Monday, February 02, 2015

Hey Gang

Well, it's nice to be back. My life has changed to much since my last posts all I have time for is an update. Deep breath.

I gave up the idea of the priesthood around the last time I wrote about it here, maybe a few months before. When I realized five years ago that my son would be starting his freshman year at college, and we'd be paying for half of it at least, splitting costs with his bio-dad, the same year I would start seminary I thought: this just cannot happen. My wife was still underpaid, working as an intern, and I had been the primary breadwinner all the years we've lived together and my son is, well, my son. It is my job to make his life as good as I can. It felt selfish, narcissistic, I am not sure of the word, but I knew I could not pay for both or was not willing to try.

Maybe I should have, maybe I should have, but instead I began re inventing myself in other ways.

First, anyone who actually reads this will be glad to know, my ocd symptoms, so jarring four and five years ago, have been almost absent the last two or three years. I remember thinking, from the time it all brook loose again, that I had some symptoms over a period of two years and two months. I guess that means I've been free of it about two and a half years. It feels like a lifetime since I was stuck in those awful cycles. I never did find a med that helped. I tried an ssri a couple years ago, I think it was celexa, and used xanax to handle the activation, the sense of super caffeination, that hit me in just a few days. But I started having pvc's, not a lot, but some. I can get those from real caffeine or psuedofed, say. or sometimes just for no reason.  There were enough my doc pulled me off. I still take something for sleep most nights, usually hydroxizine or sometimes a little trazodone, 100 mg say. 150 of that stuff feels like a pan hit my brain. It's amazing considering I used to take 300 a night just to sleep during the worst of this four years ago.

I still see a therapist, and you are about to hear why. I still see my shrink, mostly because of current events. But really, my ocd has receded and I live generally symptom free. That is a great thing. It was time, doing conventional feeling based therapy, but also, when I could drag myself to do it, exposure work. I went back and made tape recordings and listened to them while breathing and that, somehow, again, made a huge difference. I should have done it sooner and more aggressively, but I was so knocked sideways when my son left that I did what I could.

After a year at college, just about when I was getting used to him being gone, he came back with a lovely girl he knew in high school. They had started dating, and they came home expecting. For two years my wife and I waited on them, really. We did all the cooking, cleaning, shopping, everything. Perhaps too much. But we have a lovely, lovely grand daughter, almost 3 now, and grand son on the way, and my son and his partner are doing very well. They have a great life and are great parents. It is a wonderful thing to see.

I became more involved at my day job. I joined a central campus committee just because I wanted to do some service, have some connection, after a decade in the mountains and the isolation that led to. But after just a few weeks, my first semester, I stayed after talking to the president at a meeting and was recruited into "leadership." I served as secretary and am not vice-president and am being groomed to run the damned thing. It took me two years, some of that going on during my ocd/anxiety relapse, to get used to the idea of the thing. But I feel pretty used to it now. I binge on West Wing and fantasize. I also got involved just a bit at the state level and have done some direct advocacy over the last few years. There is so much pressure on higher education to conform to governmental fixes these days....faculty have to be active. In short, I found another cause besides the priesthood, one that I was sure would feed my family.

But I am not done. One of the ways I coped during those early months of such great anxiety was to sit down and write poetry. Poems. I had not written a poem in over a decade. Had not tried to be a writer of poems since the time I met my wife, about fifteen years before. And then I realized I needed units for a pay raise at work; that's how teachers are compensated, units based the B.A. or M.A. degree, and a friend of mine who has a few books out said we should apply for an MFA program, a low residency one. I had no idea what that was. But that is what I did. My friend ended up putting off his application and I applied alone and amazing to me, got into a good low-res program in the eastern US. I have one semester to go. One final residency. This is the semester I put together my creative thesis, 40 or so poems.

