Posts Tagged ‘Therapy’

“I was me, but now he’s gone…” – Metallica, “Fade to Black”

 

In the wake of Robin Williams’ suicide, there’s been a lot flying around Facebook—and the ‘net at large. Talk of how suicide is/isn’t selfish, and how depression is a disease and not a character flaw. More irksome is the self-righteous standpoint most people take when addressing the issue, as if their opinion is the only one that’s right. When it comes to issues that involve psychological disorders, especially those caused/exacerbated by chemical imbalances, there’s more than one answer to every situation.

Unfortunately, when someone decides to invoke the mercy kill rule on themselves before the game is over—there’s nothing else that can be said or done.  It’s kinda final like that.  No respawn.  No save point.  That’s pretty much it.

Come on, how can I not be glib?

Smile or not, that’s pretty much what it is.

One thing I’ve noticed is how some people rail about how debilitating depression can be. This is true. Not many people realize this, but I’ve been so far down that road before—I actually quit college and moved home with my parents for a semester. I had reached a point of malaise where I could hardly take care of myself—and I even had zero interest in my vice of choice: booze. Let that sink in for a whiskey soaked second. Lucky for me, I happen to have a failsafe built into my psyche that keeps me from totally destroying my life—so I at least kept going to work. I’m not sure if it was the call of the almighty dollar, or just the promise of things getting 1000x worse if I stopped going to work, but my job was the only part of my life that I didn’t completely abandon. To say that part of my life sucked would be an understatement of Biblical proportion. I had completely given up.

Now if that wasn’t a dark enough window into a part of me few are aware of, let’s get downright morbid. I’ve danced the masochistic tango with depression on and off since I was a teenager. I’ve been put on at least a dozen different medications, with varying degrees of success. Pills aren’t the complete answer—but I’ll get there soon enough. For the longest time, I freely admitted that I had an “armchair death wish.” There are two translations for this. One—I didn’t give a rat’s ass whether or not I was alive or dead. Two—I didn’t have the stones to be actively suicidal. Both are partially true, the former more than the latter. It was just how I found terms to explain the consuming emptiness inside.

It’s not just down. It’s not blue. It’s not sad. It’s a fucking void that consumes joy, sadness, anger, and everything else on the emotional smorgasbord. I eventually learned to use that ravenous maw to consume my fears and perceived inadequacies, because I was a total chickenshit when I was a teen. I’m lucky it didn’t devour me…

On second thought… Maybe it did, and I am merely what clawed back out of the pit.

Boba Fett ain't got shit on me.

Speaking of pits.

You’re probably wondering why I never tried to take a dirt nap on my own terms. Cue the record scratch, because that’s not entirely true. I deliberately tried to drink myself to death once or twice, but my liver wasn’t about to put up with any of my bullshit. Thanks buddy. Mathematically, both times I would have blown over a .4– so I should theoretically be dead twice over on those occasions.

This is the first I’ve spoken/written of it, because it’s stupid. However, therein lies the rub—I can see the stupidity now because my liver went full Johnny Badass in my moment of despair. In the moment?   That’s a different story, and it’s nigh impossible to comprehend unless you’ve made the effort to call ol’ Thanatos for a free ride across the Styx. This experience is probably why I’ve been able to stop two people from making a terminal mistake.

Suicide is selfish, but not in the connotation. People are constantly coming up with trite things to say to depressed people, what not to say, et cetera ad nauseum. When it comes down to brass tacks, you can have the most wonderful family and friends in the world—but once you’ve reached that nebulous line where pulling the plug seems like a good way to stop feeling like complete shit—you don’t see them as a safety net. They’re people that you don’t want to burden. They’re the good things in your life that you don’t want to drag down with you. Depression doesn’t mean you can’t see good when it’s there. It keeps you from reaching out to touch that good, because you don’t want to tarnish it—or change how those people treat you (and yes, you do get treated differently.)

You’re not selfish as in thinking only for yourself—you hoard the suffering because that’s just what happens. It’s cyclical and self-sabotaging, and is one of the reasons real depression is so awful (none of that Google-diagnosed attention-seeking fuckery). If you’re depressed, you don’t want attention, you don’t want pity, you just want the whole shit and shebang to stop—and paradoxically you stop caring about pretty much everything in the process. It goes far beyond not giving a fuck. This is the bad kind of not giving a fuck. There’s a distinct difference.

And no.

Wait, we got to 50%? That’s shooting high.

