God speaks in the doing

This has not been a good month.

The irony of becoming depressed with suicidal ideation in the very months after I publish a book on turning to Christ in times of terror & misery is not lost on me. It is in fact a great jumping off point for a dark humour indie film, but enough about inspiring dreck. This is a confession.

I cannot get into all the reasons this was a bad month, & they don’t matter because depression is depression. There was just a lot. A bit of it was financial, a lot of it was tremendous, unrelenting physical pain (which I have also written about, but less well). Some of it was long buried emotional pain, because I am extra good at pretending everything is peachy keen.

Don’t worry about the suicidal ideation, FYI. I ideate; I don’t plan & would certainly never carry out. I know that some of you who have known me a very long time are giving me side eye right now, because you remember a time when I did actually attempt to carry it out (or two). Those days are long past. I wouldn’t even normally describe myself as depressed in the past decade, except for now. Now is a thing.

What I do — & please don’t be jerks about this because there’s a whole story here involving a Buddhist empress — but I pray. And sometimes, when the pain is so intense I do not think I can stand another second, I pray the following:

Dear God, please heal or kill me immediately. I cannot bear another second.

Obvi, it’s not occurred to God to end my life just at this juncture. In fact, He has strangely seen fit to heal a great deal of other things that were wrong with me.

I’ve had a number of doctor, dentist, & physical therapy visits in the past months. And what I have learned at all of my most recent ones is, through my own hard work & some prescription nutrients I do not make or absorb on my own, I have improved my health so dramatically that every health care practitioner has expressed astonishment.

“Your body wants to get better,” one said. “Man, I wish all my patients worked as hard as you,” said another. “You have perfect teeth/retinas and beautiful skin!” gushed yet another couple of health care practitioners. I have improved my already pretty good lab work to stellar, & my terrible no good very bad ankle to Nearly Normal.

So the physical body, with the exception of its inability to recognize simple essential nutrients as good, is very, very healthy. Nobody believes I’m 43. I am physically 30.

Except for my central & peripheral nervous system. Those still fire like a sadist has a voodoo doll of me. Neurological stuff is a bitch, but I am always grateful it’s not organ failure. I guess if you’re going to have an organ go bad, the brain is the least…poisony of them.

How to explain…I’m in little to no danger of atherosclerosis, diabetes, COPD, liver damage, or kidney failure, and even my damaged intestines do some kind of job. Everything that’s wrong with me is in how my brain processes stimuli. It thinks everything is a life threatening injury, & it sends a casacde of pain neurotransmitters in kind.

This is not a fun existence.

But it’s also not a slow death, like the things I listed above are. It’s like…it’s like I prayed for death & God said, “Well, how about a healthier body? Would that work?”

And it kind of helps with the fibro, I guess. So now bad things need to just stop happening, & maybe I will find a moment in between crying bouts & panic attacks to be grateful that my hard work has paid off in radiant health — even if my brain 100% could not give the least of shits.

I mean, I never cry, & in the past month I’ve burst into tears in front of a substitute physical therapist, a nurse, a phlebotomist, a dentist, a dental hygienist, and an optometrist.  But I have also laughed just as hard at all of those appointments.

I’m miserable & feel like I’m short with everyone, but I’ve been called Sweetie & Cutie more times than I can count. I’ve argued before that people think I’m just adorbz when I’m angry & stampy-feets.

My prayers to God now are “Thanks?” and “You’re making me function better. Why? What have you got in store? I can’t see it yet. It seems like I am supposed to flail utterly everywhere while also having every reliable thing I needed fall out from underneath me.”

But I also thank Him for my friends, who have occasionally surprised me with kindnesses & timely bits of assistance that really have saved my ass. Most people wouldn’t want me to say their names, but Art is not most people. Art drove me home when my car died 39 minutes from it. Art is a magnificent being, & also called me a Sham Cougar, which…oh, it’s a long story.

Eventually, I will come up from this mire of unrelenting darkness & see all this as blessing. Right now, I can’t, probably because I still won’t really deeply face it & admit how bad it’s gotten. I keep trying to Gratitude Mindset my way out of things, which sometimes is bullshit. Sometimes, you really do just have to stare a thing in the face & say “You suck.”

So, My Life, you suck right now. You’ve kind of always sucked, but you got betterish at times & you even have moments of magic. But right now, you just plain, flat out suck, & I hate you. And now I feel bad for saying that to you. You didn’t mean to suck, & sometimes you even behave when I try to make you not suck. Maybe it’s actually fate that sucks.

Screw you, Fate, you bastard. Unless I am pre-paying for something bloody marvelous. In that case, I’ll take it all back upon receipt of my lay-away Destiny.

Which apparently requires me to have a mostly functioning ankle & the stellar blood work of a 30 year old woman who eats kale & jogs (I do neither of these things).

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New book! 

Here it is!

For reasons I cannot imagine except I’ve been busy, I forgot to tell y’all I have new book out! Now this one has decidedly less sex & death in it than The Method, but it also has other goals. Like trying to help you feel like you have some say in what happens to you.

So if you’re feeling rubbish or frightened by things that you feel shouldn’t frighten you, Christ, Not Crisis is your jam, in paperback & Kindle. 

