Yesterday I hosted a birthday luncheon (well, din-uncheon, because we didn’t really start eating until 3pm) for my dear one, Andrea, with my dear ones, Alison and Sister Debbie. Before it began, as I was prepping and cooking, I took a picture of the table and the tulips.
Once everyone had arrived, I had such a marvelous time and was so busy being there, here, where I am going, talking to and enjoying and loving people, I never thought to record every few moments (or any moments at all) with my smartphone, posting my life, documenting it rather than living it.
This forced-absence from Twitter really was a good decision.
It has been three weeks since I decided to treat my Twitter addiction, a decision triggered by a sort of sub-Tweeted provocation of a personal nature related to my delight with my recent, late in life taking of an antidepressant, which I started two months ago and which taking of was initiated by a wonderful medical professional to whom I went to treat the rash-reaction-hives-whatever covering my right forearm and spreading to my left (at the time).
I’ve been on Twitter a few times since my hiatus began — I have not looked at my TL, but I do periodically check for (and write) DMs, and I check my notifications. My mood and outlook continue to be near-miraculously improved from the antidepressant, although the commencing euphoria has evened out, which was to be expected as my initial diagnosis years ago was Dysthymic Disorder with Cyclothymic periodic hypomanic euphoric episodes (or something like that): I.E. I was chronically depressed and anhedonic with occasional energetic bursts of hopefulness, or, UPS, from which I would come crashing down and as the years went by, my LOWS getting lower after each UP, and the UPS became decreasingly so; I was cycling down for decades into what eventually became an outlook consistently bleak with daily suicidal ideation, a nagging voice in my head narrating with the mantra, “And then he died,” which I hid (mostly) but which the fight against exhausted me spiritually, emotionally, and physically.
It is difficult living every day when you are hoping to die. I believed my life was without meaning and its meaninglessness was my failure and sin; and worse than the pain of that, was how incredibly alone and isolated I felt in it. I couldn’t explain it to people who loved me because it made them (often) angry, as if I was dismissing what they felt for me, as if my depression was actually me being selfish and ungrateful — a reaction which only affirmed my fear that my sorrow was my deficiency of character and backbone, a weakness I ought to be able to fix.
I did not blame people for not wanting to be around me. I saw the ability of others to spend time with friends, to have lover-relationships, to be happy, as further proof that I was and had always been a broken down nobody, somebody not worthy of love.
I’m not going to say those feelings have been entirely erased by the medication. But my capacity to confront them has increased ten-fold. Whereas before I would think those thoughts and believe them to be true, or, block them out and negate myself, fighting against thinking or feeling at all, working toward numbness, NOW, I am able to say, “I think that is not true.”
Undoing decades of feeling inadequate is a mighty long trek, but what the antidepressant has really eased is my focus on the past. I am blessedly relieved (mostly) of the relentless replaying of “oh you’ve wasted your life” and “if only” and “should have, could have, why didn’t you?” and all the other nags and self-hating vitriol that made it impossible to be in the now because every moment was so full of regret and recrimination.
And envy. I still have some envy, which was another reason I took a Twitter break. There is an echo of “I might have lived a life like that” in my genuine joy of seeing and sharing in the lives of my Twitter pals, many of whom live in New York, or have long-term relationships, or have experienced and lived in ways I have not. I love them and I do celebrate their successes and joys, but there is sometimes a tinge of the old voice, “How did I fuck up so badly that I’m where I am and not there where they are?”
On which I am working. Healing takes time. New patterns of thinking and adjustments of attitude require practice. The pathways in my brain and heart have so long been geared toward self-flagellation and sorrow, it requires practice and concentrated effort to interrupt the sorrow.
But, yesterday, I hosted a birthday din-uncheon and was having such a marvelous time with my people, it never occurred to me to take a picture except before it started and after the people had gone. The clean-up. Look:
And after I took those pics and was doing the clean-up — which I have down to a system that works in my tiny kitchen, just like the system I have for creating meals there, which systems fill me with admiration for myself that I’ve accommodated to my environment — which is metaphor for what I’m doing (and have always done) in my life in general; making the most of the space I am in, I felt such a peace and a patience within myself, for myself.
Funny, this. I went to the doctor in January for the mysterious non-itching, odd rash on my right arm, spreading then to my left, which I thought was hives brought on by the inauguration of the fascist buffoon, and because of that visit, my near-lifelong depression has been relieved, my addiction to social media has been eased, my ability to live, here where I am, being, and my capacity for experiencing joy without fear has been greatly increased, but the rash-reaction-hives-whatever has spread to my chest, my back, my legs, my palms, my feet, and after I’d finished cleaning up last night sort of exploded on my forearms. This was a new event, this exacerbation, and now, this morning, as of 4:30a.m. when I got up, both arms have faded back to the normal shadow of the spots and red which is slowly, slowly going away, sort of, although I still look pox-ridden.
That, despite three more trips to the doctor, steroids, creams, and antihistamines, is yet to be diagnosed or cured. Life is funny, yes?
Okay, off to live mine — of which I might take pics to share here with you later. Love and Light dear ones.
P.S. The din-uncheon was kind of marvelous. Menu: a starter of lobster & crab bisque, heavy on the cream and sherry; main course of deconstructed thanksgiving turkey — which was a breast, beaten and then rolled jelly-roll style with a filling made of stuffing material — spinach, celery, mushrooms, Italian bread crumbs; and twice-baked mashed potatoes — made from baby potatoes first boiled, then baked, then mashed with heavy cream, butter, and loads of asiago and parmesan, piped into a ceramic dish, topped with more cheese, and baked in the oven until brown-topped and puffed up into a delicious mound of mmm-goodness; fresh asparagus steamed; and for dessert a triple-chocolate layer cake with fudge between the layers and cream cheese frosting. I created all the recipes myself, of which I am super proud, and the meal was a HUGE hit with everyone — including me. Yes, even I thought it was delicious. Okay, really going now.