Depression Marathon Blog

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Diagnosed with depression 19 years ago, I lost the life I once knew, but in the process re-created a better me. I am alive and functional today because of my dog, my treatment team, my sobriety, and my willingness to re-create myself within the confines of this illness. I hate the illness, but I'm grateful for the person I've become and the opportunities I've seized because of it. I hope writing a depression blog will reduce stigma and improve the understanding and treatment of people with mental illness. All original content copyright to me: etta. Enjoy your visit!

Sunday, June 9, 2019

My fragile brain

Sometimes I wonder if mental illness has made my brain "fragile." It seems I'm unable to handle stress like I used to. Or perhaps I get stressed with less provocation than previously. My brain has been feeling fragile for a couple of weeks, and it's getting exhausting.

Here's the scoop: I've got a couple of things going on right now. One is political. If you've been reading for awhile, you know I don't say a lot about political crap. I used to be very active politically. I grew up in a very politically active family. I then lived in Boston where politics seems to be front and center all of the time. And I was okay with that. I've also been to Washington D.C. to march for more than one cause over the years.

But those years are long past. As I've dealt with this illness, politics (which basically feels like arguing these days) just exhaust me. I still have feelings about things which are important to me. I still vote regularly, but I just don't have the inclination to debate or participate anymore. That is, until now.

The City of Rochester's Park Board has decided, with little to no input from anyone in the community, to destroy the one and only public running track in the city. In its place they are going to create a short, paved oval. The track they are destroying is a 90 year old cinder track which is in a park dedicated to soldiers. It is used daily by countless numbers of people from various walks of life. The reason for the asphalt oval (not regulation track size) is to allow food trucks a place to park for the one festival (7 days long) which takes place in the park every summer. It is ridiculous.

The local running community, of which I am a part, organized an effort to stop the paving of this track. We were encouraged to show up en masse to the park board meeting last Tuesday. I knew I probably shouldn't go, because I feared it would be too much for me, but I went anyway. It was too much for me.

Maddening, frustrating, infuriating; I left the meeting early. I had to. But I haven't been able to let it go. I feel so strongly about this issue, so angry, yet so hopeless to do anything. I've tried and tried to move forward, to allow the feelings to pass, or at least to reduce from a boil to a simmer, but I just can't. And it's driving me crazy. I'm so glad we have people in this community taking the lead on this fight. I don't know how they do it. I've had to pull back, but I wish I could let it go.

So that's going on... Meanwhile, I'm still dealing with post operative complications from my most recent oral surgery. It's coming up on 3 weeks since that horrible experience, and I still have an open sore in my mouth and pain. In fact, on Thursday night I realized the pain had actually localized to one tooth, and that sent my stress level through the roof.

The painful tooth is the last molar on the bottom left. Actually, it's the second to last, but I'm already missing the last molar. That's important, because the painful tooth is a crowned tooth. I had a root canal on that molar 4 or 5 years ago. That's important because it means there's no way to repair the tooth if, as I suspect, the root canal has cracked (as a result of that violent surgical procedure 3 weeks ago). I'm pretty sure I'm about to lose another tooth! And if I do, I'll be unable to chew on the left side of my mouth, as I won't have any molars!

Again, I'm so frustrated and angry! I've called the surgical office at Mayo Clinic multiple times to express my concerns about the open sore and the amount of pain I've continued to have. I've been brushed off each time, reassured that "nothing was wrong." Finally, on Friday morning, after being put off by Mayo once again, I called my dentist. She put me on antibiotics, in the hope that it's just an infection. But after almost 3 days of Penicillin, I'm pretty sure it's a broken crown or root. Unfortunately, I've been through this before, so I'm familiar with the feeling.

I have an appointment with my dentist tomorrow afternoon. And even though I think I know what's going to happen; the tooth will need to be pulled which will set in motion yet another lengthy, expensive and painful implant procedure, I can't seem to quell my feelings of frustration, anger and fear.

These intense emotions, to situations I think I should be able to handle better, make me feel as if my brain is fragile. I don't know if that's the case, and I don't know how to explain what I mean any better than that. Just fragile.

I think it's okay to have intense emotions. But I also think it's healthy to be able to move past the intensity, especially when I take healthy steps (like signing petitions, talking to others, writing) to move forward. Unfortunately, despite my best efforts, my brain seems to be stuck on boil. Boiling is exhausting. I'd really like to reduce the intensity to a simmer. Know what I mean?


Paul Lamb said...

A therapist once suggested that my thoughts can be ruts sometimes, that I get into well-rehearsed patterns of thoughts that always lead to the same place: an extended down cycle. I've certainly seen evidence of this. It doesn't have to be much -- a work frustration, an expensive home repair, even lengthy bad weather -- and I quickly fall into the darker phase of my depression.

You're right. We should be able to see past these ruts in our thinking, and I suspect that simply writing this post about it shows that you're able to master the pattern. But we are humans, and depression doesn't yield to reason.

etta said...

@ Paul: I like that idea of the ruts. Thanks for that. And thanks for, "...depression doesn't yield to reason." I LOVE THAT! So incredibly true! I may borrow that phrase sometime, if you don't mind.

Paul Lamb said...

I don't mind, though I suspect I picked it up from something you said one time or another.