Sunday, December 18, 2016

You are not your depression

I've taken a lot of flak for my suggestion that instead of antidepressants we need to perhaps be still and learn the lessons that sadness can teach us. In part I take that back. What I've concluded instead is that in this world where people HAVE to keep functioning to feed the machine then anti-depressants basically save us all.

Depressions of the not serious sort tend to lift naturally within 12 weeks I've read. So until we all can get 12 weeks worth of holidays a year that means antidepressants.

Now, just to get everybody mad at me again I've been ruminating on the selfishness of depression. The only reason I can write this is because of the "been there, done that" principle.

People who have depression of the worst order are, by the nature of the disease, stuck horribly in a place of self and only self. Self and pain. Self and anger. Self and victimhood. It swallows them up alive. Unfortunately it swallows up your friends and family. Your friends eventually disappear and your family is usually left decimated, frustrated, angry, afraid, broken. I've seen it happen many times over my lifetime.

A person who is depressed has no energy for others. They can barely see them there. They are screaming "See me! See my pain! See my pain! Leave me alone. Don't leave me alone. See my pain!" They have become, over time and untreated I suppose, victims of victimhood. The minute you label yourself a victim you're lost. You are not a victim. You may be a victim "of" but you are not a victim. Because that implies helplessness. That demands being taken care of by others. And that's okay. For awhile. But when it goes on beyond reason Depression becomes familiar. It becomes your operating centre where all the outside influences are taken in and appraised through a distorted lens and reconfigured to feed the depression. Because it needs feeding. Constantly. Particularly if you now have made Depression your identity.

Your social circles are now other depressed people. But you can sure relate to them. In fact, only them. Around you the friends you had, the families who love you are incapable of understanding you. Only your depressed friends, usually on the internet, really do. And that's okay. For awhile. Your friends and family have challenged you and made you angry and frustrated by not understanding your pain. They don't understand and you can't make them understand because that would require energy you don't have. But your internet friends, your depressed friends: They "understand." Because they are the only ones who understand you without much effort on your part, the whole dynamic can consume your entire life to the exclusion of even trying to relate to others. This is not good. And all that time you spend on the computer reviewing your pain with others is usually only possible because in the background of your pain you're being taken care of. By someone. Usually someone who loves you.

I've seen this happen with disease too. People become their disease. Their whole life is about socializing with others with their disease. Surfing the internet about their disease. Talking to loads of other people with their disease. It's a comfy safe and wonderful place to be. For awhile. But you know you gotta move on. You know you do. Your world is meant to be bigger than this narrow life you've carefully constructed around you. Or, in some cases, others have constructed for you in your victimhood. You have to move on. Because you are neither your depression nor your disease. You are a human being and the life you could have misses you. The friends you lost miss you. Your family misses you. They have done their best to take care of you. Theirs was a selfless act of love. And you must repay them. All they ask is that you come back to them as the fully-functioning human being you used to be. And that can't happen unless you let go. Take a leap of faith.
And take an anti-depressant if that is what it takes.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Allsorts of Trouble

There are only a few things left for me to live for. One of the most important ones is licorice allsorts. Neither hell nor highwater will keep me away from licorice allsorts if they are anywhere whatsoever within the vicinity. This is why I went to Loblaws today.

It is the only reason.

Sure I got dogfood and catfood and chicken boobs and mandarines and celery... but I was really really there for their sale on licorice allsorts in a tin. Limit 6 per customer. I went through the whole store. Up and down aisles. Finally I stopped 3 different clerks in my travels so that they could all look for the licorice allsorts. I figured getting three people to look for me was bound to be better than just one. I just hoped they weren't talking to each other (thereby realizing my trick of them all doing my bidding) before they actually found the licorice allsorts in a tin.

It turns out they didn't have them.

Now we people who are grieving are not very good with Emotions. I figure this goes on for at least a year. Our Emotions are right freakin' there: lolling about on the surface awaiting any obstacle they can leap up for and do what they were meant to do.

When the harried and hairy red-headed clerk confessed that they indeed did not have licorice allsorts in a tin he was obviously doing so with some trepidation. He brought the manager with him who was trying very hard to explain about shipments and international orders and etc. I figure they were concerned because I was beet red from having been in the cold (on account of my cold urticaria) and my Emotions were no longer lolling about but at attention awaiting the word. They had raised my eyebrows, drawn my chin out, and pursed my lips. They were ready. I figured that I had only two choices at this point: bursting into tears or going into a righteous rage. Neither choice seemed right somehow.

So I killed all of them with a pair of garden shears. The end.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Mice and Mint Juleps

It is important when some piece of your computer technology goes awry not to panic. That's very important. This is why the first thing I do is panic. That's the first thing I do. Then I start banging things about as if treating the computer as a pinball machine does any good. It doesn't. My mouse, that little bitchy temperamental thing refused to work. Eventually I picked it up off the floor where I had thrown it and phoned the local Apple Store. This was not as easy as it sounds because I did not have a mouse that would allow me to get into the computer to look up where the Apple Store was. So I had to call that Computer Being that chirps away at the Bell directory assistance place. I don't know if it's just me or what but as a Human Being I find Computer Beings horribly annoying. But you can scream away at it and it seems completely oblivious to the fine fits I take. It chirped away at least 3 times before it finally gave me the address for an Apple Store in the same city at least which I promptly called to get the name of an Apple Store close by. Then I looked outside. It was both raining and snowing.

