Category Archives: Mental Health

I Asked

I moved my bedroom from the living room into a bedroom this morning. If that sounds byzantine, it was. I’ve lived in my living room for almost four months. I also exercised and then went running. Whether it was toward something or away, I’m not certain. But I ran. And it felt glorious. It was the fifth time this week and the first in a long time where I felt like I might become airborne as I did so. I bought a set of athletic pants that fit me properly. They are 28-30 small adult/child size. Someone nicknamed me “Babypants.” I don’t take offense. I earned the size. And if you see me running and think I’m doing it strangely, that’s more than okay, too. Doing the work and looking stupid is okay by me. I’m going to look (and sound) stupid quite often. I look forward to it. It puzzles me that people are afraid of looking stupid, saying the wrong thing, or believing that other people have the magic formula for style, method, or appearance. We owe it to ourselves to be as strange as we naturally are.

When I got back from running, the husband of a caretaker for one of the tenants here spent his time waiting by blowing the leaves off the walkway. He watched as I ran up and down the staircase a few dozen times. “Getting your cardio in again? I saw you run up from the road.” I laughed. “Well, I have 30 years worth to catch up on.”

Earlier this week, I did a reset and asked the universe for a couple of favors. Not because I’m deserving of them – but because I’m not. It’s the first time I’ve dared to do so in a long time. The biggest ask is that I avoid calamity or demise for at least another year. A year is long enough to transform anything.

In the same way, I’ve diligently said, “I don’t know” with much greater frequency this year, I’ve also started asking. It’s a tangent to my propensity to state my truth without trying to wrangle someone into a specific reaction. It’s been a wild ride! Those who respond with incredulity that I ask are forgetting the fundamental truth: it’s never wrong to ask; it’s only wrong to respond irrationally on either side of the asking. It’s the cousin to honesty, a thing everyone claims to desire yet few embrace without grimace or discontent.

As I write this, someone texted me in response to another ask. Life can be so precious and quixotic at times, can’t it?

Ask
Ask for what you want or desire.
If you don’t, it is a certainty you’ll never get it.
Ask of life and ask of people.
The answer, though bitter or not what you sought…
It’s at least the truth.
Everything starts from there
Ask

Love, X
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Wisdom From The Internet + Thoughts

“When you close your eyes to sleep it doesn’t matter how big your bedroom is.”


Wisdom from the internet.

It really doesn’t matter how big your house is, either, if you are not happy. Having all the things you need should result in all of us being content and satisfied, but not necessarily happy. If your life is flooded with things but not satisfaction, no amount of clutter or creature comforts will fill your heart with gladness. But we try. Me too.

I try to not imagine how happy the people are, the ones around me. But I do. We’re supposed to make such judgments based on how people act rather than what they say. Words are often glib, camouflaged, or misdirected. It’s not in most people’s nature to honestly communicate. Some of that is from social politeness. If we’re not baring ourselves to those who matter, though, a big chunk of our potential is drained away. People make assumptions, right or wrong about themselves based on how well they think their cohort is doing. Being honest gives them a benchmark to compare. Lords knows that social media isn’t an accurate reflection for most people. Thank you to everyone who has shared something about themselves with me. It is a comfort, even as I sit in my living bedroom, looking out the front windows, watching the world drive by.

Love, X
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Making Me Me

Tomorrow marks two weeks since I started taking Lexapro. After three days on half doses, I increased it. It’s definitely starting to work. The old cliché, “It’s making me me again” definitely applies. It is both a blessing and a curse that it revives my ability to just tell people what’s on my mind. It’s both awkward and exhilarating to state my truth. A year ago, I never would have believed I’d be at less than 150 lbs, on the other side of a jolt to remind me that pretty much everything distills down to being a human being among other beings. We can dress it up and distract ourselves with subterfuge; at the end of the day, we’re left with the idea that finding meaning in ourselves and other people is the only way to live. I’m 19,956 days old. You’d think wisdom would come easily to me.

Love, X
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Levity & Lexapro

“It is a curious thought, but it is only when you see people looking ridiculous that you realize just how much you love them.” Agatha Christie

I posted this picture because it is one of the best ridiculous pictures of me I have. Coffee, happiness, love, youth: a recipe for the perfect life. I still have a great life and great people in it.

