Underneath my yellow skin

Tag Archives: depression

Grasping for a reason

The countdown to enforced family time is ticking, and as a result, my health is taking a nosedive. Oh, I can’t say for sure it’s related (see what I did there?), but I wouldn’t be surprised if it were. Let me amend. I know my mental health takes a hit during family time, but I can’t say for sure my physical decline is a direct correlation. I would not be surprised if it were, given that stress is really bad for health, but I can’t say it’s 100% true. I do know, however, that my brain starts thinking darker thoughts that get worse every day. I know that my sleep issues, which are problematic at the best of times, become even worse. The chattering in my brain that I can usually keep to a bare minimum grows louder, and it’s harder to block it out.

Side note: I’ve been grappling with the idea that I may have ADHD/ADD or at least some of the traits. I’ve never thought about it in the past because the stereotype is the hyperactive young boy who can’t sit still for five minutes, talks a mile a minute, and careening into things at a high velocity. None of that is me except on occasion the middle one, and I tend towards inertia whenever possible. In addition, I already know I have OCD tendencies, and to my mind, these two disorders are on the opposite sides of the spectrum. Also, I’m a woman, and ADD is notoriously overlooked in people of my gender in part because of the aforementioned stereotype. Here are the symptoms as they may present in women, and I match many of them. I also have four of the five comorbidities, which doesn’t make me feel any better. The only reason I hesitate with the label is because I have a good memory and don’t forget things. Other than that, though, everything else fits.

What really opened my eyes to the fact that I may have ADD (no H here) is when someone who has it explained that the ‘look, squirrel’ syndrome was followed by hyper-focus when he was really interested in something. That’s what tripped me up. I can do several things at one time, but if I’m really into something, I lose sight of everything else. I cannot be distracted once I latch onto one thing (or, worse, one person), and once I learned that was part of ADHD, things started clicking. Reading the list above, I’m struck by how I was just thinking this week how I couldn’t work in an office because so much of the social bullshit was such an anathema to me. I felt that way when I was in an office, and even though I can fake it because I’m really good at small talk (even though I hate it), I don’t understand the reasons behind much of it. I feel that way in general with social interactions and especially with the office. There was a letter at Ask A Manager this week in which the letter writer said she didn’t answer every time her coworker said hi in the morning, and he would confront her about it. Sometimes, it was because she had her headphones on, but also because she didn’t feel like it once in a while. She asked how she could push back on the confrontation and why he NEEDED her to say hi every day, and I wished she hadn’t added the part about not feeling like it once in a while because I knew the commentariat would focus on that–and they did.

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Dealing with my shit as best I can

My parents are coming for their annual visit in a week, and I am not ready. I am never ready, but I hate that I put off doing the shit I need to do before they get here until the last minute. I need to clean, which is an intensive thing, and I always vow to start early. I never do. It ends up with me cleaning the fridge at three in the morning the night before they come, contemplating going inside the fridge and shutting the door. I also have some chores outside the house I have to do before they get back which include the car.

Amusing anecdote: I called a garage to set up an appointment, and I asked for the times they had available. The guy said, “1 o’clock, 2 o’clock, 3 o’clock.” Then he stopped and my brain immediately shouted, “ROCK!” I managed to stop myself from yelling it out loud, and I answered him with a half-laugh. I am An Old.

It’s a funny story, but it took me forever to make the phone call. Rationally, I know it’s not a big deal to make the call and go to the appointment (for a bad tire), but my brain is wired incorrectly, and it takes everything I have just to make the goddamn phone call. Going to the appointment won’t be an issue, but making that phone call? Took me weeks to force myself to do it. I know it’s not rational. I know it’s silly on my part. I know that the mental energy I use to avoid calling would be better sent doing literally anything else. It doesn’t seem to matter how many times I remind myself that it’s not a big deal. A weird side effect is that once I decide to do the difficult thing, I become obsessed with it. I have to make a cancellation of a trip for my mother, and there is a glitch on Orbitz that won’t allow me to cancel that way. I’ve tried several times, and now I’m on hold while waiting to talk to an actual person. By the way, I hate when you’re on hold, and they interrupt the music in order to have the automated voice assure you that you are valuable to them before returning back to the music. Don’t get my hopes up like that! Also, when one song is twice as loud as the one before it, that’s irritating as well.

