Category Archives: depression

step one.

Register a domain. Check! I’m now the proud owner of lemonslush.com! It’s not much to look at at the moment, but I’ll be working on it soon. Bryan surfed over to GoDaddy this weekend, and I just happened to have him check on lemonslush.com, as it’s been parked with a placeholder page forever now. And there it was, for $10.87! Normally I’m not a compulsive domain buyer (like some people I know) but this domain is mine. It is the screenname I use pretty much everywhere (minus this blog, oddly enough) and it is my “brand.” Bryan also was kind enough to link up my domain with his WebFaction account, awesome guy that he is. :) So, step one complete. Now, to make something happen!

In other news, I am looking at adopting a kitten/cat. The lot of us went to the Humane Society this weekend to peruse the felines. I found two potential youngins named Reid and Fabrizio who were caged together but not siblings. Reid was born at the H.S. and would be the first of his litter adopted out were I to take him home. Fabrizio was found abandoned and brought in alone, based on his file. We all sat in a visiting room with them for a long while, watching Reid race around, cuddling with Fabrizio. They were quite the dichotomy – crazy vs. mellow, athlete vs. lap cat.

I have a couple points of hesitation, of course. (Would I be me if I didn’t?) First, I’m still wondering whether I’m responsible enough or “ready” enough to have a pet. Second, am I at a point where I can keep my stress levels down enough to have animals in my home? Will I be able to stop worrying about both their well being AND the intact nature of my furniture and breakables long enough to enjoy their company? Third, there is the issue of Fabrizio’s tilted head. We all noticed it pretty much right away, a tilt to the right and a bit of a balance problem. His medical file mentioned an inner ear infection, but there’s no telling if that’s something temporary or chronic. Also no telling if it is, in fact, not an infection but a tumor or something else life threatening. All I’d need is for my first pet to get sick or die on me immediately. :(

But I did love cuddling with Fabrizio as he purred loudly and climbed around. Erica posted a photo on Flickr, and though I look a bit mentally handicapped in it, I’ll link to it anyway. After we left the HS, we went to the local Greek place for lunch, and, while we sat looking at the menus, I heard a TV announcer say the name Fabrizio Santos. I glanced up to see he was a professional skateboarder, but since I’d never heard the name Fabrizio before the kitty, I was pretty convinced that meant something.

With so many people visiting the HS with me, it was hard to think clearly and consider my options. So I think I’ll be going back over there at lunchtime tomorrow to visit with Fabrizio again and see how we get along without Reid and the others. As much as I’d like to give ‘Briz a brother and playmate, I think Reid may be a bit out of my league. Though he did entertain himself without my even trying, but still—I want to love my kitties, and Reid and I just didn’t click.

If Fabrizio and I don’t connect, I will respectfully withdraw my application for both little boys and go back to the drawing board. I’m fine with waiting till I find the right cat(s). The last thing I want is another Tori incident, like in college. Had I known torties were so temperamental (recent feline research) and really thought through sharing a single bedroom with a cat, I would’ve waited on that one too. :P

I leave on Thursday afternoon for Birmingham and the Social South social media conference. It will be good to see that city again after some time away. I may even get to see Dennis while there. He has high-school football to cover elsewhere in the state, so he won’t be attending SoSo, but my early arrival should allow us to grab food or a drink, or for me to see the new digs he’s renovating right now. Exciting!

What else… Oh, Bryan, Nick, Erica, Alan & I played D&D yesterday! It was my first game, so I was totally unsure how everything worked. Still am, a little bit. But I caught on well enough to kill a few Kobolds and enjoy myself during the second half of the game. Nick was our DM and he was proud of the six-page back story I wrote about Elluvia, my elven ranger. Always smart to impress the DM! :D Bryan will be DMing the next round, and Nick will be taking over his human shaman, Albini, so they can alternate playing and storytelling. Should be fun to see B in action as DM, both in that game and in the other we’ll be starting with his coworker, his wife and their son in two weekends. Twice the D&D action!! I can hardly wait. :)

Also, my brain is broken. I really need to figure out how to fix it, but with about a million things on my to-do list right now, I don’t think it’s going to happen till after Ireland and a potential mom visit in October. Maybe once fall rolls around and some sort of cool settles over the land, I’ll be able to reevaluate my mental state and get things moving in the right direction. For now, I will read good books, enjoy cuddles whenever possible, share a cup of coffee with a new friend, work hard every day and accomplish as much as I can. Woot!

