"In every dance no steps are placed / And every path mistakes are made"

And if all paths lead but to the grave
Then let us dance along our way “

[Faith and The Muse, Scars Flown Proud]

I did it.

I went there, escorted by my faithful supporter, my wonderfully patient husband, and I waited for more than an hour to see the doctor. I had the usual weight taken [about the same], pulse [excellent], and blood pressure [120/80]. I was told that I am the appearance of health, as I usually am told. I leaned over to Rob while we were alone in the exam room and said, “Not bad for a fat, depressed girl, eh?” Yep, my humour never leaves me, even when I’m nervous.

Finally the Good Doc came in. She’s a funny one – spunky, small, quick-witted. I like her a great deal, which is saying quite a lot, considering my past experiences with doctors. She asked me what was wrong, and I took a deep breath and dove right in.

  • unmotivated
  • sad, yet often numb
  •  sometimes anxious
  • feeling worthless
  • crying uncontrollably sometimes
  • nothing is exciting, in fact I care about very little most of the time
  • small things seem much too important, in comparison
  • body tired, soul tired
  • often despairing

Yep. Depressed. I also confessed that this was keeping me away from other people, because interactions left me happy while they were happening – but not soon after parting, I would crash, hard. It made it difficult to want to be around people. Anyone who knows me knows that I thrive on people, so this is definitely a departure for me.

I left with a bag of Cymbalta 30mg samples – a month’s worth – some advice that she knew I already knew about getting out and moving around, and the feeling that maybe for once I’d done the right thing. The weight of all of this has been, as Rob accurately pointed out, like an albatross around my neck, and I feel so much lighter already.

So I also noticed a few things – side effects – and I decided that I’ll chronicle those here, and use a small bit of this space to keep an eye on changes. It might also prove educational for someone else, I figure.

I took my first pill at 11pm on March 18th. The first night, I felt giddy-tipsy, like I was drunk, and amorous.

The next”morning”, around 4pm on March 19th, I felt tremors in my hands, but otherwise felt fine, until I sat down  to eat my first meal. I had half a small glass of OJ, which I used to take my Repliva iron pill, and two bites of a bland cereal with soy milk – and I was gripped with a terrible stomach pain out of nowhere, similar to when I was getting the vomitus issue all the time. I was pretty shocked and a little frightened, because the LAST thing I want to do is start the cyclical vomiting again!

I went to the bathroom and tried to will away the nausea and pain, and eventually it did go away, about 20 minutes later. I was also experiencing severe hot and cold flashes, and they lingered after the nausea subsided. In fact, I stayed cold for a good part of the day.

I was afraid to eat anything, and in fact didn’t eat again until about 8:30pm. I seemed fine to eat and had no problems. I have continued to feel pretty… high, and in a good mood. Also, I’ve been twitchy – my hands, my fingers. I can’t sit still.

I took my pill again at 11pm. We’ll see if I get nauseated again. I’ll be documenting.

I write, as openly as possible, about my experiences with life, love, creativity, depression and not-depression. I share opinions. I promote compassion and change. I talk about music. I also write poetry and short stories. I like to share them here.

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When you think on it / we're all souls in isolation

” I’m alive in here
I’m alive

We’re always searching for something
Searching”

[The Chameleons UK – Soul In Isolation]

In this entry, I’m going to tell you a not-secret, and a secret to balance that.

If you know me, really know me, you know what this not-secret is – I’ve been suffering from depression for a very long time. It comes and goes, and sometimes is mixed with strong feelings of anxiety, or mania. Sometimes I get both anxious and despairing at once; sometimes I will just be unable to move, overcome with sadness or ennui or just a bland melancholy.

The point my mentioning this isn’t to elicit sympathy or offer excuses. It isn’t  to get advice or even to tell a story, exactly. It is to put us all on the same page, and to set the stage for the secret part of this.