When I applied I had to have ten poems in my application.. I did not have that many! I had maybe six new ones and the rest were some old ones I dug up, old as in twenty years old. But I got in. They need poets in my program! The funny thing is, and this really was unexpected, is that from the first workshop I was in, my first ever (I had no courses in CW) people admired my poems quite a bit. It took me a while to realize it. And I had lots of amateur mistakes, weak areas, things I did not know about contemporary poetics. But, well, they all think I'm some kind of up and coming deal. The students think that anyway. I hope I am not inflating this. I hope to finish my thesis and get an actual manuscript out shopping. First, of course, I have to start sending work out, publishing. I'm not looking foward to that and keep putting it off.

So this all sounds so good, yes? Symptom free. Not anxious or depressed. I even got over my fear of flying (pretty much) and enjoy the long flights to the east coast. I went to the Ireland and the UK last summer as part of my program, a 30 year dream. My son is doing well. He and his partner finished their first two years of college and are looking at nursing school and other options. They have their own apartment now, they moved out about two years ago. My love, love, love my grand daughter. I'm generally healthy except for my old back injury which is not bothering me much. I was diagnosed  pre-diabetic a few years ago, my grandmother had type 2, and I lost 14 pounds and kept it off for over three years (though I must say, I know I've gained weight in the last two months, the holidays and residency...my scale need batteries so I have not seen the damage). Yes, I'm okay. I'm living out of the mountains and down on the edge of the foothills; I get to work four days a week.

And then one year ago all shit came loose in my marriage. I am not sure how much I want to write about that here. This is the open web although very few people knew the real me behind the blog. But there is the tragic truth: my wife told me almost a year ago, suffering from the empty nest herself and gosh we needed to do some couples therapy and I wish we had then, but she told me she had to be alone, was not sure she could stay married. I waited it out. And waited, living separately in the house, like roommates, that was very hard, and then she moved out in October. That was very hard also. The holidays this year, so special to our family for eighteen years, were hell.  We see a couples therapist once a month, all she is willing to do, and I go in every time thinking: this could be the time she asks for a divorce. So far she has not asked for that. She feels she wants that, but she is waiting to see if those feelings pass. She is depressed. She is truly hurting. And she says there is nothing I can do or change or stop doing. She says it is all her.

Just writing that makes me sick to my stomach. I am ALL ABOUT my family, the family my wife and I built, coming out of dysfunctional and broken homes as we did. For almost eighteen years she was a good wife, loyal, steadfast, clearly in love with me. That has not been true for the last year and more now. I have so many memories with her I continue to wait, continue to give her time, but my mood swings from optimistic to pessimistic about the future of my marriage depending on the day. I am taking care of myself pretty well, embracing work, school, exercise, whatever other self care I can, but each day I skate over a lake of grief. It is getting easier, I admit, but it is still not easy. This is her mid life crisis, and it is a doozy. She has a lot to heal and process and I'm not sure how much she is even processing, engaging in that work. I can't say. We almost never talk and I only see her at the therapy sessions once every four or five weeks.

My faith, something I wrote about up here, is in a pretty interstitial space. The problem of biological suffering, unanswerable in theism in my view (that does not mean theism is wrong, but I just don't get the Christian who feels they can argue their faith decisively) remains very great for me. So do the power of my experience in the church, even if none of them are recent. When we moved we changed parishes and it never did fit. I want to go back to the old, little mountain church where we spent a decade. They are smaller even than before, have a new part time priest, but there are good friends there. I need to go back. I went Christmas Eve and it was great. But then came an MFA residency, and I brought back a cold that became a mild bronchitis. I get wicked bronchitis if I"m not careful with those kinds of infections. I've been taking it easy, sleeping in, just going to work. Missing church is my point. Next week, though. It would be good for me to drag my agnostic ass in there.

I cannot even begin to detail my doubts right now. They are too many. I have not been doing anything with them, not processing them. I've been dealing with my marriage breakdown (which had not helped my faith) and work and school and the rest of it. But I will have to look at all of this when I can, all that relates to my faith and my doubts. I still cling to Plato, often, to a transcendent mathematics and geometry especially, to a transcendent ethic (I hear that, so clearly, in Cormac McCarthy...the fire that has to be carried....good guys don't eat kids.) Ah, it is getting late. My nyquil, wonderful stuff, is making me sleepy so my lungs can rest up for tomorrow.