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Filed under animals, depression, friends, fun, happiness, plans, recap

landmines

It’s utterly depressing to be offhandedly browsing your favorite online dating site and come across your ex-boyfriend’s profile on page 3. He’s still a 94% match. Funny how that doesn’t mean anything in the end. Funny. Or heartbreaking. Take your pick.

Believe I’ve reached the second “D” now.

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sometimes you just have to laugh

When you get out to your car, preparing to head off for an appointment for which you’re already late, and notice your gas tank is almost empty.

Then remember that, the other day, you hit a post outside a sketchy supermarket and there’s a big crushed area on your back bumper.

Your therapist thinks you’re going to commit suicide.

You can’t, for the life of you, decide where you want to live or what you want to do for a living or who you ARE.

You spend way too much of your time thinking about other people—for the good and the bad—and losing track of yourself.

You thought your boyfriend wanted to break up with you, then found out he’s been overwhelmed & stressed, totally unaware of what’s been running through your head.

You have spent the past several days in the deepest funk you’ve experienced since high school, when you tried to suffocate yourself.

Every time you think you’ve found a new place to live, you come up with at least two dozen reasons why you shouldn’t move at all.

You’re trying to plan three separate trips at the same time.

You miss your best friends like crazy. One of them is having her first baby in June. You are 700+ miles away.

There’s a huge dollop of bird shit on your windshield, smack in the middle of your line of sight.

Your bar trivia team got 4th place out of 4 teams in last night’s competition, and you kicked yourself all night for providing a wrong answer that lost you 6 points. All night. 6 points. BAR TRIVIA.

You made your therapist laugh when you told her you fear picking restaurants and movies when out with others because you feel solely responsible for the outcome and the well being of your companions. Will you ruin their lives if you take them to a bad pizza place? MAYBE.

You’re getting up a few minutes later every morning until, this morning, you got up at 7:10, giving yourself 50 minutes to get ready and get to the office. It usually takes you 90 minutes to accomplish this. You did not make it on time (though you were only 10 minutes late).

You haven’t done laundry in about three weeks and the only pair of clean underwear remaining in your closet is a striped thong. Your only thong. There’s a reason you own only one thong.

You’re drinking a soda with the word PHENYLKETONURICS on the label. You theorize that this means your insides are rotting more and more with each sip. You’re probably right.

You realized today that your mom made you totally anal about money, and until you realize that there’s a gray area between miserly hoarding and 10 maxed-out credit cards, you’re never going to be happy.

And you have to laugh.

Because, really, what else are you going to do? Once you’ve reached the end of that list and tacked on a few footnotes of crazy, the only option that remains is to smirk, then smile, then tilt your head back and guffaw. Not like a crazy person, really, though you may be perceived as such. But as a person who is learning to let go of the unmanageable weight on her mind/shoulders.

I’m about to call the doctor and set up an appointment to talk about medication. I think the cloud that’s been hanging over me this week is lifting, which says I’m healing faster than I did in high school and college. Friends help. So do siblings. Boyfriends and parents too. Thanks guys.

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Filed under depression, lessons, therapy, thoughts

negative thinking

I know I’m a pessimist by nature. And, sure, my negative thoughts do overwhelm me from time to time. But it wasn’t until someone laid it out with neat little section headings that I realized just how messed up my thinking really was. As Dennis put it, “10/10.” These are all true of me (from Everyday Health):

All or nothing. If you don’t perform flawlessly, you consider yourself a complete failure. (This one actually goes much further than this simple statement—more on that in another post.)

