Weekly Check In – 11/17/2021

One hundred and twenty two weeks out from surgery, and this week I don’t particularly care what my weight is. This might get a little long, we’ll see. I’m writing this on Thursday the 11th Friday the 12th Saturday you know what, it took several fucking days to write this. It hasn’t been a great month.

My little brother would’ve been 43 on October 18th (if I’m doing the math right), and even though he’s been gone for almost five years, that hit me harder than it usually does. 43 was a particularly great year for me (it’s the year I became a poet, and the year I started taking the earliest steps down the path I’m currently on), so maybe that’s why it hit me harder. There’s been a lot of useless speculation about where he might be if he was still here: Would he still be struggling with sobriety? Would he have figured out a path that worked for him? That kind of thing. So that’s one thing.

We’re also coming up on the year anniversary of the loss of a lot of people. Right about now is when Covid got really fucking ugly last year, and between Annette and I, we lost six people. And that sucks but it was made even worse by the fact that it was 100% unnecessary. Sometimes life throws a curve ball, and there’s just not much you can do about it, but we had a president who didn’t give a fuck about the loss of life and his dysfunctional band of sycophantic traitors who turned something as basic as trying to avoid getting sick into a fucking political stance, and then there was his legion of “free thinking” voters who took that baton and ran with it, and now six of the people my wife and I loved are dead. But at least no one’s liberty was trampled on. Trump and his army of monsters are personally responsible for the loss of my people, and if you disagree with me, keep it to yourself, and if you voted for him, keep it to yourself and also fuck you (and for the record, if you’re someone I know and love, and you voted for Trump, I still love and respect you, but seriously, fuck you for that one thing, you made a terrible fucking choice there).

Six people.

My former professor and friend, Julie Paegle, died a month or so ago and there’s been some delayed grief over that.

I’m worried about my father’s health. Out of respect for the privacy of my parents, I won’t go into any greater detail than that, but I’m worried about him and I want him to hang out a while longer.

December 7th is the anniversary of the day my brother hung himself, and the 11th is the anniversary of the day he was taken off life support. Every year, just as I’m turning in grades for the fall semester, I go into a depression. And without the structure of having to be at work, the depression turns into days on end of just going through the motions and not paying bills. I first realized this in February 2018, when I was paying bills due to receiving shut off and cancellation notices, and I remembered doing the exact same thing the year before.

But here’s a new twist: This year I’m on medication. Specifically Wellbutrin and Celexa. And after taking them for a few months, I became convinced that I’ve been living with low-grade depression and anxiety my whole life (except when the depression was overwhelming, but that was a relatively short phase). So my theory is: If I was living with mild depression and anxiety all the time, then whenever things transitioned from “normal” into “depression” it probably wasn’t very noticeable. As in, it took me failing to pay our utility bills for two months in a row, two years in a row, to realize I was experiencing depression on the anniversary of my brother’s death.

But now I’m on drugs – the boring ones mentioned above – and I think what’s happening is that the transition from “normal” into “depression” is way more noticeable because most of the time my low-grade anxiety and depression are being controlled. In other words, when I’m mindful enough to be paying attention to myself, I’m more sensitive and aware of my mental health than I was before. It’s very similar to how I’m more sensitive to changes in my physical body now that I’ve lost 200+ pounds. Eating a forkful of rice is a pleasant thing, but eating two forkfuls of rice is the end of the fucking world because that shit just never stops expanding in my gut, and I spend the next two hours begging for an exorcism.

Topic of conversation for my next therapy session: Does being on medication mean it hits you harder when depression pays a visit?

Three things I’m grateful for:

  • My book. Wild Embrace, came out a week and a half ago, and I’m beyond excited about it.
  • Bamboo Dart Press. Mark and Dennis, my publishers, are exceptionally wonderful people, and working with them has been an impossibly wonderful experience.
  • All of my friends and colleagues who helped me with this book over the years. Nothing gets made alone, and the community responsible for this book seeing the light of day is too huge to list here (but I do thank them in the book…I’m not a complete dick). I love every last one of you.

I know that list almost seems like an afterthought, but that’s how this shit works. I’m beyond happy about the book and for that matter, I’m still over the moon about my niece’s wedding on Halloween, but when the bad shit piles up, it gets a little difficult to see the good. I’m working my way out of it though. That’s partially why I write these things. I have no graphic for you this week, so instead, why not check out my book trailer? #huzzah!