That's all I have for right now. I am moving into more public positions at work, doing some actual politics, and right now enjoying it now that I realize my work there will never make everyone happy. I'm putting together some decent poems and hoping for a break that direction, a book some day if I am very lucky. And, while I know I would not have a hard time finding a date, everyone reminds me of this, if I end up single, I still love my wife and feel for her suffering and want us to reconcile. She knows I want that. I know I can't do it alone. Almost a year now since I have held a woman in any capacity. Think on that, grasshopper.

Okay, to bed. I write to a close few guys on facebook in private IM and there I POUR out my fears and suffering and describe detail on detail of it. Here, I can't do that. But damn, it's nice to be able to write in full paragraphs! To actually WRITE about my life, and not live by the FB comment box. FB, so much bullshit, none of the real stuff in my life is up there. No mention of the separation and how close it feels to ending. Ah, I hope not. My wife still wants to be friends...I'm not sure she knows what she wants. I told her a year ago I'd quite the MFA and bail on the politics, it does take its toll on me, or it did, but she said no, it's not that, don't do that. So I didn't. Now I embrace work because staying busy and around people is staying sane.

I'll end with this one thing. Back when I was reading the gospels with that guy who was force-feeding me, I know I wrote about that time up here years ago, he asked me once to make some deal with God. He said something like, pick something for God for you to do for you so he can reveal himself. And I thought about it, and I had been dating my wife a couple years by that time and we had some hard conflicts sometimes, and so I said, okay, I want to know by the first of the year whether or not this thing is going to blow up badly like my first marriage (Estella's story is up here also). And my wife and I were fighting something extra leading up to the new year but then we had a really nice new year, things felt settled in our dating, and I thought, huh, well, maybe God had something to do with this. Maybe he does exist.

You see where this is heading. Now, almost twenty years later, to have it blow up in my face. I get what I've just shared is no high theology, but it was my deal with God. I guess it's not over over yet for wife and I, but she is far, far gone. I think of the line, gone baby gone. Gone, far. Emotionally very remote. Detached from me completely. Yeah. We moved into the beautiful house on the side of a hill (where I still live) and got a sports car convertible and I have decent clothes and a good job and am weathering mid life now well and am re inventing myself halfway through my career at my community college and then, wham, pow, boom, she and we are laid out like straw, man.

Enough for now. I go to school with people who are writing professional memoirs. I certainly have the material, boy do I, but I am not putting the time into  learning that craft. Poems only for now. So this is blog, not memoir, not narrative, not art, just a web log, as dated and uncool as those must be now. I still don't know how to put pics up here.

But my love to all.  Signing off for tonight. Tomorrow is a work day and that distraction is goof for me. My best.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Wanting to Come Back....

I really need, want, to write again here. In the quippish world of facebook world there is no anonymity. Here, I had (some) anonymity but I never knew who read. It's a lot easier for a friend of mine to write some funny comment (quip) after a post on facebook; less common, exponentially less common, to get comments to know who is reading here. And so for two years I've been stuck trying to decide: do I blog again here, do I write posts under my actual name, do I just do notes in facebook?

More and more I'm leaning here. I want to write a memoir, and this will provide me a place to sketch vignettes, moments...memories.

Plus, I wrote a lot here about my recovery over the years and that recovery is proceeding pretty well right now. I'm in a good spot for the most part though I have plenty left to process. I can do that here also.

So, it's summer; I hope to get something up here before too long.

love to all.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Reading Old Posts

I have been having a tough year, really, a tough few months, since our son left for college especially, though I was having some issues with depression/ocd before that. Lots of times I have wanted to blog about it, but I remembered this blog as a sort of quasi amateur theo-blog. I remembered writing posts here on the NT or whatever I was reading, but totally forgot how much I put my nuts out there all the time up here, five, six, seven years ago. I have been struggling with a very old obsession (teenage years) off and on, and putting off exposure exercises because, well, it's exposure work, and I was looking here to see when I did my last batch of it.