Overgeneralization One negative event, such as a slight from your spouse or an encounter with a dishonest merchant, fits into an endless pattern of dismaying circumstances and defeat. For example, you might think, “He’s always cold” or “You can’t trust anyone.”

Mental filter. One negative episode, such as a rude comment made to you during an otherwise enjoyable evening, shades everything like a drop of food coloring in a glass of water.

Ignoring the positive. Positive input, such as an affectionate gesture or outright praise, just doesn’t count. Self-deprecation deflects all compliments. You might say, “It’s no big deal.”

Leaping to conclusions. You draw negative conclusions without checking to see if they have any foundation in fact. You may be mind reading: “My friend seems upset, she must be mad at me.” Or you may be fortune telling: “I just know the results of my medical test won’t be good.”

Magnification or minimization. You exaggerate potential problems or mistakes until they snowball into a catastrophe. Or you minimize anything that might make you feel good, such as appreciation for a kind act you did or the recognition that other people have flaws, too.

Emotional reasoning. You feel sure that your negative, emotional view of a situation reflects hard and fast truth. For example: “My husband drops his socks on the floor just to aggravate me.”

“Should” statements. You adhere to a rigid set of beliefs and internal rules about what you “should” be doing and feel guilty when you don’t stay the course.

Labeling. Rather than describe a mistake or challenge in your life, you label yourself negatively: “I’m a screw-up.” When another person’s behavior bothers you, you pin a global label on him or her: “She’s so controlling.”

Personalization. You blame yourself for triggering a negative event that occurred for complex reasons or for something that was largely out of your control. “If I had taken care of myself properly, I never would have gotten cancer.”

Phew. That definitely took me back to eleventh-grade psychology class.

BUT WAIT!

Let’s not get too down about this, people. Even in my first handful of sessions with the therapist, we’ve identified many of these issues and started trying to pin down the sources behind them. I’ve been overanalyzing my own emotions and thoughts for years and yet, somehow, we’re looking under rocks and peering into shadows I’d never even noticed before. It’s pretty fascinating.

I can already look back on the life I used to lead and see how much improved I am today over my former self, drowning in paranoia, anxiety, fear. It’s still there, and sometimes the current is too strong for me, but I’m seeking help now, which is sort of like having a built-in life preserver that bobs up to the surface when I need it. Whether it’s the sessions themselves, the exercises I’m assigned or the mere knowledge that I’m working through the issues—whatever it is, it’s something to which I can cling in the choppiest waves. I’ve escaped the undertow thus far. I plan to stay afloat.

Also, did I mention I went to a Passover Seder tonight and got a little tipsy on red wine? No? Drat. I’ll have to write about that another night. I do find it a little funny, not writing about every single little thing I do. Normally, I have so little going on, every activity or outing seems noteworthy. But this week, there’s something every minute of every day, and absolutely no spare minutes to write about those other minutes, which means you don’t get the minutes of the minutes, and then… goodnight. =)

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Filed under depression, happiness, health, therapy, thoughts

positivity

After what seemed like two weeks of hell on earth, I am feeling quite a bit better. It was a combo platter of too much stress (external and internal), PMS, varying levels of anxiety and a dip into the old vat of depression. As soon as Flo came to town—Alabama guy too—I began feeling leaps and bounds better.

This weekend, Birmingham came to Memphis from Friday night to early this morning. I was a little bummed when I heard the Sunday departure would have to be at 7 a.m., but I managed to get past it, especially when Saturday was such a good day. I fed him leftovers on Friday night, phase two in my “best meal ever” (though definitely not as good reheated): baked bbq/garlic chicken thighs; skillet o’ potatoes, asparagus tips, mushrooms & onions; hickory baked beans with bacon. My landlady was so kind about having him come visit—it makes me feel so guilty for how hard I am to get along with on a daily basis. I’m never openly rude or horrible, but I’m unresponsive and weird. Anyway, it was nice to have him here and have it be a comfortable, not-awkward situation.