I’ve known that I’ve been depressed for a very long time – since at least 20 years. I thought at first that it was just a symptom of the situations that I found myself in, a funk brought on by trying times. Later, I realized that these episodes were coming more frequently, and often with bigger stakes. I used to call them my “nervous breakdowns.” The episodes have made me sick at times, and in the past couple of years I’ve become more and more removed from my friends. Yes, I moved away – but I’ve also withdrawn. It has become harder and harder to go out and do things with people, and when I do, I always “crash” afterward, having a terrible depressive episode. In fact, any very happy moment is usually followed by a big crash – part of why I thought I was bipolar, rather than just depressed.

Here’s the thing – I’ve never been diagnosed, and I’ve resisted meds. I’m terrified that I’ll get put on some drug that will knock out vital parts of me – the parts that feel strongly, the parts that make me happy as well as so sad… I’ve seen it before, I know it can happen, and I fear it greatly. There’s also the fear that my precious and hard-won sexuality will be knocked for a loop, another side effect that I know is quite possible.

However.

I can’t do this without help anymore. I’ve been working so hard, trying so hard… and lately it seems to just be worse, almost unbearable. My husband, who is so incredibly supportive of me, has convinced me to go talk to my doctor. [an aside – this is the first doctor I’ve trusted in a very long time, so I feel comfortable with this aspect.]  On Tuesday I’m going there – with Rob in tow, for support – to start the conversation that I’ve avoided for so long.

That’s the secret. I’ve never sought treatment of any kind for this problem until now.

… That was easier to talk about than I feared it might be. Hopefully it will go this well with my doctor.

I know this isn’t groundbreaking at all for millions  of other people out there with similar problems – but to me, it is. Thanks for letting me tell you.

I write, as openly as possible, about my experiences with life, love, creativity, depression and not-depression. I share opinions. I promote compassion and change. I talk about music. I also write poetry and short stories. I like to share them here.

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I am carrying this scrap of paper/That can crack the darkest sky wide open

” Every burden taken from me
Every night my heart unfolding
My home”

[Hem, Half Acre]

I’ve been keeping journals since high school.

At first, they were filled with the sorts of mundane things that one would expect to find from a girl of that age – dreams of the future mixed with crushes on boys who wouldn’t give me the time of day. I might have written about music, and definitely I wrote terrible short stories that I would never share with anyone.

Later, they still held my confessional outbursts about crushes and love and heartbreak, plus my feelings of inadequacy blended together with the feeling that I could take on the world. Oh, teenage years, you were so contrary!

It wasn’t until I was 20 and living in Ocean City, Maryland for the Summer when things started to really take a dark turn. I was depressed and didn’t know it, I thought I was having a “nervous breakdown” but it seems that all the partying I was doing to escape my fundamental unhappiness with myself and my life were finally too much to bear. It was one of the few times that I felt truly suicidal, and I thank my stars every day that I have never been that low again. My journal caught all of this, held it close and mutely listened to my pain while saving it for introspection at a later date.

I used my journals to finally break free of the abusive relationship that I allowed myself to be trapped into, after I came home from O.C. – writing about the spiraling descent of abusive behaviour, being able to see the patterns emerge again and again – it finally, truly helped me break free. It was one of the most difficult things I’ve ever had to do, because I was so afraid of the consequences – but those journals stood witness, they said in no uncertain terms that This Will Not Stop Until You Take A Stand. They possibly saved my life, and all because of my own words captured there.

My journal witnessed the changes in my life for the better: jobs that gave me the due I deserved, my growth into being bold enough again to take the stage again and sing… learning to DJ and taking over my all-time favourite radio show on FM radio, Subculture Shock, then being gifted management of weekly goth/industrial club night, The Dawning – both of which I also give credit to for helping to save me, but that’s another post. I fell in love, laughed and argued and experienced, and then moved on to the marriage that I’m in now with my delightful, caring husband. My journal caught that all.

I still have every journal. Some have watermarks from tears, or rain. Some look haggard, and others are relatively pristine. Almost all of them were never filled from cover to cover, as I have a bad habit of starting a new book when my life takes a serious change. If you look inside them, you’ll find ephemera from my life at those moments, like ticket stubs and stickers and pieces of paper with sketches. I stack them on a bookshelf and they make an untidy pile, uneven sizes and shapes and colours, but that’s okay. That’s my life.