Sigh. Moving to health issues. I think I’ve figured out what set off my stomach the night before last–the tomato-based spaghetti sauce I had with my gluten-free elbow macaroni. The minute I ate it, my stomach clenched, and I was racing to the bathroom. The biggest problem for me with diarrhea–there’s a sentence I didn’t think I’d be writing–is that it’s never a one and done. It wouldn’t be so bad if I eliminated everything in one go–but, no. It’s me sitting on the toilet for ten to fifteen minutes, several times in a few hours. It wakes me up in the middle of the night, and it’s the first thing I have to do when I get up the next morning. Since I eat basically the same thing every day with slight variations, I can usually pinpoint the problem to a certain degree. I’m fairly certain the tomato-based sauce is the trigger this time. But, I’m also wary of peaches and cherries. I know the right way to test is to eliminate a bunch of things and then slowly add them back in, but that seems tedious as well as time consuming. Also, I’m not particularly wedded to tomato-based spaghetti sauce, so cutting it out is not a problem for me. I’m pretty sure it’s the tomato-based sauce because I had the same meal minus the sauce last night, and it was fine. I added a spicy mayo-based dipping sauce instead of the tomato-based sauce, and it was fine. Gluten-free elbow macaroni, dairy-free pepper jack cheeze, roasted chicken, and the spicy dipping sauce. Oh, and spring greens thrown on top, which I ate separately. It’s a quirk of mine that I eat veggies separately, even if they are incorporated into a dish, unless it’s something small like slices of mushrooms.


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Not down with the illness

Remember the incipient migraine I mentioned a few posts ago? Well, it turned out not to be that, but it kinda was that at the same time. The pills I took were, indeed, migraine meds, but not the extra-strength ones I normally take. How do I know? Because I bought more migraine meds that had the same letter/number combo printed on them, and they were the regular migraine pills not the super-strong one. That’s why taking two didn’t do the job, and now I’m taking three at a time. Is it helping? Yes…and no. I still have the low-level mini-graine symptoms (headache, even more sensitivity to stimuli, nausea), but it took a backseat because other shit has hit me hard. Thursday night, I was hit with extreme diarrhea. The kind that has you glued to the toilet for a half hour, and then you’re back ten minutes later. Shadow did not know what to do with this except lie down by my feet and meow loudly in a demand to be petted. Which, fair enough, but it’s not something I could concentrate on when I was having internal issues.

I had to rush to the bathroom more than once that night, and it was the same when I got up in the morning. Before that bout, I had a four-hour nap because I was just so fucking tired. The reason I’m bringing up the nap is not just to complain–though that’s part of it. It’s because normally, when I have an issue with a diarrhea, it’s related to something I ate. This time, that doesn’t seem to be the case in that I hadn’t eaten in six hours, and the urge to shit came over me suddenly. That’s normal for when I’m dealing with this (literal) shit, by the way. It’s sudden, and it’s dire if I don’t make it to the bathroom. It was better on Friday by a margin, and it was much better yesterday (Saturday), but today it’s come back. Not with a vengeance, but I am uncomfortably aware of it. I had to go to Cubs earlier today, and it wasn’t a pleasant experience.

The other reason it was a bad experience is because it’s fucking hot again. It ‘feels like’ 94, and I felt it the second I stepped outside. Hot, oppressive, and life-sucking. I was outside for less than a minute between my garage door and my car door, and I just wanted to go back inside. I can feel my mood sour no matter how little or long I’m outside. There have been studies done about heat and aggression, and it seems pretty conclusive that the hotter it gets, the more aggressive we get. I can attest to that on a personal level, and I don’t seem to be able to do anything about it.

I’m tired. I’m depressed.  I just want to make the world go away. I was going to write a whole post about something else, but I just don’t have it in me right now. Hopefully, this bug or whatever it is will go away soon.