We didn’t get out and about till midday Saturday, but it was worth it to lounge around in the morning together. We had lunch at a sandwich shop, where I may or may not have picked up a random duck-hunting stalker by asking him where he got the duck ringtone on his cell. I thought, I’d like to get one of those for my phone; I’ll avoid being a wuss and ask where he got his. Well, that turned into his calling his daughter to find out where she downloaded it, not getting a hold of her and then asking for my number so he could let me know when he found out. My hope is that he’ll be another well-meaning forgetful person who never remembers to ask about it or call me back. I’d be OK with that. Of course, boyfriend was jokingly aghast at the idea that I’d given my number to another man while he was sitting nearby. I am such a dork. =P

Anyway, I took him on a rainy walk at DU in the hopes of identifying a group of ducks that were definitely not mallards. Unfortunately, we couldn’t get close enough, then ended up getting hit with some sleet when almost back to my car. Needless to say, the remainder of the daytime hours were spent drying off on a driving tour of the city.

I wasn’t sure how skilled a Memphis tour guide I could be since I’ve seen very little of the city myself and know pretty much nothing about its history. Plus, with cold, rainy weather, I knew getting out and walking around would sound less-than tempting. I think we probably could’ve gone off on foot, but I’m saving that for a warmer, drier weekend in the future. For the time being, we stuck to the road. And somehow I managed to show him pretty much all the sights! I have to thank Garmin for that, since I would’ve been going around in circles near the end without it. We drove by the FedEx Forum, Autozone Park, the Pyramid, the Peabody Hotel, the Lorraine Motel, Beale Street, the Mississippi River… We drove onto Mud Island, parked and watched a barge go by on the dimly lit river. Then we went to the Cooper-Young district (Memphis’ Ann Arbor), where I showed him The House of Mews (cat adoption center in a regular storefront); we browsed “New, Used & Rare Books”; we had mochas and he tried to teach me chess at Java Cabana. By then, the rain had ceased, but the evening temperature drop made for a chilly return to the car. We did pass by some lofts that I had found on the Internet that sounded neat, and they WERE literally a few steps from Cooper-Young, but the drive to work would be about a half-hour, and it would involve property purchasing instead of renting, so… meh.

My “lame” idea for dinner was to buy Chinese food by the pound from the local Tasty China buffet. I had considered taking him for Ethiopian (still on the list for a later date), Indian or something else semi-exotic, but I felt like relaxing after a day afield and in the rain and cold, so we went lame. Seriously, though, had I known I could get so much decent Chinese for so little money, I would’ve gone there sooner! It was $4.49/lb for take-out buffet, which ended up being a great deal because I made rice at home and we stuffed our boxes full of various chicken, beef, veggies and side items, all for around $15. It’s nice to have that variety, especially if you don’t know which dishes you prefer. We ate way too much while watching a “House” rerun on TBS, then went into Scattergories battle mode.

The bet was that whoever won would get to choose who went where for the next weekend visit. That visit will not happen until the second weekend in March (sad), as he has basketball tournaments and 30-Hour Famine the next two weekends. After that, though, we will have “Watchmen” to see and much lost time to make up. =) So, we fought hard on Scattergories, even though the prize was not all that significant. Both being of writing backgrounds, we wanted to reign supreme in that game. He held the lead throughout, but I started closing the gap in the last few rounds. I think we determined that the deciding factor was my “Liar, Liar” answer to Movie Titles, when he didn’t have time to come up with anything. I figured he’d pull out a double or triple on that one, so when he didn’t, I was able to make up ground and end with a two-point lead. However, I’ve definitely met my Scattergories match. He is far more than a worthy opponent, as he said he’d be. I’ll never tell him, but I knew it would be close—all my smack talk aside, I thought there was a chance he’d beat me even before we got out the boards, the timer and the letter die. Looking forward to the rematch…

His departure was early this morning, after which I went back to sleep, though I didn’t really feel the need. I did, however, want to feel somewhat rested after the weekend, and two nights of fitful slumber meant I hadn’t accumulated a ton of rest. So I dozed till noon-ish, then arose to shower and look online for a new church to visit this evening. I found a handful with evening services, so I’m planning to check one out at 5 or 6.

