Monday, April 13, 2020

I Don't Know What to Call This One

Ok. Since there are literally like 13 people reading this blog, most of whom are family here, I'm going to get a little bit intimate today.

A couple of years ago I fell into a deep, deep depression. I went from myself cubed, which was fun, but a bit unrealistic, to negative myself. I plunged into the depths of despair. Not like crazy suicidal or anything, I love my children and want to be here for them, but it felt like I was swimming through molasses - the world was suddenly hard to take. I felt crazy.

I've done this before. When I get stressed, I decide that I am crazy. I apply my bachelor's degree in psychology to myself  - much like a layperson might decide they are Dr. Google. It isn't pretty. It's very messy. During my divorce I once fearfully asked my therapist, no kidding I was really scared - if I had multiple personality disorder. I was relieved when she LOL'd. "Why do you think you have multiple personality disorder?" "Because I see other people at so many different angles it's like ten different people are living inside my head."  She replied, "You see everyone else but there is someone you don't see. Yourself."  Touche. I was paying for a reason.

But a couple of years ago the plunge was real. I became borderline anorexic. I gave up carbs - something I've never done and do not recommend. Two hard boiled eggs and a piece of tilapia from Taziki's a day brought me into the summer. I became strangely addicted to my weight, which alarmed me - I've had eating issues in the past. I ignored the dizzy spells I was having which was really bad in retrospect.

One night I fainted. I have fainted a lot in my life - we have talked about that here - but this was a doozy. The blood pressure meds I was taking were no longer necessary when the weight came off. I fainted on my chin. I became unconscious. When I woke up, my chin was bleeding and I hurt so bad I had that heat reaction and had to immediately strip my clothes and climb into bed. I took my blood pressure and once again, I was almost incompatible with life. I tried to ignore it. But it was one of the most restless nights I've ever had. It hurt really bad to sleep on one side of my face, but I forced myself to try to sleep.

At one point I googled masochism, and wondered if this was my new label. But those people get off on pain, and I was not happy at all, so I rejected that theory. I woke up to brush my teeth, and I alerted my husband. "You'd better call the dentist. I think I need an emergency appointment. Something's not right here. My teeth have shifted." He got me in, and she agreed. She sent me emergently to an oral surgeon, who took a panoramic view of my jaw. "You broke it in three places. You need to go to the OR to get your mouth wired shut this afternoon. It will be two months before you can eat again."

My first reaction was a little funny. I imagined someone digging up my skull in a hundred years or so and finding imperfection, and I was upset. Then I was like, "Hell yes. I've got a broken jaw. That's kind of cool. Not like I was in a major car wreck or a cage fight cool, I just fainted, but no one needs to know that. I can pull this off." So I did. I have the Xray in my office to admire. But I lost even more weight, which was not good.

When I am in a bad place in my head, I punish myself. Punish my body with lack of food. Punish my skin with overly hot water in the shower to make it red and angry. Punish my head with negative thoughts - overly self critical. It was my new norm, but not new entirely. I've been doing that to myself for my entire life. I decided, not for the first time, that myself cubed was hypomanic. Not truly bipolar, but just shy of that. And along with that, I was having delusions of grandeur.

My shame and depression was most hard to hide from my kids. You cannot hide things from your kids - you think you can but it doesn't work. Jack called me out last Spring Break in the Dominican Republic. "Mom, you aren't yourself, and you haven't been for a while. You don't even talk at the dinner table anymore. C and I are scared."

So I talked to them both about depression, and told them I was going to work on it, and if I thought I needed a therapist, I would plug in. But I didn't. I soldiered on, and got to a point in December when I decided to make some changes. I moved into a new bigger office at work, closer to my partners. I started fast walking/slow jogging again on the treadmill - two chiropractors have told me I'm way too kyphotic to run. Yesterday I zoomed yoga with my favorite yoga teacher Matt. I'm finally getting happy again. And I think my body and my head are in alignment, for the first time in a long time. I finally see myself, and consequently see everything. If this is heading into fifty - age, maturity, wisdom, what have you - I welcome it with open arms. Pandemic, Schmandemic. Life will go on. I'm excited to see what's next.

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