alka seltzer, eyelash glue

my heart is a ball of babybel cheese wax pressed together into a ball and dulled with dirty fingers

my heart is a crumpled-up love note with your name scratched out

my heart isn’t benefiting at all from the alka seltzer medicine i took after scarfing down spaghetti and red sauce for dinner

my heart is surrounded by a brick wall and then a moat and then another brick wall for good measure

my heart is locked and the key to it is rusty, or at least that’s what i wrote in response to a stupid prompt on hinge, a dating app i really fucking hate

my heart is beating too quickly for a person who wants to go to bed

my heart is broken, and all i have is an unopened thing of eyelash glue and packing tape and some nails i got from the dollar store, does anybody know how to fix it?

feeling more in 2020

ha ha ha what a dumb title right

tw: mention of suicidal ideation and general mental health stuff

when i was first prescribed effexor, it was by a migraine specialist — not even for depression. the intention was to lower the frequency of my headaches. the prescribing doctor did not tell me any of the potential side effects, nor of what a hellish nightmare going off the drug can be for many: the amped-up suicidal ideation, the brain zaps (which literally feel like someone is trying to plug something electrically charged into your brain), and more. she just told me that it may lower the number of headache days i have in a month, and as i’d not yet started getting botox for my migraines and i was having them 2-3 times a week, i was desperate.

it turned out that it not only helped with my headaches, but also made life a bit more tolerable, and i upped my dose to 100mg, and eventually 150mg daily. but there were caveats. though i’m fairly diligent about taking medication every day (and on time), occasionally i’d spend the night elsewhere, and the brain zaps would come. additionally, my energy levels were nearly slothlike, a side effect i was willing to endure so long as my depression was helped. however, over the past couple of months, i realized that this benefit had gone away, and upping my dosage only served to make it nearly impossible to get out of bed. my depression remained as if i was receiving no help at all. i decided to ask for wellbutrin instead and begin the arduous process of tapering down my dose of effexor.

since then, a few interesting things have happened. i have slowly started to have more energy again, and found it a little easier to get out of bed and say ‘yes’ to plans. i’ve been able to cry more, in a good, cathartic way. and while i do feel as though my depression is being helped, i’ve also gained a bit of perspective on it, and how it’s affected my life. the last year has been marked by a tremendous amount of change for me, and along with that change, personal messiness, but in retrospect, i’ve realized that i was going through that change by intellectualizing it rather than allowing myself to *feel* it. maybe it’s because i simply couldn’t feel it. when things would hurt, or feel sparkly and new, or even just confusing, i’d talk myself in circles rather than let myself sit in the moment and cry or laugh or actually… go through it. the last few weeks, it’s felt much more possible to just be present and allow things to happen, whether good or bad or somewhere in between.

so, i think that’s the only real goal i have for the next year. to do more going through my shit, instead of trying to analyze what’s happening in the moment.


***i do want to say that while my experience may imply that i believe effexor stopped me from feeling some of my experiences, that’s not what i mean — effexor, even when it wasn’t working in an optimal way for me, was incredibly helpful (even life-saving), but it just didn’t happen to be the right medication for me forever. i think that for those who would benefit from medication, it’s just a case of finding the right thing (or combo of things) and the right dose, plus making the right changes in your life, and understanding that you’ll have to monitor how you’re feeling over time and talk about it with other people who get it as well as professionals. anyway!

biscuits

do you ever feel like you are just really going through it, but you don’t know what it is yet?

i feel like some giant cat out there in the cosmos is kneading my brain and trying to rearrange everything. idk exactly what’s going on, and it doesn’t feel…exactly bad? but i feel a need to be sort of still and silent while i sort through my thoughts. stay tuned for more while the space cat and i get things in order.

calf-deep

the weather today was about as mild as it’s been all summer. i almost didn’t go to the beach. it’s my last of five days off, and at just under 80 degrees (with a water temp under 60) i wasn’t sure it would be warm enough. when i got there, it was still cool enough to leave my hoodie on and walk along the water, and at 10:45am, only surfers were in the waves. soon enough, as always, children followed.

