Sunday, February 24, 2008

Down for the Count

It's been over two weeks and seven shock treatments and I am no better. It would be precipitous of me to give up hope, particularly for treatment of a disease most in need of hope, but I can't help but prepare myself, in my imagination, for a life of sadness. It wouldn't be so bad if it were confined to me, but alas, no man is an island and I have the great good fortune to be loved by a number of people, Kathleen chief among them. I know the shibboleths: I must accept myself as depressed, as hopeless, as I am in order some day to have a chance to be well. But I greatly fear I let this depression--(that's not strictly true, I knew I needed ECT long ago, but had no way to afford it)--stew to the point to where even the ultimate treatment no longer works. So what do I have to look forward to? A life of dissimulation, where I strive to appear no more miserable than the next fellow.

I was tearful most of the day. I was tearful before and after ECT. It's a feeling so familiar that it comes as no surprise. I can still laugh, on occasion, so I am not completely lost. But I seem to have hit a default position, pure sadness. I am not angry or fearful. Just inexplicably, irremediably sad, and with that goes a feeling of being apologetic--I want to apologize to everyone for not being better company.

Most of you don't even know me except through my writings. I can be quite the humorist when I'm well. I've been told, even by people who didn't necessarily like me, that I'm "a funny guy." But this is not a time for humor. This is dead serious. This is my life. I'm losing my life to this disease. I cry even as I write this. I have no desire to go on but my personal code of ethics will not allow me to snuff out this brief light. So I must trudge on, lacking any feeling of hope, even after my seventh treatment by ECT today. Dr. Svensson also prescribed a new antispsychotic, Invega, but I have not been able to connect with him in order for him to connect with my insurance to have the medication authorized. If it's anything like Abilify it will run about $14/tablet. After all the hard work Kathleen has done to obtain insurance for us, I'm not going to pay out-of-pocket for an expensive drug my doctor has deemed medically necessary.

If I could get well for anyone, I would get well for Kathleen, the love of my life, the light of my eyes, the heart of my heart. Apparently this illness is even stronger than love, though I hate to admit it. If love could cure me, Kathleen's love would have cured me. I don't want her to suffer because of me, but what can I do? Is it my fault she loves me? I believe I'm doing all I can, all I know how to do, I don't know what else to do. It's not as if a positive thinking book or seminar is going to reverse this longstanding condition. I can't bear the thought of being like this forever, but I can't think about it in those terms. "One day at at time," truly. "Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof." I would say, "more than sufficient." This is my life, damn it, and it is not a life, it is a living horror. I don't know how I go on. I won't commit suicide because I wouldn't do that to those who love me, and besides, my father committed suicide, so that would be a bit of a defeat. I don't want to lose the Oedipal thing. (That was, I think, an attempt at a joke.)

I'm ashamed to write this, I don't even know if I should let people read it, I don't know what purpose it serves. There's enough sorrow in the world without nibbling on mine.

Whoever you are, whatever you are doing, be grateful you are not in my condition. This illness is a soul-destroyer. All I can do is weep. I managed to eat an apple today. I'm sorry if this blog is degenerating into pathos and bathos, but it is what it is. All I can say is that I'm very, very sick, and no amount of thinking or prayer or medications or electricity or exercise appears able to reverse my illness. Of course I'd rather be dead, that goes without saying, but I will not usurp that right from my creator. I'm just stubborn enough to go on living. I'm just stubborn enough to remember that I haven't always been like this, even though that's how it seems. I'm stubborn enough to keep blogging, however much you may be driven away by the boredom of my suffering. Be grateful for whatever light and love you have. More cannot be said.

9 comments:

  1. I'm sorry you're going through it - and I'm more familiar with what you're going through than I should be.

    I offer only this bit of random kindness from a random stranger: I hope you find the strength you need for you and your family.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I am sorry, too, to hear it is not working for you yet. Invega is a sustained release form of Risperadol...some say it's an attempt to prolong the pharmaceautical company's patent, others believe it is a valid new drug. We, too, are trying to adjust medications in order to try it. In the interim, we are reducing Geodon and have gone to an increased three times a day dosage of Respiradol...and that does appear to help...for now. Unfortunately, it lowers the seizure threshold, but we know how to live...even live well, with those by now.

    I remain hopeful for you, Craig..and for Kathleen, for all of us.

    You are in our thoughts, pal.

    Pat

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  3. PS

    Taylor, the one who offers prayers regularly in this family, remembers that I asked him to pray for you even tho he doesn't know you, hasn't a clue that he needs yours, too. I suspect his will be noted for us all...they are so simply and sincerely offered.

    Pat

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  4. Anonymous4:03 AM PST

    Ahhh, Craig....

    Hang in there!!!

    I too .....

    "Hope you find the strength you need for you and your family."

    Jennifer

    ReplyDelete
  5. I wish I could take this away for you. You're a good man.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Masale.Wallah7:08 AM PST

    Hi CE,

    I came across this video and thought of sharing it on your blog:

    http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/view/id/189

    ReplyDelete
  7. Craig,
    Sorry you are not getting the relief you seek. You're in my thoughts and prayers.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I am awaiting your Invega assessment. The drug makes sense to me...in that it is a sustained release.

    Pat

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  9. Pat, Invega was horrible, reminded me of Haldol. I felt I entered a dark, demonic realm with the use of either of those antispychotics. I've quit Invega since. But my reaction does not predict Taylor's.

    ReplyDelete

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