Depression

Things got so bad that I deleted my Facebook account. Not because I have any bad interactions on Facebook. I don’t really. I’m lucky. I only have a few outspoken politically-driven friends and they usually have a really grounded sense of humor about their loud opinions. It was more that I knew a whole bunch of lovely happy birthday messages were going to come in and no matter what anyone said, no matter how lovely or good intentioned the messages were, they were going to make me feel worse because I couldn’t respond correctly. How messed up is that?

I’ve been feeling like an empty box of nothing that continues to bash around making a mess of things. I mess up everyone around me who is trying so hard to make me feel better. My family suffers. It’s tiring and exhausting. I just want to stop existing when I feel like this. It’s selfish and it’s terrible but when it’s happening I have no idea how to stop feeling this way. It’s as if an evil spirit has taken over my brain and reprogrammed everything positive into negative. No matter what I do I cannot get a grip and force this evil spirit out of my body.

I know better too. I’ve dealt with these feelings since I was a kid.  I know this is not real. I know my brain lies to me. It’s just that when you are in the pit of despair nothing is logical. The pain centers in on your guts like a ball of ice and you can’t lift it off of yourself no matter what. You just want an off switch. I don’t want to kill myself and hurt my loved ones. I don’t want to make a mess. I just want to check myself into a hotel and cease to exist for two days or maybe two months or maybe two years.

This is not a good place to be when you don’t have insurance.

My insurance got cancelled last month because my books were doing too well and I made too much money to qualify for Medi-Cal anymore.  I know, what a problem! Pffff!  Except, I don’t even use Medi-Cal. I have Blue Shield through Covered California.  I only thought Bug was on Medi-Cal because back in the day when I was super poor, I did apply for it so that just in case if something bad happened we’d be doubly okay. She has her own insurance policy with Blue Cross as well that I pay for. It’s a pain in the butt to try and cancel Medi-Cal. (fax form xyq with your non-existent paystubs because you are a freelancer to your social worker who is not in the office etc etc…) So I kept it. But then come tax time, I keep getting fined for having it which makes sense. I mean, I can afford my own insurance, I shouldn’t be given a break from the government. So I called up California Covered, spent a whole afternoon being transferred from office to office and finally got Medi-Cal cancelled. Then a month later my doctor’s office called me to inform me that my regular insurance was cancelled too and my appointment to talk to my psychiatrist would have to be cancelled until I got new insurance.

That was a doozy. Thankfully, (amazingly) because of Covid-19 I was able to get a new insurance policy starting July 1. If it wasn’t for Covid I’d normally have to wait until November which is the usual enrollment period. It cost twice as much as my old California Covered plan but I figured the way I’m going, I’m just going to have to make it work. It’s amazing how when you start making more money your expenses seem to keep up and you really are at the same budget you always were. It’s not like when you start to make money you are rolling in extra money. But I can’t complain. It’s a good problem to have.

SO. I had to wait a whole month to talk to my doctor. Most of those days were fine. A few weren’t. After a few weeks of pretty low days I doubled my medication on my own, which is probably not smart but it seemed like the only thing to do. It turns out it was fine and I am now on that dosage prescribed by my doctor.

Can I just tell you how much I love my doctor? She has the kindest voice. I’m sad that she’s not a therapist and I’m not prescribed weekly hour-long sessions with her. But I have to remember that she is not my friend even though I would love her to be. She is just someone really kind who is trained to ask me specific questions that will allow her to assess my brain health.  She’s really smart like a scientist. She is a doctor after all and she trains other doctors. I’ve tried to ask her personal questions but the closest she’s ever allowed me to get is to tell me about her students and her dog. She has a dog. I love that she has a dog. One time I asked her if it was hard having a job where you had to talk to sad people all day and she said no. She loves helping people get better. It’s very rewarding, she said. Isn’t that cool?

On my darkest day, the day before my birthday when I was feeling at my lowest, I talked to Payam about it. I finally broke down and shared with Payam that I was feeling suicidal. I’m really lucky that Payam has also felt this way before and he takes me seriously. We spent hours talking, hugging and crying…  I would never be able to pull suicide off but the thoughts were there. Depression does this. It takes a perfectly good normal life and convinces you that it is all worthless. I know that makes no sense but it is what happens. It’s the natural progression. Lots of times I feel like I’m part of an experiment of too many rats in a cage and I’m that weak rat that starts chewing it own feet off.