No, I’m not afraid of brain-eating zombies. For some reason, every year they ignore me and increasingly so as I get older. It’s a good lesson that there are benefits to failing to apply the lessons I’ve learned. I get to use the joke every year that if brain-eating zombies do invade, I’m going to run into a conference room full of middle managers. Zombies instinctively know that there aren’t any functioning brains in such a room.

“If you can’t beat them, arrange to have them beaten.” —George Carlin

“During the day, I don’t believe in ghosts. At night, I’m a little more open-minded.” – Anonymous. The same is true for the tricks my mind plays on me when I get anxious. As the night falls and the hour grows quiet, my mind stretches and starts its gymnastics. Being creative sometimes has its drawbacks, as it allows me to take a minor concern and let it blow like those billowing air devices at car washes. Last night, I took melatonin which previously had little effect on me. It brought strange dreams, one of which brought an infinite loop of the “Kiss From a Rose – Jesus Loves Marijuana” from the tv show “Community.” I woke up still hearing the song in my head. It’s a fitting song for the last day of October.

After waiting a bit too long, I went to the doctor Friday (finally!) and started taking 1/2 doses of Lexapro. Many months ago, the clinic told me to come in if I really needed to; when I did, my doctor was at another clinic and the other doctors deferred due to it being anxiety-related rather than a medical need. That’s when I immediately reached out for counseling. It bothered me a great deal that they’d turned me away when I was honest and said I needed to be seen. So few people just come right out and say so. I’ve watched so many people fail to be honest about what’s going on in their heads and lives; most choose alternate forms of self-medication.

I don’t want to sound ungrateful. I have insurance. Surgeons saved my life six weeks ago. I’ve lasted 16+ years in my job and I appreciate it in a way that I didn’t up until a year ago. This last year has been five years long. I’ve had so many great experiences despite the bad ones. There are some exceptional people in my life, some of whom were hiding in plain sight. They didn’t change and suddenly become open; I did.

My doctor didn’t really hesitate to prescribe me something less powerful, especially due to the fact that I’m seeing a counselor and seem to be very aware of how my body and mind react. He might not have thought so before my crazy weight loss journey and exuberant confidence about other areas of my life. Apart from all the other issues I’ve had with the clinic, the doctor told me again he had never seen a person just SAY they were going to be thin and just do it without any structured program or surgery. He told me to remember that it is an accomplishment worthy of maintenance. And that he fully expected my anxiety to be temporary. His certainty was a welcome addition to my medical visit. I joked that since medical bills were a part of my cyclical worry, that I appreciated his pro bono treatment. He laughed. For a brief second, I thought of Leslie Nielsen in “Airplane!” when he said, “You can tell me, I’m a doctor.”

You know that the doctor thinks you’re going to live a while longer when they agree to bill you. That’s optimism in action.

Due to my cousin’s advice, I refrained from hiding behind the door to scare the doctor this time, even though it’s Halloween. I wanted to take my stylish brown sheet and ‘ghost’ him, so to speak. Instead of leaning away from the truth, I told the doctor that I thought he might not appreciate the level of my anxiety if he based it on how much I LOVE a good laugh and how I interact with his staff. He told me that he learned a long time ago that people’s internal issues rarely intersect evenly with their personalities. I told him my feedback loop theory and he nodded. To make him laugh, I told him Ronnie Shake’s hilarious quote: “My doctor gave me two weeks to live. I hope they’re in August.” To his credit, the doctor did burst out laughing.

Walgreens committed another in a long line of unexpected and hard to believe messes. I switched to CVS – late on Friday afternoon, no less. There are several stories I’m omitting here for brevity. I’m just shaking my head about it.

Note: it’s not recommended to grind up and snort this sort of medication. Not because it makes it less effective, but it leaves people with the impression that coke is making a comeback. The protein powder I sometimes eat raw directly from the canister probably already sends the wrong message when it sticks in my mustache.

I’ll let y’all know how it’s affected me when I figure it out and it’s built up in my system. If you see me pretending to ice skate while wearing banana slippers, just wave and ask me to put some pants on.

I look forward to my old optimism kicking back into full gear. That I need a serotonin boost doesn’t embarrass me in the slightest. That brain-eating zombies don’t think I’m worth the effort bothers me a bit.

“The most powerful weapon on earth is the human soul on fire.” Ferdinand Foch

If this post rambled a bit, I’m okay with that.

Love, X