Saturday, February 11, 2017

Return of the Timeline: 2009-2013, When I Lived in Georgia, The Beginning....part II.

If you were to ask my father which series he prefers of the first two Star Treks, between The Original Series and The Next Generation, having seen all of them, he would choose TNG. If you were to ask me, having seen MOST of TNG and a good portion of The Original (I have no idea why I'm capitalizing "Original"....respect?), I would choose TNG. Kirk's...great, but Jean Luc Picard is my prince.

There are pages dedicated to this boy. 
I feel like I grew up with the sweater master himself, Wesley Crusher, but it wasn't until a year ago that I actually realized he was leading his own depression and anxiety awareness campaign (well, the actor Wil Wheaton, not Crusher, although he is the son of a doctor). I'm not going to say it wasn't pleasingly nostalgic when he popped up back on the scene. I'm just not going to say it. It was even more enjoyable to hear him talk about his own struggles with GAD, but nothing struck me more than when I heard him speak about the difference between life with and without medication. It was uncanny (and you can hear it at around 2:56 on the video that is linked to GAD up there).

To paraphrase, he describes life with depression and anxiety as life in a room that was so loud, the only way to live was to "deal with how loud it was." I heard him say it (on The Nerdist Podcast, hosted by fellow Memphian, Chris Hardwick, of Billy Hardwick and bowling and stuff), and (duh) I cried.

Deal with how loud it is.

At 29, I was exhausted. Falling asleep crying and waking up to more misery. I was in love, or I wanted to be in be loved, as I loved, and I was panicking in the shower about hitting my head and being found days later because no one stopped by my house in the woods where I had no one that I knew well but a man I didn't really understand and who couldn't really understand me. I had a Master's degree, enough experience traveling and living abroad to write a novel, and I wept for myself because I couldn't bear the weight of the noise, the relentless droning of, "It is not enough. It will never be enough."

It wasn't until I had a breakdown in front my boyfriend, an honest to God weeping, no words, terrified, breakdown, that I was prompted to do something.

I realized I had hit the "proverbial" bottom.
And I stopped crying.

I called my dad, told him I needed help. Then, I drove myself to Alabama and commenced some of the oddest days of my life, the days I floated there, on the bottom, on my back looking up at the expanse of the deep well above me, leading to nothing.

My doctor told me to stop taking my birth control as this might have been a side effect (a minor side-effect....panic attacks and suicidal thoughts). I wondered if I would have to be hospitalized. I stared off into the foothills of the Appalachians. I saw nothing. I felt heavy, on the verge, tipping.

Then, because I had taken it previously, a doctor prescribed Zoloft. He should have told me to start with half a pill, but he didn't, so I spent the first twenty-four hours smiling like a weird android and trembling. I halved it.

Then, the noise stopped. I didn't notice at first; it takes a moment for it to creep up on a person. I was with my mom in Chattanooga a few days later. We walked around the city, around the "Choo-Choo," and I thought of how romantic it had all seemed in the old song. Now, rusty and surrounded by concrete, the trains just sat, quietly. Like I was doing. For the first time.

My mother asked me once what I was thinking about, and I paused, listened and replied, "nothing." And I meant it. For the first time in almost thirty years. And it felt so good.

It doesn't last. One can't just take medication and expect everything to be okay. The depressed brain is pretty convincing. There's a lot of searching: searching for the right therapist with no insurance, searching for the right psychiatrist with no insurance, searching for the medication that works that you can also afford without insurance. Then, there's the search for the way to move forward, search for the people that can be trusted with the darkness, the people that can handle it.

The Internet is for Star Trek
Discovering what I can handle. Moving forward despite how easy it would be to stand still. These are the voyages of my life. My trek through the stars of my own universe. See...I'm bringin' it back. Like a circle. Like time.

This was a moment, along my timeline, like on any timeline, a milestone. One can look behind for clues as to why it happened, but what lies ahead requires focus, an expanse stretching as far as the universe and as deep as the deep well in which I had once floated calmly, gazing up into nothing, except nothing was freedom. Nothing was peace. For the first time.

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