Tomorrow at lunchtime I have an appointment with a therapist at Memphis Mental Health Resources. This will be the first time I’ve seen a psychiatrist in my life (outside of one epic-fail visit to the counseling center at MSU, where the therapist wanted to help me write out a schedule for my day, with my bagel condiments being of the utmost importance—I didn’t go back for a second session) and I’m kind of excited for it. Less excited about the $80 fee, but I am still hopeful it will be of help to me. With the past two weeks of crazy mood issues, I fear the depression of yesteryear sneaking up on me without my noticing, something that I cannot allow to happen. My current road is not without deep potholes and ruts, to be sure, but it is so much less hazardous than the roads of my youth, which were often impassable and washed out by heartache, depression, fear, anxiety, stress, self-consciousness, self-loathing and pain. I want to stay off that earlier road at all costs. I don’t know what it will take—just talking to someone, implementing self-help exercises in my daily life, getting on medication—but, whatever that is, I want to do it. I want to feel my definition of “normal,” or at least have some steps in place to keep me from getting too abnormal again. There are many reasons for doing this now, but the past two weeks scared me, and that was the main thrust behind it. Costs aside, it needs to happen. It needed to happen when I was 16, 18, 20, 22… but it didn’t. So it’s happening now. I hope it will be beneficial for me and that’ll I’ll be patient enough to let it work.

All right, time to make a move toward accomplishing something today. Sorry for the blog silence, faithful readers. I’ll do my best to write more now that I’m about to be a full-fledged psycho. =)

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Filed under dating, depression, food, fun, health, plans, recap, therapy

oh, tears

Really, really hoping it’s PMS. I think I wrote that sometime last month – or was it the month before? Either way, now that it’s getting colder outside, and I’ve been living in a place without friends for an even longer period, I have that lingering fear that it’s depression that’s making me cry, not hormones. I just watched the finale of CSI’s season 8 (the one where Warrick gets shot) and I started bawling, half because it was so sad and half because I thought how that’s something I’m afraid of (loved ones being shot at random by horrible people – even though this instance wasn’t random, but y’know). Then I went on YouTube and found the “dedication” video, showing Warrick’s funeral. Cried again. I thought about Tod mewing cutely earlier and got a little teary eyed. I read today’s xkcd, thought about my mom dying and teared up. Seriously! It didn’t help that I barely moved from my chair all day and then stayed at the office till 6 waiting for a hunting video to upload to YT. I went to the gym and had forgotten my workout pants, so I wore my wool work pants. Yikes! It was the first time I realized there’s some merit to the theory that your clothes need to “breathe” when you exercise. I was dripping sweat about 7 minutes in. Needless to say, that didn’t last long. =P

Gah, it’s so cold in here! I have perma-goosebumps right now…

So, Thursday I’m going speed dating. Yikes, right? I think it’ll be fun. Or at least interesting. I’ve been mulling over the idea for a little while now, having stumbled across cupid.com via about.com a couple weeks ago and signing up. The local events are all held at The Melting Pot fondue restaurant near the mall. Unfortunately, food is not included in the price, though that would’ve been cool, as well as a distraction if one of your 6-minute sitdowns isn’t going very smoothly. =P Anyway, they say you’ll meet about a dozen people in an evening. The age range is 22-32 for women and 25-35 for men, all single professionals. I mentioned that I was going to the singles at the potluck yesterday. The women claimed I was “brave,” but I’m sure they all just thought I was weird. Whatever. At least it’ll be something to blog about!

I love how, as soon as I have the house to myself, I plant my ass in the recliner and watch ridiculous TV shows all night long. Really, I don’t want to watch Marc Summers on “Unwrapped,” but there’s nothing else on our 2,000 channels… or at least the 5 I watch regularly. =P

Okay, I found something to watch. Done whining for the evening! Have a good week, kids.

