1.08.2005

Gene Pool Water Wings

Ah, childhood.

My condo neighbor, Anne, struggles with bi-polar disorder. The bad news? It is much harder to treat than my dysthemia. The good news? Her manic shopping sprees provide her with the best stocked clothes closet on this side of the Mason-Dixon line...and she SHARES!

Anne's bi-polar disorder showed up as early as my depression did. Around age 12 or 13. Both of our families went into denial for quite a long time.

Finally, Anne's parents came to realize why their daughter became alternately despondent and then overly sociable. They apologized to her for not helping her diagnose her manic-depression earlier. They called her at camp, brought her home for treatment.

My parents kept a cross and a necklace of dried garlic around for times that my crabbiness or depression got too bad.

Anne and I. One of us got water wings. The other one learned how to tread water ;)

1.06.2005

I'm up! Right! Be right there!

Today, I actually got dressed and stopped by work (I've been on leave) for my mail. I put on a bra and clean underwear for them. I thought I should be praised for this, but then I would have had to actually confess to the fact that clean undergarments are a BIG achievement for me right now.

I couldn't find matching socks, so I borrowed a pair of my husband's socks. He has enormous feet. I love those feet. I stuffed the extra in my boots.

I did not shower though. Hey! One step at a time.

I definitely felt vulnerable under the weight of the heavy winter sky as I walked along. I tried to focus on the homes around me instead. And on the geese honking a confused retreat from the lake.

1.05.2005

When I go...

...please let me go like my very dear Aunt, who passed away about this time last year.

After braving cancer for 9 years, she was very specific about how she wanted the money for her funeral spent. She wanted a wake. Tradition! Irish-Catholic style.

She told us, "I want a closed casket and an open bar. Then you can do what you like with me."

We gave her both...with gusto.

Man, I miss her.

1.04.2005

What I'm Always Reading

I keep coming back to this book by Martha Manning about depression called Undercurrents, A Life Beneath the Surface.

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It is so fantastically funny.

Yes, funny. And touching. And truthful. Manning is smart and irreverent and a damn fine writer. She cuts cleanly through the stigma and knows how to explain what life is like while dragging depression around with you. When I began to date my husband, I gave him this book. With many sections underlined in bright blue ink.

Manning is a psychologist who struggles with depression and had to turn to Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT) when the meds didn't work. They hospitalized her to administer the ECT.

The group is co-led by a nurse, who is pretty sharp, and one of the few nurses I dislike. I'm always surprised that people can be tight-asses so young. She is patronizing towards us all, her voice raising in pitch and volume, each word pronounced with an emphasis, like she is talking to children with auditory problems. We are each asked to articulate a goal for the session. When she turns to me I want to say, "My goal is to get through this entire session without telling you to fuck off."

1.03.2005

HappyNotHappy...Shopping Therapy!

You know, many times I cannot summon the energy to be witty, or snarky, or assertive. So I must let my clothing do the talking for me.

This means a supply of excellent t-shirts and, yes, pajamas on hand. Like these:

likeyoullremember simonsays lost

David & Goliath rock my world. What can I say? I get introverted, but I still want to express my crabbiness.