May 12, 2000
Of Broken Vases and KlonopinIt's been a very long week. I haven't talked about it at all, but some people have managed to read between the lines and figure it out. I'm dealing with another depressive episode. I haven't had one in about three years. It's been hard. If I've cut you off this week, or avoided you... know that it's not you. It's hard to describe how it feels, to someone who's never had one. I've had a lot of problems with anxiety this time. Imagine being afraid all the time, and not knowing what you were afraid of. That's what's been happening to me. The phone would ring, and my heart would start pounding, sometimes my hands would shake. Someone knocked at my door once. The same thing happened. I've been intensely afraid of things I couldn't explain.
That's in addition to general feelings of worthlessness and lethargy. I haven't been sleeping well, and I've tended to isolate myself from everyone around, with a few exceptions. I haven't been to work since Monday. I've been beating myself up for being 'weak', and not being strong enough to fight off another episode by myself.
So yesterday I called the University of Michigan and made an appointment to start getting help again. It's not until next Friday. This morning I woke up, worried about how I'd get through the week. Don't get me wrong... I'm not suicidal. I haven't been suicidal this entire time. I've just been... sad, and overwhelmed, and worried. Tired, but not able to sleep. It sounds harmless enough, put that way, but it isn't.
So this morning, I got up and got myself to the U of M's psychiatric emergency room.
They asked me what I wanted in terms of help. I didn't know. After two and a half hours of talking about what was going on in my life, and giving them my history, I realized that I'd really just needed a professional to talk to, to confirm that I was right about what was wrong with me. In addition, the psychiatrist gave me an anti-anxiety drug, another first for me. I took the first one about two hours ago, and so far so good. I don't feel groggy. I'm a little sleepy, but I was sleepy before I took it -- Klonopin, for the curious.
There's another storm brewing outside, but I feel as if I've come through the worst of my own personal storm, for now.
When I got out of the hospital three years ago, and continued on therapy and medication, I hoped that all of this was behind me. After a year of no depression, I was certain that it was. I think I understand a little better now. Whether I like it or not, I'm dealing with a potentially lifelong medical condition. It's hard to think of that and not feel as if I'm 'damaged goods' somehow.
I should explain. Everything I do with my life, since then, and from the looks of it, from now on, will hinge upon how much stress it might cause me. On how well I can handle whatever it is. I think it was Stephen King who described the way I feel right now. He described mental illness and its recovery as gluing a broken vase back together. It looks as solid as ever. However, you're afraid to put flowers in the vase, because the water might dissolve the glue. Your image of yourself is never quite the same. I realize as well as anyone that depression is as much a physiological illness as a psychological one. But it changes you. Just as a heart attack victim is leery of overexerting physically, I feel leery of overexerting emotionally. I feel very... fragile right now. As if the peace of mind I have at this moment is something easily broken.