It was 2004 that I started with exposure therapy exercises, and then after a few months, did a little, like once a week, two years later, according to this blog anyway. But while I have told myself many times that the depression and anxiety I've had (again, off and on) since about June were unlike anything I've known since the mid nineties, and that still feels true, I am amazed how much hard work I was doing back in the mid oughts! I had forgotten until I read about it here. And man was I transparent on the blog!

So, while nobody may read this anymore (but I can point a few friends who really matter this way) I'm going back to the kind of writing I was doing five and more years ago up here. I cannot believe, cannot believe, I was posting here in 04, almost seven years ago. And so honestly, so from the heart, the soul!

Since it has been so long, and reading those old posts, let me share the good things:

My wife has a great job now, making good dough, and the pressures are off us there, even with a son in college. We have a housecleaner! She's only been here twice, but I think having a housecleaner is the most important thing in our budget besides true essentials. Like, I would quit drinking beer over losing the housekeeper if I had to, hah. This was something I wanted years ago and wrote about on the blog; should have done it years ago. Also, I think my wife and I are getting along better. The empty nest is a bitch, but we're working through it. I express myself, communicate, during or after conflicts better than I ever did in the old days, though I am still working on that! And I have a new, good, therapist. I'm using leadership skills at work and getting lots of confirmation for that; actually held back how much responsibility people wanted me to take this next year, waiting until I feel more ready. I'm feeling pretty sure I don't want to give up my job to become a priest, as cool as that might be. That was a very hard decision, and the first of the really hard things that began the ramp up to this depression/anxiety stuff more than a year ago now. There is always the diaconate, and life is long, but right now, I'm focusing on the job that pays my bills and keeps affirming me as I do more interesting things. Also, I love that we can support our son in college! Oh, and we moved closer to my work; I now live in civilization! Around people! Am at work four days a week, not two! I love every freaking piece of that. Long term goals accomplished, friends, critical changes have taken place for the good!

Other than that, my time is short, but let me say I've had insomnia, as I've written about below, and that the lunesta I took every night for four or five months just quit working very well. I see my psych in a week, am using xanax for sleep in the meantime (not the best, but the fucker did not return my call from earlier this week, maybe he misunderstood it; should I call again, tough for me to do that) so I am getting some sleep. I also just got an insomnia workbook, which I'm very excited about, and busted out my old ocd/exposure book. You know, I didn't even get very far in that Edna Foa exposure work book thing, like only into the first chapter or two of self help exercises, not even into the "intensive" section, but those exercises totally helped me.

I can honestly say I lived obsession free (not worry free, not without spending too much time in second life maybe) but obsession and depression free for several years. I looked on that stuff as past stuff. Pretty cool. I will do so again.

Anyway, no reason I can't spill my guts up here again. I don't think many people knew about this blog from my rl, and those that did I cared about. It helps to write, it helps to write, it really does help to write.

more later :)

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

De Activating

Since I went down on the remeron my anxiety/ocd has been cut by 90 percent. Maybe more. It's too soon to say exactly how this will pan out, but one thing is clear: the med I took to help me sleep, to make sure my mood stayed level and perhaps counteract some of the deep seated tension I know I still hold, that med turned my ocd on like a switch at doses over 15 mg. At 15, I feel sort of caffeinated, even after nearly five months on it. Taking lunesta to sleep every night the last few weeks. Seeing the psych tomorrow and asking about going OFF. But since I dropped my dose, a few days after that, tremendous relief.

Figure that shit out.

Yes I have life stressors that happened at the same time I went up on the dose. But it is remarkable to me how agitated I felt, and how easily that agitation became obsession. I mean some obsessional thinking every day for the last six weeks, now completely gone the last few days. Crazy. To give him credit, with my history of ssri's, the psych said it could happen. Tomorrow I find am asking questions.

