Like a backpack

I’ve been carrying around dread like a backpack. It’s heavy and ugly. I can’t shed it. Nothing makes it a whole lot worse and nothing makes it better. Strike that, my 20 minute yoga practice made it better, and I should pull out the mat and do my 50 minute regime, but can’t bring myself to do it. It’s depression.

Small lost her backpack and she was in tears. If she doesn’t bring her calendar, she gets her name on the board. If she gets her name on the board, doesn’t get AAA, this certificate that comes with a special pencil or eraser indicating Achievement, Attendance and something else I don’t remember. The awards are given out once a quarter. I was very careful not to point out a great big, “Who cares?” It’s part of the magic of childhood, these little rewards are. In someways, it’s like the counting. I say to the seven year old, “Small, you need to follow my directions.” When she does not, I start counting, “1-2-3” She hates it so much, even though there is no consequence beyond being counted to. My mother says I don’t deserve a child like Small. She is right. But what is my mother ever do to deserve me? I was an excellent, hard working student, (Small is average.) I stoically moved from one house or city to another. She told me I was hard to read and I’m sure I was. What point was there in having a heart if it was just going to break? What was the point of making friends just if we would move on soon?

Depression. The big black dog. I have got to get off (or reduce) my mood stabilizers. I think they are the fault of my memory lost. I’m not trying to get off them completely, in face there is some sort of credibility in taking Lithium. Not so much in Lamictal. Lithium’s kind of old fashioned and it’s powerful. It’s kind of like eating fubu (not the clothing line.) It’s potentially dangerous, even deadly. I was afraid of it for a long time. It is the kind of drug you can kill yourself with, if that’s your thing. A social worker at the hospital assured me that my lithium levels were so low I’d not have to deal with toxicity, which had long been a fear of mine and the reason I never took it when I was offered it. He also listed a gaggle of rich people and celebrities that can afford anything but take lithium. I’ve told you that bipolar is no respecter of persons. You get very poor folks in the hospital, and middle class and billionaires all obediently taking their pills and learning the opinions of the hospital staff on how to manage their lives. Some of us need that information more than others. I, for one, need that information more than others.

I don’t know what I’m going to do about the way I feel. I read a book I have read 1,000 times, which usually comforts me. I made some deliberately soupy fudge and ate that. I took my meds, including my happiness inducing B-complex gummis. I’m drinking water. I ate breakfast. I’m roasting a turkey.

I took an Ativan to calm down. There were other things I could do to settle my thoughts. Avitan is barely working. In the hospital I told them it was no more calming than drinking a glass of ice water, and I believe that true to an extent. In the hospital, though, you go to a lot of group therapy and it doesn’t matter if you sit there like a zombie or not. I try not to. I’ve been told a few times by other inmates that I don’t seem to belong there among the patients. The first woman to tell me that was a forty-fifty year old bipolar veteran – she said she’d never seen someone like me. The second was a blind woman who I was escorting around the place because the staff was overworked. Granted she couldn’t see, but it still felt good to be of help and to seem like I was not too wacky. Honestly? It’s not too bad that I am bipolar, but I love that I “pass” as a mentally uninteresting person. Many disabled people do not have such a privilege. One time I couldn’t get my car to start and the taxi driver asked me what I did at the hospital. In retrospect, he probably wouldn’t have asked any patient what they were in for. Still I was happy. I don’t want to walk around looking stoned anymore. The same medicine that made me look so haunted was the same one that made me fat. I’m not (so) fat anymore and I definitely look less stoned.

Fun fact: I’ve traveled the world and seen a lot of things through a taxi-driver’s window, but I had never met a taxi-driver’s whose native language was English. I told him that and he ignored it. I’ll bet he gets that all the time.

I am going to have to drive for forty-five minutes to get my pills refilled today. It’s a necessary pain in the neck. If I want to be able to look ordinary, I have got to take my pills and vitamins. If I were really committed I would be doing my yoga, meditating and drinking more water. The thing is, those things are close to impossible when I am depressed. I know it will make me feel better, but I can’t believe I will ever be better. When that hope speaks to me in a way I can listen, I will. Now they are just memories of a time when I was okay. I will be again, soon. I know this because I can remember past experiences when I seemed to snap out of it. I can do that, it’s not too difficult to wait. In the mean time, I’ve got to sort my pills.

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3 responses to “Like a backpack

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