r2 ded

A letter of defiance to an old foe.

Depression is an issue we are all not supposed to talk about. It's taboo. We're supposed to keep it inside and fight it quietly with medication and not tell people because *gasp!* they might think us somehow less of a person.

Except I hardly know a person anymore who hasn't struggled with depression or anxiety at some point in their lives. Many are still in a constant battle with it. So you know what I'm going to do? I'm gonna talk about it. Because I can. Because it's a part of who I am. Because I am fabulous and beautiful and a mother fucking ray of sunshine, and also, I struggle with depression and anxiety.

Here we go.

I've been off my meds for about a week. I waited until the last possible minute to refil them, and then oops, the insurance company had some issue, so I had to wait more, and then resubmit my stuff. Then it went to the wrong Walgreens. It's okay. Shit happens. Except when depression starts to creep in, subtly, as it sometimes does, things that are normally little, those everyday things that go wrong, suddenly turn into really big things. The fact that my meds weren't at the proper Walgreens through me off my game so much I went home, instead of using my phone to figure out where the proper one was and picking it up.

It wasn't a huge deal. I was a bit off, but things weren't bad. Then I ran out of money. And when I say ran out, I literally mean I ran out. Credit card is maxed out, bank account has $2.25 in it, no savings to speak of. There are bills coming up. The rent is paid for this month, but a huge chunk of my next paycheck is going to rent. And bills. And groceries. And all those things I wasn't able to do this paycheck, because I let my vanity get the best of me and paid a lot for a haircut on top of car payments. Now I'm left looking down this tunnel of endlessly playing catchup on bills and rent and car payments and groceries and general finances, and never having any money.
I wanted to go to Mexio with Sister when we turn 30. I wanted to go on a roadtrip with Cirien this summer. Those are not going to happen now.

But I don't think about it. I push it to the back of my mind. Travel is for other people, at least for now, I have things to take care of.
And all the while, the depression & anxiety is getting worse. I wake up in the middle of the night, panicking about finances. I start sobbing in my car because the ice on my windshield is hard to scrape off. I freak out unreasonably about presentations I have to give at work, even though they really aren't a big deal.

Tonight, I went to bed in a mild state of panic, because I realized I only have 2 days worth of cat food left, and 5 days before I can buy more. I woke up in the middle of the night, full blown nutso, because I feel like I am a bad mommy. I don't really care about myself and food. I can live off rice and pasta and canned beans for 4 days. It won't kill me. Kanye can't. So what do I do? Do foodshelves have cat food? I could make my own cat food, but I have no meat or veggies to speak of, and I don't think cats do well on rice and tilapia.
So I sat on Tumblr for an hour, trying to distract myself, failing. Decided a bath was in order. Hysterical breakdown as I fill up the tub results in me crying when the water was too hot. What? Seriously? The water is too hot. Just turn the faucet down a smidge, let it keep filling, you'll be fine. But that's not how it works when the depression and anxiety are there.

I finally make it into the tub, light my trashy-romance-novel-scented candle, let the tears stop. Kanye jumps on the rim of the tub, and it cheers me up and calms me down enough to think "hmmm, let's blog about this."

And here we are.
So where do we go from here?
This is the battle plan I came up with in the tub. (Isn't it amazing, the curative powers of a well-timed bath?)
It isn't perfect, but it's going to work for me.

1) Tomorrow morning, begin taking meds again. They will take a few days to kick back into effect, but that's okay.

2) Go to work. Do not panic and call in sick. It's easy to want to do, but the truth is, my entire St Cloud support network works with me. And even on the worst days of work, there has been at least one thing that has made me grin like an idiot. So work is a good place to be. Good people. Friends. Interesting patrons to tell stories about later. Occasionally someone will bring in chocolate. Go to work every day.

3) Distract myself. I know I'm supposed to "face my fears" and "not hide" when it comes to depression. And usually yes, I would agree with that. But I think these latest shenanigans are the result mostly of a lack of medicine, which will start working again in a few days. If I can get through the next few days, things will look brighter. So I will play video games. Read books. Watch more of the West Wing. Go out with friends. Do all the things I do when I want to retreat, because it will take my mind off the things that haunt me long enough for medical backup to arrive.

4) Keep in touch. Call Sister a lot. Call the parents a lot. Make sure I chat with friends every day. I am very lucky to have such a great support network, and though most of them are down in the cities, a few of them are up here. Talking with people makes me happy. That will give me at least one reason to smile every day, and that's a good thing.

5) Remind myself that my depression and anxiety is not a failing on my  part, it's just a weird biological thing, and I will get past it. Every day I make it through is another day I can claim in victory for myself. Every day I get through with a smile on my face is a party. I need to remember to celebrate the victories. All of them. Helped a patron today? Check. Kicked a boss's ass in Fallout? Boom. Made a delicious meal? Well done me.

I will make it through this. Not just the depression and the anxiety, but the financial troubles. The always being single. The awkwardness and fear of moving to a new place. Some day, I know I will look back on it and think "Oh, silly Ariel, if you only knew what lay ahead of you." I believe this with everything in me; that things will improve, and I won't be alone forever, and someday I'll get a handle on these pesky finances.

It's just a matter of taking it one day at a time. This week is healing. Distracting myself so that I don't get swallowed up by the panic. Taking care of myself. I can worry about next week's problems next week.

I started this at like 3:15 am, and should probably try and fall back asleep now. I had a hella long work day yesterday, and can definitely use the sleep.

Thanks all for listening, and for being here for me. If you're reading this, it means you care, and that means I love you. So thanks.

"Nevah. Nevah. Nevah. Give up." -Winston Churchill (as quoted by my dad)