I hope to keep a journal for the rest of my life. I hope the words keep coming, and the experiences merit being cataloged… but even if they’re not worthy, I’ll still write about them. This is my life, and this is how I understand myself.

I write, as openly as possible, about my experiences with life, love, creativity, depression and not-depression. I share opinions. I promote compassion and change. I talk about music. I also write poetry and short stories. I like to share them here.

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and it feels like love/ got the radio on/ and it's all that we need

[Psychedelic Furs, Heartbreak Beat]

So I realize that my posts have been maudlin at best, and I should both elaborate, and labour to fix that.

My ever-observant husband put it best: Ladies and Gentlemen, at the ripe old age of 41, I’ve broken up with the “goth scene.” *pours a bottle of absinthe for my spookies*

Quite seriously, I’m going through something I dislike greatly… I’m at one of those crossroads where my life’s taking a turn [metaphor cliché figure of speech]  and I’ve already made huge changes that happened without me really dealing with them, I guess. When I moved here to the bottom of NC, I knew a lot was changing, even more than it had in the past two years, but I didn’t expect to find myself shifting in fundamental identity. I was strongly identified with serving the music, with being a creative person who shaped her life and activities around rock’n’roll and nightlife and bringing music to eager listeners. Two things changed that: moving a bit too far away from active clubs/audiences, and my growing inability to be around smoke-filled environments. In September I grew ill enough that I foresee only no-smoking venues in my future for the rest of my life.

It became harder to care, honestly, because it hurt. I stopped actively listening to music that I couldn’t sing with, new bands stopped appealing to me – and of course, as a non-working DJ, my access to new music dropped. It was a circle that fed itself.

Add to this a need to create my own business and steady income, and immersion in a new community – the Etsy community –  and I was trying hard to keep busy, to build something new of myself or at least put different parts of myself together to assemble a different image with the same puzzle pieces.

It’s been good, don’t get my wrong. I’m growing, I’m finding that slowly but surely I’m becoming happier here and happier in this new life. Being with Rob helps, too, because he is so excellent to me. But I’m stuck in this task… stuck in trying to create a new direction for myself that I can throw myself into. I need crusades, I need Big Goals, I need to feel important in some way outside of myself. Maybe that’s a failing on my part, but I do.  Rob pointed out that I need to feel like I’m in the limelight, and that’s true. I mean, I was a theater/dance college major-type. I’m used to doing amazingly fun things that everyone wants to do with their lives. It’s a little humbling to be a housewife, even though I am also an entrepreneur.

So there you have it, a little view into what’s been going on here in XianeLand. I’m looking now to get a grip on what direction I would like to head in, and with the increase in sunny hours and perhaps even a talk to some professional-types, the doldrums should pass soon.

I write, as openly as possible, about my experiences with life, love, creativity, depression and not-depression. I share opinions. I promote compassion and change. I talk about music. I also write poetry and short stories. I like to share them here.

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And would you carry the torch for me?

And now the torch
And shadows lead
Were it not so black and not so hard to see
How can it help you when you don’t know what you need
How can anybody set you free?”

[Sisters of Mercy, Torch]

You know what hurts the most about leaving something/someone you loved behind? When you are forgotten in return.

I left, but I never forgot. I passed along the torch, but I didn’t expect to be discarded like carrying it never mattered.

I write, as openly as possible, about my experiences with life, love, creativity, depression and not-depression. I share opinions. I promote compassion and change. I talk about music. I also write poetry and short stories. I like to share them here.

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My whole world stands in front of me/By the look in your eyes

[David Sylvian, Brilliant Trees]

Self-serving, this exercise in writing – as it always has been, of course, since the first days of secreting away my hesitant teenage scribbles about classes and desires and despair and unbridled dreams that were based in the barest understanding of what I truly wanted. I understand that, and although I welcome my friends and others to read my words and share their comments, I write for my own reasons, first and foremost.

And what are those reasons? Self-exploration, transcribing my personal history, spilling the untidy contents of my mind… a small light in the darkness, a soft call into silence, a hand reaching out to say, “Here I am. Here, this is me.”

