Kathleen’s in NY until 4/17 and I have sunk into a depression. As a bipolar I, I knew I was in a mixed state at the motel in Fort Bragg. As my last post described, our new abode filled me with anxiety for the very contrast between the starkness of our indoor environment and the luxuriance of the coastal redwoods. I started lithium while there, and by the time I arrived at my daughter’s, near Sacramento, I had all the symptoms of depression, though masked by lithium.
I added olanzapine last night and today obtained a prescription from my new psychiatrist for fluoxetine and buproprion. Unfortunately my debit card won’t work to pay for them yet, as the money I gave my daughter to help obtain a lawyer put me in the hole again, from which my sister again extricated me, generous soul, with the admonition not to try to pay her back her loan until I was settled.
I do not regret the shame I felt in inconveniencing her, as the money I gave my daughter was to help with the custody battle for our grandson, Jacob, with whom I feel a special bond. But when depressed it is rare that I feel I am doing the right thing; in this I felt I was, which was a miracle, as with regard to everything else, while melancholic, I feel that I might as well throw darts. “Do I dare to eat a peach?” How about watermelon? Sit or stand? Drink or not drink? Walk or sit? All such considerations are only pointless exercises in the indecision of existential despair.
When depressed everything looks strange to me. Every place I go it seems I’ve never been there before. My own body becomes alien; my spirit has abandoned it. I seek distraction as I am incapable of pleasure. In the worst depressions I cannot eat or sleep. This one has not gotten that bad yet, and won’t, as I have quickly attacked with medications from long experience.
It is not surprising that I have finally sunk into a depression after the last year-and-a-half. I am not Superman, after all, and life takes its toll. And the increased medications, though they keep the abyss from completely swallowing me, only do so by clouding my vision and slowing my synapses. This is, of course, better than the hypervigilant deer-in-the-headlights anxiety that would otherwise attend me. What’s terrible about melancholia is the need to act, to do something, anything, while you cannot bring yourself to act. It’s like trying to run in place in cement. There’s a desperation that requires you do something but there’s nothing to do, only the sense that something must be done and done quickly, else you are damned.
I am not alone in this mood, however. Ever since he was separated from Kathleen, Kenyon has been moping. He doesn't want to go on walks, eats little, and when I leave him alone he just stares into the distance, sitting, waiting for Kathleen to come. It' unnerving. Today I let him out and positioned himself on the grass near my daughter's door, always looking in the distance as if Kathleen might arrive at any second.
The best thing in all this has been playing with my grandson, Jacob. But I'll save that for another post. He is so rambunctious there is not time for me to stew in my own juices for long. He left for his father's today and I miss him terribly already.
Thine in Truth and Art,
C. E. Chaffin