The Dragon and the Dementor

The CEO invited all of us to an Orioles game, and I said, “might I suggest a game against the Houston Astros?” He said, “of course… I thought you’d never ask. :P” The last time I went to Camden Yards, it was with a group from XOM in which we proceeded to drink beer at Hooters and then walk to the park, where I promptly fell asleep on Kathleen’s shoulder for three innings. Hey, it was a hot day and we’d all had 23 oz mugs. The best part of the game was that it was against the Pittsburgh Pirates, and Moises Alou was playing for them. So as much as I like the Os, I was one of the few people in the park screaming, “Ah-LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!” Then, driving home, we got lost.. and you never want to get lost in Baltimore. We wound up in a neighborhood where I just knew we were going to be murdered if we stopped at a stop sign. There’s a reason it’s called Bodymore, Murderland. Good times.

Yes, I have seen The Wire. Yes, it IS just like that.

However, I did briefly consider moving to Baltimore, saying that I was “much more John Waters than John Boehner.” It’s a great ciy, if you know where to go. If you don’t, God help you.

I’m trying to inject some humor into my writing today, because depression is raging within me and I can’t seem to snap myself out of it. Nothing is wrong, per se. I just feel like crap, and some days, it just happens for no reason. Or perhaps there is a reason in body memory, but I don’t know what it might be. I could probably look through my e-mail and try to piece it together, but I won’t, because it might exacerbate the problem rather than relieving it. Today is one of those days that I could tie a Reiki healer in knots. After I get off work, I must take a walk. Mobility helps. I do my best thinking while walking and the endorphins start to kick in. For now, I will have to do with swinging my legs at my desk and shaking the negative energy off my hands just to fight the deep grey. We’re probably at about 30%. With a walk, I can probably get it down to 10.

I hate being such a “Debbie Downer” sometimes, but depression happens. Even with an SSRI, a mood stabilizer, and benzos for anxiety, I still can’t get rid of it completely. All I can do is manage. I did put on some Ke$ha, though, so perhaps I can get my heart beating like an 808 drum and that will help. I was so proud of myself when I figured out that 808 was the area code for Hawaii.

There. That IS a little better.

“Your Love is My Drug” was the last dance at Lindsay’s wedding, and Dana and I were dancing like there was no tomorrow. Then, the song took on a dark and sinister meaning when Argo and I began writing to each other… because my judgment was gettin’ kinda hazy. Every fucking word of that song except for “slumber party in my basement” became a cautionary tale… dopamine is addictive, and the struggle was real… even for her, in some sense, because while she has never and will never be bi-identified, there was still the rush of talking every fifteen minutes, flipping each other shit and just generally making each other feel good, which is what dopamine does, anyway.

However, today the dark and sinister means nothing to me, because I am choosing to focus on that last dance with Dana. It’s such a great memory, because the place went wild and we were all dancing like no one was watching, which is good, because I am not a dancer. I kind of look like an epileptic on crack, but during high energy moments like that, I have no fucks to give.

Interestingly enough, that’s what depression does, as well. It leaves you with no fucks to give, because all your mind can manage is survival. You cannot rise to the level of thriving, because that would mean you value yourself… and in those moments, you cannot. It is mentally impossible… or seems like it, anyway, and that’s the problem. Your mind plays tricks on you until believe your own bullshit.

  • I can’t manage my life
  • I will never be able to manage my life
  • There’s no point in reaching out to people, because they don’t want to be around me, anyway.
  • My crazy spatter will hurt other people, so it’s better to hide whether people want to see me or not
  • Interaction with friends will not change how I feel about myself
  • There’s nothing I can do to change my own mood
  • The people in my life that genuinely don’t like me are right in their perceptions, and they are more important than how I perceive myself
  • I will never amount to anything, because I do not have the tools to rise above the feelings I have about myself

Bullshit, bullshit, bullshit. And yet, it feels real in the moment. The thing that saves me over and over is knowing that I am not the only person in the world that stuggles with these feelings, and there are resources that help, particularly a podcast called The Mental Illness Happy Hour. Paraphrasing Paul Gilmartin, the host, “it’s not a replacement for a therapist, more like a waiting room that doesn’t suck.” It makes my mirror neurons go off in the best way possible, because it’s so much easier to have sympathy for other people than it is to have sympathy for my own mental illness, and nothing bolsters my ability to adjust my perception to realize that a lot of people have it worse off than me, and I have the power to direct help their way, rather than sitting in my own desperate unhappiness.

But perhaps it is better to be myself as I am, rather than forcing the mask to appear. Leslie Lanagan™ is not leslie, and never will be.

I wrote a Facebook status years ago about slaying the dragon of emotional abuse, and one my friends replied, “what if you never have the chance to slay your own dragon?” I said, “then don’t slay the dragon. Slay the one they let grow in you.” Today I am feeling the tail and not the fire. But perhaps holding on to the tail is what will eventually allow me to fly.

Amen.

#prayingonthespaces

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