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Filed under dating, depression, PMS, recap

preparing for another weekend alone

This is getting kind of old. I know the problem is I’m not independent enough, or at least that I’m too conventional to come up with some thrills-a-minute stuff to fill up my weekend. But, really, it’s incredibly lonely here in the Mid-South. I think I’m going to try to wake up earlyish and hit up the farmer’s market. I haven’t gone since my mom and I stopped in while looking for my future Memphis home. The market was just starting then, so the booths were pretty redundant – strawberries, peaches, potatoes. Oh, wait. I guess I went there once more alone and bought two zucchinis. Mm, those were good.

But beyond that… I’m out of ideas. I know I will watch “Grave of the Fireflies,” my Netflix movie of the weekend. Maybe I will take the recycling in the morning too. I may work a little each day. And go to the gym. And go grocery shopping. That all sounds awful. Ha! Awful! Maybe I’ll take a walk at the rec area if the temps don’t get too far into the 80s. And maybe I’ll finish my library book. I’ll definitely call my mom and try to figure out my travel plans for the holidays. Tap my foot and look up the status of my Amazon shipments? Wow. And I’ll go to church Sunday. Maybe not to the singles thing, because last week? Yikes. But at least to the service. Or maybe I’ll go back to Bellevue one more time so I can buy a bible for 20% off. That might be worth a shot.

Three of my coworkers and I walked to a local restaurant called The Butcher Shop for lunch today. It’s a steakhouse that’s open for lunch only on Fridays, which means it’s a popular time to show up there. They have hamburgers, chicken, catfish, shrimp, etc. – whatever you want on a bun with potato chips for $5+. It’s not a spectacular deal when all is said and done, but it is nice to have a place within walking distance that everyone seems to like. When I walked there with JM & RP before, we figured out the quickest path from A to B, and we’ve stuck to it ever since.

But somehow, thinking about that walk totally reminded me how out of place I feel. Not just in their company but in all company – in life. I just don’t seem to fit in very well anywhere. I can’t think of funny things to say like JM can, or just be normal like RM is, or be everything under the sun and not give a crap like RP. I care what people think. I care when I hurt their feelings or say something off color. But I also care that when I try to stop caring, it does no good – I still come off as awkward and unconvincing. Like the school marm who tries to wear a low-cut top one day and is met only with sidelong glances and shaking heads. That’s how I come off when I try to tell a joke or make a slick remark. Fumbling, dorky, better off quiet. I hate that. The only coherent thoughts – even occasionally poignant – come out here and only here. If only I could walk around journaling all day and everyone would wait while I keyed in my responses, then ran far away so they could read them. =)

I’m coming to the point now where I’m pretty sure we never change. I guess there are those who deal with traumatic experiences that forever alter their way of thinking, but even that is difficult for me to imagine, having not witnessed or dealt with it myself. But for most of us – this is it. We are who we are. So what do I do if this “me” isn’t who I want to be? Sure, there are some things I’d like to keep, but others upset me so much, I would do anything to escape them. If I’m shy, I’m always going to be shy. Why can’t shyness just dissolve as we grow older? Be full force in middle school, begin to dissolve in high school and then wash away fully in college so we can go out into the world as capable adults? Why don’t we all just balance out to “normal” once we get jobs and pay bills? It would be so much easier. I get a good deal of feedback from people who claim to be screwed up, too, and I’m sure you are. But I am a whole different level. And there are people far more screwed up than I am too. I would never begin to claim equality with them. But it just hurts, this weirdness. This abnormality. I hate living inside my head and being too afraid to call RP and say, “Hey, think you could take off a couple hours from work tonight and watch a movie with me?” But I don’t want to look like an idiot. And I don’t want to make him feel guilty for having to say no time and time again. And I don’t really want to do anything but sit in my room and sulk.

Isn’t this fun? =)

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