The good news is that the depressions lifts just as mysteriously as it comes. It’s like a cloudy mist that sneaks in, hovers oppressively for a few days and then magically floats away again. It will come back. I’ve been prescribed something new to make sure I’m okay but I almost don’t want to take it because I feel so much better already. But I will. I trust my doctor.

Normally I wouldn’t share things like this but since I deactivated my Facebook account I don’t think that many people are going to see this. Things will be better now for a while. I’ll be back to my old self, creating, blogging, trying to be a good friend. I think I’ll keep my Facebook account deactivated for a while though. I’m really enjoying having more time not checking it and not falling down bad news rabbit holes. I should deactivate my instagram account too but you guys know how much I love instagram.

Thank you to those of you who left such lovely happy birthday messages on my instagram account. I wish I could respond to each message uniquely but you know that the little heart symbol means that. I bet so many of you go through this too.

15 Comments Depression

  1. Stephanie Mollohan

    Still here. I’m sorry you’re having a rough time, sending you love and best wishes and wishing it was more.

    Reply
  2. Erin

    I understand. :)
    You reminded me we’re not alone in dealing with being a creative human being. Who can have quite unique brains. Good blog Brenda. Happy belated birthday. :)

    Reply
  3. Jules

    SAJ, you don’t know me but I’ve read your blog for years and years….sending you love and strength

    Reply
  4. Beapea7

    Sorry to hear you are going through this. I hope you continue to get better. Just as a blog reader I can tell you are amazing so I hope you feel amazing soon too.

    Reply
  5. Melinda

    Sending you all the love. It sounds like things are feeling a little bit better. I hope more and more the light finds you.

    Reply
  6. Rachel

    Thank you for writing so openly about a hard time. I am praying that you are out of the dark clouds soon and stay there.

    Reply
  7. Patty

    I like reading what you write. You seem to be an honest and open person. I’m glad you are feeling better. Thank you for putting yourself out there; showing up is sometimes all we can do.??

    Reply
  8. Sara

    I wrote you once to thank you for your blog since it helped me through PPD when my children were babies. You have a gift for writing with such authenticity and reflection. Your determination to outsmart your depression is inspiring. Also, as a Canadian, I am so sad to hear about how hard it is to navigate your health system when you need it most.

    Reply
  9. Amanda

    I’ve followed you for the longest time from the UK and never comment but I felt compelled to wish you all the very best. x

    Reply
  10. Cathy

    Hugs, Brenda. I’m so glad you have Payam and though I know it’s hard at times (I know of that creeping cloud of ugh) remember it will lift. Menopause has tossed me about then covid, BLM, politics, tomato killers! blah blah- it’s been a rough time lately. Please reach out if you need a chat, am sure you can find me if you like :)

    Reply
  11. Elaine

    I don’t post often but I do check your blog weekly (since Bug was a wee Bug) and I follow you on Insta. So I don’t qualify as a friend but I do care! I’m so glad you opened up to Payam and felt love and support in some dark moments. And that you got some more medical assistance, and shared all of this with us. Here’s to turning a corner.

    Reply
  12. gingermog

    Sitting down next to you and sending you love Brenda. I know from experience how brains lie to us, I’ve felt like this too. Glad to hear that the dark clouds are lifting but it saddens me that you have been feeling this way. Thank you for being brave and honest and sharing how you really feel.

    I’m relieved you have a supportive Doctor, although sorry to hear about the issues with your insurance.

    In the past I’ve likened battling depression, to rolling a large boulder up a hill. I’ve done it day after day until finally I’ve made it to where the sun shines and I can breathe deeply.

    Keep on going lovely ? ? ?

    Reply
  13. Leanna

    I have been following your blog for years because I just love it. My daughter is a few months older than Bug. (I found you on Blogging baby). I have followed you through your ups and downs. You are a good person and it is hard to read that you are going through this and my heart goes out to you. I am sending good vibes for you.

    Reply

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