Preparing to go out is harder than actually leaving

My niece’s bridal shower is this Saturday, and I am freaking out. Why? Let me count the ways. One, I’m no good at girl shit, and I know this is going to be girl shit. There are no men/non-binary people invited, and there’s going to be a game involving purses. We were told not to look it up, so I didn’t, but I can imagine what the game might be having been to a baby shower.

I get really weird about gifts. I was going to give money for the bridal shower gift and her birthday gift (which is the next day), but then I read that this is NOT DONE.

Side note: It’s a very American thing as money is frequently given as wedding gifts in other countries. I read on a wedding gift thread that giving gifts was pushed by the shopping industry, which makes sense. And I do understand the joy in receiving a well-thought gift, and I used to give them. I still do with some people, but in general, it’s easier to give money. In addition, for adults who have lived together for a while, money can be more welcome than some needless bric-a-brac.

Back to the topic at hand. I know I put a lot of the pressure on myself, and it’s my anxiety. If I don’t find the perfect gift, I’m going to be cast out of polite society. At least that’s what my mind tells me. I’m already aware that I’m a freak, and it’s difficult for me to act like a normie. It doesn’t help that the last time I went to a thing at my brother’s house, it didn’t end well because of a rude comment by a friend of my brother’s towards me, and me storming out in response. My brother got mad at me for storming out, even though he had heard the rude comment and didn’t say anything about it to his friend.

Part of depression is knowing I have to get a bridal shower gift and putting it off until the last moment. It doesn’t help that the shower itself was very short notice, but this is on me. When I don’t want to deal with something, I put it off until the very last moment, stewing and fuming about it the entire time. I couldn’t sleep last night because I was worrying about it. Even now, I’m putting off going to Target while I write this post.

Why am I going? Because I love my niece, and I want to support her. I know all this shit that comes up is not on her or the party or the other people. It’s on me, but it can feel insurmountable. All the insecurities I have are set off by events such as this, and I just want to bury myself under a blanket and never come out again.


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The vicious sickness cycle

I’m feeling better than I was two days ago, but yesterday was not great. I went to Cubs to pick up some provisions, and I ended up feeling dizzy and nauseated. It’s a good thing I’m not having sex right now because I would be worried about being pregnant, but hopefully that won’t even be a possibility soon. I’m having issues with getting older, but the end of my period is not one of them. I’ve been very fortunate in that I’ve only had my period once every three or four months for most of my life, and it’s only three days at a time. The pattern was light on the first day, heavy-ish on the second, light on the third, and very light spotting on the fourth. Maybe. Sometimes, it was only three days. I got vaguely crampy and possibly a tad bitchier (though it’s hard to gauge one’s own bitchiness), and my boobs hurt a bit. Other than that? Didn’t even know I had my period. I’ve been incredibly lucky.

Side Note: I was concerned when I only had three periods a year, so much so, I asked my doctor about it. She said as long as you have two a year, it’s fine. That surprised me because I had been taught (as I’m sure most people have) that it came monthly. Hell, it’s even called the monthly visit. There was nary a mention that it didn’t have to be every month. Then again, I was also taught that the schedule was rigid, whereas mine fluctuated wildly. I had to keep a pad with me at all times because I never knew when it was going to happen.

Funnily enough, when I had sex, it was more regulated (obviously). It came every thirty-five to forty days, but it still was as light as before. In the past few years, my schedule has become more regular (roughly every thirty days), but the period itself is much lighter. And in the past, say, six months, it’s all but disappeared. My mother hit menopause when she was 55 and said it was a breeze (my mother is known to gloss over difficulties), and I’m already experiencing perimenopause. Hot flashes, which, by the way, makes it harder to know what is sickness and what is perimenopause. Flashing hot is one of the symptoms I have when I’m sick, and it’s not fun to try to decipher when it’s sickness and when it’s period-related.  One helpful hint is that if I’m alternating boiling hot and freezing cold, then it’s sickness. I don’t get freezing cold unless I’m sick.