Now let’s roll back to the whole concept of medication—let’s face it, depression is a condition as opposed to a disease. It’s not communicable; it’s not caused by a fungus/bacterium/virus. The meds can help to correct the chemical imbalance inside your brain box, but unless you ardently try to break out of it—you’re fucked. End of story. Game over. At the end of the day, all the medication and therapy in the world cannot fix someone who cannot be open to fixing themselves.

Confused yet? Good, you should be—because depression doesn’t make sense. Medication and therapy is a tool, not a fix. Once the tools are in your hands, only you can fix you, and if you can muster the drive—these tools are valuable to solving the problem. When people ineloquently regurgitate, “you just have to deal with it,” this is what they’re trying to nail home. Of course depressed people want to get better, but turning that want into ability and motivation is where the medication/therapy/friends/family come in to play.

I had to find a use for the picture, come on!

Yeahhhhhhhh not quite.

My motivation and savior was my anger. I despised who I had become. I loathed what I had become. I tried being positive and that inevitably felt like a trite pair of rosy sunglasses, and I inevitably backslid into another malaise. Medication gave me weird side effects, and that roller-coaster often made the chemical component of my condition worse.

So I fed that void every ounce of my hate. I served that emptiness my indomitable wrath. I force-fed that void until it burned, and then dumped everything else I didn’t want on it—just to watch the blackness burn. My unusual skill for compartmentalizing my personality built a wall around it while it gagged on the overflow. I funneled everything I loathed into that maw, and then sealed that dismal oubliette shut. … and yes, I can still hear it howling somewhere in the recesses of the mind where I don’t like to tread.

even got a big sign in neon lights....

That’s how it goes. Burn that shit and don’t look back.

I can already hear someone muttering, “that’s not dealing, that’s repression.” Maybe you’re right, and maybe that’s why I feel those empty tendrils working their way back into my head from time to time. However, it’s what worked for me—and this ties back what I said in very first paragraph: When it comes to issues that involve psychological disorders, especially those caused/exacerbated by chemical imbalances, there’s more than one answer to every situation.

No matter what answer is chosen… there’s only one answer that you can’t take back.
Always pick a choice that you can reflect on later– because you never know what might emerge from the wreckage.

Unplug.

This is just rich.  I’ve been on the injured reserve at work since surgery.  I got a call last week from my nurse case manager, asking when I would be cleared for light duty at work.  Considering my current line of employ (see also:  the place paying my worker’s comp checks), involves a lot of awkward lifting and carrying– light duty would relegate me to being office bitch.

No biggie, with 50% strength back in Jill– and about 75% mobility– clerical work would be no issue.  Then again, I’d be put in close quarters with the boss for about 40 of my 50 hours in the week, but I’m not accounting for that blossom of “bliss.”   So after my rehab evaluation yesterday (never thought I’d be saying those words…), and getting the rough numbers above, I made a pit stop by work to let the boss know the good news.

Tell 'em Vlad

Even Putin wants to declare shenanigans…

The boss decided to inform me that they don’t want me back until I’m positively at 100%.  This is a complete 180 from company policy, let alone from the comp company’s standpoint last week.  If this shit was any more ass backwards, I’d swear I was dealing with a government office.

Seriously, the boss called me at least twice in the immediate two days after surgery.  I can’t be sure about the exact count, because I kept myself nicely buffered from both pain and reality.  That’s my explanation for the freak attack of CRS, and I’m sticking to it.  Regardless, they were up my ass in ways that would make a Thai hooker blush.

Now, when I’m able to perform most of my former duties, they want to keep me on the I.R. until my happy ass is up to tossing a couch on my shoulder and walking away with it.  You know what I have to say about that?

In the immortal words of DX

Don’t pretend that you don’t know the two words…

It would appear that something unusual is transpiring here, and I’m too much of a cynic to buy into the possibility that they’re looking out for my well being.  They didn’t care during the eight months that I worked with torn cartilage in Jill.

Something smells rotten, and I just took a shower this morning.

Unplug.

Well, after another physical therapy visit in the books, I’m showing marked signs of improvement.  That’s a damn good thing, because I’ve been working Jill like an underpaid amusement park employee.  Before you immediately follow my mind into the gutter (and rightfully so), do you have any idea how amusement park employees are miserably treated?  It took me less than 30 seconds to find a whole book about it, and believe you me– working at an amusement park like being cast into the Fourth Circle of Hell by your employer.  That’s another rant entirely, so enough of that digression.

