observations on life, Uncategorized

A republication–still,unfortunately,true.

(When I first started this blog, I wrote this.  It included a web address for an opinion piece from the New York Times, which I can no longer reproduce here for some reason.)

If you’d like you can read the article posted above.  It’s an opinion piece published in the New York Times about the “overmedication” of women who suffer from anxiety or depression.  I confess I haven’t read the whole thing because as I read it, I began to feel I would have a stroke from the escalating rage.

The person who wrote this is a woman.  A psychiatrist.  And what she says is that anxiety and depression are healthy and adaptive and we should “appreciate” them.  Oh, the long series of expletives I could put here.  Instead I’ll just say, Fuck you, you ignorant, willfully stupid waste of air.

Depression and pain are the least understood and most commonly ignored and berated problems that people bring to their physicians.  Many physicians are understanding of the life-threatening implications of these two issues.  Some even understand that sometimes physical pain is the result of traumatic emotional events that haven’t been adequately addressed.  Example: When you see your husband and child killed in front of you, and your house burned to the ground, and then you are raped, and you finally end up in the United States by some miracle, you may go to the doctor with physical pain.  And of course there may be good physical reasons for your physical pain, but the pain may also be a manifestation of the devastating emotional trauma you have endured.  Does you doctor understand that?  Does he or she even know, or ask, about where you’re from or how you came to be here?  Probably not.  Tests are ordered, procedures endured, myriad approaches are tried and fail.  Simply because physicians are not attuned to the emotional suffering of others, they are not trained to deal with it, and most of all, they ignore it altogether.

If this wounded person does end up seeing a psychiatrist, let’s hope she doesn’t see the person who wrote this article.  And those of us who have not endured this level of trauma should also hope we don’t end up seeing a psychiatrist like this one.  Because this woman has clearly never been depressed or paralyzed with anxiety.  And she’s not alone.  I have known some wonderful psychiatrists, and all the good ones have had some personal experience with anxiety or depression of their own.  On the other hand, I’ve heard so-called experts say things like “You want an antidepressant for seasonal affective disorder?  Go out and take a walk for God’s sake.  You’ll feel better.”  Well, Sweetie, if I can’t get out of bed, I can’t go take a walk, you miserable stupid excuse for an “expert”.

The people who hold your life in their hands probably don’t have the first clue what it’s like to be depressed.  And they don’t even realize they’ve got your life under their control.  If I could not get my antidepressants because my psychiatrist believed that I should embrace my feelings rather than medicate them, I would die.  Simple.  I would die because I would be in so much psychological pain that I would kill myself.  End of story.

So all I can say to this ignorant, condescending non-expert is Fuck You.


from The Dog Stars

There is a pain you can’t think your way out of.  You can’t talk it away.  You can walk.  When you walk you propel it forward.  Then it sits with you, the Pain puts its arm over your shoulders.  It is your closest friend.  Steadfast.  And at night you can’t bear to hear your own breath unaccompanied by another and underneath the big stillness like a score is the roaring of the cataract of everything being and being torn away.  Then.  The Pain lying beside your side, close.  Does not bother you with the sound even of breathing.

Peter Heller, The Dog Stars

observations on life, Uncategorized

A chronicle of cursedness. And cussedness.

About a month ago, when I lost the battle of wills with our front steps, my mood went into the pit and bottomed out.  I called to make an appointment with a psychiatrist (mine recently changed jobs and is no longer available.  This happens a lot.) They told me I could have an appointment in December–over two months away.  I complained, and now I have an appointment in November.  On election day.   My mood got a little better briefly when finally, after weeks of trying, I succeeded in making an appointment.  Then, yesterday, our dog went blind.  Just like that.  Blind.  Between the three cats, one of whom has only three legs, and a blind dog, I am, as always, at the mercy of the cussedness of the universe.  (And, we’re supposed to go to Washington D.C. for Thanksgiving with Jim’s daughter.  What do we do with a blind dog while we’re out of town?  He has to stay at home where things are familiar. Do I bribe and beg my friends to take care of him?  I guess.  What else can I do?  If I were them, I’d be sick of taking care of our pets all the time.)