i waded in up to mid-calf — the depth that always lets me feel like i’m “part of it” without getting too chilly — sure that it would be one of those days that only those 13-and-under would make the plunge. there’s just something about kids, you know? no matter the season, they play the hardest; they can withstand the coldest waves in the summer and the longest snowball fights in the winter months.

then, i looked to my left. about twenty feet down the shore was an older man, probably in his eighties, also standing calf-deep in the water. but he wasn’t standing still. he kept moving forward at a steady pace, straight into the ocean. once his waist was submerged, he did what almost looked like the very last part of a sun salutation for a few moments and then dove into the water. he disappeared for a second or two before reappearing and floating on his back. i looked away, then went in just a few feet deeper.


i have a lot of old emotional injuries. i’ve healed from them in many ways, or outgrown the need to go as slow and be as tender, but i still tiptoe around myself a bit. i still only go in calf-deep much of the time when really, i could be fucking around with the abandon of a child.

yes, they have lower centers of gravity, they physically heal much more quickly, and they don’t have some of the hindsight that older people do, but there’s really no reason that at 35, or 55, or 85, i shouldn’t still be plunging into the ocean if that’s what i came there to do, temperature be damned.

fixing my bite

i’ve been getting headaches ever since i can remember. i’ve tried nearly every headache medication, i get botox for migraines, and my life should basically be sponsored by excedrin at this point. i’ve always joked that i’d pay any amount of money to get them to go away, but i didn’t really think i meant it. then, last october, i saw a dentist who just seemed to know everything about my history of pain just by looking at the way my body was aligned, the way my teeth fit together when i clamped my jaw shut, and he told me that by getting on an invisalign program specifically designed for me — to fix my bite, stop me from grinding my teeth, and fix my midline — my headaches would stop, or at least greatly decrease. at first it felt like a sales pitch, and in some ways, it was, but he also just knew what the fuck he was talking about.

he sent me to an orthodontist who specializes in tmj for a consultation, and when they confirmed that they could stop my pain to the tune of a few thousand dollars, i didn’t even think twice. i just…handed over my credit card. and on the train home, i knew i had to get a divorce.

those things might seem disconnected, but in making that decision without even talking to my then-husband (we didn’t share our money, so i would never have asked for permission, but i think most folks at least talk over the decision to spend thousands of dollars with a spouse) i realized a few things.

one of those things was that i wasn’t really planning for a future anymore, or at least not a long-term future, because the repression i’d been feeling about my sexuality as a queer person had started looming so large that i couldn’t see beyond the next month or so. yes, my depression has roots beyond the fact that until late last year, i’ve never been fully out, but the two were tangled in such a way that walking through life felt like i had 15 pound weights on my ankles all the time. the only thing i cared about, at that point, was making my day-to-day life more bearable, and if spending the majority of my savings on some plastic shit to put in my mouth would do it, then that’s what i was going to do.

i also realized that while i had previously been earmarking much of that money for a specific kind of future — one with my husband, and some hypothetical kids — i was finally ready to admit that wasn’t what i saw anymore, and ready to choose something more selfish, instead. choosing to spend that money on something that might (and, nine months in, i can say definitely has) relieve pain i’ve dealt with my whole life was the first step in acknowledging i needed to make other, perhaps larger, pain-relieving choices.

about a week later, in couples therapy, i asked for an open marriage. soon after that, i realized what i really needed was for my marriage to end. though i know this came as a shock to my ex-husband, and felt like a sudden, selfish move, i also did it for him — i did and do care about him, and don’t want him to be with someone who can’t love him the way he deserves to be loved. he knows this, now, and we’re friends again (remarkably, it only took this long, and for that i’m grateful).

my last invisalign appointment is next week (at least, before the “refinement” stage, where the difference between trays is much smaller, and then once everything is all set, i’ll start only wearing them at night) and i’ve come a long way since october. i have fewer headaches, i’m much happier, i’m in love, and yeah, my teeth look okay, too.

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