In which let’s do this again

It’s official! Two years and four months or so after taking myself off of Lexapro, I went back to my doctor today (a new one, actually, this one actually only a few minutes’ drive from my house as opposed to the 45-minute slog the other one required, meaning that I actually might see her when I’m sick as opposed to when it’s absolutely necessary) and requested to be put back on brain meds. I’ve had moments here and there over the last couple of years where I briefly considered it, but the neverending torrent of stress and despair that has been my life since late April has finally gotten the better of me. I can’t do this any longer; I need help. And now, hopefully, I have it.

What I don’t have is Lexapro again. After talking about my various issues with side effects– just wander through the related posts on that earlier link if you like, or search the tags for “anxiety”– she decided that we’d try something different. I have a daily 75mg scrip for Effexor and a secondary script for 0.5 mg of Lorazepam that I’m to use when, and I believe this is the actual medical term, shit gets real.

After this weekend, I took a Lorazepam immediately when I got home, because Shit has been Real for a couple of days now. I’m trying to decide how long I want to wait to go on the Effexor. On the one hand, I wouldn’t have gone and gotten the damn drugs if I didn’t think I needed them, and I do. On the other hand, brain drugs have tended to reliably produce rough transition periods for me, and I have a five-day weekend coming up in three weeks, so maybe I try and go without it for a little bit and then start taking it that week, so I’m at home when the worst of the initial break-in period hits? I asked my doctor, and she said it was up to me, so I just need to decide how bad I want to get back to normal. The main thing with Lexapro was wanting to sleep hours and hours and hours every day; when I was unemployed, that wasn’t so big a deal. I’m not any longer, so I kind of need to be able to get out of bed and go to work, and I’m not about to burn all of my sick days in September and October again.

We’ll see how this week goes, I guess. If anybody has experience with Effexor and wants to let me know what to expect the first few weeks I’m on it, I’d appreciate it. I’m definitely not starting it this week one way or another.

In which I can’t really cope today

CR-Health-AH-Supplements_ss-Drugs-11-15I mentioned a few days ago that I took a Clonazepam the night of the election because the stress had gotten too thick to operate through, and after not touching the stuff for a couple of years it’s not impossible that I’ll decide to take another tonight.  The event didn’t go well yesterday at all — or, at least, was a crashing financial disaster, although some good things are going to end up coming from it, there were literally more authors present than there were people who wanted to buy books.  I’m not mad about it, necessarily, but it was a long damn weekend.  Today was an immensely stressful day at work, and the majority of that stress was due to various acts of incompetence on my part that I can’t even pretend to lay at anyone else’s feet.  And the rest of it, that isn’t part of that majority … well, it’s bad, and I can’t fucking talk about it right now for a variety of reasons.

The books still haven’t shipped, by the way, so Amazon’s blown past the most recent of their guarantees as of today.  The site now says I’ll get them on Friday, which will be six days shy of a month since these books– which are print-on-demand, remember– were ordered.

And Stan Lee died.  And … I just can’t.  The guy was 95 and he’s been in poor health for a long time but Stan Lee cannot be dead right now.  The last few days have been too fucking exhausting; I can’t process it.

So, yeah.  It may be time for another Clonazepam tonight.  After I finish typing this I plan to spend at least an hour with a kitten sleeping on my chest; we’ll see if that works first.  But if not?  Yeah, bring the brain pills on.

In which I do the right thing eventually

87154-fullI’ve been out of my building for a good piece of last week and nearly all of this week, and won’t be around much next week either, as my traveling band of merry People Who Share My Job move around from building to building doing Important Things What Need to Be Done.   Last week we were at a couple of middle schools and I was back at my home school by late afternoon.  The high schools have been this week, and after seeing how yesterday went (at my alma mater, no less) I emailed my boss and told her not to expect to see me at all for the rest of this week.

Well, today’s tasks went by fast, and I was out of the high school by just after noon, and so I had this weird hour and a half or so where I kept going back and forth on well, I told her not to expect me to come in at all, and it’s not like she’s going to be looking for me to the rather more conscientious dammit you know good and well you’re supposed to be at work until four and it’s 1:30.  Take your ass back to work like you know you’re supposed to.

I took a long lunch and the high school is on the other side of town so I threw some drive time in there.  At any rate, I was back in my building for the last couple of hours of the day.

