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 210

Hi.

Coffee:  Maxwell House Master Blend, Office Coffee

I heard a good song on the college station while I was driving back from lunch. I don’t know the name or artist. I wouldn’t do it justice if I tried to describe it. It was a part of my day. It was a good part of my day.

I got off work early to go to the psychiatrist. We had a check in so he could fill my prescriptions. When I got there, the lobby was empty. The woman in the office talked to me about long hours and we agreed we both could use a vacation. I sat down and read articles about foreign wars on my iphone. Fifteen minutes went by. The doctor came out to greet me.

It took five minutes and four questions for the decision: keep on keeping on, things are working. They are working so that’s what I told him. Still, I wondered why I spent $150 for five minutes of someone’s time – no new opinions, no insights, just a couple questions – ‘are you good?’ ‘Yes, I’m good.’

But I don’t want to sound like I’m complaining. See, I can afford it. It’s worth a bit of wasted cash to get an extension on drugs that are helping me. What about the working parents, though? What about the double-shifters working two part-time jobs with neither providing health insurance? We wail and moan as more people slit themselves open on opiates but damn the thought of higher taxes and public care.

Anyway, just some observations.

Currently Reading: Queen, Suzanne Crain Miller

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

How bitter were
the Prozac pills
of the last
few hundred mornings

Leonard Cohen, Book of Longing

Coffee Log, Year 2, Day 101

Hi.

Coffee: Maxwell House Drip, Office Coffee

The psychiatrist was wearing two rings and a gold watch. One ring was set with a large, red stone. Not a ruby, it was more solid than that.

We sat in the brown office together. He had spreadsheets pulled up on his computer but I couldn’t tell if they had to do with me. I was occupied with two things, mostly – whether or not the heat in the office was making sweat visible as it was stringing down my armpits; and how not to get devoured by the big blue leather couch.

It was a breezy meeting. In at 4:15, out by 4:45. I liked that.

The only thing notable about the psychiatrist, aside from his jewelry, was the way he sat. He kept both legs planted on the ground. Pay attention to people resting and you’ll notice not many of them do that. It’s much more comfortable if your knees are crossing.

As I told him my life in bullet points, he’d lean forward or back with his elbows on his knees. He’d go close when he was asking questions and lean back for dramatic moments. He didn’t say much. He seemed more comfortable with the explaining – here’s where all the cords connect, and this is what we’ll do to cut them. He had the same joy listing side effects as your fattest uncle does cutting into thanksgiving pies.

Behind the computer, about two feet deeper on the desk, was a miniature bookshelf. They were big books, medical, and most were red. The way the sun was going through the office window, those reds looked much like a bed of old, withered flowers, or rusted tools, or the jewel on the psychiatrist’s ring. It made me think there must be a connection between that color and the man, that he was so confounded by it he had to surround himself. We’re drawn most deeply to things we can’t quite figure out. We want to be known by the shiny charms that are just a bit too expensive for us. Always stepping two feet further than the last man you saw walk the diving board, stiff as death and chest extended, close to slipping towards deep, blue water.

At the end of the visit, he prescribed me pills to treat a mild, chronic depression. He said they’d make things feel like something instead of nothing. I wanted to ask him what it ought to feel like to see red books cast in summer sunlight, but didn’t get the chance. After a month of taking the pills, at our next visit, maybe I’ll have my own answer.

Currently Reading: Queen, Suzanne Crain Miller

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

Long ago, to isolate themselves from a world of beasts, humans began building cities. But since beasts prowl within stone walls as well as outside them, this did not allay human fears. The truth is, walls guarantee no one’s safety. The place where you lock yourself in and lock all else out – that’s not your home. Your home is sometimes a place you travel long and far to find.

Marcin Blacha, Head Writer for ‘The Witcher 3’, a videogame; quote given by character Geralt of Rivia