Monday, July 10, 2006
At 3 Kilorats and Slipping
Rather than dwelling entirely on myself, I thought I'd post a photo of two people more important to me than myself, if anyone can truly say that: My red-headed first-born and her red-headed son, Rachel and Jacob. Don't they look happy? Aren't I lucky? And I have two other daughters besides.
When I first became depressed in April, Kathleen left for New York and I went south to be with Rachel and Jacob for about a week, helping out as best I could. What was great about Jacob is that when you're taking care of him, you have no time to think about yourself. At four years old he's very physically active and self-directed, which makes for a difficult combination. But not for me. Every distraction, every need, every threatened behavioral violation by Jacob helps keep me out of myself. No rest for the depressed. The same obtains to a lesser degree with Kenyon. Since Kathleen went to a new job today, I had to make Kenyon's breakfast when I first got up. Washing the dishes helps, too. Mindless physical tasks to keep my soul in the material world and out of the whirlpool of madness.
Oh, talked to my younger brother last night. He has too much noise in his head, and anhedonia, is going to see his shrink today. My sister is a bipolar II, but doing very well. Our father, an alcoholic manic-depressive, committed suicide at 62. Both my grandmothers were manic-depressive, both hospitalized at least twice. Bipolar disease in our family has been named "The Chaffin Curse." I recently had a Betti Chaffin write me from Missouri about the curse. I have no direct relation to her except our last name, but she had questions about the disease in relation to her Chaffin family.
It was yesterday I started to break down again. I was fragile; just a little normal sarcasm from Kathleen questioning my decision to try to reach an ocean cove from the headlands down a steep bluff took all my confidence away. I could have made it down, but not Kenyon and likely not Kathleen, since she didn't bring her hiking boots. Afterwards I gave the car keys to Kathleen and resigned from any leadership role. Then we went to our usual beach and watched Kenyon fetch his bottle over and over again. My emotional hurt came from Kathleen saying, "How many ticks you got?" while she waited behind on the bluff. My reaction to that slight mockery of my attempt to find a new place for Kenyon to swim was way out of proportion to anything my normal self might have had.
I called my shrink for stronger meds today; looks like I went off the antispychotic too soon. In Andrew Solomon's The Noonday Demon he credits Zyprexa, a new atypical antispychotic, for keeping him from depression, which is strange because he isn't even bipolar, he's a unipolar depressive. I took it recently but it extends the QT interval on the cardiogram and I get off-beats in my heart and my stamina goes to nothing; climbing the stairs exhausts me, and my heart seems to hesitate when recovering. Still, the pain of depression is eminently worth the risk of taking the drug.
Sorry I wrote so much. I'm verbose. It's hard, by long practice of writing essays, for me to sit down and write less than 1000 words. I know blogs should be brief; unfortunately, I am not. Anyone who read to the end of this deserves a medal. I will try to be more brief tomorrow. This is no way to engage readers.
At 3 Kilorats and slipping,