Tuesday, May 20, 2008


I have dysthymic depression -- a low-grade fever of not-rightness that has its peaks & valleys. I suppose that, in the world of depression, a valley is a good thing, whereas a peak is one or more levels more not-rightness. I'm in a peak right now, with just enough objectivity to observe it, describe it, & really resent it.

I can't say what's brought it on. The after affects of much tension, perhaps, or the last withdrawal pains from sugar -- who knows? Today is Day Ten sans Nabisco & the day is early. Perhaps I'll pull a happy rabbit out my hat by the end of the day. I could also be too many dogs & the sense I have that my house & my days are not my own.

I went ass over tea kettle walking Boomer & Henry yesterday & skinned my left knee pretty nicely. It had two effects: a sensation of something breaking loose in my heart-brain, something of sadness I couldn't name, & an excuse to forgo taking the dogs out to the park & stay home & read. I manged to get a spot on the couch & the next thing I knew, Daisy was sitting in my lap gnawing on Henry's face while Hero & Boomer hovered for attention. That's what I mean by feeling that my Cave is not my own.

& when I'm bound by seven days of early & late walks, it makes me wonder when I could do this life I should be having.

Everything feels on hold.

It's been going on a while. I just IM'd a friend that nothing will cure it -- suggestions of "do this, do that" are of no help & only make me angry & frustrated & ashamed -- but myself & time.

There are symptoms with this -- I wake up too early, I'm incredibly forgetful & absent-minded; talking on the phone or in email is almost physically painful. I keep putting the wrong keys in doors & walking out without this or that necessary thing. I'm not keen on bathing or cleaning my glasses or doing the dishes. I'm clumsy (see above, to whit), which includes dropping things & bumping into things. I've lost interest in my camera.

I have very little energy & find myself leaning against walls or slack-jawed in front of a dumb computer game. I could sleep all day long if the dogs let me. It's hard to get interested in anything. I feel overwhelmed by needing to go to the dry cleaner's today.

It's also diurnal. Early mornings are better than the rest of the day. I find myself vacuuming at 8:30 or running errands. I have moments of energy later but they don't last long & are arbitrary, except for the evening, which is almost as lively as morning, when I'm rudely interrupted by a nine p.m. dog walk.

But I'm not eating over it, which is good. I'm trying not let things start a bad day -- the clothes I ordered & didn't fit, or the clothes I ordered & are too big & I just thought, fuck it: I'll keep `em. My thighs itch from the crotches on those sweat pants...

I got to a 12 Step meeting on Saturday, which is also good, & I have a wedding to go to on Friday so I had my hair & eyebrows done -- I was very very gray at the temples. I have no idea how I'm going to survive the wedding party. I know four people at the huge reception & am going because I was asked, because it's "good" for me & because my friend is the groom's mother & will appreciate having someone to dish with later. I have a lovely new dress that I hope I don't look pregnant in. Sugar or no sugar, I'll drink champagne.

Yesterday I made some phone calls -- reordered meds (I'm not out, so don't blame it on that), checked on a bill, etc. I roasted beats & Vidalia onions, which took some prep work. I repacked the clothes I'm returning. I try to do what I can even though it feels sisyphusian & more piles of stuff to deal with appear each day. I know I'll pull out of it if I just wait, don't go cake-mad, start bashing myself for it.

But right now it sucks.


Anonymous said...

i just started reading your blogs and
absolutely love them! sorry to hear you are going thru this right now, but honestly its nice to hear that I am not alone. thank you for sharing!

Bea said...

Very interesting post. So what is wrong with me has a specific name. I thought I was just cursed with the "lazy blues" for a lifetime. The part about the dry cleaners made me smile. I can't get to the post office. I just can't do it. Boy do I miss house to house mail pick-up.

If I work like a dog before lunch then I don't feel so guilty when I slack off as the day lengthens. Diurnal. A good word to know.

Everything IS on hold right now. I thought all you Catholics could tolerate Limbo better than us Calvinists. Hang in there.

Laura N said...

"Nothing will cure it but myself and time"--My hope for you, Frances, is that the time goes lightly and the cure comes quickly. It seems you are well in touch with yourself now--knowing that early mornings are best for you and taking advantage of that--and are staying out of the food, which is a huge victory. And you made it to a meeting, which is more success. Perhaps you'll find an enjoyable soul or two to chat with at the wedding reception. At least there will be champagne.

Take care and I hope you keep posting regularly.

Helen said...

Depression does suck. I've been around enough people with it (everyone in my family including me, most of my friends) to know that there is really nothing I can say to make you feel better, but I can give you a hug...so...here are some HUGGGGGS.

Glad to see you blogging it out...I think that helps...at least it always helps me to write...

Anonymous said...

don't guess it'll help but PBS is airing a special on depression wednesday night. As they say on NPR, check your local listing...

Either way, I hope you're feeling better soon.

Vickie said...

Helen took the words right out of my fingers - it does suck.

And I totally agree - the little stuff - that just keeps rolling on - is hard.


Anonymous said...

You totally describe me in one paragraph. I guess that's why you're a writer.

Cindy said...

I have the same depression. had it all my life. At least now I know what it is. I have a wedding friday and a meeting Saturday too. Thank God for the meeting. The wedding, well, I just want to survive the damn thing..I got on your blog with the intent to tell you something. Just a reminder. An old Oprah article from a magazine my daughter brought home from a garage sale in 2006 about you and your book changed my life. I read your book and it changed me. I cannot explain it but it set in motion an entire new journey for me. Read the book, found your blog, started blogging, and so on. I want you to know how much of an impact you have made on me. Miraculous, in fact. Anyway, that's why I got on your blog. I think you are great. The depression stuff sucks but it ebbs and flows. You are amazing and I love you. Thank you so much for staying out here blogging and writing and telling the truth.

FunnyBits said...

My dear,
When I read your post I felt immediately guilty that I haven't been reaching out to you. I wish our depressive cycles could get in sync, or perhaps they are in sync, because the thought of picking up a telephone seems as though it would be as hard as moving the Brooklyn Bridge.

I sincerely hope you know how much I care and that your insight is a gift and the result of a lot of hard work.


Anonymous said...

The 10 Commandments, From a Dog's Perspective

1. My life is likely to last 10 to 15 years. Any separation from you will be very painful.
2. Give me time to understand what you want of me.
3. Place your trust in me―it's crucial to my well-being.
4. Don't be angry with me for long, and don't lock me up as punishment. You have your work, your friends, your entertainment. I have only you.
5. Talk to me. Even if I don't understand your words, I understand your voice.
6. Be aware that however you treat me, I will never forget it.
7. Before you hit me, remember that I have teeth that could easily crush the bones in your hand, but I choose not to bite you.
8. Before you scold me for being lazy or uncooperative, ask yourself if something might be bothering me. Perhaps I've been out in the sun too long or my heart may be getting old.
9. Take care of me when I get old. You, too, will grow old.
10. Go with me on difficult journeys. Never say, "I can't bear to watch it" or "Let it happen in my absence." Everything is easier for me if you are there. Remember, I love you.

―Author unknown

Anonymous said...

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