Let me back up.

The next couple of days are going to be interesting.  Tomorrow we are going to be at the high school that most of my kids from my previous school– the one I quit at mid-year– usually end up.  I will know a lot of those kids, or at least will remember their names, but honestly there won’t be many of them who have any particular reason to come see me.  On Friday, I will be at the high school where most of my kids from my first school in this area are at, and I’m probably going to know half of the senior class and a sprinkling of the younger kids.  So I’m kind of looking forward to Friday.

Today I saw exactly two kids who I remembered.  One of them was a young lady who I know I’ve written about once or twice (he said, after spending fifteen minutes looking for the post) who I basically helped out at exactly the right moment once and have received endless and frankly ridiculous levels of gratitude ever since.  She’s a really sweet kid, but she was never actually in my class, and when it comes right down to it I don’t actually know her all that well, but that didn’t stop her from running right over to me and giving me a big hug and saying hi and being really surprised that I remembered her name.  Her first name, at least; I admit I blanked on her last name.

The other kid I saw?  Remember Jihad?  Yeah.  He either didn’t recognize me or pretended not to, and I’m fine with either choice; honestly, I’m amazed that he’s still in school and not, say, in jail, or dead.  He appears to not have changed much other than that he’s covered his hands in gang tattoos (from gangs he does not, I suspect, actually belong to, as he appeared to have tattoos from rival gangs on opposite hands, which is perfectly in line with the shithead poser he was in middle school) and he’s grown a beard.  He managed to be literally the only discipline problem we’ve had at this particular thing we’re doing, and that’s across, so far, four schools and probably somewhere in the neighborhood of four thousand students.  Which is entirely unsurprising.

But!  Let’s stay positive; he hasn’t dropped out yet, no doubt because his parents won’t let him.

Anyway.

I didn’t want to go back to my home school because frankly the place has been stressing me the fuck out lately.   I’ve talked about this a bit, I think: the more knucklehead-inclined among our student body have been taking advantage of the fact that none of the teachers, myself included, really know many of the kids yet, and it’s led to what I will gently refer to as some disciplinary challenges, along with the somewhat expected cohort of, ah, territorial disputes among some of our kids who were previously at other, competing schools.  And parts of town.

I have two choices, and I know what the right one is: I can hide out in my classroom/office and not come out during passing periods and during times when I can tell from inside said classroom/office that some sort of shit is going on, because coming out is guaranteed, fucking guaranteed, to lead to something fucking stressful happening.  Or I can be an adult in my building– my fucking building, whether I like it or not– and go do something about shit and control the kids, despite the fact that a fair proportion of the time that’s gonna lead to me having some shit to worry about that is not specifically within my lane, so to speak.

I walked into the office after dragging myself into the building and within three minutes had six extra things to do, and then hauled a box of stuff up the stairs at the counselor’s request to deliver it to the teacher next to my office.  And then I had the delightful challenge of trying to figure out whether I couldn’t breathe because I am fat and old and have effectively lived a lifestyle completely free of climbing stairs for two years and was therefore slightly out of breath, or if I was having a fucking panic attack.

We are not fucking doing this again, and we are sure as shit not doing it in fucking August.  No.  Not doing it.  Period.  I haven’t had a panic attack in years and we are not. doing. this. shit. again.

I got over it.  I think I was just out of breath.  But I got over it.

The weird thing is, by the end of the day, despite having thrown myself into the shit with every available opportunity, because I made the correct decision and did not hide out in my room like an asshole, I was in a good mood.  And today was a good day.  And did I stay in my lane?  No, I did not.  And did I do my damnedest to make my building a place where one might want to go to receive an education?  Yeah, I did.

I’m gonna focus on the small victories this year, I think.

Goddammit

anigif_enhanced-27989-1443109445-7I’ve posted, what, five times in all of May so far?  Something like that, and half of them were useless?  I don’t know if I’m depressed or what but I’ve just had nothing to say lately.  Well, that’s not quite true– I have a bunch of posts I’d sort of like to write but as soon as I actually sit down in front of a computer I’d rather do anything but write.  I haven’t written a word of fiction or drawn a picture in probably over a month.  I’ve got a damn convention coming up in a few weeks.  It occurred to me the other day that I probably ought to check my stock on my books and place a restock order, and Createspace is not fast, guys, and the entire thought was just too exhausting to even seriously think about.

