May 14th, 2011

#2714: Blargh

When I first woke up, I felt better than I had, but rapidly returned to feeling amazingly crappy.

My brother was supposed to come by this morning and hasn't, probably due to the virus he said he's been dealing with for a little while. His oldest son has to be at a basketball tournament this afternoon, and I expect my brother ended up saving his energy for that.


All I've managed to do is eat a peanut butter sandwich. Nothing else appeals.

I'm going back to bed now.

#2715: I think I've come to some conclusions

My brother did come by after all, a little while after I'd gone back to bed. He had a bunch of things to say, all of which I listened to. Much of it made sense; some was obvious cajolery, as usual. He's trying to help, and doing a pretty fair job of it.

It's pretty clear to me that I have a bunch of unresolved issues which are keeping me from doing the things I have to do, and want to do. I need to clear them up before I can do anything useful, and I can't do that without help and I can't do it alone.

Now is not the time to be moving.

The job in Rantoul is a good job and a good fit...but right now I just can't do it. It's the right thing at the wrong time, and if I had just listened to my instincts I could have saved all of us a lot of wasted time and effort.

My brother cited a saying our mother used to employ: "Assume a virtue you do not feel." It means that even if you don't feel like moving, move anyway. He had other things to say in the same vein, personal experiences from his time as a medical resident. I've heard it all before, and in the past three weeks I have done my best to employ it...but the emotional issues are overwhelming my best efforts.

I cannot just ignore these feelings. I can't just push past them; I've tried.

My brother made the point that this looks like a grief reaction, to the loss of my mother. He may be right; then again that may only be part of it. I'm not in any condition to argue the point and he's not a psychiatrist; but even if it is "just" grief, it's the most overwhelming, consuming wave of grief I've ever had to deal with. I can't handle it.

In all the pain and hardship I've endured--like high school--I never asked God to end it all. Suicide was never an option. But the pain I've experienced in the past three days is blacker and more intense than anything I've ever dealt with before, and it seems far beyond mere grief...or maybe I just never understood the depths of despair as much as I thought.

What I do know is that I can't do this thing and pursue the help I need.

It may mean that I'm weak; it may mean that I'm a failure; it may mean any number of things that do not paint me in a flattering light. I am who I am--a weak and foolish man--and I do not have the strengths that many others take for granted in themselves.

I had thought, periodically, after Mom's death, That was too easy. I had mourned, but the pain had seemed less than expected; I chalked it up to knowing that she was frail and expecting something of the sort.

I was wrong.

One of the things my brother pointed out was that--of all the kids--I was closest to Mom solely because I saw her every day, lived with her, took care of her...and she was my support structure. I have no wife, no children, no family of my own; I don't even have a girlfriend. I have a few friends but friends are not family. So this was particularly devastating to me; only I didn't realize how thoroughly I've actually gone to pieces until my face was rubbed in it.

Mom did employ that saying, "Assume a virtue you do not feel," and used it a lot...but I also know that she wanted us to be happy. Both times that I was engaged, she was very happy for me; both times the engagements ended, her response to the news was a tearful, "It's not fair!" This is the same woman whose rejoinder to that statement from a child was inevitably, "Life isn't fair."

I think if she were here, and saw what kind of suffering I'm experiencing, she'd tell me, "Quit the damn job if it's going to be like this."

I don't know, exactly, what I'll do about employment. I need to do something, but it just has to pay for food and insurance and WoW for a few years. I have no idea how long it'll take me to beat this, but I've got on the order of two years before this place sells (and I have places I can go afterwards--assuming they'll have me, which I'm sure they will) and I can try this kind of career again once I'm no longer such an emotional wreck.

That's really all I can say about the matter without repeating myself.

#2716: Family support

Unable to stand the pain any longer, I went to see my aunt and uncle. They live here in town, a scant mile from the bunker; I didn't want to inflict my pain on them but I needed to see someone.

If they hadn't been home, I'd probably be at the hospital now.

You know what? It helped a lot. I felt so much better that I began getting hungry, and then I got a hypoglycemic episode; I ended up eating the spaghetti they had left over from dinner.

I still hurt like hell, mind you, but it's been reduced to a manageable level. No idea how long it'll last, either, but after I got home I noticed that the things around me have color, which was startling. It means that--for a while, perhaps over the past couple of days--I have not been seeing in color.

How depressed are you when the world appears colorless? I always thought that was just an expression. No; it's a statement of fact. It also means I'm far beyond the "blues" and well into "clinical depression", and that's not good.

Given that, my brother's advice makes less and less sense to me--"assume a virtue you do not feel", and so on--because this isn't just me feeling sad that Mom's gone; this is clinical depression. You can't just gut it up and push past clinical f-ing depression, not unless you're Superman or Buddha or Jesus or Auntie Madoka. WTF.

Sunday evening I'll write an e-mail to my boss explaining what's going on with me. That'll mean the end of my brief career at [employer] but that can't be helped. I'm planning, Monday morning, to call the church and get the info on grief counseling, and I'm also going to call the doctor's office and schedule an appointment with him to get a referral to a shrink.

My cousin (the daugher of the aunt and uncle I visited) is a social worker, and I'm hoping she can help me with the various public assistance options, or at least get me pointed in the right direction. (Failing all that, then at the bare minimum pointing out a social worker in my area who isn't a complete f-ing retard.)

I am also entertaining the theory that I might have some sort of bipolar spectrum disorder. I have had manic phases--"manic" compared to my normal self, anyway, such as Monday the 2nd when I got off work, came home, did the laundry and the shopping and the dishes and cooked dinner...and then couldn't sleep. Wikipedia has a good write-up on it; my brother discounted this theory, saying that in the manic phase you feel on top of the world. My reading of the Wikipedia piece tells me that the euphoric feeling is not always present. (And my memory is imperfect; though I don't remember for sure, I do recall feeling pretty damn good about everything I was getting done: "That's the way! Just do this, and this, and that, and man, look at everything I've accomplished! That's how it ought to be! And it's only 8 PM!")

Anyway, for the time being I feel merely crappy, and I'm going try to get some restful sleep while it lasts. Later.