Sunday, July 10, 2011

Swallowed in the Sea

Or "Salami & Orchids First-Ever Foray into Jo's Labyrinth of Depression and Self-Loathing"!!

Warning: bad similes and metaphors ahead. 

Before I was medicated I'd get these things I'd call plunges. What would happen is a thought, a simple thought, either self-produced or with outside influence would wiggle its way into my mind which would set off a chain reaction of thoughts, like a row of falling dominoes, falling one after the other until it comes to the last little domino, who was on the edge of a cliff. That last little domino would then fall off the cliff and into the ocean, taking my mood with it. 

The funny thing about most anti-depressants is that they sort of install a balcony about halfway down the cliff face so the little domino doesn't fall into the ocean. It splats down hard on this plane and can't fall any lower, but it knows the ocean is still below it. 

Literally, that's what it felt like. There's a point, a floor, in your head and you know there's space beneath it but you can't reach it...emotionally. I mean it. It's practically tangible, like you're lying face-down on an actual reach out with your fingers, trying to find an edge to the thing, but there isn't one. You crawl a little, dragging on your belly, still looking for that edge to complete your fall but it's just not there...It's an emotional cement block that you can't walk to the edge of, go through, or find your way around. You're stuck on the platform until your mood comes back up. 

If you haven't felt it I can't explain to you how real it feels. How solid. How you can peak between the cracks in the floorboards and see the ocean below but there is no way to touch it. You can smell it. You can remember how the water felt against your skin but you're plastered against that stupid balcony under the weight of your own emotions. 

It's supremely weird. 

But Lexapro wasn't like that. Instead of being on the top of a cliff you're a beach ball, floating along in the ocean. Sometimes the waves of your mood toss you up in the air- you can actually be happy. You can experience happiness. And you can stay happy for longer. Plus, and this is my favorite part, there's no floor. It's just that, when a bad mood comes or something awful happens- just like a beach ball- a wave swallows you for a little bit, but then you pop back up. You know how hard it is to keep a beach ball underwater? That's what it's like. It's comfortable, it's easy. 

Lately I've been having trouble. It may be tied up with my menstrual cycle (PMDD?), I don't know, but the depression is coming back. I'm slowly, slowly, sinking under the waves...sometimes are worse than others. There were days when, while I was in the internship from hell (coming soon, I promise), I would want so badly to step in front of the Amtrak or Acela trains and just...explode. It would have all been over- everything, everything- would have been over in an instant. 

After I posted yesterday I took a nap...and woke up iffy. After dinner my internet was weird so I just kinda laid around watching Robert Pattinson movies and feeling worthless. 

I'm reading a biography of Eva Braun and the parallels between her relationship with Hitler and my relationship with Herbert were weighing on me like lead. The chapter on her diary was devastating: 
"...emotionally starved by her lover's neglect and driven half insane by her need for him."

"...having given herself mind and body to Hitler, he gave so little in return that she wondered if her life was worth living." 

"She never knew when she would see him next and this uncertainty kept her in perpetual suspense."

"By way of goodbye he handed me, as he has done before, an envelope with money in it. It would have been much nicer if he had enclosed a greeting or a loving word. I would have been so pleased if he had." 

"...his blowing hot and cold left her in a constant state of insecuirty. The banal but obvious truth- that Hilter was genuinely preoccupied with affairs of state and too busy to spend time with her...she tried to make allowances: 'After all, it is quite obvious that he is not really interested in me when he has so much to do in politics' or 'So he has had a head full of politics all this time, but surely he needs to relax a little.'"

"What happens to me is no concern of his."

"I should have learned to be patient by now."

Eva's words are in italics. And the book is The Lost Life of Eva Braun by Angela Lambert.

She was 23 and deeply in love with a man too busy for her...a man who didn't want to marry and have children, even though she might as well be me. Herbert is an incredible human being...he's hilarious and has a mind I couldn't even begin to understand- in the fall he's beginning a program that will last- what did he say? 7 years? 10? He'll be earning his M.D. and Ph. D. degrees simultaneously, and getting paid to do it. That's how brilliant he is. 

What am I compared to that? Eva...a sad young woman who could make the most powerful man in Germany laugh. 

Side note, I'm not a Nazi- I just did my undergrad thesis on WWII photojournalism and learned a great deal about the war- but nothing about Eva Braun. I was curious. 

Anyway. Herbert doesn't believe in marriage, either...and doesn't want children... but those are the two things I've ever actually wanted out of my life. The only things I've ever wanted for myself. 

He doesn't believe in monogamy, either. A boy at the internship from hell was paying me a bit too much attention and I got a stupid little crush because that's how I operate- a man tries to make me smile and my heart starts fluttering. I confessed and he didn't give the slightest reaction. 

Is love even possible without jealousy? He said it'd be hypocritical of him, and it would, but what good is love without possession? If my affection isn't worth getting jealous over, worth being afraid of losing, then what does it matter? 

So I felt worthless. Useless. Like I was taking up valuable space in the world. 

I like crossing streets without looking. I like when cars screech to avoid hitting me. It's a moment that I exist to someone else, someone that wants to avoid hurting me at all cost. For selfish reasons, but still. I'm seen. I'm worth paying attention to. Worth stopping for. 

I'm rambling. The point is last night I was overwhelmed by all of this...and feeling so invisible and would have been so easy to swallow all of my muscle relaxants at once. 

But I didn't. 

Hug your friends and family. Kiss them, tell them you love don't know when they're going to decide to swallow their medicine cabinet. 

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