So I said to self, as I do, send a courier to pick up your mouse and deliver it. It is only 4 blocks away after all and it'll only cost $15 and it's worth it because being allergic to the cold, and being all comfy cosy with a cat on my lap and a dog on my feet the inclination to weather the weather simply wasn't something any sane person in my situation would do. That's what I figured anyway.

So I called the store and spent awhile talking to their Computer Being before finally being redirected to a Human Being. This Human Being was immensely helpful. "Oh yes," he exclaimed,  "we do indeed have an optical mouse here." So I began to give him the credit card information and was frantically interrupted. "No. You can't order it HERE! You must call this number." He assured me that once I ordered it the mouse would be instantaneously ready for pickup. Instantaneously! Those were his exact words. I tell no lie.

So I called Texas. That's apparently where people go to order a mouse from a store 4 blocks away.

Now I have this thing. Oh I know it's utterly silly and quite ridiculous and you'd think by now at my advanced age I would have figured this whole "thing" I have out by now but I haven't. And probably won't. I have this "thing" about spelling things out loud on a telephone. I can't, under duress, think of a word that starts with a letter I'm spelling out. A as in apple, e.g. I ALWAYS find myself like a deer in the headlights frantically searching for a word that starts with any given letter. So I tried just spelling out my name without it. S.H.A.W.C.R.O.S.S. I did it slowly and clearly and with unreasonable hope. And he replied with his southern drawl, "Okay Mrs. Sadcrow, what can I do for you today?" I said "Shawcross.S.H.A.W.C.R.O.S.S."

"Oh. Okay. S.A.W.C.R.O.S.S then."

"No, It's S.H.A.W.C.R.O.S.S."

"Oh Okay. Mrs. Shawncross, what can I do for you?"

"No. There is no "n". S.H.A.W.C.R.O.S.S."

"I can't find you on the computer Mrs.Sawcross."

"Okay. Let's do this then. It's S as in…" And that's when the evil twin of my intellect, usually carefully locked away in my brain, has picked the lock and gotten loose and takes over. "S. as in Salacious. H as in Hell. A as in alacrity. W as in…WTF…" I knew at this point I was lost. "C as in… oh god there must be a word that starts with C… lemme think… Calumity. D… as in… no wait… Forget the D. There's no D okay. R… as in Rambunctious. O as in…" There is no word that starts with O. I'm convinced of it at this point, being flustered and all. "O as in… as in… Oh God?… No… O as in Obsequious. S as in Something." I was feeling deeply crazed at this point. "S as in Sambuka." Thing is, I have no idea if the word Sambuka exists. Is that a word?

"S.H.A…. Could you repeat that?" he said. That's what he said. Well, drawled really. At this point the rational part of me joined forces with the evil twin. So I spelled my name again with my best John Wayne/Cat on a Hot Tin Roof/William Faulkner accent. And he got it perfectly. There's something utterly absurd about this I thought. But I bought my mouse from a Texas ranger I think and then phoned the Apple Store four blocks away to say a courier was coming. About 15 minutes later I get a phone call from the Apple Store 4 blocks away from a frantic courier.

"They won't give me the mouse." he said and handed the phone over to the manager.

"I can't release the mouse," the manager said.

"And why not?" I asked.

"Because the Computer shows you paid for it but does not list the courier as being able to pick it up."

"So," I said wearily, "you are talking to me on the phone where my name is displayed I'm sure. A courier has arrived with the actual Order Number and a Photo I.D. and my name and address. Do you think he just spontaneously and nefariously arrived at your store and invented a number that is 13 digits long that just HAPPENS to match my order number and that he, having a master criminal mind, found my name and address to give to you so he could get this mouse and run wildly away with it on his bicycle because he's certain he can get $14 for it in the black market?"

"You must phone this number and have the courier added to the pickup request. We will be able to give it to him. It's very fast. Instantaneous." There was that word again, "instantaneous." All computers are instantaneous I gather.

So I phoned Texas.


I added the courier's name and birthday and his grandmother's maiden name. In a southern accent.

And phoned the store 4 blocks away.

"There," I said. "All done."

"It's not showing up on the computer. This can take up to 45 minutes."

"Give the man the mouse." I said.

"I'm sorry Mrs. Sawcross, we can't do that."

"Give the man the mouse." I said.

"I really apologize Mrs. Sawcross but we can't release the merchandise until the computer gives us the information we need."

"The good thing about life," I said somewhat sarcastically, "is that it sometimes has common sense unlike computers. So I suggest you yourself and thee phone Texas to confirm."

Apparently the whole concept of the manager having to phone Texas himself was what did it. He handed over the mouse.

I have my mouse. It's not working properly. I don't even care anymore.