My sinuses suck. A lot. I hate them, and I think they’d say the same about me. We don’t get along, and we only tolerate each other because we have to. I mean, I can’t really live without my sinuses, so there’s that. I wish I could, though. I’ve gotten over wishing I could just be a brain bobbing around without a body, mostly in thanks to taiji. I’ve accepted that my body is part of me and that it’s not just a meat sack carrying my brain around.

I’ve become more in touch with what my body is saying, but I still miss the mark a lot of the time. I’ve had a history of eating disorders, and I still don’t know exactly when I’m hungry. I was used to ignoring the cues–along with emotional cues–and that’s how I became anorexic. Now, I still sometimes ignore my body telling me I’m hungry, but I can at least feel the literal hunger pangs. There were times when I couldn’t tell if I was hungry or not, and then I’d decide I wasn’t.

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I’m my own worst enemy

I’m tired. My sleep is fucked, which means at least I’m not sick. My sinuses are still all over the map, and I’m squarely blaming that on the weather. It’s been 50 to 89 and everywhere in between. I’m loving the former, but not the latter, and my body really doesn’t like the rapid changes. I’ve also become even more intolerant of heat, and my love of the cold is gradually diminishing as well. I used to be able to keep the car windows open until it was well in the sub-zero temps. Now, I close it when it’s zero.

I have said that the problem with getting old isn’t that I can’t do what I used to (though that is starting to be a problem), but that it takes much longer for me to recover. I used to be able to get by on four hours of sleep a night (barely); I could go out until the wee hours of the night and sleep it off the next day. Now, I could go out all night, but it would take a few days to recover.

I also have to admit that my depression is back and not going away any time soon. It’s low key, and it’s not paralyzing the way it has been in the past, but it definitely permeates my mood. There’s an ever-present feeling of ‘why bother’, which seeps into everything. It’s frustrating as hell, and I know the only thing I can do about it is to go to therapy.

*deep sigh*

I do Not want to go to therapy. Not because I think it’s worthless; I don’t. I am a big proponent of therapy, and I have been in it many times in my life. I have learned a lot from therapy, and I know I could learn more. However, the thought of finding a new therapist makes me want to curl up in a ball and never get up.

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Envying carefully-cultivated FOMO

*BONUS POST*

I am so done with floors.
Shadow putting himself in a timeout.

I am experiencing FOMO right now, and I know it’s 100% on me. I’m not even talking about FOMO as in seeing how great everyone’s lives are on Facebook and wishing mine were the same. On that topic, however, I’ve been thinking how easy it is to cultivate a FOMO kind of life online. If I wanted to, I could do it in this manner. Post pictures of my trip to Malta last year. Post pics to Binghamton from a few weeks ago. Talk about how I’m going to Philly in a few months to visit my other BFF. Talk about learning sword in taiji and knowing it to the point where I’m impatient with swordplay I see in popular culture. Talk about my friends and how fortunate I am to have them. Post pictures of my cat, Shadow, especially the one I posted here in which he put himself in a timeout. I will note that he opened the drawer himself and then hopped in it. I rarely take pics of him these days, but that one was so adorable, I had to snap it. Wouldn’t you be filled with jealousy if you saw this cute face peering out at you from a drawer as you were sitting on the toilet?

I would also mention how I was eating ice cream for lunch (dairy-free, gluten-free) just because. Haagen Daz Chocolate Salted Fudge Truffle Non-Dairy, to be precise. Want to know something funny? I think the store brand dairy-free ice cream at Target is better than any of the branded ones I’ve tried. I don’t go to Target that often, however, so Haagen Dazs is good in a pinch. I can eat the same thing every day if I want (and often do), though I’m not sure others would envy that. I don’t have to ask anyone for permission to do anything, and I just bought a video game yesterday without having to negotiate it. Granted, it was a ten dollar video game (on sale), but still. All decisions are made by me and me alone. I work from home and have a flexible schedule, and all the work I do can be done anywhere as long as I have a computer and a Dvorak keyboard. I can go to bed whenever I want and get up whenever I want*, and in general, am free from normal society constraints.

