Welcome to the Year of the Horse. Eldest son was born in a horse year. Spent one more day sitting on my ass recovering from virus. Probably could have gone out and about, but wasn't sure that the fever would not return. And wasn't sure that given half the chance I would majorly overdue it and get sick again.
So I decided to spend my time resurrecting yet another VERY obsolete computer. No, it isn't the original fat mac. But it is a pre-intel iMac G3. I semi-successfully installed MintPPC. Then I mucked around with a bunch of other stuff, accidentally uninstalled some crucial things.
Took meds today. Also ordered refill (which is how I found out that they had been ordered before). Still haven't picked them up.
On the schedule: snapping out of this funk.
More shivering. More fever. More chills. More hiding with the covers pulled up over my head. Really I don't think that any routine illness should be allowed to go beyond one day and one night.
At some point (once the fever had come down) I started to wonder if I was really sick or just making myself sick because I didn't want to deal with anything or anyone. Mind you, the thermometer told me otherwise, but I still wondered.
When I had a hideous and cliched eating disorder in high school (typecast as a pessimistic, perfectionistic idealist) I often convinced myself that I was sick. You know, with a regular illness. Like the stomach flu. That way I had an excuse to feel like crap and avoid any meals that might come my way.
Once I went through recovery-- even after I had been eating meals like a regular person for years-- I second-guessed myself every time I had a regular illness. Was I faking it? Was I trying to fool myself? Was my brain lying to me? Was I having a relapse into unhealthy behaviors?
The problem, sometimes, with having a clever brain is that it can outsmart you when you are not on the top of your game.
Spent the day alternating between chills and fever and getting the shakes. I wrote about this and it disappeared. Maybe you read it. Maybe I imagined writing it. Sheesh!
Anyway, felt TERRIBLE. Very shaky.
Sometimes felt like I hadn't eaten for a month or like I had just given blood too quickly. Needed to sit down. Have some orange juice and a cookie. Listen to the nurse who took away my super-donor sticker for being an ass to a first-time donor and scaring the crap out of him.
Don't remember what I wrote in this post or previous ones or subsequent ones. Don't want to repeat myself. But it seems that is all I can do lately. I am not about to win (or enter) an optimist club speech contest. Although I pointed out to my family that I am the optimist among us. And I am not kidding. That is pathetic and sad. They need to shape up.
The "polar vortex" is kicking my ass. I know I am not the only one, but I am also not inclined to feign any cheeriness about this. Cabin Fever. Followed by, apparently, real fever.
I think I might possibly have taken my meds this day. Later I found out that I did remember to reorder the ones that I like so well (apparently on the 25th) but I neglected to remember that. Also, not knowing that I had reordered them, did not pick them up.
Got puppy linux working on my old machine. I got wireless working. I got the projector working. I felt almost godlike. Not really. I more felt like a brain surgeon. Or a brain re-builder.
At some point (possibly due to absentminded medicating, possibly due to feverbrain) making the machine work became some sort of horrible real-life poetic metaphor for having a working brain (not plagued by recurrences of Depression crap... like I could maybe get an upgrade to my own operating system and bypass all this stupid work to fight it back)
So that instead of
a) appropriately dealing with the medication situation
b) getting enough sleep
c) stayed up feverishly working to make some obsolete computer come back to life
d) it was something tangible that I could fix
Schools were closed-- but I needed to go to work. I got a lot done. I don't remember much else. I think this day was the early edge of feverish virus crap.
I don't remember if I took my meds.
It is possible that I came home and went right to bed.
Or I stayed up super late doing something dumb. Like continuing to try installing Linux on the old Dell. Can't say for sure.
Went to my quaker meeting. It was good. Although sitting in silence gave me time to think about how stupid it is to ever skip a day of taking my meds. Especially when the one of them that I really like (bupropion) doesn't hang around in my system for more than 24 hours.
I wish I had an antidepressant-releasing implant. Not really, but I would prefer to have something closer to a steady state with relation to my brain chemicals. Otherwise I run into these dips. Peaks and valleys and by the time I notice it is too late.
Kind of like being thirsty-- by the time you are thirsty you are already dehydrated. By the time you are tired you are already sleep-deprived. By the time you notice that your brain is not doing so well you are already a bit relapsy.
I came out to another colleague on Friday. Came out as in treatment for Depression. Partly because I noticed a number of comments about pychiatrist appointments in a stigmatizing fashion.
Things like, "He told me, 'that's what my psychiatrist says.' and I knew there was something off about him, but I had no idea...'" And also the thought of people knowing that you had an appointment to see a psychiatrist being horrifically embarrassing. I didn't really want to come clean, but I thought it was important to do so.
Today I did not like how I felt in the morning at meeting. I felt moments of nameless despair. Don't worry. There is nothing behind this. No impetus to do anything. It is just the edge of Depression creep.
It's like when you get tired of watching what you eat and slowly your portion size increases and the number of fruits and vegetables on your plate decreases.
When you get tired of managing your Depression and you only take your pills and sometimes not even that. The sinking dread. The longing for some unhealthy coping strategy. This is the edge that reminds you. The mental equivalent of no longer fitting into your "fat pants."
A friend is in a day program for Depression. I think of her often, although I have been terrible at staying in touch. I am glad she is fighting. Because she rocks. And I am fighting too. Go me.
Grateful Crap: my awesome kids
talked with family
I passed on going to a large group gathering. Fifth grade party. I did not feel up to the noise and the people and the socializing. And I had stayed up inappropriately late. No, really. REALLY.
