Friday, June 11, 2010

Fighting Back

11/15/09: I

have been beating back the monster as though wielding a club. I refused to take to my bed yesterday and today. These episodes have been torturing me for more than a year. I have been clinically depressed for years, but last year I just fell apart. I think I was terrified of Clint’s dying. I couldn’t stop crying even though I was seeing both a psychiatrist and a psychotherapist.

I was misdiagnosed as having atypical bipolar disorder, and the mood stabilizers they gave me only made me worse. My sweet doctor assured me that there was a drug or combination of drugs that would stabilize me. All the while I got sicker and sicker and finally had to be hospitalized. I agreed to go to the hospital on the condition that they would take me off all my meds and start over.

I was drowning in pharmaceuticals and could not find myself. For months, I said to Clint and my family, “This is not me. I’m not in here, and I can’t find myself.” So, I spent 10 days in the hospital while the MDs tried to find the right drug(s). I was re-diagnosed with major depressive disorder and sent home on Elavil, and antidepressant that has been around for decades. I take another antidepressant that has been around forever, Trazadone. With meds for anxiety thrown into the mix, I got progressively better. But the monster never stopped trying to drag me down.

I can’t blame this illness on Clint’s death, but while he was alive I had him to help me through it. I miss him every waking moment, but not having him now is pure agony. When he was here, I could climb up in bed next to him and cry as long I needed to. He would stroke my head and tell me I would be better soon, to cry for as long as I needed to. He never understood depression until I got so sick with it. There is no way to really understand it if it’s not happening to you, but he supported me and I fed off his strength. As sick as he was, I always knew he was there and giving me hope and encouragement. Fighting off the monster was easier when I had him to lean on.

Now, the battle is one I must fight alone, with help from my doctors, and it is difficult and disappointing and frightening and exhausting. If grief is work, and I believe it is, then grief combined with deep depression is hell. There is no other word for it. I am living in hell.

I am living proof that one can clean house, do yoga, hot glue green moss on two planters of pansies, sweep (not blow) off the deck, clean up my plant table, wash clothes, dust the blades on the ceiling fan, bake 2 batches of cheese straws and knit while crying nearly the whole time. I haven’t turned on my TV today. Most days I don’t even think about it. I decided to listen to music, and when The Platters “Only You” started playing, I had to turn off the oven and go lie down and cry, really sob and begin all over asking why this happened to me and why I can’t stop thinking the love of my life should be coming in the door any minute. Whoever made up the stages if grief should have written instructions on how to get past the denial and anger. My supply of tears is apparently endless.

And I am still so angry. I’m going this minute (6:00 PM) and beat the hell out of the little cracked bowl that has been on death row in my garage for months. Back now. It helped some. I cussed out Clint and God the whole time. Haven’t heard back from either of them.

I’ve tried to knit my way out, the only good thing I can say about that is that I’m having such a hard time with it, having to un-knit and re-knit so many times, it does make time go by.

I am sad and I am exhausted but I am not broken. Despite the hole in my heart, despite this feeling of having half of me amputated, I won’t let the monster in.

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