The biggest way I could make people jealous is by flaunting my child-free state. I have posted many times that I am positively gleeful to be child-free. I like children in theory, and I like them in small doses, but I do not like children more than, say, two hours at a time. By children, I mean kids under six. Six to ten, maybe four hours. Ten to eighteen, a day. I’d up that incrementally until the ‘kid’ turns thirty upon which they become full adults. Is that ageist? Yes. I’ve felt that way since I was a kid, however. I’ve always liked older people, and I have a hard time relating to anyone under thirty. But. I could post pictures of me doing adult things whenever I want–and by adult, I mean going to see a movie I want to see that doesn’t have Legos in it–having a drink at three in the afternoon if I drank, etc. I know that the purpose of an online presence is make other people jealous, but I don’t see the point. And, yes, I know that’s not the actual point for many people, but for some, it absolutely is.

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The magic of pants that fit

the room of doom.
Striking fear in my heart.

Today was errand day. My new progressive glasses were ready, and I had to pick up my meds, too. On my way to Target, I heard the beginning of a discussion on sleep on MPR. I sighed because every other time MPR did something on sleep, it was how important it was to get seven to nine hours.

I FUCKING KNOW THAT. STOP TELLING ME THAT. TELL ME HOW TO DO THAT INSTEAD.

Apparently, this show was going to include that pertinent information, but I missed it because I was in Target. I’ll have to look it up later and listen to it to get the pearls of wisdom. I did catch the tail end, and the advice was to put an ice pack on your eyes. It does something to slow the heartbeat (probably ‘coz you think you’re about to die and everything shuts down) that makes it easier to sleep. I did wonder if you’re just supposed to leave the ice pack on your eyes as you fall asleep, and I wear a sleep mask, so what about that? But the doctor said you could use a frozen pack of veggies, which I have. I may have to try it. I’ve tried everything else, so why not?

Anyway, I got my new progressives, which the doc warned me would take time to get used to. He was a month into his first pair, and he was still adjusting. He said the trick was to really focus on whatever it is you’re doing, which is not easy for me to do. I have a tendency to multitask and scan things rapidly, so this will be an exercise in getting me to slow the fuck down.

It’s strange because if I move my head too quickly, the object I’m looking at sort of bends in the middle. I imagine it’s similar to what being on hallucinogenics is like. In general, though, everything is crisp and clear. It’s actually strange because it’s been ten years since I’ve had my eyes checked, and my left one has gotten really bad, apparently.

I also love that there is no line on my glasses. I remember the days when if you needed bifocals, you got that nice line on the glasses. Yes, I’m that old. I chose lenses that were a bit bigger this time with a black half-frame. I like them, but it’ll take getting used to as well.

I like them, though, and I take it as a sign that I’ve done something to take care of myself. It’s a big deal for me because I tend to put these things off for forever. See not getting my eyes checked in ten years. I probably would have left it off even more but one of the nose pieces fell off and one of the handles was broken. I had taped it together, but come on. I’m a grown woman. I should not be jury-rigging my glasses, damn it. I also had toothpaste around my mouth when I went to pick up my glasses. Mortifying! It’s from not looking in the mirror, and I need to start doing it because it was the second time it happened this week.

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Depression is a tricky bastard it is

I’ve been experiencing a medium-grade depression for roughly six months, and it’s time to admit it isn’t going away on its own. I gutted it out the first few months because I thought it was temporary, but now, I fear it’s not true. I want to mention that I always have a low-grade depression. Always. Some days, it’s very minimal. Some days, it pushes the line between low and medium, but it never goes completely away. There is an argument to be had whether it’s depression or anxiety or a combination of both, but whatever it is, I’ve come to accept it in my life.

I do not want to accept the medium-grade depression, though, because it’s actively hindering me. When I have a low-grade depression, I can still go about my life and do what needs to be done with little problem. With medium-grade depression, the intrusive thoughts are more intrusive, and it’s harder to ignore them or brush them away. In addition, the depression knows me and my weaknesses very well, and it uses the knowledge against me. Once I catch on to its manipulations and become immune to them, it changes its tactics.

