March 30th, 2006

Brad @ Burning Man

Scared, but Not for Myself

I've been somewhat depressed for the last couple of days. It took me until yesterday to recognize it, truthfully, because it took me by surprise. I wasn't expecting to be depressed any time soon. Historically, nearly all of my periods of deeper depression have been externally triggered, nearly always by stress from some kind of threat that I had no idea how to escape. The rest were triggered by some kind of specific and recognizable emotional stressor. I can not for the life of me think of an exception. So when the symptoms of depression started sneaking up on me (sleep disruption, anhedonia, near total appetite suppression except for a craving for sweets and caffeine, and an almost total inability to concentrate), I didn't recognize them as depression.

I mean, what have I got to be depressed about? Right this minute, I've got the world by the tail. I have my "happy pills," my daily dose of time-release Bupropion, which were plenty to kick start me out of depression during serious threat, imminent homelessness last year. The weather is finally turning nice. The bills are all paid, or nearly. (The final catch-up on the rent is still waiting for my SSDI back-pay check, which is now months late. I may have to bite the bullet and call Congressman Clay's constituent service office at this point. But at least the landlord's being totally understanding about it. And I still owe some money on the CT scan from my back pain. But I'm current on my payments. So none of the bills are in any trouble.) I'm in a happy relationship with a girl I've had a crush on for years. I have my own, minor but none-the-less international, fan club. And my time is my own to do with what I wish. I mean sure, I'm still crazy, and it still causes me minor problems from time to time, even on disability. And I've had several recent reminders of just how out of shape I am, worse even than usual after a winter's forced inactivity. But if anybody has it better off than me, at least anybody from a working class background like my own, I'm hard pressed to imagine how.

This morning it dawns on me, though, that I may be depressed because I am scared. Not about the economy, not about the state of the country, not about any threat to myself. I'm seriously worried about a couple of my friends; so worried that it's triggering another major depressive episode, one powerful enough to cut through the drugs.

becka_kitty finally had the surgery to fix her broken foot. She was a little worried going into the surgery. I wasn't. Foot surgery is routine, and the particular surgery she was getting (remove a floating bone splinter, bolt together the two halves of a split bone) is almost a hundred years old; she could have gotten this surgery done safely in Bangladesh. Now the surgery's done, and she's not worried, or at least not worried enough by my standards. Now I'm worried. I don't feel like I can get through to her (you, hon) that the human foot is, while a miracle of low-energy locomotion, a crude and sloppy evolutionary hack that was "designed" for a species two thirds our height and half our weight. Healthy feet have problems with circulation; for the heart to pump blood that far down to the floor under enough pressure to pump the de-oxygenated blood four feet back up against gravity is a major challenge under the best of circumstances, and amounts for a seriously disproportionate percentage of the load on the heart. And even under normal circumstances, feet are hard to keep clean. I'm worried she's not going to take good enough care of it, worried she's going to gimp around too much, not keep it elevated enough, not protect it from the elements enough. I'm worried she's going to end up with mis-fused bones, a serious infection, tissue necrosis from reduced circulation, all three of the above, or worse.

But that's nothing compared to the raw crippling terror I'd be feeling if I were in the_geoffrey's shoes. Damned fool wouldn't ask for help until way, way too late, wouldn't even let the rest of us know he was in any trouble ... until after last Friday's foreclosure sale on the house. That's right, legally he and his wife and kid are now homeless. They're still in the house because the bank that bought it hasn't evicted them yet. They are hoping that they can improve their refinancing status, and/or that the bank will list the house for sale at a lower amount than what they owed, and that they'll be able to buy it back. But right now there's nothing stopping the bank from calling the sheriff's office and having them send someone over to nail the doors shut this morning at 7:00 am, just to pick a time, at any time during working hours any time since last Friday mid-morning. If I were him, I'd be helplessly catatonic by now, drugs or no drugs. As it is, my worry about his situation is interfering dramatically with my ability to eat, sleep, write, or even move around normally.

I'm not sure I knew I was capable of worrying this much about other people.