I spent several hours working on the same ridiculous computer thing that had kept me up half the night (it still doesn't work). Tried to get the daughter to sleep but instead passed out myself.
But I do get points for hosting a gathering of more than four people. And I enjoyed it. Played Wise and Othwerwise, talked to friends, and I laughed my ass off. Which was good.
Watched Much Ado About Nothing (joss whedon) and laughed my ass off some more. A fine way to work on kicking Depression's ass. Also went to bed reasonably. Although I had trouble waking up in the morning. Laughter hangover?
Did not take meds
Did not order meds (the phone died on me because the battery wasn't charged and I couldn't find my cell)
Did not exercise
Behind on posting (missed three days) so this is a back-dated post and I don't know how reliably i will remember things.
Here is what I do remember: there was a period of time during this day (note that I don't refer to the ENTIRE day) where I felt happy on the surface on top of a layer of sinking emptiness.
I don't mean that I was pretending to be happy. I was really happy. It just didn't quite make it through to all the layers. Like something that hasn't had time to defrost and only the outer layers are thawed.
And the sinking emptiness was not around any particular issue. It just felt like the foundation. It felt true. It felt like The Way Things Are. It also felt uncomfortable and unpleasant and unsettling.
Stayed up VERY RIDICULOUSLY LATE because I was unable to give up on a problem.
Still wrestling with linux (which I don't understand at all) and decided to stay up just until I figured something out. Which I never did. And eventually had to go to sleep.
Did not take meds.
Did not pass go.
I have been thinking a lot lately about the gifted/perfectionist/anxiety/Depression merry-go-round. Because I don't think there is any stopping my children from getting on that ride. The older two are already there.
Crap crap crap.
Back to reminding myself about the good things: they are very amenable to getting help with their mood crap. They don't like the feeling of being sad or anxious or filled with rage at a moment's notice. Who does, really. And they are friendly people who have connections with peers at school.
What kicked this off?
So the really stupid letter was probably the inciting incident for all of this.
In November had the elder two go through testing for eligibility for gifted services. Because it would give us an interesting profile for how they problem solve and where their strengths are. Because once they are "identified" it is easier to get them appropriate academic services. Because when they transfer to district schools it will qualify them for GT services without having to jump through additional hoops.
Results came back this week with both children in the 99th percentile. Okay, fine. But for some reason the cover letter stated that they were not eligible for GT services, which were only for students in the top 10%. After about 12 hours of thinking that either their assessment or my brain was broken, I found out that the letter was a misprint. They did qualify.
About all the other crap on the list above? I have been thinking a lot about what made school easier or harder for me as a gifted kid. I loved school. I loved my teachers. I loved my friends. I loved my classes. I also loved getting out of there as fast as possible come graduation.
Making it easier-- ridiculously close friends. Other gifted kids. Teachers who took me seriously. Writing stuff down. Writing imaginary stuff. Other gifted kids. Having a space where it was safe to be smart. Not getting lost in the crowd. Having teachers who remembered me. Other gifted kids. Being able to explore things I was passionate about in depth. Music as part of the school day. Having the freedom to be excused from some classes to do other work. Designing some of my own classes through independent study. Working one on one with a teacher/mentor. Other gifted kids. Therapists who took me seriously. Okay, really therapist who took me seriously.
Making it harder-- not fitting in. Really not fitting in. Taking things more seriously than most of my peers. Being very sensitive. Not living up to my own expectations. Being in a class with students who were not interested in learning. Not fitting in. Believing that my parents wanted me to change so that I would fit in. Having adults believe that they new better than I did what was going on in my head. Worry. Extremely low self esteem. Remembering negative events with great detail, but easily dismissing the positive. Eating disorder. Clinical Depression.
I have never been worried about acadmic learning for my kids. They could stay home by themselves in a closet and come out ready to go to college. I worry about all the other crap. The social crap. The connectivity. The emotional side of living. And since I did such a fantastic job of navigating the troubled waters of adolescence, I assume that my children are doomed.
Proactive steps I have taken:
All of this gifted talk really makes the egalitarian in me flinch. And the lack of humility in talking about my gifted children doesn't make me feel much better. But my giftedness played a very big role in the environmental factors that contributed to my Depression. Existential Depression, I guess, is common in gifted kids. Cliche. Ugh. But cliches are built on things that happen repeatedly.
Rant is over.
Grateful crap: I never have to be a junior high/high school student again
took it easy with the kids
snuggled with daughter
did a bunch of useful stuff
No school tomorrow. Closed again due to cold.
Long weekends may not be so good for me in some ways. Because I am removed from my teaching environment for too long. I like teaching. I am good at it and I get to see tangible results from work that I do with my students.
Yup. I like work.
I am like a 1950s suburban husband-- my ego, my self-worth, my reason d'etre is wrapped up in my work apparently.
Unless I am home.
Then I just feel guilty about what a terrible suburban wife I am. Because this place is a mess and I don't have a cocktail and a meat and potatoes meal ready for my husband when he comes home from the office.
Need to go out and do something fun in the cold.
I took my meds this morning. I need to do something else. I know this. But here are the things that I did: wore clean clothes, got my stuff together, got kids to school on time, ate breakfast, sent emails to some people, filled out my time card and delivered it to school, read a lot of books with the three year old, talked with family, posted this (although now it is 10:06 so I will stop). I just went back and edited the time I wrote because I was making minor changes in the post. Ugh. NOW I AM DONE.
Quaker, teacher, parent,