I don't know if I even need to be on any anti depressant med. I was in need of help last spring, six, almost seven months with trouble sleeping most nights, a deep down body fatigue, in short, a milder form of depression than in my twenties. Then some depression end of May, nothing too serious, and some free anxiety, just a few days really, and I went right on the med. I'll never know what the summer would have been like without the med; it helped me sleep like crazy the first 3 months on it or so and that WAS very helpful, but I do know it ended up making the last few weeks very hard, and probably has been effecting me all summer.

That's all I can say right now; I got nothin else.

I am working through some hard shit, and hard shit is simply always hard. Doing a lot better the last few days though! Late, I'm tired. much love.

Friday, October 08, 2010

Activation

It's been a hell of a year. Well, a helluva last 10 months or so, with the last five having some banner scary moments.

It sucks but it's true. After months last winter, like six, of not getting enough sleep, of experiencing a new kind of depression for me, not dramatic, overwhelming, but mostly insomnia, early waking (five or six nights a week unless I took ambien) and then a bone deep fatigue, a constant feeling of being stressed as I was pushed, and I mean PUSHED, at work, home. Taking on much more responsibility at work, in fact, becoming a central figure in a large scale firestorm; realizing I was not now and maybe never am going to go to seminary (son in college, at the least); panicking about money (until my wonderful wife got a very good job); knowing my son was moving away to college...maybe the hardest piece of all of it.

Oh, and a six month short sale purchase and choosing to find a renter for our other house, which we did. Right now, I type on a counter top, long granite slabs, I imagine is worth more than my truck. We got a nice house at a great price.

Anyway, after months of that, not seeing a doctor about all of it and seeing a half incompetent therapist (not seeing that person anymore, and did not see her long)...it was the last day of school, near the end of may, depression hit me, some real free flowing anxiety. I had, in the months before, short pieces, meaning a few hours, of a very old, very awful obsession, one that has not haunted me since my early twenties. That began to perk up a bit more. So this May I did what I could: I got a new and better therapist, I saw a psychiatrist to check into the latest in meds. I don't think I'd had a free flowing panic attack in over twelve years.

The first med I tried, luvox, I had only been having anxiety issues for a couple of weeks; luvox sent my panic soaring, and as with other ssri's I tried in the past, it is so insidious it takes me a couple of days of thinking I'm just going crazy to realize the med is at fault. I came off that, but spent a few days after still pretty anxious (would not take any xanax; should have) and then the old obsession really parked itself with me. How horrible that was, driving home, feeling that old de realization thing surface after more than two decades.

Anyhow, I went on a different med, remeron, and it knocked me out so hard I slept like a rock, ten or eleven hours, for the first few weeks of summer. It seemed to stabilize my mood, my anxiety. I stayed on 15 mg., a small dose, all summer (and, and there was a lot of feeling work even then I needed to do; I guess this is my "mid life crisis;" so far much easier than my young life crises.)

When my son moved out in August, I was very, very sad for a couple of days, and then the depresssion came in. Awful. Not like my twenties, but more pain than I'd felt in a long time. My psych had been encouraging me to go up on the med anyway, so i did, to 30 mg. Truth is, it was so sneaky it took me five weeks to realize I was activating, having huge panic attacks which were getting slowly worse, not better, on the higher dose. I just went back to 15 earlier this week. Yes I left a message for the psych.

Why all this? Because the fact is, "they" really don't understand how these meds work, or why they don't work for some people, not yet anyway. It seems that meds (like all ssri's and remeron) which affect serotonin make me worse, though remeron did seem okay for a couple months at the low dose I'm trying again now. And my guess is the reason ssri's help so many with ocd (and thank God they do help) is that they lower anxiety deep in the brain, just as, somehow, they manage to raise mine!

All if it, I think, driven by trauma.

It's been a helluva month.

So now what?