So my mood is back in the cesspool, festering, reminding me that life is a constant battle with little, constant, incessant aggravations, and big awful circumstances over which we have no control.  Like these:

June 2010–My good friend Julene is diagnosed with cancer.

February 2011–My good friend Jim Nardini, Julene’s husand, dies.

April 2011–Lydia, my first cat and the love of my life, dies on our wedding day.

December 2011–My cat Mia dies.

March 2012–Julene dies.

Fall 2012–Jim’s Uncle Ted dies.

February 2013–My cat Sophie has her leg amputated.

July 2013–Jim has a stroke

October 2014–Our nephew dog, Easy, dies.

January-April 2015–We have a long, bitter, expensive (to say the least), stomach churning, tooth gnashing legal battle with Jim’s ex wife, complicated by Jim’s son who was here doing an internship for three weeks, staying at our house, and making his stay a literal living hell.  My mood dove into the pit and stayed there, briefly recovering for three weeks when my sister got a new dog in August.  Then:

September 2015–Our niece dog, Winnie, Easy’s successor, dies at age three months.  Mood bottoms out again.

Christmas 2015–Jim’s son comes to Christmas dinner and works his dysfunction magic. Mood sinks deeper into the muck.  He hasn’t been back in our house since.

October 2016–Our dog, Winston, goes blind.  And here we are.

observations on life

I am feeble and sore broken

How do you say succinctly that you are in such excruciating pain that it is making you desperate and panicked?  That you can’t stand it for one more minute?  The thought of looking beyond the next moment requires you to be quick.  Quick.  “I am afraid,” Martha Manning said, “afraid of managing the desolation of each second.”  “All these potions make me big for a while, but the sweetness of their promises melts like kisses somewhere inside myself.  And I become small again.  So small that I can’t find myself.  All I can find is my fear.  The fear that my daylight is truly past and I am destined only for night.”

I am feeble and sore broken: I have roared by reason of the disquietness of my heart.  My heart panteth, my strength faileth me: as for the light of mine eyes, it also is gone from me.  My lovers and my friends stand aloof from my sore; and my kinsmen stand afar off.    Psalm 38

I have written these words here before.  I have felt like this many times, through many years.  It will never be gone.  I have no hope that it won’t happen again; I know it will.

I’ve posted this here before as well.  But it keeps coming back.

A View to Eternity

A familiar tender spot, the old wound
Nags me. A pain unresponsive to any
Anodyne except that which is also so likely to
Aggravate it to a more unbearable
Degree. It feels so much better at first
And then, inevitably, the elixir turns to
Poison, only deepening the ache.

I know this, and yet I cannot stop.
Each time, I am hopeful and expectant,
Thinking, oh, a chance–this could be it.
This could be the cure that makes the pain
Abate forever– but it doesn’t take long.
Presently, before I even have the full effect,
The new opium deserts my veins, satisfying only itself.

In the dream, the disfigured woman trudges up the old stone steps,
Discharge from her oozing sores leaving slick puddles
Into which I unavoidably step as I follow her up the stairs.
I see we are approaching an overlook–a window–
In the ancient wall the eroding stairs ascend.
The worn down woman doesn’t hesitate, but simply
Steps off the ledge of the window.

“It will never be any different” she says, as
She uses the last of her strength to mount
The ledge of the overlook
And without stopping even to admire
The view, she simply steps off
Into oblivion, finally, surely, doubtlessly
Finding the elusive cure.

