Friday, July 4, 2014

Taming the Beast

The long night of Debora ended mercifully when another sitter came in after five hours to relieve her.  Relieve me, too.  I feigned sleep soon after she arrived.  It did not matter much.  She was more interested in television, anyway.  Many of my sitters would be.  Between the television and smart phones, I enjoyed frequent breaks from well-intentioned sitters attempting to save me. While they engaged in their own pastimes.   I owe so much solitude to Candy Crush Saga, it is not even funny.   

When my sitter left in the morning, she was replaced by one carrying a scrabble board.  The day marked the first occasion I declined a Scrabble challenge.  This was not to be a day of fun at all.   I was to endure three unpleasant encounters, each progressively tougher.  As with the previous night, I was assessing the situation as it went along and becoming more convinced the situation was going to become worse by the day.  Maybe even the hour.

 My first encounter was Paulette, who made good on her pomise to see me in the morning.  I suspect she was just being dramatic about sitters keeping me alive or some such, but a promise is a promise, no?  This was the first time anyone would needle me about who I had talked to on December 12th.  I insisted she not be dragged into this.  Jane Doe had no idea--I hoped--and it needed to stay that way.  I finally compromised on the issue.  I would talk to dr. Hiatt about what happened.  If he thought keeping the secret was healthy, then tough luck for everyone but me. 

The second was with the nurse practitioner, Michelle.  The last time we talked, she attempted to sell me on antidepressants.  I was already on the countdown towards suicide on top of my aversion to medicating myself in general, so I was not cooperative.  By this point, I had lost the bargained power I once possessed.  Michelle was soon departing for another position elsewhere, so she lost any need to be polite.  I know I am beating a dead horse by saying so at this point, but things were becoming worse by the hour. 

Michelle was the first person to my depression as more than feeling down for a day or two over something bad happening.  She also suggested I suffered from anxiety.  One conspicuous evidence was biting fingernails.  I noted as she said that I was nibbling on my ring finger nail and stopped.  It burns when someone has more insight on me than myself.  I was also holding a pillow in front of me.  I later learned this was considered symbolic of putting up barriers.  Once I was told sarcasm was a deflection, I began to suspect I was one, big neurosis in a pair of Reeboks.  

Michele assured me taking antidepressants would give me the same boost as eating chocolate after a rough day.  Truth be told, I could not relate.  I had a feeding tube because because I did not want to eat.  But I knew where she was coming from, so I gave her that one.  I knew I was going to have to take some medication or I would wind up in a psych ward.  I did not appreciate the less than subtle threat, nor did I like her yelling at me that I had to start talking to people or else.  Demanding I open up while shaking a bottle of brain chemical altering medication over my head  is not the best way to get me to talk.

To her credit, I think Michelle realized my independent will was not going to bend that way.  She changed her tactic to a mantra I had heard numerous times since arriving at Oakhaven.  Why will I not play Bingo?  Would I not like to shop?  Would I not like to go out to eat?  Did I not want to go to any place activities planned trips or did I not want to hang out with old people/”

 “Yes,” was my answer to the last question.

My sarcastic nature wanted to make a I have heard of living to shop, but this is ridiculous joke about the shopping trips changing my mind about suicide, but I held off.  Self-discipline is a good thing.  My self-discipline solidified when I answered Michele’s question of whether I would like to talk to Jane Doe again with the declaration I would go to a psych ward before I would reveal who she was.

 I was definitely on guard here, but I was sympathetic to Michelle, too.  She could not have me roaming around oak haven with a suicide kit handy anytime I felt I had been pushed too far.  I had to throw her a bone in order to get everyone off my back long enough to think.  I still had trepidations about antidepressants.  It was necessary to express them.

“There are potential side effects, including possible psychosis.”  I said.

“Every drug has side effects.  Antidepressants may make you worse.  But we are going to monitor it,” she told me.
“Do you remember a few years ago in Connecticut when a woman’s pet chimpanzee went on a rampage, bit her neighbor’s face off, and had to be shot by police?  His owner had given him Xanax.” 

To this day, I will never know why I brought that up.  I have never in my life made a more paralogical statement.  It still burns me.  Michelle simply nodded as thought that was an interesting fact, but she could have lived without knowing it.  Today was not one of my better days.    I did have one key point to add.

“People on antidepressants off themselves all the time.”

“That’s true,” she agreed.

We negotiated down to the smallest dose that could still be effective.  It literally was the dosage equivalent to eating a piece of chocolate after a bad day.  The dosage counted as little more than a boost.  In hindsight, I assume there was an intention to increase the medication after I was comfortable the effects were not going to turn me into an emotionless zombie unable.  But I will never know.  A doctor took over treatment a week and a half later.  He was far less sympathetic to my feelings about everything.  I had to ditch him.  But I am jumping ahead. 

The third and final encounter was with Dr. Hiatt.  He opened his office up at eight PM that night in order to see me as soon as possible.  I had not been counseled by him since October.  I had not been completely revealing in regards to what I was thinking at the time.  Bringing my suicide kit into his office--twice--demonstrated that.  I had no idea what to expect, so I was completely on guard.

I spelled out the entire narrative that has taken me 27,000 words to do over the last month.  I relayed the whole story in mere minutes, too.  You lucky ducks hyave had to waste far more precious time.  In no way was there going to be a quick fix for this mess, so I knew nothing would be resolved that night.  It is a good thing, too.  I had no idea how to handle all the personal attention period, much less the pointed interests in dark thoughts I never had any intention of sharing with anyone.  I was not even going to leave a note.  I assumed the puzzle could be pieced together before my corpse even turned cold.

The broad picture was I had nothing worth living for, and my health would keep me from enjoying any shred of a normal, happy life I managed to obtain, which was highly unlikely at this point.  Maybe death was not the answer, but life was not even one of the options as far as I was concerned.  Where was god in all this?  Absentee landlord was the best answer I could give.  I was suffering a spiritual crisis because my environment was overwhelming me.   Working through such a morass requires a spiritual push.  I was not getting one.

Or was I?  One of the few things I volunteered was that Corrie Ten Boom had been on my mind lately.  I had read her autobiographical book, The Hiding Place, nearly twenty years prior in tenth grade.  Ten boom was a Dutch woman whose  family hid Jews from the Nazis in occupied Netherlands.  Her family was arrested and sent to Ravensbruck concentration camp.  All but Corrie perished.  Before she died, corrie’s sister told her to look for the blessing in every calamity, such as the fleas in her cell keeping guards away from her.  Corrie’s faith never wavered.  It is inspiring, considering she believed she was doing god’s will by saving his chosen people, but lost everything because she did.  Corrie never considered God an absentee landlord.  Or at least she never wrote it down, the cynic in me says.

Dr. Hiatt believed God had reintroduced Corrie into my life for the first time since high school.  I was not certain at the time what lesson to take away from it at the time.  Nor was I convinced I was really depressed.  Surprisingly, Dr. hiatt agreed, but suggested I accept the boost from medication.  I had to ask, in not depression, then what is my problem?  He suggested a lack of grace.  His answer opened the door to the most interesting explorations into my spiritual, emotional, and mental well-being upon which I have ever embarked. 

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