lostinwords got a reaction from Hertz for a blog entry, Hello Df! Introduction
Like everyone here, I’m suffering from depression. My depression is situational depression/stress response syndrome, whatever you want to call it, spurred by my immobility and collapse of my future dreams.
Normally, my blog posts will be the ramblings of my inner soul or random silly things that brightened my day. Today, I will introduce the source of my pain and depression, a combination of severe physical pain and mental anguish.
Once upon a time…
I broke my back sitting down. I wish this was a joke, believe me.
One bright, unseasonably warm November morning, I found myself not able to roll over in bed. My back was sore the night before, but nothing like this. I tried again, succeeding, but followed by mind-shattering, painful spasms. I can only describe these spasms as a barbed icepick driving into my lower back and twisting my muscles into a tightly wound knot of muscles and nerves.
After a few minutes of convulsing in the bed, I told my husband to call 911. And I was lifted away on a plastic do-dad to the hospital in an ambulance.
Twelve hours in the ER and an MRI later, the ER doctors determined that I had a bulging disc that was on both sides of my spine, pressing down against the nerve roots of my legs. This bulge was preventing me from sitting, standing, or walking. While the bulge was not pressing much on my spinal cord, the ER doctor felt that I needed to stay at the hospital until the doctors felt that surgery was not needed.
Six days of pain killers, morphine, muscle relaxers, steroidal epidural injections, physical therapy, and several dozen nurses later, I was finally cleared to go home after I could walk 60 steps with a walker.
It’s been eight weeks since my stay at the hospital. And every week has been followed with three days of intensive physical therapy. I’ve also had six additional steroidal epidural injections. Today, I can sit for an hour and walk for two hours. It is a vast improvement from where I started, but I’m not healing as fast as everyone was hoping.
So, aside from my walking and other physical therapy exercises, I’m bed-bound. This wasn’t too bad for the first couple of weeks, but it’s been more than a month. And it looks like it’s going to be six months or more before I can go back to being “normal.”
But, this isn’t my first time having a back problem. The first time it was just subluxation fixed easily with chiropractic care. However, the doctors believe it is the same activity as the subluxation that caused this bulging disc to happen: excessive sitting.
Mind you, I’m not a superbly overweight or anything, but I did sit a lot. I worked at a call center; I was a full-time English student; I had four hours of homework almost every day. Between work and school and (heaven forbid) video games, I was sitting for 14 hours a day for the past six years.
So, even if I return to normal—I can’t go back to sitting. I did that the first time—took a month or so off of work—went back to sitting and life, and look where it got me. And that’s after keeping up with my previous back injury’s exercises.
So, what do I do? I earned an English degree, but I can’t go type for ten plus hours (or more) a day in a corporate office to meet deadlines. I can’t go teach, because that requires too much standing followed by waaaaay to many hours of sitting and grading (not to mention expensive certification). And I’m not a novelist, despite my intentions. And I’m terrified of grad school—not that I think that would get me anywhere at this point.
Sure, I could get a job online—but there are very few that pay decently. Fewer still that promise salaried positions.
What bothers me the most right now is that there are several job openings for content writers and copywriters where I live, and I can’t even drive to the office to pick up an application.
So, that’s me. I’m depressed because I can’t move, I can’t earn a living with my degree, and I don’t know if I ever will. The doctors all say my back injury will be recurring, as it has already demonstrated, so there will never be going back to being “truly” normal in the spine department. I will never be able to sit for long periods of time.
And guess what writers do? They sit. All day long. And I just can’t.
My Mental Anguish
So, I stare at this computer screen every night, scouring the interwebs for opportunities in a haze of pain killers, hoping to find a way to making my life work. I worked so hard. I had 3.7 in my major and 3.6 in my minor. I orchestrated special guest speakers to give lectures at my university. I was a runner up in a writing competition. I had several professors request to submit my papers to different organizations that I wrote on behalf of, like the NAMES project.
I just ache everywhere. What was the point of working so hard? I was working full time, going to school more than full time, helping my husband with his school and life choices, and dealing with all of my health problems so I could have the life I always wanted—to travel, to have fun, to have a house with a really, really big dog.
And now, I don’t even know if any of that is possible. How am I supposed to play with my giant mop dog when I am having problems walking—and may always have problems with walking? That fuzzy beastie can weigh up to 140 pounds—one bad jump on me, and I could be back in the hospital.
I’m really lost here. I’m trying to find something that I can do from home, but I have little computer programming or website management skills. I’m taking a couple classes online this semester to see if I can help myself for an online career, but I’m so tired of life and school. I just want to be done with school, with pain, and be on my merry way to Successland in Happy Valley, wherever that may be.
lostinwords reacted to bellbottoms for a blog entry, A Trillion Minds
So, for some reason I want to write. Ok, not for some reason. Because it seems glamorous to take walks in the forest at 6 am while still in my bath robe and then sit before a type writer with a mug of steaming hot coffee and perhaps a croissant after and then pop into the local book shop for research material and exchange pleasantries with the book keeper while riding a mobile ladder in a Belle-like fashion... Yes this is how I envision the glamourous life of a best selling author. (And mobile ladders, are there actually places IRL that have those and where are those places exactly?)
But where was I... There are so many things I want to say that it is impossible to keep track.
