Thursday, July 28, 2016

From the Depths

I haven't been here. I realize that. I haven't blogged since last December, and I'm not going to be very eloquent now.

Most of my friends who are on Facebook know most of what's been going on. I figure I'll try to give a really brief open explanation here though. I hope in some way returning to blogging, another form of creative process, might help with some aspect of the healing.

When your heroine was last seen, she was suffering from severe shoulder pain following a couple of surgeries (to remove a benign but large tumor and to repair some of the shoulder damage from that first surgery); and even more life-altering, suffering a recurrence of severe depression.

The shoulder pain put an end to all efforts to craft. I'd tried knitting, crochet, weaving, spinning, embroidery in multiple forms, cross stitch, needlepoint, wire wrapping, beading, chain maille, and other craft forms, but every one of them was hampered by the shoulder. I was taking steroids, receiving injections, taking strong pain killers. I needed to create and I just couldn't.

The depression may have been increased by the lack of ability to create, but really it's just me. I've suffered from depression since childhood. It's horrible when it comes on strong and won't leave. This time it's been completely treatment resistant. We tried almost every drug in the psychiatrist arsenal. Then we pulled out the big guns: electroconvulsive therapy (ECT). Normal ECT courses are 3-6 treatments. I had 20 over 6 weeks. I came to crave the anesthesia as an opportunity to briefly not have to feel the depression, but aside from that there was no effect. With the neurologic damage from the convulsions and the anesthesia increasing seemingly exponentially, we had to stop. I'm back on a regimen of juggling 5 different psychiatric drugs.

For the whole period I was receiving ECT and for a few weeks after, I simply couldn't do anything. I sat and stared into space. I held comic strip books and flipped pages, not taking anything in. I dozed in bed. I cried. When I recovered from the 6 weeks of anesthesia and the most immediate effects of the convulsions, I found myself in the state I'm in now: completely unable to think, missing large sections of my memory especially of the last year but also of short term things occurring now, and severely depressed so that several times a day I just cry. I am without self, without ability, without real being it feels.

Still, I'm making progress. I still feel like I have no hope and no future and no presence, yet I have received so much help from so many people, and so much support, and I recognize that. In the last 24 hours, I've had a new-to-my-treatment medical professional tell me to step back, that rather than expect and demand more of myself I need to give myself permission to appreciate how very much I am accomplishing given my current medical state. I've had a wonderful, wonderful online friend tell me the same thing. I'm getting out of bed in the morning. I'm taking my medicine, drinking my coffee, reading the newspaper, most nights making dinner for the family now (so long as it's simple and I don't really have to think too much). 

Most importantly, I've forced and pushed myself to make the one real stretch in my life getting the youngest kids to the swimming pool for the summer. I got them to dive practice every single morning once I was a week or so out of ECT treatment. The pool is the one and only place I know how to drive to right now; I can't remember how to get anywhere else even in the neighborhood much less farther out.
Paper plate awards at the end of the dive team season

But the kids did dive. I got them to practice, Jeffrey got them to the meets on Sundays.  Now that dive season is over I've been bringing them to the pool almost every weekday afternoon for an hour or two. My limitations have left me short tempered so it's hard to deal with their fighting and whining, but it's so important to me that they get to get outdoors, move around, have some normalcy to their lives when they're living with a mother in this state. 

So that's me. I'm crying, I'm mourning who I used to be and what I used to do and how I expected to live. I'm clinging to life. I'm hanging on. How are you?


M&m said...

Lot's of hugs!
Wish I could carry some of your burden.

Christine said...

I wondered where you were Leesy. You don't know me, but I feel that I "know" you. Your friend is right, you ARE achieving things, important things too. Be kind to yourself. Lot's of hugs from me too. xx