Monthly Archives: January 2012

Life is Short, Eat Dessert First?

A funny story, but also a question at the end.

So when I went to see my mom last week, I saw that her Lean Cuisine dinner (she’ll only eat that for dinner, and only one kind) was sitting on the counter with a cover over it, but getting cold. I suggested that maybe she should try to eat it while it was still warm, or I could re-heat it for her. She nodded and moved it to the table, put the cover back on it, and walked away.

OK…. picking my battles, I moved on.

We went to go sit and watch The Sound of Music (her daily show), that was already on when I got there, and she picked up the half gallon of ice cream sitting there. I said “Oh! Dessert before dinner! Good idea!” with a smile, and she said “Well, I saw there was still some left in here and I thought I’d better finish it off.” I said “Oh, well, you’re an adult, enjoy! How much was left?” “Ohhhhh, about half.”

Me internally: !!!!!!!!!! half!!!!!!!!????

So we sit there watching the movie as she scoops mouthful after mouthful of ice cream in, and I start hearing these heavy sighs or “ooof”s. I look over at her and she is looking down at the ice cream container with some apparent consternation. I said “Mom, you don’t have to finish it off, it’s okay, we can just put it back in the freezer.” She said “no, no!” I couldn’t decide if she wanted it or felt she *had* to finish it.

Her Depression Era childhood says to finish all food and not throw anything away, and her lack of memory lets her forget her dinner completely.

Finally I said I had to get going but suggested that she put the ice cream away if she was full and not to skip dinner completely. I just couldn’t watch her doing that anymore. I mean, I’ve been known to eat a pint of ice cream in one sitting before, but not when I’m clearly TIRED OF IT!

I felt a little helpless. What would you have done?

Silently Surviving?

Yeah, pretty much. When I make it through another day, I am surviving.

I’ve been living with diagnosed depression for almost 20 years, but since it was diagnosed at that time as Long-Term Chronic Depression with a probable onset in my toddler years, we’ll just go with “my whole life.” (almost 46 years) Also, I have Generalized Anxiety Disorder. I attribute my depression and anxiety to a lovely cocktail of influences: parental neglect, emotional detachment, childhood incest, a highly-sensitive nervous system, and a genetic predisposition toward depression and anxiety. (Hey, at least there is a cocktail involved!)

Depression and Anxiety aren’t what I want to discuss here, but they are the backdrop of my life. I silently survive from day to day to day, and no one gives me a ribbon for making it another day, another month, or another year. Only other depression survivors understand the miracle of making it through each bout of depression alive, and sometimes those bouts are indistinguishable from daily life. If I had a “real” sickness, people would bring me casseroles and offer to help me however they could. Most people don’t see depression as a “real sickness” though, and I get offers of… well nothing. I don’t get offers of help or casseroles or sympathy. I get judgement, shame, criticism, guilt, etc. ┬áIt makes me never good enough. I take medication. The medication helps me remember to do things (that would never get done without it), but I have to remember to take it. I have to remember to refill it. I have to remember to pick up the refill. Taking a pill to help you remember to take a pill is all kinds of fucked up, and when I forget, I get shame and disapproval. “I THOUGHT YOU HAD THAT FIGURED OUT.” …. well, I thought so too, but OBVIOUSLY, I WAS WRONG.

I don’t want to be Debbie Downer here, just give you a little lens to view me through. I’d like to be funny. Sometimes I am. You may not see it that way. I have a pretty twisted, fucked-up sense of humor, but I know I’m not the only one, thank God. Even if no one in my personal life is that way, I see evidence of it all over the internet, and that gives me hope that someone, somewhere, understands me.