Yes, it’s been literally months since I posted anything. My writing light has dimmed. And it’s been a couple hard months, going from normal bad to very bad and back and forth. But not much new.

Google says:

Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing is a form of psychotherapy developed by Francine Shapiro in the 1980s that was originally designed to alleviate the distress associated with traumatic memories such as post-traumatic stress disorder.

The way I describe it to people is something about remembering a traumatic event, talking about how it makes you feel right in that moment, and then remembering a pleasant event while getting an external stimulation (eyes following a light moving side to side, or holding two devices that alternate giving you a slight vibration, or even tapping your shoulders with your hands in a repetitive movement. Once the stimulation is done, blink hard three times and talk about how you feel about the traumatic event again. Rinse, Lather, Repeat.

I got this therapist as a reference from my personal therapist. At first meeting I wasn’t sure about her, but she seemed ok. I was pretty amped up, so that can make judging someone difficult. The second meeting I was actually more jacked up, but I really started to like her. She was funny. She’s fairly old, but dresses well with enough style but not so much it’s generationally inappropriate. But the thing that cemented her as a therapist I could really like was when we were talking about how I was feeling at the end of that second session. One of the things I mentioned was being scared I wasn’t doing it right and it wouldn’t make me any better. She looked over her glasses and said “And scared you’ll get better, right?” And that’s not a concept many people understand, much less will call me out on it.

I had my first proper session, and we started super light. I actually went to my list of bad memories and couldn’t find one that didn’t mess with me just by reading it, so I just picked a memory that wasn’t so horrible, but memorable.

I had trouble coming up with the “pleasant” memory, but rather than trying to think of a memory, I just went into my internal pile of stories. As a storyteller (before it became hip) I’m thinking this part will be the easy part. I even used a memory that wasn’t a happy story, but one about my father that literally made me cry, but it was a happy sad. Sort of.

I did feel different after a few iterations, and it’s difficult to describe. When we started, I felt like the little kid who was feeling so much horrible in the memory. After the process, I felt less connected to the kid, and more like I was looking at the memory.

We only did two memories, and it took a lot of the “happy” stories to do that. So we’ll see how things go in future sessions. Unfortunately it’s almost 3 weeks until my next, but we’re trying to get me into a weekly rhythm. That and I’m short listed for filling cancellations.

I was a mess going in. Disheartened, hopeless, anxious, scared, wanting to flee the office. When I left I was still a good mess, but I guess it all felt just a tiny bit lighter.

The Pain of Progress

Forever ago I found a cable knit sweater at Target. It was mustard colored and I loved it. It fit well, and it just had a sense of comfort. I went back and over a few weeks collected as many colors as I could find. Blue, green, beige. Sad I never found a red. The off white sweater was one size larger than the others but that made it even comfier.

I wore it all winter. I wore it to work and I wore it at home. In the summer I would find the lamest excuse to wear it. When I went into the “grippy sock jail,” aka hospital it was one of the few items of my own that I had.

Wearing that sweater gives me comfort and security. It was armor and it was what I knew.

Depression, for so long, feels like that too. It still makes me want to die, but it is also familiar, something I know, and at times, something that keeps me warm.

Last week, I visited my sister, who lives in a kind of remote paradise. My daughter was living there for part of the summer, and some of my trips purpose was to help my daughter move back home. It was an amazing visit. I spent time with my daughter, but also with my sister and her wonderful family. I took walks, I sat on a porch and read, and just sat there appreciating peace. I wrote about my childhood and about canoe trips, in an actual book.

I had two days of.. Nothing. Depression and anxiety weren’t there. At the end of these days I would be so exhausted that I could feel them, but it was only as I was going to sleep.

The closer I got to home the more the anxiety grew, and the depression poked its head out. Remembering that I had nothing to be, except broken.

“Getting better” has always scared me. So this development is very overwhelming. I worry that people will see me being more alert and active, and think “Great, he’s better now!” I worry the life I awaken to will be so very different from my old life. I will have to recreate myself, learn who I am and how I live my life.

I do know that I have more energy, but that a lot of it goes to wearing my “human face” and interacting with others. Ironically, the better I look, the better I’m putting on a good show. It feels a bit like I’m just going back to the time I was depressed but able to convince others I was fine. Back into the sadness closet.

I’m not there (“Better”) yet, obviously. It’s a long road. And I’m still not sure how I feel about walking that long journey. Or even if I’m willing to.


I will preface this with the fact that this is a catch up post, and the latest “real” post is coming next.

Started the emsam patch, an MAOI. It does not have the usual dietary restrictions, but any higher dose they switch me to will have them. It reads like my grocery list of favorite foods. No ill effect from the patches so far. Sometimes they leave a red mark, and I change locations enough that it doesn’t get too bad. I was working on a series of red blotches from one bicep to the other, across my chest. Didn’t quite get there. On ketamine days I usually go “iron man” style with the patch right in the middle of my upper chest area.

I am back to full strength on my sleep med, and the vertigo has returned with some additional random dizziness. But I’m getting to sleep eventually. Forgot to take my night meds one night and was wide awake until near-dawn. That was a hard day.

Therapist says I need to buy in. believe, and try. Fight, even. And I understand that. But to be honest I gave up caring a couple weeks back. This is me forever and I can’t find the physical strength to fight it. I’m just like a weed in a stream, totally letting the current shape me.

I have finished the intensive outpatient program, and finished with complete therapy burnout. So now my structure is much less, which means I have to come up with my own routine and somehow gather the self discipline to stick to it. I think we all know that’s not going to happen easily or soon. But I’ll try.

Talking about everything with family, friends and therapist feels good but usually sends me deeper. The more I talk about the depression or focus on it, the more I feel it. It does feel like not talking about it and just doing a hobby is avoiding the issue, but sometimes I think I need that.

Finally, every moment of the day in my head I am saying “I’m sorry I’m sorry I’m sorry” to everyone and everything. I feel guilty for making Wife go through this with me, as well as my whole family and network of friends. I feel like I am a sinkhole of emotion and resources.