Well, I crafted my own set of exposure exercises for a different, I will say milder, obsession some years ago and worked them with my old therapist (who, sadly, retired). And you know, that particular thing, after doing exposure with those thoughts for a while, mixed in with conventional therapy, that thing has not returned. I feel like I closed a mental door. So I could, and maybe will have to, create exposure scenarios for my current obsessional stuff. Thing is, I'm hoping at 15 mg., or even if I come all the way off the remeron in time, maybe, maybe, that shit will blow over. Exposure is not at all fun. It's hugging Satan to get saved.

But I may have to do it. It's so hard to know, because I've been activating (that's what they call it) for over a month. Even the psych missed it, because I went up on my dose at the same time my son left. I figured his leaving was the sole trigger. It was surely some of it! However, since I've gone back down on dose (Monday) my panic has diminished notably. Notably.

Underneath all of this, I know, so, so, so much emotion. That is what drives it all: fear, maybe over all; and sadness and anger, horror even, at having my son leave; the great, thick, emptiness my childhood left that he and my wife filled so poignantly almost 15 years ago now; my need to take even better care of myself, put some more stuff into that void!; adjustments, likely to be ongoing, as I continue in visible leadership at work. The empty nest, which is different but I think we'll survive. That is still a lot of shit. God I wish we had had more kids. We tried for a number of years. I wish it had worked.

I've been coasting for several years, just living, enjoying food, drink, simply living. It's been years and years since I "had" to go to the gym; I'm having to go now, two and reaching for 3 times a week, each time very helpful. Years since I felt gut wrenching panic, or the movement of very deep, powerful feelings, depression mixed into all of it. Or I might have had a day or two like that. But this, like driving on snow and breaking free...

But as my wife put so well: this is a different level of hell. And it is. I guess I haven't been "here" for more than a decade, maybe, really, since I met her, or very rarely only in those early days. But this is easier, even with the activiation!, than what I lived 15-20 years ago. Oh, those were dark years. Or the anxieties of my late teens, early twenties, longer ago than that! This is not that, at all. And I am functioning at a very high level, even with this, at work and (I hope) home.

For that, I'm grateful.

But it's hard. I don't have meetings like I did before we moved years ago. I realize, with my son leaving, I don't even have the the number or depth of friendships I need. I am, in short, often very lonely. It is why I moved out of the freaking mountains; closer to work, to humanity in all its absolute wonder. The mountains were gorgeous, but not good for that part of me that needs company, and that is a big part of me. (Thought they brought me in touch with a very wonderful family I plan to never leave).

I'm at work more days a week now. Do have a couple very "real" friendships, but when I come home to an empty house now, even for a couple of hours, it is very hard to separate that from the absolute EMPTY vacuum I grew up in. Empty. Separation anxiety my oldest, oldest, oldest fear. All the rest of my anxieties, including ocd, grew out of that childhood terror of being left alone. 19 months old, arm broken, in traction, and often alone for 20 fucking days. Then a home where neither parent was home much, or awake, or able to connect psychologically/emotionally when they were. My parents never touched me in a loving, nurturing, way.

You know, I forget who used to read this anonymous blog. Now, I am sure almost no one ever reads it or remembers it, but I wonder who will stumble across this new part? It's for the good. Mental health issues are real shit, man. Even for gifted, sensitive people like me.

I know how together I appear at work. Truth is, like Mr. Monk, I can zoom into the meeting, say just the right thing, impress everyone, and be anxious the rest of the time. But just for now. This too shall pass...it will indeed pass, and I will grow.

It's unfortunate, truly, that the meds I have tried that help many (so far, prozac, lexapro, paxil, luvox, remeron) have not been the magic bullet for me at all, in fact the opposite!! On the plus side, xanax works like an angel...a slightly tipsy angel, maybe, but it really, really works. I have taken hardly any all year (cept when I fly, when I load up on a milligram). I mean, apart from flying, I bet I've taken five or six milligrams in all these months, total; needed a lot more. But it works, and fast. Yes, I wish for, and may someday find, a better med; and surely, now that the medical community FUCKING ADMITS activation happens in some anxiety/ocd patients (who are not necessarily bipolar and don't have personality disorders) it may be in time they'll tailor meds for people like me. Shit that would rock.

