Before I start on that, though, I’m gonna give you a little State of the Handicap Address. Friday night the DC All-Stars were holding a fundraiser at the Rocket Bar. Like many DC locations, the Rocket Bar is housed in a building that was erected before handicap access laws, so while it has a lovely stairwell, it does not have an elevator or handicap ramp. I sent an email to them (and to the Black Cat, where I was going beforehand for the Doctor Who Happy Hour in the back bar) asking about handicap access, but it got lost in the ether, apparently (and the Black Cat never responded, though happily it was a moot point there). When I showed up with my friend and my scooter, we discovered that I could not get in the bar. My lovely friend when down to see if there was someone who could offer assistance (which is how I know the email went astray; the assistance manager came up to talk to me) and while I was initially quite put out at the lack of easy access, Rodney was super helpful and willing to work with me to figure out how to get me inside in a way that made me comfortable. He grabbed my scooter, and one of his staff acted as a crutch for me on my right side. Between the bouncer and the stairwell railing, I got down easily. I was only drinking soda (with free refills even! I am so cheap! 😉 ) so I felt a little bad that they had made such an effort for 2 bucks. I did give Rodney a 100% tip, and now I’m telling you: Rocket Bar is awesomely accommodating. You should give them your money.
Also, my ortho sucks and cancelled my appointment, so who knows when I’ll be allowed to walk.
And here we go with the heavy stuff.
This weekend I had my most recent brush with self harm. These tendencies are relatively new; last summer, when I was in similarly dire straits keeping my head above the deep waters of the adult world, hearing the world around me saying that I was worthless, incapable, useless. My suicidal tendencies have been with me since high school. I was lucky to find that when I started taking Cymbalta for my migraines, it also helped keep me on an even keel, mentally. I didn’t realize how much of an effect it had on me until I had to stop taking it, because I didn’t know my insurance was lapsing when it did, so didn’t refill the prescription in time. Last year, it seemed to me that the Cymbalta didn’t make anywhere near enough difference to be used for its intended purpose; I took it because it worked for my migraines. As noted in the wikipedia article, “[t]he antidepressant properties of duloxetine are due to blocking the reuptake of serotonin and possibly also noradrenalin within the central nervous system.” The article on migraines states that “[m]igraines are believed to be a neurovascular disorder with evidence supporting its mechanisms starting within the brain and then spreading to the blood vessels. Some researchers feel neuronal mechanisms play a greater role, while others feel blood vessels play the key role. Others feel both are likely important. High levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin, also known as 5-hydroxytryptamine, is believed to be involved.” Also mentioned in the article is teh fact that “[a] number of psychological conditions are associated including: depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder as are many biological events or triggers.” So basically, my brain and my mind are inextricably linked in a way most healthy people’s aren’t.
When I stopped taking the Cymbalta, I warned The Boy that I might “get weird.” I was hoping to get back on meds before my system completely cycled out the effects. I’m still experiencing symptoms of SSDS, but they’re faint, and my emotional state has been pretty fluxed up for at least a week. I dropped a glass on my way from the kitchen to the couch, and spilled fruit punch. The glass landed on a plastic bucket lid, so it didn’t break, and I salvaged what I could, but my immediate response was to burst into tears. I quickly stopped and took care of the mess, but that is just one example of how out of whack I am right now. When I received a Not-A-Bill from my insurance company that said on the front page that $10,000+ dollars of my medical bills might not be covered, my response was to look around for something sharp.
Fortunately, I not only have a stubborn streak that eagerly does battle with the parts of my brain that malfunction in this way. The Boy wasn’t planning on spending the day with me; he had shit to take care of at home, and the previous weekend I had monopolized a lot of his time. (He and I both need some time to ourselves occasionally, and I wanted to make sure he got some, since he needs more than I do.) But when I told him how I was feeling, and that while I knew it was my fucked up brain saying fucked up shit, I didn’t trust myself to be by myself, he immediately came over.
Last summer, an ex who claimed to also have similar depression and anxiety issues to mine responded with guilt trips and anger when actually faced with my fucked-upness (rather than tales of the past). It wasn’t fair of me to try not to drown; why couldn’t I think of how it made him feel? Luckily, friends managed to help keep me afloat. This weekend, The Boy was caring and compassionate, and did his best to play the part of raft. But not everyone has a raft to reach for, or knows how to reach it. To Write Love on Her Arms was created as a raft for a friend, and has become not only a raft, but a resource to teach the people who need it most how to get to the raft, climb aboard, and sail. Tonight, we’re doing DCRG headshots. Pit crew head shots don’t always make it into the program, because it gets costly, but if they do, mine will include “Love” on my arms.