It’s like sliding into a steaming bath on a frozen day. It makes sense at the time, feels great, it’s comforting. After a short time you’re warm and drowsy, 10 minutes later you’re dizzy, moments later you’re nauseous, your skin is burning and flushed. You need to get out, but it’s so cold outside the bath you’re afraid to freeze. So you stay in because you know eventually it will cool down and you’re unlikely to drown.
This is what my depression feels like. It’s familiar. It feels right. I feel like I’m allowing myself to slip into it without a second thought. No big deal, I’m getting depressed, it’s happened before, it’ll go away like it always does. But, what if it doesn’t?
I’m in it now. I can feel a fairly severe bout of depression coming on and I can’t stop it, maybe curve it a little. Anxiety is on its way, social situations will be nearly impossible to handle, crowds are out of the question, even the grocery store will be challenging. My focus will be hard to hold on to and the memory loss is no fun.
Sure I’ll take my meds. Sure I’ll take care of myself and try to avoid the negative self talk. Yes I know this won’t last, my mood and behavior will even out, life will return to a balance. What I don’t know is how this cycle will affect my relationships. Some haven’t faired well during the storm, either chipping away or breaking completely. Some are constant, always by my side no matter what, but I wonder if that will last. Will they be there next time, the time after that? Should I just go it alone? I often hide these cycles from everyone with happy selfies and a forced smile, but these cycles tend to spark migraines and make me sick so it’s inevitable that friends and family will notice I’m either mid-depression or just coming out of one.
I know why this happens. I let myself get run down, I put myself in anxiety and self-doubt causing situations, I gain a few pounds, I don’t eat the right foods, I don’t sleep enough, I’m affected by the seasons changing. It all adds up to down. By the time I realize all the elements are there it’s too late, the bath is drawn and waiting.
So here we are. I have to cancel plans and hope no one resents me for it or believes I don’t care or I’m stuck-up (do people think that? I wonder.) I have to hide away, clinging for dear life to my # 1 support system and ponder how many more times he’ll go through this with me before I’ve completely exhausted his patience. I have to do everything possible to prevent migraines, flu, colds, etc. I have to get some kind of exercise (which I abhor). I have to stay away from whatever triggers anxiety or makes my depression worse (goodbye Facebook).
I really should give my friends and family more credit for sticking by me. Sometimes this lasts a couple days. Sometimes weeks. Sometimes longer. They’re a persevering group of people. I love them for it, I can’t thank them enough for putting up with my moping, sobbing, long silences, and general avoidance.
I know I’m not alone, not even close. This is inherited. It was passed to me by genetics. I passed it on. It will be passed to other generations. I know my brain is starving for chemicals it’s missing and I’m not simply sad for no reason. I know it’s the most commonly diagnosed condition in the US. It’s not just me, but I still feel alone.
I’ll get through this, though it will happen again. I won’t drown. Eventually I’ll get out of the bath and a fluffy, warm towel will be waiting in the arms of my husband, ready to wrap around me tightly and shelter me from the cold.
Until then I’ll hug myself, touching the dopamine and serotonin molecule tattoos on my ribs and remind myself that these two small, but very important friends will come back to live where they belong and I’ll gain my equilibrium soon.
Vegas is a funny place. Funny- haha. Funny- TF just happened?
I had a lot of fun this last August visit, although I ended up contracting the plague (not really- no offense to anyone who’s had the actual plague, I was just really sick). The very best moment happened the night I got home.
Coming home always makes me elated, but I’m often too worn out to appreciate it. I walked off the plane around 8pm, dragging ass, coughing, sniffing, headphones blasting Traveller by Melano so I could drown out anything and everyone until I made it to baggage claim and eventually home.
After what seemed to be a two mile hike down the terminal (its not even a city block) I finally enter the pick up area and looked up from staring intently at my phone to see if Joe was there waiting for me. I saw one person. My son. I don’t know how I held it together, but I did and I’m guessing my smile covered my entire face. I wanted to just cry with relief, but he hates to see mom cry so I just stood on my tip toes and hugged him tight and asked him what he was doing there. He’s 21, I thought he’d be over meeting mom at the airport. Glanced up and saw Joe making his way toward us. He hugged and kissed me. All was right with the world.
I’m telling you this is the best moment I’ve had in months. All relief and love and happiness to be with the boys. I was exhausted and sick and more relieved to be home than I thought possible. How easy was that? No one had to buy me anything, no one had to go out of their way, no one had to do anything other than show up and surprise me. I LOVE surprises.
Now to Vegas happening (and I’m back there in just 2 days!) This was my second visit, both for work, and both for a group of people I really enjoy! I feel like Vegas is becoming my second home. I can wear anything there without being accused of overdressing, there’s tons of things to do, the shopping is incredible, the people watching is incredible, I even love the gritty juxtaposition between the glamour of the strip and the desolation of the desert. Do I want to live there? No. Did I see that it can be an extremely depressing place? Yes. I loved the good and the bad, and I’m happy to be heading back in a few days to spend time in my new favorite places and do some more exploring.