You don’t have to believe in Jesus for it to speak to you. I just happen to do so, which has been life changing for me. For example, I can confidently say I love you even though I’ve never met you. I want you to feel joy, or at least safety.

When Candy Crushes YOU

I have deleted Candy Crush Saga & Bubblewitch Saga 2 from the iPad, but not Pet Rescue Saga. Also I think the folks over at King Games believe that in English, the word “saga” is used like a period.

BUT WHY YOU BITCH I NEED YOU TO UNLOCK LEVELS & GIVE ME LIVES you scream in your head, or maybe into the void or at a rather confused cat. I deleted them because they were quite literally destroying my brain.

I shall, of course, explain. Young persons working on their Advanced Stats for Psychology or Experimental Psychology 2 projects may want to take particular note.

I realized about two weeks ago that Candy Crush & Bubblewitch were both having terrible effects on my mood. I advanced fairly quickly in both games, so it had nothing to do with pacing or losses. It was how my brain was working during each game, & where my mind kept turning.

It would help to know that I fight PTSD & depression daily, as well as fibromyalgia & celiac disease. I have to be super careful what I ingest, do with my body (hey now), & think in order to lead a productive if not particularly happy life. The days I squeeze happiness out are bonuses! I strive for those but I’ve learned to accept “ok”. Ok is better than “Please God, kill me now.”

That’s why my repetitive, intrusive thoughts during Candy Crush & Bubblewitch gave me pause.

During Candy Crush, no matter how I was doing, I would find myself ruminating on thoughtless things people had said or left undone. This is not my normal state of being. I tend to let stuff go pretty quickly (to my own detriment, some say), but while playing Candy Crush my mind would immediately go to some slight or inconsiderate behaviour I hadn’t given weight in ages. Or ever. It also seemed to heighten my social anxiety; whenever I’d match 4, I’d find myself afraid of what people would think of me at church, specifically, which is very odd as I feel wonderfully comfortable there.

Where Candy Crush stimulated anxiety & resentment, Bubblewitch seemed to have a big fat meaty finger pressing down squarely on my depression button. I would do a level or two & around the 3rd board, I’d start singing little suicidal chants to the music. At first I thought this was funny; later I realized it was a bit more serious. I turned off the music & the depression seemed to worsen. I found when I played Bubblewitch, I would feel hopeless & numb afterward no matter how well I did.

I’m not going to post my suicide lyrics to the 3 songs in Bubblewitch lest they get stuck in your head. I promise you they were hilarious, kind of like how Morrissey is darkly hilarious but you also want to keep him away from box cutters.

I tried to do some research on this, but there’s nothing about the games affecting, well, affect (aka mood, for you civilians).

Conversely, Pet Rescue makes me happy. Happy. HAPPY. Whether the music is on or not, playing makes me cheerful, even if I can’t rescue the pets in the little cage & they make that sad, dejected face. Every time I play, I am happier. I shrug off pain. I have weaker cravings for dumb foods. I sometimes even exercise between rounds.

Is King conducting some kind of experiment? Is my brain super weird? Do my neurons respond with chemical reactions to a series of pixels mathematically arranged to produce slot-machine-esque reward responses in normal brains?

Do any of you experience mood changes with these or any other games? I have zero cognitive or mood changes with Kingdoms of MiddleEarth or Simpsons Tapped Out.

Oh, I also deleted Words With Friends, but that was because it was actually giving me repetitive stress pain in two digits.

Wow, when I talk about this it makes me sound like I’m 97, with dementia. Which, you know, fine, would be a fair assessment. BUT INCORRECT.

Anyhow my lives on Pet Rescue have respawned, so…

Composite Normal

From Twitter, because well meaning people caught snippets & have given terrible responses, ignoring or avoiding the whole picture. And because I should be honest & explain to y’all that the fierceness you ascribe to me is not only hard-won, but you can have it, too. If I can, really, anyone can. Cos Jesus is good like that.

Anyhow:

“Lord, I need your help, bad. My friends don’t get it cos like a dumbass I’ve given them the impression that I’m fine.

In short, my father was a monster & I have tried to piece “normal” together from whatever felt like the opposite of evil.

Subsequently my “normal” is a patchwork of directives from professionals & people who seem well meaning, probably.

When I was 17 a psychiatrist told me I showed amazing resilience by still being alive. This is why y’all think I’m “inspiring”. Resilience.

Resilience = I refuse to die. It may cross my mind on an almost daily basis, but I refuse to die. God has a plan for me. Fuck if I know it.

I just keep trying to be ready for God’s plan. Sometimes that’s hard. He must want me on some Special Forces team. Well, bring it.

It’s better to be Audrey Horne than Laura Palmer. But let’s face it, Audrey Horne is not all there.”

As it turns out, I’m in a prodromal migraine phase, which explains why my resilience has failed over the past couple days. Seriously, you guys, if it wasn’t for the Lord’s loving guidance and patience, I would have been dead long ago. I pray you never know what that means or how it feels.

You can do everything through Christ who gives you strength. That is a fact. I’m living proof. Beefcake.