It was a real dream, dreamed at a time like this, when the pain was unbearable, and I knew it would never be cured.

observations on life

Too depressed to whine

There are so many days that I feel so overwhelmed by the stupidity and uselessness of most of the world that I’m too depressed to even complain about it.  I know that’s hard to believe, for those of you who think I complain too much.  (Yes, sometimes I complain too much, but how I wish there weren’t so much to complain about.  And this–if you don’t like hearing me complain about being too hot, I invite you to go fuck yourself.  Why is it fine for millions of people to complain constantly about how cold they are, but if I say I’m hot, I’m being a whiny bitch?)


observations on life

Apparently, feeling good is evil and must be stamped out

I wrote yesterday about the fact that our society would rather have people be profoundly depressed/suicidal than “risk addiction” to opioids.  I have gotten not one single response to that post.  I’m kind of stunned, and — should I say I wonder what that means? or should I say the obvious implication of the lack of responses is that nobody agrees with me that “risking addiction” is a better alternative than suicide.

I know there are people who believe the same thing about using opioids for physical pain–it’s evil and it must stop.  These same people drink alcohol, which is perfectly legal, makes them feel good, and may or may not cause them to become addicted.  I ask you, what is the difference?  Honestly.  I don’t understand it and I want to.

Apparently the vast majority of people in this nation believe that the risk of becoming addicted to alcohol is an acceptable one, but the risk of becoming addicted to any other substance is not.  They believe that since alcohol is an over-the-counter substance, it is somehow less evil than prescriptions.    If you are in excruciating and/or chronic physical pain, you have three choices:  a) learn to live it, b)kill yourself, or 3) use alcohol to try to control it.  If you become addicted to alcohol in the process, it’s your own fault and you deserve what you get.

The same is true for emotional pain, only there’s an additional choice (or 400 if you include every pedestrian platitude).  If you’re so “weak” that you’re chronically or acutely depressed, you can a) get over it, b) “try being more positive”,  c) kill yourself, or d) drink.  If you become addicted to alcohol, it’s your own fault and you deserve what you get.

And those are all the choices.  Because we simply cannot have people feeling good in this country.  It’s evil, and must be stamped out wherever we find it.  And if you become addicted by using alcohol to try to feel better, you’re a derelict and deserve to be miserable.

I know many people become addicted to opioids.  There are a lot of reasons for this–some are prone to addiction already, some are given too high a dose or simply take more than they’re supposed to, some take them for longer than necessary, and, sometimes, a patient will find a health care professional who is able to understand that a risk of addiction is a better risk than death. And, I know that a large number of irresponsible people will sell their meds trying to get rich quick.  That, however is not a healthcare issue. It’s a law enforcement issue.

Who do we sue when someone becomes addicted to alcohol?  Nobody.  The individual who becomes addicted is at fault.  However, the individual is NOT considered to be at fault if addicted to opioids.  That, we believe, is the fault of whoever prescribed the meds.  Doctors should not be prescribing anything that might prompt addiction, we believe, because helping people feel better is EVIL, and must be punished.  And so the doctor is sued.  Individual responsibility is abdicated, for some unknown reason. I guess because people are required by law to do whatever their doctors tell them to do (!), and of course, if they take more meds than prescribed or for longer than prescribed, it’s still the doctor’s fault.  Because helping people feel better is evil and must be punished.  Feeling good is a scourge, a tragedy, a menace.  And we must do everything we can to keep people from it.

observations on life

Spineless and immoral

I have been reading abstract after abstract about using opioids for relief of depression, and the upshot is this:

“Although opioids have known antidepressant activity, their use in major depressive disorder (MDD) has been greatly limited by risk of abuse and addiction.”  (Emphasis mine.)

(Elliot Ehrich*,1, Ryan Turncliff1, Yangchun Du1, Richard Leigh-Pemberton1, Emilio Fernandez2, Reese Jones2 and Maurizio Fava3
1Research and Development, Alkermes, Inc., Waltham, MA, USA; 2University of California, San Francisco, CA, USA; 3Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA, USA)
So much better to be A) so miserable that you’re useless to yourself and everyone else or B) suicidal, than risk “abuse or addiction.” What absolute horseshit. My life and that of other depressed people is in the hands of those you care nothing about us, and who are spineless and immoral.