I hate having to take mood surveys.
If you haven’t been with me for a bit, I’m the kind of person that has to take mood surveys. I have one right here on my desk that I snuck out of a place. It’s a five-point scale, with 0 = not at all, 1 = somewhat, 2 = moderately, 3 = a lot, and 4 = extremely. You get five sections. Depression, suicidal urges, anxiety, panic, and anger. The “questions” include: “sad or in the dumps,” “worthless or inadequate,” “would you like to end your life?” “worrying about things over and over,” “suddenly feeling like you’re going crazy or cracking up,” “frustrated,” “resentful,” “irritated.” Then you add up each section and add up the whole thing for a total. So you can see what number you are. How terribly you’re doing. That’s how I feel when I have to do a mood survey. They always make me feel worse.
I haven’t had to do one in a little while–not one that asks me if I’m cracking up. When I go see my therapist I have to fill out another one that asks me if I can concentrate or if I’m happy. That one makes me feel worse, too.
What is my diagnosis? Well, that’s complicated. I don’t think I’ve changed all that much, but they’ve changed what they call me. My genus and species, if you will. I’m a rare bird, and sometimes they feel I’m a separate species, and sometimes they feel I’m just a subspecies of something less exotic. It depends what questions they ask me. I don’t change. It’s the lenses they use to look at me that change.
What is it like for me? Hold on–it may get a little rough for some of you here. You can bail if you need to. Read cannot be unread, and all that.
I have odd perceptions of time. There are disturbances in space-time continuum that affect me, or that I am capable of detecting, or that I simply perceive. Rubbertime is just one of them: when days seem to repeat themselves. Time itself gets so slow and sticky. Minutes take so long and seem to trail off into infinity.
Jamais vu is another. Jamais vu, and déjà vu, I get them both so badly, they thought I had petite mal seizures at one point and I had to get an EEG. That was interesting. And uncomfortable. They stick electrodes to your head and shine a strobe light a few inches away from your face at different speeds trying to make you have a seizure. I didn’t seize. I have something else besides epilepsy.
Jamais vu is kind of the inverse of déjà vu. Déjà vu is having a situation happen to you that shouldn’t be familiar (usually because it hasn’t happened before) feel like it is familiar. Jamais vu is having a situation that should feel familiar feel alien. The closest I can describe it to people who’ve never had it is when you go to your supermarket, the one you always go to, and they’ve moved everything around on you. You’re in the hair care aisle–why is there dog food here? That happens to me, only I’m at work and it doesn’t feel like the building I go to everyday. Or my friends’ houses, or the drive to my mother’s house–where does that highway go to?
My déjà vu is usually more complicated. I get déjà vu of having this particular déjà vu experience before. That is, I remember having remembered having remembered having this experience before. It’s like looking into mirrors reflecting back at each other, and it’s very tiring and tedious, because I keep trying to follow it all the way through and discover if it’s real or a figment. Like paper dolls of reality, unfolding out into time and space, and they just don’t stop.
These sorts of things make up a thought disorder. They’re just a couple of things. I don’t think I’ll tell you everything. When I start testifying, I feel people take a step back away from me, deeper inside of themselves. I feel like a freak. But I decided to write something and put it out there, in case it helps someone somewhere sometime.
The other issues are down in the dumps or climbing every mountain sort of issues. I am far more of a tortoise than a hare, though. And a metaphor mixer, as well. Sometimes with the time stickiness comes a weight, a burden of thought and worry that bears down upon my shoulders and back and synapses. I become hydrophobic, like a rabid creature. I don’t want to bathe or drink water, even. The weight makes it hard to move or sit up. My bones hurt. My neck slumps. The head aches. I worry about what people think of me. I feel dirty. I am dirty. There’s something on my ass–I can feel it. I have to check. There’s something on my face. I can’t look at people in the eyes because of these worries. It’s just as well. They’ll see my real flaws anyways. I hole up in my house, really in my bed, and sleep. Everything else is too exhausting and painful. I don’t take calls or listen to messages. I’m afraid to see the neighbors. I call in sick to work and when I do go in, I try to stalk in and out without interacting with anyone.
I can try to channel the Tigger in me and stave off the Eeyore by staying up for 36-48 hours straight. Sometimes that works to rebalance me, or set me to feel like I can tackle anything. Music sounds better, I need less food, people are dumber and more frustrating, and I need them less but am so happy to see the ones I love again. I spend too much money, but it feels so good to do it. It scratches an itch that nothing else can reach, an itch on the inside of your skull.
I’m really more of a tortoise than a hare, though. But having tortoise-hare business makes for a mood disorder. So I have a mood-thought disorder. Special. I hear the Mock Turtle sometimes when I hear myself say this. “Did you have washing?” he asked, anxiously. “Certainly not!” said Alice. “French, music, washing–extra,” said the Mock Turtle, a note of triumph in his voice.
Right now, I’m okay. I’m just a little down. I thought that I’d get more relief from one of my drugs that’s new to my multidrug regimen–let’s call it Acnefy, since I’m now covered in zits, everywhere, even in my ears, it’s so disgusting, but at least I look younger than 33–than I’m getting. I just don’t feel that great. I felt really great on the drug that gave me such an allergic reaction it was mistaken for lymphoma, except for the fake lymphoma. Hives all over, swollen pudding face, hepatitis, all of that sucked. But my mind felt great again. So I know there’s hope or else I wouldn’t respond to drugs. I just don’t feel hopeful. I feel subdued. I feel zestless. Dull. Tired. Bored. Frustrated. I don’t really want to be anywhere right now, and I’m a little hydrophobic again (this seems to be a symptom of the down that I am alone in, Rare Bird Am I), so I know what’s going on.
I take too many pills for this shit. This is what frustrates me. I should be in remission from my disease. I get too many side effects. I am too slow and too stupid and sleep too much to put up with this shit.
Still, I function. I can get my oil changed. I can get to work, but not on time. I can cook for myself. No vermin in the house. Messy as all hell, but no filth. Mother’s Day present sent early. Laundry folded, even.
It’s not bad, it’s not good. It just is. I try not to take it personally. It isn’t personal. We all have our tiny cross to bear, made out of toothpicks and chewing gum. This is mine. The head sick.
I didn’t know what I would feel after finishing this missive. I still feel a little nervous about putting this out there, even though I get so very few hits (I watch them obsessively, and I average on a regular day about twenty unique visitors, but I have around eleven subscribers, as one just dropped off), and so very few people who know me read this. The ones who do already know I’m sick. So why so nervous? Dunno. It goes deep, the fear. The feelings of being broken. But that’s another day, and another story. Like I said in the caption to the Max Klinger, I’m taking these things way too serious these days. Way too serious. Unclench, Seer. Unclench.