Life has not been the most fabulous lately, and I realize there is no one to blame but myself. I am healthy once again, after resetting my own immune system successfully, and my husband is employed once again. I'm back to my gym rat days, obnoxiously enough, and was taunting Iris uber Alles today. "Poke me here" (forcing the poor thing to prod me in the upper six-pack zone). "See! You could bounce a coin off there. " Then I poked her similarly. "Look! It's like a marshmallow!" Later, I noted, "Feel free to prod me in the abs whenever you want. Perhaps you are afraid you might harm your finger." Iris rolled her eyes.
I tend to be a glass-half-empty (probably drained by a rich sociopath when my back was turned) kind of gal on the whole. Funnily enough, given how dark my outlook has been of late, that I'm bizarrely able to take with equanimity the one thing which drives most women my age insane: hot flashes. I've been 'pausing hard lately, and for the most part, I'm fine with it. I lived in the tropics for a couple of years and liked it; for a while I led a fruitless campaign to get our family to move to a warmer climate. So I'm viewing this all as my having moved to my own private tropics.
But yet, it is a dark time. Warm, but dark. My psychiatrist retired, the slacker, and I feel abandoned. The Sober Husband and I are in marriage counseling, and it's been what Jane Austen might refer to as "a right old clusterfuck." For example, yesterday our counselor suggested that since I am irked by the Sober Husband's ubiquitous complaining, I should try doing everything just the way he likes so that he will never need to complain. I used about fifty swear words in my explanation of why that is never going to fucking happen.
I'm of a mind to call it a day and not return to pay for more of these gems of counseling, feeling I could get more from a vintage copy of "The Total Woman" (which I read in sneaky bursts while babysitting as a tween), but the Sober Husband is in strong disagreement.
After Robin Williams died, people thought for awhile about depression. I saw so many Facebook statuses urging, "If you ever feel like that, call me!!!" I rolled my eyes at each and every one of these. The sad truth is that at this point, honestly I am not going to call anyone on a bad day. Everyone is fucking sick of hearing about how I am depressed. There is nothing more dreary than hearing about someone's depression, and anyone whose phone number I have has undoubtedly long ago had their share of hearing about mine. Additionally, the last thing I want to hear is unsolicited advice from someone who has never attempted suicide and who is not a psychiatrist. "Just look on the bright side" and "Why don't you just shake out of it?" and the like are not helpful in the least. And, finally, if you really feel that bad, you don't feel up to talking on the phone. You feel more like curling up in bed in silence.
In times like this, honestly it is literature that keeps me going. If I were to die, there are so many books I wouldn't have read. Lately, there have been some amazing books, gorgeous jewels of books that made me gasp and feel that it was worth it, dragging through life, if you at least get to now and then put up your feet, take off your shirt if you're 'pausing hard, and get drunk in words.
Recent books you should read, particularly if you have my flavor of depression:
California by Edan Lepucki: A dark dystopic tale about life after our society collapses due to economic and environmental disasters. Beautifully written, it raises so many questions about political activism, what life is like living off the grid, how to build a society, the use of a liberal arts education. Absolutely brilliant. When I finished it, I started it over from the beginning, just not wanting it to be done.
Station 11 by Emily St. John Mandel: Another novel set in the near-future after society's collapse, this time due to a pandemic. Mandel's book is so beautifully written, such luscious language and such an intricately linked plot, that I kept exclaiming out loud as I read it. "This book is like a necklace," I informed the uninterested Lola. "It's just so gorgeous, and it all ties together."
The Bend of The World by Jacob Bacharach: Bacharach's protagonist is a rather aimless man with a meaningless job and a shallow relationship whose gay, drunken best friend is obsessed with arcane theories and conspiracies. Extraordinarily witty and chock-full of silliness, but yet extremely moving and beautifully written, with an breathtakingly spare use of language at times. I literally laughed out loud at one point and teared up at another, and there is not another book I can think of which has drawn both of these reactions from my black, shriveled soul.
Your Face In Mine by Jess Row: A man sees someone he thinks he knows on the street, but this can't be his old friend. This oddly familiar person is the wrong race. A weirdly gripping intellectual exploration of the implications of racial reassignment surgery, pairing beautiful writing with original ideas. I was so engaged by this book that I paid no attention to my surroundings and ended up with a rather wretched sunburn on my left thigh. It seems appropriate that part of my skin changed color while I was reading this book, a little unintended homage to the power of Row's writing.
Good to have you blogging again. Missed you
Thanks for the book recs. I've been reading a bunch of stuff lately that has me screaming in rage at the authorial conceit, and then I retreat back into nonfiction for several months because there at least I have a good chance of not being assaulted in every paragraph by the author's ego. Look at me, I'm so smart! UGH.
Glad to hear you're back at the gym! It's one way to thwart the mean reds, but maybe your old psychiatrist can refer you to someone else?
I missed you guys, too!
@Claire I left a message for a psychiatrist recommended to me and will try that person out. I have been thinking of trying cognitive behavioral theory, where it is my impression they train you like a dog to break some bad cognitive habits. I went so far as to call someone recommended by a friend, who was not taking any new patients, and to leave a message at some group of CBI therapists, and no one called me back. Then I came to a halt on that path. Maybe I should try again.
Good to see you blogging again. Take good care of yourself, my dear friend.
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