Turning Bad Advice into Good Advice – It’s No Harder Than Turning Lead into Gold

Alchemical Apparatus - Image by Wellcome [CC BY 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
“But other people have it worse…”

Well, yeah. Just like there’s always someone cooler than you, there’s always someone worse off than you. It would probably be hard to figure out who is at the single furthest point on either end of that spectrum because I’m sure it changes.

But this isn’t a contest about who has it worse. There is no competition to be in that position. I don’t know anyone who wakes up and says, “You know what? Today is the day I win the coveted title of having it absolutely worst in the universe.”

When someone says that, your first response is probably something to the effect of wanting to shout – “FUCK YOU!”

There’s another option, though.

First, consider the fact that *they* have it worse than you. They clearly have no idea of how to interact with other human beings. They are completely incapable of providing good and helpful advice.  

Second, understand that if you can’t find the good in the trite saying that gets trotted out, you’re a hell of a lot smarter than the person who said it. You’re clever enough to examine a statement and consider its implications. Score one for you!

Third, this is your chance to learn a very good lesson: ignore everyone who wants to give you advice.

Except me.

My advice is awesome.

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It’s not a tumor! (Or meningitis)

Skull image from Morguefile.comUnless it is.

Okay, so if you read my blog, you know I’m crazy. I’m not telling you anything new. But this is one of my truly crazy things.

And I blame my mother.

I know, mothers (and fathers) get a horrible rep when it comes to causing problems with their kids. But in this case, it’s totally legit.

See, when I was younger, any time I had a headache that was bad, which was often since I get migraines, my mother’s first response was to worry that it was meningitis.

“Oh my god,” she would say in a realistic yet dramatic way. “What if it’s meningitis? Is your neck sore?”

And, of course, the minute she asked, my neck would be sore. Within minutes, I’d be convinced that I did, indeed, have meningitis, and I was, indeed, dying.

Obviously, it hasn’t been meningitis yet. And I’m still alive.

But now, it doesn’t matter that I know that not every headache is meningitis. (In fact, very very few headaches are meningitis.) Every time I have a headache, I am convinced it’s meningitis.

The problem is that this morning, I woke up with a headache.

It was not my typical migraine. With a migraine, one side or the other hurts like someone has shoved a spike through my eye.

This morning, it felt like someone had put a vise on my head. There was pressure coming from seemingly everywhere, and I didn’t want to move because it made me want to throw up (which is like having a migraine).

I’ve probably had a pressure headache like that before, but I couldn’t remember when.

So it happened.

Oh. My. God.

I have meningitis.

Except I’m pretty sure I don’t. I’m up and moving around. I created PowerPoints for two classes I’m going to teach. I’ve been responding to emails. I even worked on booking a craft show. And the headache is getting better (thanks to a bunch of OTC pain meds and a lot of coffee).

But…

But…

But…

What if it’s meningitis?

Yesterday, my father figured out I wasn’t kidding when I called myself crazy

fuck depressionSurprise, Dad! And step-mother! And whoever else is foolishly reading this blog.

I went out to lunch with my father, my step-mother, and a friend. My father noticed – possibly not for the first time – the semi-colon I have tattooed on my middle finger. (It seems appropriate to me to have it there). He asked me about it, and I told him the story of the semi-colon and why I have it: how I want to put a semi-colon there and keep going instead of putting a period there and stopping it.

He laughed at first. Told me that I had gotten it from my mother.

And I said, yes, I did. And I told him that I applied for disability because I haven’t been able to function.

And I explained to him what it’s been like.

My brain is broken. Seriously broken. I take medication. Not because I want to, but because I have to. Because without it, I can’t function. Even with my medication, I have problems functioning.

I spent over a week trying to convince myself that death is not actually better than life. I’m still not convinced, but I know that if my medication is working, I would probably feel that life is worth living, so I’m working on it.

I went to see my psych because I knew there was a problem – and because my husband convinced me that there was a problem – and he jumped up both my medications (depression and anxiety) as soon as I told him how I felt.

When I explained that I couldn’t get out of bed, I couldn’t get any work done because the minute I saw I had work to do, it overwhelmed me, and then I’d want to just get back into bed, and then I’d notice that there was even more work to do, which then overwhelms me worse, and then I’d get depressed because I hadn’t done anything, which then made me want to go back to bed and not work…well, you get the idea. It’s a fun cycle that refuses to stop itself.

I’m in a jewelry making class. We had two projects to do. Neither of mine are finished.

I’m also in a marketing class. My projects have all been due for a while now. I still have one that I haven’t finished, and I don’t know that I will finish it.

I told all this to my psych, and he decided to increase my medications. So I went out to my car and cried because I was crazy.

Because I know I’m crazy. Because I know I’m anxious over everything and depressed about anything.

I had a half-hour panic attack because I had to take a new medication for some hip pain. It’s a simple anti-inflammatory. A NSAID. But after I took it, I freaked out and thought I was dying.

I ate a salad. Found something crunchy in it. Decided I had eaten glass and was going to die. So much fun.

I love Christmas. Normally. The minute it hits Thanksgiving, I’m all about decorating for outside. I’m all about not being able to wait to put up the tree. I love Christmas.

I still haven’t been able to do any of it. I just can’t get myself to care about it.

I’ve been on new doses of my meds yesterday and today. The increased dosage made me sleep. A lot. I slept until 10 a.m. Got up long enough to take more medication and eat breakfast, and then I went back to bed. Woke up at 2:30, took a shower, made sure my son got off the school bus and got some juice and a snack, ate my lunch and took my other medication, and wound up falling asleep again. I finally actually got up around 8 p.m. But I’m tired already.

I know my drugs will eventually work. They will kick in. I will not spend all my time thinking about ways in which death is better than life. I will not consider methods of suicides and rank them by their likelihood to success versus the amount of pain suffered. I will stop sleeping all the time. I will feel better. I will be able to do things. I will be excited about Christmas. I will decorate. I will bake cookies. I will read. I will write. I will see people. I will make jewelry. I will make blank books. I will be happy.

Until my drugs stop working again. And then this will all start over again. But I can hope it doesn’t, once I feel better.