Where was I?  Oh yes, making Jill do work.  My range of movement improves daily, to the point where I even impressed my therapist.  In the strength category, I’ve made a 350% improvement in my grip.  That number’s astounding, but when you consider that I went from roughly 9lbs of grip in my hand to about 32…  the percentage may not be quite as impressive.

Anyway, in spite of all of this, I have one teensy-weensy problem that Rosie still has to handle for me.  I can’t wipe my own ass right handed.

Shit tickets be damned!

So we meet again, oh necessity of those needing to make offerings unto The Porcelain Goddess.

I don’t know whether it’s the angle my wrist has to be, or the torsion of the wrist, or what it is– but Jill can’t be bothered to make the two-ply pilgrimage unto the brown eye without screaming in agony.  I mean, not that I blame her (all surgical repair work considered)– and it’s not like I’m running around with dingleberries a-ringing.  Rosie’s had my back(side) since Jill went into the cast.  I really should buy her flowers for her efforts, but that might give my girlfriend the wrong idea.  I just can’t get behind progress when progress can’t reach my behind.

Oh well, with that wonderful mental image seared into your cerebral cortex– it’s time for my 2pm wrist workout.

Don’t tell me you didn’t see that one coming.

Unplug.

I know I’ve been MIA like a green beret in Cambodia, however I’ve been reveling in my re-found freedom.  Yes, Jill is recovering at a decent clip, but that’s not why I’ve been shirking my rightful duties to you– my readers.  Anyway, back to bagging on myself, and my recovery.

So I’ve had three PT appointments this past week, and holy mother of God is it painful.  First things first, Rosie is by far the stronger of the hands.   If she were to get into a squeezing contest with Jill, Jill’s reconstructed wrist would hamper her by roughly 90%.  That’s the measurements from Monday 9/12/11, I have about 10% grip in my right hand.  Couple that with about 40% range of mobility, and I’ve got, as my therapist has put it, my “work cut out for me.”   Throw into the mix the fact that I still can’t straighten the damn elbow, and I’m a perpetually hurting unit (one tasked with constantly stretching and exercising joints that have been par-frozen by atrophy).  This means one thing:  yours truly is shitfaced on Norco more often now than I was when the good doctor took the proverbial scalpel to Jill.  Why yes, I’m also drinking, thank you for wondering!

Anyway.

The therapist has given me a ton of exercises, and a throwback to something that hails from many childhoods– silly freaking putty.   I’m not joking, and the best part is– my therapist actually got insulted when I called it by its true name.  Considering her level of indignation, you’d think the stuff was the bastard child of Rumpelstiltskin.  Naturally, I was even more thoroughly amused.

Silly putty, no matter what the color, is still silly putty.

A toy or a therapy aid, no matter what the color-- you can still copy comics with it, and bounce it off the wall! Best. Laugh. Therapy. Ever.

No, according to my therapist (geez, I sound more like a headcase than a basement-dwelling loser now… is that an upgrade?), this stuff’s therapy putty, not silly putty, because it comes in various “resistances.”  Are you freaking kidding me?  I’ve noticed one difference between the blue egg of “silly” putty that I had as a kid, and the green canister of “therapy” putty that I have now.  The only difference is the quantity and color (and I’ve got way more therapy putty).  Garfield’s face is sill a warp-able commodity!

However, all of these goofy ass exercises aside–  I’ve taken to one thing for therapy above all others: cleaning.   I was told to do my exercises twice a day, and I have been doing them as often as possible to speed recovery.  However, during the month and a half that I was away, the short stints I did spend at the pad accumulated a collegiate level of mess.  I mean Hell, I only had one hand that I could use, so why not use it to justify indulging in a cardinal level of sloth?  Man’s gotta keep sane somehow, and it’s not like the prescription/booze connection was doing it for me…

To say that the pad looked like a bomb hit it would be an understatement, however I’ve made a damn good amount of headway.  I’ve made myself a bit more work because I refuse to put dishes in the dishwasher.  Yes, I’m trying to (unsuccessfully) con myself into thinking that cleaning is therapy, especially since I’ve got my hands constantly in hot water.  You’d think I’d be worried about dishpan hands.

Who am I kidding?

Yeah. Right. I'll settle for copious amounts of lotion, thank you very much.

 

Oh well, I’ll do my best to keep as updated on the blog as I was when I was a lazy quasi-invalid.  In other news, I’ve lost 10lbs in 10 days with the Kamikaze Diet.  I haven’t even gotten into a regular exercise regimen yet, either.  Oh well, I’ll try to put more goodness up tomorrow.

Unplug.