So, yeah, a brief list of posts I might write, if I was actually in possession of the necessary headspace to do any such thing:

  • A review of Robert McCammon’s Swan Song, which someone recommended to me, someone whose identity I can no longer recall, a book which is so terrible that it deserves to be torn to shreds here;
  • A review of the magnificent God of War for PS4, which I beat today and is easily the best game of this generation that I’ve played;
  • I came really close last night to writing a post about how I wanted to start a Patreon and a podcast and had cool ideas for both but that would require optimism and creative energy and at the moment I have neither;
  • A music post, since I’ve downloaded a lot of good albums lately;
  • A pre-review of The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang, which I’m reading right now.  Actually, let’s do this right now: go buy this book and read it.  I didn’t get enough sleep last night because I couldn’t put it down.  It’s really something special.

I dunno what’s going on, but it’d be cool if I could snap the fuck out of it.

RIP, Sonya Craig

20140705-125201-46321612.jpg

Friendship online is such an odd thing.  I have a couple of friends in my Clark Kent identity who I’ve known for damn near fifteen years and who I’ve met once and never, respectively, and I don’t have the slightest idea when those numbers might go up again. We met through the previous incarnation of this blog, over at Xanga, and at the moment I can honestly say that the only reason I’m still on Facebook is so that I can keep track of the two of them.  I have a handful of other friends who I lost track of after college and reconnected with– again, on Facebook– and for at least one of them I think we actually have a closer relationship now than we did back then.  But I never see any of them.

And making friends as Luther is even weirder, right?  Because the vast majority of you don’t even know my real name.  I’ve got this network of people, mostly bloggers or independent authors, who I interact with a lot on Twitter and a bit less on Facebook and on the blog.  I consider a lot of them friends, but the thing is people have Real Lives outside of their online personas (well, I don’t.  I’m told people do, though.) and sometimes they just get busy or change jobs or move and their priorities change and suddenly someone you interacted with on a daily or near-daily basis has just gone poof and you don’t know why, and sometimes you don’t even notice for a few weeks, in a way that would never ever happen with people you know in the real world.

And sometimes you log into Facebook and you find out through the grapevine that someone’s depression finally caught them after a lifetime of struggle, and that person is gone, and you don’t really know how to react to it.  Screen Shot 2017-07-07 at 11.30.25 AM (2).png

“Follows @nfinitefreetime,” it says there.  Were I not connected to her on Facebook, too, I’d never have known she was gone.  It’s not like Twitter is going to notice and unfollow me on her behalf, right?  There was an outpouring of grief among our little sci-fi indie community last night on Facebook and Twitter; I retweeted a bunch of them on my account, or you could just check the #thankyousonya hashtag if you like.  There were tons of posts, and the amazing thing, to me, was just how many of the people participating were also people I “knew” and considered friends the same way I did Sonya.  She was at the center of a big group of people online, and we were all reacting the only way we could.

I don’t really know her, is the thing.  I don’t know her family, or her RL friends, or what she liked to do with her time other than write and hang out with yahoos on the internet.  I know she had a cat, named Fang, who was frequently the subject of tweets and Instagram postings.  I don’t know where Fang is right now.  I hope he’s okay.  I know that she was the type of person who created random meme pictures for people she’d never met on their birthdays, which is where that picture up at the top came from.  (My Twitter bio at the time referred to me as a friend to muskrats.)

And yet.

I wish I could have been there for her, when she was suffering, to point out all these people whose lives she’d touched and would miss her when she was gone.  But I never did.  Part of the reason why?  I know people online who are struggling with anxiety and depression and the insane thing is I wouldn’t have listed her as one of them.

I dunno, guys.  I don’t know how to end this because I don’t know how I feel right now.  I don’t want anyone to ever feel like suicide is their best option.  And I want to say something like “If you feel that way, know that you can reach out, even to a relative stranger online,” but the fucked-up part of depression is that that information doesn’t matter and it’s not that simple.  She’d probably had people she knew in the real world tell her that, people who she’d actually recognize if they walked past her at the grocery store, not rando authors behind an @ on Twitter.  And she took her own life anyway, because that’s how depression fucks with you, because it’s a disease, not a goddamn personal failure, and you can’t help it.

God damn it.

You will be missed, Sonya.  I can only hope that you’ve found some peace.