Well, today I sat down to look at one of my latest ideas and try to find, you know, the actual story. The stuff that happens. After having participated in Nanowrimo a couple of times I think it is safe to say I am a little wiser and a little more productive than I was before but have I learned how to come up with the pieces that make up a story, you know the events? Nuh uh. Still as clueless as ever.
Still I'm torn between that character that I have written three times but has no premise or story and that story that has goal but no conflict... I'm constantly stuck with this box with pieces from different puzzles. The great idea that lacks conflict and the conflict that lacks the great idea...
This isn't made better by the fact that the best way for me to get inspired at all to do something is by doing something else. I could be chrocheting and suddenly feel like writing a thing but it's so fleeting that it's best to keep crocheting and as soon as I drop the crochet hook the inspiration is also gone. It's not made better by the fact that my creative writer mind is less critical when I'm in bed and that thing that my inner editor was opposing that morning is suddenly not so terrible but you know I'm in bed can it wait until tomorrow? No it can't because then my inner editor is rested and finding faults in everything again!
I think it's time to crochet a bit.
lostinwords reacted to T on C for a blog entry, Another Sleepless Night's Musings
Welll, it's going on 3 AM and sleep is not in sight for this past day(s)
Watching/listening to Battleship, good effects but it's not soothing me. Debating on coffee at the moment, mind is racing unless I pin it to something. Welcome to mania...take a few pills and call me if you have any side effects. Thanks Pdoc.
Damn, wish I was normal, whatever that is. Although the crazy stuff came into my life later from all the pent up emotions, I'm still dealing with the Yin/Yang and trying to find balance. I know the feel, it's just the journey to get back there-that's the tricky part.
All that and I'm smitten by the girl from the stop & shop. Blonde sandy hair, green eyes...sigh. Smiling now, time to break.
lostinwords reacted to MoonbeamDusklight for a blog entry, A Load Off
Good Morning Everyone!
Well, posting my first blog yesterday did help to get a lot of crap off my chest. I woke up with a heavy heart this morning (as I have the last few days), but it wasn't as bad. Even if no one reads or comments (which I hope that someday people will), it felt good to get it all out.
Yesterday a random memory popped into my head. My grandfather passed away 11 years ago, and I remember as I was walking out of the church with the rest of the procession, the priest was shaking people's hands. He shook mine and said "your grandfather was so proud of you". I lost it. I started crying my eyes out. Every time I think about that, I start to well up - even now as I type it. That was the last time someone said they were proud of me.
I'm not looking to be given a cookie for every little thing I do, but every now & then if I do something significant or overcome a hurdle, it would be nice to hear.
Husband loves me, but isn't the best with emotional stuff. He has a short fuse, so we've had fights about really dumb stuff. He's not outwardly encouraging or comforting, although I do believe he does wish that for me. If that all makes sense.
Anyway, time to head to a doctor's appointment, and then to work.
lostinwords reacted to Dolphin2013 for a blog entry, Happy New Year [Trigger Warnings: Suicide, Binge Eating, Sexual Issues]
This morning, I'm up before everyone else and there is not a thought in my head about suicide. When I was 17, I slit my wrists on New Years Day. I was strangely detached and happy at the thought of doing it. I had hidden a razor blade and set a kind of deadline: There was this man--he was much older than me and he was trying to arrange a threesome--if he didn't call on New Years Eve to invite me to this, that's kind of the initiation sequence. If he had called, I would have postponed slitting my wrists, but that was all.
My mom and brother were home. I sat in my room and made two cuts. They weren't very deep, but it was interesting to see how the blood flowed. I felt very little emotion at that point. My mom knocked and came in and I held up my wrists and that shocked her into taking action. We went to the emergency room, saw a psychiatric doctor for intake and spent the next day at a facility where they did more intake.
No one put me on anti-depressive medication; they only put me into talk therapy. I was scared of group therapy, so they had me see a doctor once a week. His name was Dr. Cho; he did not speak English very well. He would tell me that I had to be "more socialized." I think I saw him regularly for a couple of years, then began working full time and said goodbye.
Today, is a new year's day and I feel good. Of course, I'm over 40 years past that time, so long ago, but I remember how I felt: I couldn't do anything. I felt miserable all the time. And when I wasn't feeling miserable, I was just blank. The only activities I engaged in were binge-eating (canned pasta) and having sex with strangers for the most part. I had one or two friends, was still in high school and nothing interested me. When I first told my mother about my feelings of depression, she took me to a psychologist in her H.M.O. and that person also recommended group therapy (hey, it was the '70s and that's what they did back then) and that was less expensive. I did not want to do group therapy, although I thought I might if I ended up institutionalized. My mom, a divorced working mother did not or could not spare the money.
So I think the only thing I could do was force her hand.
There was once a point not too long after that when I was also hitting bottom. I went on a trip with a small amount of money, convinced that as I hitchhiked across the country, I would be raped and killed. I wanted an end to the feeling of being trapped inside my mind which insisted I was stupid and useless.
Instead, someone offered me a job and I stayed put.
Depression never left me, but I have different ways to cope now. I have my meds. I love them. They help my brain turn things around for me. I have my family and my therapist. And friends.
And I am so grateful to this forum. Here I learn so much from all of you and I feel accepted into a community that knows exactly where I've been and what I have gone through.