Into new territory

Something has changed in the last few days. This no longer feels like “depression, that old friend” but something less under my control. Scarier, more lonely, no end in sight. I spend much of my time trying to figure out what’s happening or what’s real or not. During Ketamine, I no longer track what’s really happening to me, simply go from moment to moment trying to understand. Is this me? I can feel everything changing, but is it returning me to normal or taking me further from normal? Nothing feels real. I never feel that return to my natural state, everything is a different world.

I feel like I’m just repeating myself, complaining about my days rather than explaining them. So I will attempt to organize this post a bit better. Honestly this is all for my own recollection.

Sleep

Not sleeping well at night, always sleepy during the day. I lay awake with my restless legs at night. If it’s a day with an appointment, I wake up in time. If it’s a free day I hope to sleep late but rarely do. And I carry the exhaustion through my daylight hours, regardless of how busy I am. By the time I go to bed, it has converted itself into restlessness and we repeat the whole thing.

Eating

No appetite, although I could drink milk and hot cocoa til the cows come home. Next to me right now I have a fresh can of pop and a container of Pringles, my favorites. But I know they’re just going to sit there, unopened. I have the intention of eating but just can’t make it happen. I can’t say I mind the weight loss.

Drinking

I haven’t been drinking for many months now – I used to know how long. It no longer feels like a personal challenge to see how many months I can go without drinking. Now it feels like something I’ll never do again. But lately I’ve occasionally had the feeling that I really wanted to drink, and drink heavily. I think it’s just the desire to get out of my head, to escape for just a bit. But I’ve come this far, no sense breaking the streak now.

Control

I feel like I’m not in control of things anymore. Like I used to have coping mechanisms but I’ve forgotten them all, or they don’t work. I feel like it’s no longer something I am experiencing and capable of handling, but now it’s something happening to me. No expectations of what or when, or that I’ll remember any of this. The loss of control, as well as the inability to retain the experiences really shakes me. A large part of my identity is my ability to know what’s going on, have valuable insights, remember everything so well, and be able to navigate life in a reasonable manner. But that’s not as much so anymore.

Process

The ECT is as it always has been. Answer some routine questions, get to the procedure room. Have the daily small talk about which scooter t-shirt I’m wearing today. Tolerate a little sharp poke or two in my hand or arm, and then before you know it the smell of saline makes the room roll over my head. Next thing I know I’m getting my juice and…

Here is where I sit for a few minutes and try and remember the name of the treat they give us when we wake up. I can taste it, feel the texture of it in my mouth, but to know its name is apparently too much. Blueberry something.

Muffin, I guess.

Impact on others

Wife is having to do a lot more to support me, to shore me up and have my hugs. We have friends and neighbors giving me rides to the hospital, then Wife comes and picks me up when I’m done. I used to enjoy talking about myself, almost bragging about whatever is happening. Now I feel self conscious. I feel embarrassed that I am having to rely on these people who care about it, knowing I can’t do anything to repay them. I feel I have an inability to show appreciation for or repay their kindness.

Creativity

My men’s group commented on and complimented my ability to write. I don’t feel like I’m writing anymore, I feel like I’m just writing my complaints and posting them to the dark loneliness of the Internet. It may be useful to read some day and look back. I know there were other things I intended to write about – general stories of my life – but I can’t remember what or when. It’s possible I have an outline somewhere, and I may be able to get back to it again some day. But right now I feel like my creative source is all gone. But my original intent of writing to convey what it’s like to be in my head seems long gone. It feels less like art and more self indulgence. It feels less like sharing my experience for others to benefit from, and more just confused and muddled ramblings.

Safety

I still feel safe. I don’t have any intentions or plans to hurt myself. I do indeed feel lost, as if I don’t know who I am or where I am going anymore. If I were to be struck down by lightening, catch a horrible disease and die, or simply have a random heart attack and drop dead I would be surprised. But there would be a feeling of relief in there somewhere. I feel I would be more useful, less of a drain on family and friends, if I were to pass away naturally.

So when I read about potential side effects from a med, or medical concerns for someone my age, it’s often with hopefulness. But I don’t feel competent enough to harm myself. I don’t have confidence I could find a way that would be efficient, that wouldn’t cause more pain than I already have, and that wouldn’t damage my family. I feel when I’ve had major depressive episodes before, it’s wrapped up by now. That my confidence is not great that this is going to clear up some day soon and I’ll get on with what’s left of my life. It feels like uncharted territory, and it’s hard to imagine things clearing up and carrying on.

Confusion

I have trouble even writing these posts, because I can’t remember the point I wanted to make. Regardless of the specific memories, I carry the feelings. Feeling lost, confused, unsure, and mistaken. I can’t tell what I’m forgetting, and rarely recall something that’s nagging at me. Thank God my wife is by my side. She is my memory now, and reminds me of all of the things I’ve forgotten. My life is in her hands now. Nothing seems real.

I will try to read these posts before making new entries, hopefully to keep the repetition down. Until then, thank you for listening.

1 thought on “Into new territory”

  1. Robert there are more people rooting for you to come out of this darkness than you even know! The people helping with rides and such are doing so because they care. You shouldn’t feel guilty! I’m sure you’ve helped someone before and certainly didn’t want the other person to feel bad. It’s just your turn right now. Prayers each step you take leads you closer to the sunshine that’s waiting for again.

    Liked by 1 person

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