But meds, at least the current crop, aren't a real cure for many or even most. It still takes cognitive tools and exposure work; it still takes, imho, lots and lots of feeling work, getting underneath to what is driving the ocd loop in the first place; ocd, if nothing else, must have energy to push it, and that energy is fear/feeling. And you know what, I'm doing the work. I'm good at that. I spent years in the gym doing cardio just for that reason (and hell I was in shape from 29 to 34). I'm going back to the gym now. Going to try some emdr when I get up to it with my new person. She keeps emphasizing attachment, opening up in my marriage, to friends, and that may be the greatest gold of all that we have on this earth. It's also more "advanced" than the gym, in a way. A new and blessed level for me to grow into.

There's a lot more treatment and understanding than twenty, thirty, forty years ago. Exposure therapy alone: powerful as hell, maybe the single most powerful thing I know for obsession. There's fucking parity laws, so I can see my therapist and psych for the same as any other co pay (in my twenties, first half of thirties, I paid out of pocket).

But of course, I've had depression too, and that's all about feeling work. Deep anger and sadness, coming out around the edges of depression, or in good hours, taking center stage completely, lots and lots of feeling. Even if that's hard, that's good. I would say more feeling than depression through all of it; pretty cool. I thank God for it.

***

You know, I'm a decent writer when I take the time to craft/edit, but that is not this time. This was one long, much needed share. It's surprising to me how very few people know what I've been going through. Like, I need to tell my brother for example. It's odd how private I became when the shit got hard in May. Becoming little. Little. Young where I don't talk about feelings because with my parents I could not, ever, do that thing. So, I'm doing it now.

Been writing poems again; has felt very soothing, very satisfying.

love to all, including me!

Friday, September 24, 2010

slogging

yes, still slogging. writing between classes, breaking through, the emotion under my skin like heavy water. doing okay, not seriously depressed, but riding the mix of depression and feeling.

the summer was hard some days, easy other days. i can remember one month I told my therapist I had only one hard weekend. in a month. then, my son moved out, the part of my job that is new started, and almost every day for the last five weeks has been something: anger, sadness, strong feelings I can hardly identify; or depression, some; or, worst of all because it gets me no place, obsession. I've wrestled with obsession this summer, a particular obsession, I have not struggled with since I was in my early twenties. not to the same degree, no. but a very old, very scary obsession.

so far mirtazapine 30 mg. only helps me sleep. it seemed to have a levelling affect on mood/anxiety early in the summer, now, hard to say.

I have xanax but almost never take it. when I do take it it helps a shitload.

I'm glad that obsession has been a small part of this compared to the old days, but hate every minute I spend in that junk. my psychiatrist (surprisingly to me) actually helped me a lot a couple days ago by reminding me with great authority: you will never, ever, ever go crazy. that will never happen. that, lowering an unconsciou anxiety, helped pull me out of several days of struggling with obsession. for that shit runs and feeds on fear (and any other feeling below the fear).

my regular therapist, a sweet person certainly, is using all the traditional tools; and I've told her, while traditional tools work for depression, while they work to get to and through the feelings beneath the ocd, nothing shuts ocd down like exposure work. learning to sit with the anxiety. you can't do much of any kind of other work when the obsessions are roiling in the mind. and roil they can.

there is an anxiety speciality center where I live and I have considered checking them out; groups maybe.

not much of a share, and I want everyone to know while the last five weeks have been hard, harder than all of the rest of this year before, I have good tools, tools, like working out, I could use more than I do, but tools i am using. I am talking to my wife. and every ounce of the pain, every angry minute, every hard day, moves me closer to a fuller and deeper wellness than I have ever known, than I had before this summer (and I have been doing well for years). that is the great truth: the process works, and it lasts.

more later, and love to all. back to class.