Like a self-portrait, it is an indulgence that might look egotistical from the outside – and perhaps it is. But I tell you this: I learn about me from every photo I take of myself. I learn from every note I transcribe from the unruly thoughts that tumble through my brain. And yes, I do call out to you… Here I am. Here. This is me.

I write, as openly as possible, about my experiences with life, love, creativity, depression and not-depression. I share opinions. I promote compassion and change. I talk about music. I also write poetry and short stories. I like to share them here.

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she stands twelve feet above the flood

still seeing worlds that never were
and one by one the bright birds leave her…

[The Cure, The Drowning Man]

Night time is the hardest when I’m alone. I’m strong, I know I am – I’ve done my damnedest to keep the grey at bay, to keep my head high as much as possible. However, just as I tell him all the time… he’s the brightest star in my sky, my blanket of calm reassurance, the strong wall I can lean on. All those clichés, but I knew when I first fell in love with him that those clichés were made for him.

Have you ever met someone with whom you just knew to be the one you’d been waiting for? That’s how I was when Rob and I met. Our relationship deepens every day, and I am so very grateful to have found him, grateful for his love.

So you can see why for someone like me, someone who already struggles with depression, being apart can be so difficult. I’ll get through, but this time of night has always been the worst for these feelings.

If only sleep would come…

I write, as openly as possible, about my experiences with life, love, creativity, depression and not-depression. I share opinions. I promote compassion and change. I talk about music. I also write poetry and short stories. I like to share them here.

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A test of sorts, couched in a celebration.

I wanted to test my ability to post to my site from Flickr, and what better way than to use a photo of the yarn I sold today! [Even better, it’s the second skein I sold to the lovely Maria, who is gifting it. How wonderful!]

I called this Frou Frou Foxes, and every time I say the name I start singing Cocteau Twins songs. I have another skein currently up for sale called “Excellent Birds” and I get the same sort of reaction from that!

I’m so silly, I really am.

I write, as openly as possible, about my experiences with life, love, creativity, depression and not-depression. I share opinions. I promote compassion and change. I talk about music. I also write poetry and short stories. I like to share them here.

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Oh you see the light it's coming through…

It’s there in the distance
Always offered to me
Always coming over a hill

Mr. Murphy, always with the appropriate words.  *tips my figurative hat*

I’m getting things comfortable here now, getting used to using WordPress. I like it! It’s nice to not have to code everything by hand, although actually all the tweaking I’ve been doing has almost all been by hand. Oh, irony.

I have not been to sleep tonight. There’s a big community meeting in the Etsy Virtual Labs today that I don’t want to miss, and unfortunately because of my usual sleeping schedule, it falls rather smack in the midst of my “night” time. I could have tried to take a nap, but I slept poorly the night before and had only a nap to sustain me anyway… so I decided to tough it out. I can power through. It isn’t like I’ve been through worse, sleep-wise – the last year of my time in Charlottesville is testimony to that!

So to switch subjects a bit… I’m sure if you’re here and you know me, you’re wondering why I abandoned LiveJournal and and possibly other places as THE place to blog. It’s like this:

  • I haven’t been using xiane.org to the potential it deserves
  • I’m tired of some of the baggage that LJ brings
  • I want to feel like I’m writing because I want to, not because I’m supposed to.

I feel bad, because I’ve neglected blogging at some of the more interesting places that I’ve been invited to be a part of, like Knitster – and I have been bad at keeping up with the EGCG blog, too. I haven’t written much in the way of “deep” writing, like poetry or insightful things, except for the few bits I have in my paper journal. I have a good writing voice and I have things to say – I need to explore that again, and in more detail. Perhaps writing here, with no expectations excepting what I set on myself, will free me.

We shall see, shan’t we?

I write, as openly as possible, about my experiences with life, love, creativity, depression and not-depression. I share opinions. I promote compassion and change. I talk about music. I also write poetry and short stories. I like to share them here.

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Hello world!

This might take a while to get used to.  O_O

[I just switched everything at xiane.org to WordPress, and it has been a tad frustrating – but fun!]

I write, as openly as possible, about my experiences with life, love, creativity, depression and not-depression. I share opinions. I promote compassion and change. I talk about music. I also write poetry and short stories. I like to share them here.

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