#351: GIT

This week has been a difficult one to handle. It is not the first one recently that has been hard to take, but it is the hardest so far.

Suddenly, it feels strange to share this here, even though I have done so over and over. I have been avoiding talking about, thinking about, feeling this anxiety and/or depression, and now it wants to stay where I've squashed it.

I watch television. I write weblog entries about my cat. I go hungry so that I can feel myself, even if it is only my throat and stomach, and then I indulge in comfort foods to fix what I feel. I soak in hot baths. I read crap literature. I leave moving e-mails from friends unanswered, because if I reply to them, I will have to access more emotions, and pathos is exhausting. I feel like a rope that is frayed at both ends.

I tend to skim along the surface of things when depression comes home. I know that I wrote about this sort of thing just a month ago, and I have been digging the trenches of denial ever since. Now that it is autumn, I can no longer avoid the obvious. Autumn is the season when all hope fails and some unnamed thing inside me whittles itself down with worry about the dimming of the sun. It seems so unnecessarily dramatic, but there it is.

There was a period of my life in my early to mid twenties when I went to a short string of psychiatrists, each of who diagnosed me with a different illness and prescribed a different drug for me to ease my psychological discomfort. One drug left me nearly catatonic, another turned my urine green and made my heart race, and another had little to no effect at all. I quit the medications and the psychiatrists until I was twenty-seven. Then, after going through an extended period of intense anxiety, I decided to give medication another go. This time, it seemed to work alright, but going off it after a year turned me into an hallucinatory, paranoid, and deeply physically exhausted mess of off-beat physical and mental reactions. After that, I swore that I would not go down that pharmaceutical road again, but I am not so sure about that now.

My mental health issues usually revolve around the seasons. Late fall, winter, and early to mid spring are the worst times, and late spring to early fall are when I feel most functional. This year has not been like that. I waited for my spring anxiety to wear itself down, but it never really did. In fact, it just sort of plateaued, fluctuated up and down along a median line, and never really left. What this means is that the depression that doesn't usually hit me until late October that is already being felt now is much stronger than usual as it is being compounded by the already underlying anxiety.

Firstly, may I say yuck. Honestly.

Secondly, I tend to be an alarmist and jump to the conclusion that I am going stark raving mad, which has never happened. This is a fear without base. I have been all kinds of mad, but stark raving is not one of them.

Thirdly, I forget every month how affected I am by yo-yoing hormones. I have not been on the pill in years due to certain annoying side effects, but it did even out these wild depressions to an extent. This may explain some things about the last couple of years.

Fourthly, and it just occurred to me now, git that I am, that I have not yet started taking my customary seasonal round of St. J0hn's W@rt. Hi, my name is Schmutzie, and I'm a git. I usually start taking it in late August to ward off just this problem I am having. Why didn't I, you ask. Why didn't I?! Have you not been picking up what I'm laying down? I'm a git for heaven's sake.

Now I'm feeling much better. After work, I will head to the store, pick up the W@rt, go home, and take two. I will buy comfort food and sit on the couch and watch movies, and feel good about it, because when I have the hope of the W@rt, the comfort food doesn't have to be about filling holes. I will pick up some decent literature and treat my brain to something meatier than the pap I've been feeding it. I will not overanalyze why it is that I completely overlooked this yearly ritual to bolster my mental health. I will just think Git and leave it at that.

If you made it this far, thank you for holding my hand and walking me through to the simple realization of my gitness. If we all reached out and helped our fellow humans this way, if we could all learn to embrace and own our gitness, one of the great common denominators across humankind, the world would be a better place. Amen.

Now the summer perch flips twice and glides
a lateral fathom at the first cold rain,
the surface near to silver from a frosty hill.
Along the weed and grain of log he slides his tail.
- an excerpt from "Underwater Autumn" by Richard Hugo