Friday, May 29, 2009

Although I have been battling the depression since early 2006, each time I experience a flare-up, there are some things that remain constant and others that are different. For instance, last summer, I was sleeping all of the time. Deep sleep. I was exhausted, and I would have to force myself awake and up and out of bed. This time around, I'm not sleeping. I don't even remember the last time that I had a good night's sleep. I think it might have been two weeks ago. Since then, I have been unable to fall asleep much before four in the morning, and my sleep has been restless and frequently interrupted. I stay in bed far longer than I should, far longer than all of the experts suggest, in the hopes that I may find some peace in several continuous hours of sleep. But it hasn't happened. It's very common for people with depression to experience sleeping problems. It's also common for them to reverse their waking and sleeping hours, finding their most comfortable, productive time during the overnight, while spending the daylight hours under the covers. I'm caught in that cycle right now, and I would love nothing better than to change it.

Meanwhile, I am beginning to experience frustration from people in my life. My parents, mostly. Having done a lot to try and help me get better last summer, they are finding it more difficult to provide that same level of support this summer. My mother is the worst. I'm not really sure what's going on with her, but she has been distant and cold toward me since she returned from three weeks spent in Chicago following the birth of my niece. I don't know what kinds of things were talked about between my sister and her husband and my mother, but it seems that from the moment she got off the plane, she was giving me a hard time about just about everything. Unfortunately, it was shortly after she arrived home that I became depressed again. Whether or not it's a causal relationship is unclear. For years, I put up with what I can honestly say was "emotional abuse," beginning during my teenage years when a young man typically experiences a separation from his mother. But I managed to work through it, and I tried to build a decent relationship with her. And it has been decent at times. For instance, when she came back to Pittsburgh from Florida last November to help me get back on my feet when I was going through a particularly difficult time with the depression. But now she feels as though she has done her part, and she doesn't want to provide the help that I need right now to keep going while the depression tries to drag me down. I really hope that I am not at the point now where my depression fluctuates according to my relationship with my mother (read: I just want my mommy to love me.). But it's clear that something has happened to her to cause her to want little to do with my depression. That leaves my father as the understanding one, and you may remember from posts written last summer that my father is old school and has a tendency to think that if I just "pull myself up by the bootstraps," then I can beat this thing. My father is retired, and he still gets up at six every morning. He certainly can't understand how and why I would spend the day in bed. I don't know. I feel like I've just skimmed the surface of these issues with my parents, but it's so complicated and in many ways, hard to put into words. We all have issues with our parents, right? But for all of the years that I was able to deal with those issues (probably by internalizing them, rather than dealing with them in a healthy manner), now I seem particularly vulnerable to them. And I know that thinking about them is making me feel worse, making me sicker. But when I'm lying in bed and I can't sleep, my mind naturally starts to ruminate over them. As an adoptee, it's almost a given that I would have abandonment issues. But now they really seem to be haunting me.

Friday, May 22, 2009

I have not written anything recently because I have been very, very ill. I am glad that my vast readership feels compelled to write comments. I appreciate them, even the ones with which I may not agree. I would like to say a few things about my depression. Despite my attempts to be honest about my condition and how I'm feeling, I tend to leave out many details of just how bad it is. I do not like drama or hyperbole, and I am a very guarded person by nature. But I am a very sick man. And despite the work by mental health professionals to help me get better, I have only experienced periods of feeling somewhat "normal." But even then, I can tell that there is something "not quite right" with me. And then the depression comes back. And I can't figure out whether it is caused by something, some trigger. Or could it be caused by a medication issue. Regardless, it comes back. And when it does, I am so sick. Physically, as I've said before, I feel like I have a bad case of the flu. Mentally, my head is so tied up in knots that there are times when I can't even form a coherent thought. And what some of the professionals with whom I've spoken about my condition tell me is that people with severe depression like mine commonly think about or even attempt to kill themselves. Throughout this ordeal, I have maintained the attitude that that is not even an option. I know what it's like to live a happy life, and I want so desperately to return to that. But it's getting harder and harder to convince myself that that is a possibility, with so many setbacks. I feel like my life is passing me by, and my days are often so unpleasant that I would rather just sleep through them altogether. And I used to be a person who tried to enjoy every day as much as I could. But now I'm just so sick. And I'm growing very weary of it. I just can't imagine this as being the way my life is going to be. I find myself wondering whether I would want to live a life where suffering from depression is my baseline. I don't think that I can do it. It's just so awful. And my condition is affecting the people in my life who I love and value, and I feel so horribly because they have to deal with me like this. For the most part, they have demonstrated patience and love. But as the depression lingers on, I know that strains are being put on those relationships. But sadly, I am in no condition to do anything about them. I usually feel worse than I even let on, because I know that most people can't fully grasp the magnitude of my illness. But no matter what your opinions about or knowledge about depression, I can tell you this: I feel worse than you think I feel.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

I can't sleep. It is very frustrating. The last few days have been frustrating. Unfortunately, I have been experiencing another depressive episode, this one as a result of a change in medication that didn't turn out so good for me. I started to feel sluggish last Thursday, and that continued on Friday and Saturday. By Sunday, I was in full-blown depression. I spent most of Sunday in bed sleeping. For me, depression tends to manifest itself as a severe case of flu-like symptoms. And when I have a bad case of the flu, I usually stay in bed. So I did that Sunday, and then Monday I slept all day, suffering from intermittent chills and hot spells throughout the day. But then on Tuesday, although I stayed in bed, I was not sleeping, but rather tossing and turning restlessly for most of the afternoon. Then when I went to bed Tuesday night, I really couldn't sleep at all, and that continued through much of Wednesday. I dozed off a few times, but I never really fell into a deep sleep. Wednesday night, after a very pleasant night over at FF's house watching the season finale of "Lost," I came home, watched some TV, read for a little while, and went to bed shortly after 2:00. But I have been lying in bed since then, completely unable to get even close to sleep, and not feeling particularly tired. So, here I am, writing a blog when I would much rather be sleeping, albeit not all daylong. I am feeling better than I was a couple of days ago, with the flu-like symptoms starting to fade. But I want to sleep. Sleep.

Friday, May 8, 2009

It did not rain yesterday. I still can't believe it.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

So, last night I went to my first Pirate game of the season. In fact, since I didn't go to a single game last season, it was my first game since sometime during the 2007 season. It was also my father's first game of the season. It was pretty fucking miserable. It was a cold night, and it drizzled throughout the game, causing no more than one-third of the paid attendance of 9,775 to actually attend the game. It was the smallest crowd for a Pirate game that I've gone to. The stands of PNC Park were just empty, with many of those there leaving their seats on the field for shelter from the rain in the concourses. The Pirates played with their usual lack of talent against a much better team in the Milwaukee Brewers, who easily won the game 8-5, marking the 17th game in a row that the Brewers have defeated the Pirates, the longest such streak since 1970.

The only "good" thing that happened at the game was when the Brewers Ryan Braun hit a pop-up foul ball into the stands and headed right for where we were sitting. A fellow sitting in the row in front of us attempted to catch the ball, but it bounced off of his hands and landed in the empty row behind where I was sitting. So, I just turned around in my seat and grabbed the ball. In all of my years attending Pirate games, it was the first foul ball that I've ever gotten. A small consolation, given the miserable conditions of the whole experience.

Monday, May 4, 2009

All things considered, I was able to get a pretty good night's sleep on Saturday night. I did wake up once while the police and tow trucks were doing their thing, but that may have been because I had to go to the bathroom. Other than that, I didn't feel disturbed. Welcome back, Dick's Pittsburgh Marathon!