Soul Doubt: 12/2009 - 01/2010

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Have you ever seen one of those cheesy commercials that say, "Depression Hurts. Where do you want to go? Nowhere. Who do you want to see? No one. What do you want to do? Nothing"

And then it goes on to say that not only does depression hurt you, but everyone around you. Or shoot, I don't know, maybe I'm mixing up a couple of the different anti-depressant commercials up and combining them to fit my own perceptions.

All I know is that for the last SIX MONTHS at least, I have been a shell of my former self. Of course I go through the motions, taking care of my son, keeping my house semi-clean (although nowhere near as spotless as I used to- I'm your typical Virgoan clean freak), making din-din for the hubby, perusing the paper and whatnot.... but mainly, my retreat from reality? My way of coping?

Books. Endless, uncountable books. I check out a dozen or so thousand-pagers from the library at a time, and actually wade through them all before the return date. In fact, I'm usually a week or two early. A novel a day is about my speed. And I don't even REALLY care what genre, although I have certain anti-preferences: no hardcore sci-fi, absolutely no romance or romantic suspense, rarely an actual western- although I do like Larry McMurtry just fine. No, for the aforementioned six months, I have lost myself in untold worlds of words, almost LIVING the books, pretending (yes, I know it's a bit childish) I'm either the hero or heroine, or perhaps at least another highly intelligent and interesting character, usually one who either dies for some noble cause or saves the day with grievous wounds to oneself...

It's sort of sick, really. Have I simply exchanged one addiction for another? Or is this a semi "safe" coping mechanism for utter hopelessness and emptiness? I honestly don't know, and I suppose it's a moot point anyway.

One thing I do know, is that these last few weeks have been far happier than ever. Maybe because school is right around the corner (I'm SO excited, I LOVE to learn), maybe because after I'm in class for ten days I'll be cut a check for a bit over four grand- not to blow all at once, mind you- that there's our living expenses for the next semester, and my duckets for a new notebook and printer. Maybe because we've begun to attend church again- welcomed back with open arms, of course- and I've laid off the books except at night when I can't sleep.

Buuut... here's the real test to see if the depression is gone for good, or just biding it's time to come back so bad that I freak out and off myself out of sheer frustration (joke- I've never actually been suicidal during this time, just miserable). See, I just found out my license is suspended in Maryland, where I haven't lived for 12 years, yet somehow through all the years of Idaho license renewals, court cases, getting pulled over and being released with a clean bill of vehicular and license health, having to get duplicate copies of my license at the DMV when my purse was stolen or when I got married, etc.- never ONCE did it come up as being suspended, in Maryland or any other state. Only Monday, when I went to reinstate it- Quick backstory: a few months ago I made a dumb choice of "forgetting" to pay a ticket, mainly cuz I was so broke, then the inevitable came in the mail: a suspension, replete with 165.00 fine, a 65.00 reinstatement fee, and then of course the cost of replacing my seized license. Did manage to take care of all that, actually, requesting from all my family members and husband the money to handle the whole deal.

So when, after just paying off all those fines and stuff over here, then not even being able to get my license which I was so excited over having back (lemme tell you, it's a bitch to see your car in the driveway and not be able to drive it) I was incensed, to say the least. I was SURE it was some sort of mistake, a glitch in the system. So, I called Maryland, argued with a seeming intentionally obtuse woman about the ticket, which was from May of '97- I said I paid it, she said I did not and with the interest accrued, it was now a hair over five hundred bucks to pay. Now I'm barely hanging on to my newfound optimism and non-depression, as I have a court date on the 6th for driving without privileges (yes, I was pulled over in the interim of not paying that dang fine before I wised up and quit driving). I was planning on showing up, smiling my fool head off and saying, yes, Your Honor, lookee here: proof of my paying that nasty fine, proof of my reinstatement, and here's my shiny new license. Now, however, I can't do that. No way in HELL am I gonna be able to come up with 520 bucks before the sixth. If only I could postpone my court date... if it were after the 21st, I'd be rolling in dough. Sort of. But another idea, popping into my head like magic, which I've contemplated obsessively ever since, is borrowing the money until I get MY dough, but unfortunately all my rich friends seem to be, well, nonexistent. Sigh.

So this is my other plan: Lemme bounce it off you few blog followers of SoulDoubt. What if I were to show up in court, say the same shiny happy things, show off all the docs proving my paying off the crap, and just omit the last part; saying maybe, Your Honor, I was just too broke to get an actual hard copy of a license... perhaps on the 21st when I get my money I will purchase one. Or on the 15th when my husband gets paid. (Maybe my pleading poverty might also cause him to go easy on whatever fine(s) he might be planning to inflict, I mean impart.)

Of course that would be dishonest, but what is that saying of the ends justifying the means? I just DO NOT WANT TO GO BACK TO JAIL!!!!! I've been too good for too long, I am just now shaking off this horrible awful lack of will to really live, and now this? I obsessively read the Kootenai County sentencings for DWS, DWP, etc. None of the offenders get off TOO lightly, usually a fat fine, and if not a couple days jail time (most likely because they were arrested at the time of the offense, unlike myself who was luckily only ticketed) they get Sheriff's Labor Program or some other community service. Plus license suspension for up to six months.

I was hoping to avoid the severe penalties by my glowing report of progress and humility at the knowledge of my wrongdoing- I mean, I've even been composing a short speech to read to the Judge. But now, I just don't know.... ideas? Epiphanies? I am begging for one, but any advice from one of you would be ever so welcome too.

