Coffee Log, Year 2, Day 222

Hi.

Coffee:  Maxwell House Master Blend, Office Coffee

On the way to the restaurant, E asked me what was wrong. I didn’t know what she was talking about. I said: “What are you talking about?” She pointed at my fingers, which were rubbing up on each other. We were at a red light. I had my hands in my lap. I’d worn a notch in two of my fingernails.

That’s when I realized I was sitting with depression.

It was a low day. A crook-in-your-neck kind of day. Gray clouds, I had to come into work this morning, our quarterly shift on a Saturday. I spent three hours talking to different coworkers and scrolling through the news, it was slow. I went home at lunch and stared at a black computer screen for a few minutes before fixing food. The dishes are piling up on my desk. I’ve got two pairs of shoes lop-sided, out of where they’re supposed to go.

But here’s the magic – this whole time, I hardly even noticed the downs; it took E pointing out my fingers to get the grasp that today I had depression. A year ago, I would have been locked in my room since morning, closed curtains.

Progress?

It’s kind of spooky.

I’ve been on two medications for three months now, bupropion and escitalopram. I was on each individually but that wasn’t working. The bupropion picks me up in the mornings while the escitalopram keeps me level. At least that’s what the doctor tells me. And I believe it, because there are days like today where I’m struck all of a sudden by how normal I feel despite the pressures going on inside me. I’ve spent my whole life upped and downed. For a long time, I saw that as my creative side, the quintessentially me. But like I told you all on this Coffee Log back in May, those days of identifying with my disease had to be over. Now, it feels like they really are.

It’s not just the medicine. It’s a lot of different things, different people, some coming, some gone. And it’s all of you – you see me when you read this, and like a dutiful Existentialist, I’m obliterated by your gaze. It’s helped me pick up the pieces. So thank you – I appreciate the audience.

Currently Reading: Queen, Suzanne Crain Miller

Support Relief for Family Suffering at the Border  – RAICES DONATION CAMPAIGN

Whenever I find myself growing grim about the mouth; whenever it is a damp, drizzly November in my soul; whenever I find myself involuntarily pausing before coffin warehouses, and bringing up the rear of every funeral I meet; and especially whenever my hypos get such an upper hand of me, that it requires a strong moral principle to prevent me from deliberately stepping into the street, and methodically knocking people’s hats off – then, I account it high time to get to sea as soon as I can.

Herman Melville, Moby Dick

Coffee Log, Year 2, Day 140

Hi.

Coffee: House Drip, Fiesta Ole Mexican Restaurant; the coffee came in a cup with three creams on the side; I’m always thrown off when restaurants give you those tiny plastic cups without you asking – like you expected this, you were owed; dreams of deep reefs gone white from sun bleach, starved fish nibbling the thin plastic sand; comfort is predicated on waste; oh, and the coffee tasted good, but not as good as I was expecting

I took my father out for a belated birthday lunch at Fiesta Ole. It’s a Mexican restaurant halfway between Durham and Chapel Hill and it used to belong to a family of restaurants called ‘Torerros’. The name changed but the menu didn’t, same big bright plates and large portions, and we all enjoyed our food.

The building was bright on the outside and dim in the middle, two stories, though the second was gutted so you could see the rafters. The booths were small but spacious and the place smelled like a fresh coat of wax. It was busy. Lots of people eating, a good sign. The way the light slipped out of the kitchen made me feel like I was being transported, a big black barge, high waters, the kind of cabin that takes you somewhere, drops you off, and leaves without looking back.

It was good to see my family. We talked like we used to. They told stories about different uncles. When the food came, we ate together and the boisterous dining hall got quieter, like the steam was a blanket, and we were making a fort from it, and this space was only for us.

Currently Reading: Queen, Suzanne Crain Miller

Support Relief for Family Suffering at the Border  – RAICES DONATION CAMPAIGN

The tone of the repartee was familiar, as was the subject matter, a strangely comfortable background music to most of my waking hours over the last two decades or so – and I realised that, my God… I’ve been listening to the same conversation for twenty-five years!

Anthony Bourdain, Kitchen Confidential