Vegas makes me feel like it’s ok to be me. It’s fantastic to feel like no one is judging you, but I won’t sugar coat it, that fat girl who always suspected she was being laughed at is still there. I wore something Saturday night I never would’ve worn last year, let alone 7 years ago! I knew it looked good, but I was still convinced people were walking by me giggling. They weren’t. That’s ridiculous. It’s Vegas. No one cares.
I swear this outfit I bought felt more extreme than most of my clothes (although I was told it was pretty conservative). I certainly felt more exposed than usual. I love Bebe, their clothes are so sexy and I knew I’d find one in Vegas (we don’t have one in Boise). I’d done some research the night before, looking for a jumpsuit to wear to the Mariah Carey show the next night. I found one that I thought would be perfect, went to try it on the next day and here’s what happened:
Picked out 3 jumpsuits to try, just in case. Put on my favorite first. It’s too long, realize it needs heels. Call for some heels so I can be sure it’ll work with my favorite 7 inch MKs I packed. Put them on, walked out to look in the big mirrors and all hell breaks loose. All. Hell. Breaks. Loose.
In a good way.
A lady waiting for a dressing room literally screeches “OHGURL”, calls her 4 friends over and exclaims “OHMYGODGUR” in a Caribbean accent (which, by the way, makes everything sound extreme). Everyone in the dressing rooms stick their heads out, 5 sales people come over to see what’s going on, and I hear “GUUURRRRL”, “OH HONEY WORK”, “GET THAT SHIT AND WEAR IT EVERY SINGLE DAMN DAY OF YOUR LIFE”, “DAMN I WANNA LOOK LIKE THAT!” That last statement had me shook, I just looked around and said thanks and aw that’s sweet and soaked it in.
I’m standing there in front of the mirrors, turning around with my own jaw on the floor, look at my body. I was shocked. It looked great. I had an ass. I hardly ever have an ass. I loved my body (which is still a rare moment).
No shapewear, just me. This is why I had the skin removed. This is part of why I lost the weight. This was a goal met and met well. I didn’t try on anything else and bought it right then and there.
Yes, I was indeed feeling myself. Although I was nervous later, I still felt great. Walking around Caesar’s I swore I was getting laughed at, but that old insecurity faded when some dude stood next to me while I was staring down at my phone trying not to make eye contact. He had his friend stealthfully take a pic of him with me, I looked up just in time to figure out what was going on. We looked at each other and they walked away speaking a language I don’t speak. I’m like “did that just happen?” I was to baffled to do or say anything. Maybe there’s a pic of me looking at my phone while leaning on a column at Caesars Palace…I don’t even want to know. I didn’t even want to know why it happened, I assumed it was some sort of weird invasive compliment.
Later, while taking pics with a wonderful friend who took me to the concert, I was asked about my phone’s clip on ring light. The man who asked had a heavy Brooklyn accent and was with a girl who spoke broken English (he said she didn’t speak English at all, but I’m pretty sure excuse me and thank you are part of the English lexicon). She was so sweet, polite, excited to be there, had that look of “oh wow” plastered all over her face. I know that look, I have it all the time on the strip. She wanted to know where I got my ring light. The man she was with couldn’t quite understand what to search for and there was a hilarious fumbling exchange to find it for him- he somehow found pictures of a dog named Selfie on Amazon- it was an oddly amusing moment. They were cute and seemed happy, generous age and language gap didn’t seem to matter. I found them charming, if not a little cliché. But who isn’t? I’m not one to judge harshly, I’m a walking 40 year old cliché trying to hold on to her youth. Again, it’s Vegas, no one cares.
Back to the hotel. Ate more In-N-Out than I should have. Fell asleep in pure food happy coma. No alcohol that night, though I’m pretty sure nearly everyone in Vegas is at least slightly drunk.
Other things I did? Marveled at the beautiful rooms at The Cosmopolitan. Bought a $13 juice- twice. Juice. Went to the Hoover Dam, almost got run over. Caught a horrifying flu. Had a great pool all to myself on a cool evening. Took tons of selfies. Watched an amazing lightning storm while intermittently watching a horror movie. Ate a lengua taco (to die for). Bought too much stuff and got creative repacking. Was told my age was estimated well under what it actually is. Took a behind the scenes tour of the resort and casino. Got some great swag. Was addressed as gorgeous and beautiful by a valet (he got a $25 tip and though I gave him a $20 by mistake- he seemed thrilled). Bought a new bag at Nieman from a lady named Princess. Got lost once. Didn’t drive the speed limit. Walked around barefoot in a parking garage (scary). Partially melted from the heat. Ate a lot of great food, especially at Battista’s Hole In The Wall.
I’m hoping this trip in the next couple days is just as fun without being sick for 3 of them. I’ll miss the boys, but Vegas is growing on me. I’m told that soon I’ll be all “Vegased” out, I’m not so sure.