Friday, December 4, 2009

My Face in My Plate- Happy Friggin' Thanksgiving.

Well, me foine blob (as Marmitoasty might say), here we are again. I've sworn to stay regular I don't know how many times (and no, I'm not talking about my bathroom habits) but I just can't seem to check in here and scribble down any noteworthy thoughts but every month or two- sometimes three. And now that I'm going to be a (...drumroll....) college student again, I'm going to need to sharpen my writing skills, honing them to a fine point, have I any hopes to make the Dean's List and obtain any merit scholarships. And in the state of perpetual poverty our little family has recently sunk to, I'll be needing all the help I can get. Pell grants only go so far, and even if one of the many, many, MANY essays and other lottery-style scholarships I've applied to pan out, I'll still need a bit more butter for my bread. Or is it the other way around?

Sigh. I almost feel as though I'm at this massive anticlimactic crossroads, staring bleakly down one route, suspiciously down another, and longingly back behind me. Which is totally senseless- I have everything in the world to look forward to- I've just been screwing up ever so slightly as of late, which noticeably came to a head this Thanksgiving, and it's made me a bit hesitant of my abilities to carry on.

See, being in "recovery" is not like a sweet, green grassy plateau; no, rather it's a series of peaks and valleys, twists and turns, with brief respites of bliss here and there. And it's oh so easy to slip, no matter how many safeguards you think you've installed. I'm here to confess one of those slips. Maybe that'll get this nagging weight off my chest, this feeling of guilt slash shame slash defiance.

Because, see, I can rationalize it to the point where I say, "I didn't really slip- after all, those were prescribed medications!" But I know, and Lord knows everyone who witnessed the debacle knew, it was a full-blown relapse.

It all came about like this. I've been treated for depression and anxiety for most of this last year, plus been on a low dose of Methadone for just about forever. My doc is hesitant to take me off the Methadone before the depression gets stabilized, and I suppose I can see her point- if I'm in a danger zone of depression, I'd be more prone to doing something REALLY stupid. But anyway, after trying multiple SSRI's and SRNI's and tri-cyclic antidepressants-none of which did anything except deplete our bank account, this new one came out that my doc was really hot to trot on. Pristiq. Since I've only been on it a week now, I can't really tell you if it's the magic pill all the physicians are lauding it as, but what I can tell you is that there is one helluva interaction when taken at the same time as my regular dose of Methadone, plus a handful of Valium for nervousness. Oh boy.

See, the deal was to travel down to see the in-laws down in Boise- whom, by the way, I adore... in the seven or so years Tony and I have been together, we've never had any sort of problems. But, me being who I am, I want to be absolutely perfect- smooth-spoken, witty, urbane... you know. Plus, the perfect mother to the perfect two-year-old son. So out of my desire to be ultra-cool, calm and collected, I wolfed down a few Valium ten mg's along with the other two prescriptions. That's about the last thing I remember.

Apparently I slurred my words, trailed off in the middle of sentences, and staggered around like a drunken sailor. I literally had to be yelled at twice to pull my head up off my Thanksgiving dinner plate (that part, unfortunately, I remember). More company arrived- by that time I had been stuck in the corner of the sofa with a blanket over me- and they stared at me curiously, probably thinking I had just had too much to drink. All in all, it was a total humiliation that I wish I could just rewind time and undo.

It was so bad Tony's sister actually called my mother and my aunt and asked if this was an ongoing thing- worried, of course, about my ability to care for Jameson. They assured her it was not, that I was a fabulous mother, but there would definitely be a major intervention asap.

We all sat down Sunday morning and talked about the whole deal. I explained how surprised I was to have gotten to be in that bad of shape that easily- after all, back in the day I'd chug hydros by the dozen, snort oxy 40's or 80's, and pop a few Xanax just to make sure I'd really feel it. But of course my body's tolerance is way different now, and besides that, things became even a bit more clear after we hopped on and used their interactions checker for those three meds- BIG exclamation points next to all. Warnings of hypotension, slowed breathing and bradicardia (slowed heartbeat?), and all kinds of other symptoms I fit to a tee.

So I called my doctor's office the next day, and after explaining the situation, was advised to toss my Valium out (which was practically a full bottle before the Thanksgiving trip- it was supposed to be only in cases of emergency panic attacks) and take my Pristiq right before bed, my Methadone first thing in the morning. I've followed those instructions, and things have been fine ever since. On that level, anyway.

That is besides the destruction of trust in my family. My husband. My in-laws. The strange sour blend of feelings I myself am experiencing every five minutes or so... I mean, talk about dwelling on something- I can't seem to get those expressions of mixed disgust and empathy on my in-laws' faces out of my mind. Or the utter silence in the car on the ride back up. Or the fact that my husband now decided he wants to handle our bank account, and I can handle our Quest card (yeah, we're that broke.), when for the last five years, it's always been my job to pay the bills and balance the checkbook. I can count on one hand the amount of times it's gotten overdrawn in the last couple years, but boy, Tony can not only remember how many times, but also remembers the dates, the amounts and the fact that it was "all my fault".

But, as it always does, life goes on. I still go to church. I have a cool older lady who's sort of my mentor there, and I bawled on her shoulder for awhile last Sunday. I've been so geared up about getting INTO school, that now that I'm in, with my classes picked out and my award letter getting modified to put me at fulltime, I have nothing to do now on that angle except wait. Tony and I will straighten out our differences and probably end up having fabulous makeup sex sometime this week. My family will always love me, and my in-laws at least say they do... and I'm pretty sure I believe them. Trust can and will be rebuilt. So, as I said, life goes on.