For example. When I used to be severely depressed, an entity I called The Dictator would tell me that I was toxic, worthless, and no one would care if I died. It told me that the people I thought were my friends weren’t really, that they were just being nice. Why would anyone want to be my friend? I didn’t have any redeeming qualities. I was fat, loutish, uninteresting, and unattractive. I firmly believed this, and no one could tell me anything to the contrary.

Now, I don’t believe any of that. Well, I am fat, but that’s just a descriptor and not a pejorative. I also think I’m boring, but I’m willing to believe that’s just me being hard on myself. I no longer think The Dictator is a part of me, but I haven’t gotten rid of the depression. It’s changed its attack, however, because it’s a sly and sneaky bastard. Now, instead of telling me the above, it tells me that I’m worthless because I’m not doing anything with my life. I don’t have an office job. I’m not moving up in the world. I don’t have many friends. I’m not putting out content in a way that is meaningful, and no one gives a shit about my writing. I’m never going to be published unless it’s self-published. Maybe ten people will actually give a shit if i die, and I’m not counting online people in that number. Not because they’re not real and not because I don’t care about some of them (and they probably care about me in return), but because it’s simply not the same.

All of this is true. Well, most of it is true. Some of it is more a feeling thing than an actual thing, but it leans on the side of being true. It’s hard to argue with any of it, except for the content part. That’s on me. I haven’t done what needs to be done to even have a chance of being a known content producer.

Side Note: I hate that phrase, ‘content producer’, because it’s simultaneously pretentious and antiseptic. But, it’s become an accepted phrase, especially for YouTube/Twitch.

I don’t like the term ‘creative’, either, for someone who produces artistic content, but it’s better than content producer. I like artist, but I understand that it’s not very inclusive. In general, I just like to say I’m a writer.


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My mind is on my matter

and not much of that.
A lotta this….

I think I’m getting sick.

Again.

I have gunk in my throat that will not go away no matter how much I clear my throat or cough. I’ve been sleeping more, which is usually a sign I’m getting sick. Could it be because I’m depressed? Yeah, maybe, but that’s not how my depression works. I may be more immobile when I’m depressed, but I don’t actually sleep. My brain races too much for me to actually drift into oblivion.

Side Note: It’s one reason I don’t like meditation. I know it’s about clearing my mind and allowing thoughts to just flit away, but it just intensifies the flightiness and the frantic nature of my brain. There was a time, I was having flashbacks during meditation, and my teacher let me do walking the circle from bagua instead. I Googled it, and meditation can be harmful to people with PTSD. In fact, there are a lot of negative side effects that I never see mentioned, and while it only affects a minority of people, it would be nice for practitioners to be aware of it.

I’ve dealt with my sleep issues in a way that probably isn’t healthy, but it’s the only thing that works. I sleep when I’m drop-dead tired. Sometimes, I fall asleep while I’m watching a video, and I’ll wake up after twenty minutes, rewind the video, then fall asleep again. When I reach that point, I just don’t have the will to get up and get ready for bed. I just lie on the couch, having no will to do anything. I know I’ll feel better if I get up, go to the bathroom, and brush my teeth, but I can’t make myself do it.

I also don’t sleep in a bed because I have really shitty sleep when I’m in a bed. I have no idea why this is, but I gave up for now. I sleep on the couch, and while my sleep isn’t great, it’s better than when I try to sleep in a bed.

Back to the question of sleep. I used to get four hours a night when I was at my most depressed. Weirdly, I sleep less when depressed. It sucks because the last thing I want to do when I’m depressed is be awake. I understand why many depressed people sleep twelve-plus hours a day because it’s the closest thing to oblivion while still being alive. If you don’t have nightmares, that is. I just could never force myself to sleep that long, and I have tried many, many, many different remedies for my lack of sleep that have not worked. They include melatonin, lavender (not recommended when you’re allergic to lavender), warm milk, warm tea, valerian (made me suicidal), St. John’s for depression in general, sleeping pills (couldn’t wake up, even after halving the pill and halving again. Obviously not tested on Asian women, per yooz), and more.

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