I was at the worst of my depression a couple of years ago, when I was having trouble waking up in the morning, because it needed to be sustaining throughout the day (Paxil has a short half-life). Since I'm just in a maintenance phase now, the regular would probably be fine. So I'm going to check with my doctor and see if he'll call in a new prescription. That takes it down to $7 a month, which is much more doable, and it's smarter than trying to stretch it out.

Just writing all this has made me feel better, and listening to the music, oddly enough. Now I think I'm going to get something to eat and get on with my day.

Take care.

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