If there’s one thing I hate, it’s the hill coming up Lexington Street from Main to my apartment building. 


It’s not even a steep hill.  It’s not even challenging.  And yet it feels like the worst hill I’ve ever climbed.


I’ve tried everything.  I’ve tried listening to music, to audiobooks.  Still, the hill daunts me.  Calling my friend Joshua on my cell and talking to him while I stumble up the hill is one solution that’s not too bad.  But Joshua isn’t always available and he doesn’t owe it to me to keep me amused and distracted while climbing fucking Mount Everest.


I end up stopping frequently because my legs ache, to let the blood flow back into my muscles, to get my strength back.  At least I never get winded.  No, it doesn’t come to that.  Months and years of nonsmoking have me protected.


My fucking mother is 80 and can run up this fucking hill carrying 80 fucking pounds on her back and then do somersaults in my fucking yard.  She’s another story altogether.


I called her the other day and asked how she did in the heat wave.  She said she went for a walk.  One hundred and ten degrees in the city and she went for a fucking walk???????


I give up.


The problem is, she boasts about it, and that’s what hurts the most.  I’m sitting here in the library, realizing I’m 48 and my body is falling apart, and hers is still intact at 80 and she’s doing her darndest to rub it in my face.  To rub it in all our faces.


Every step I take up that fucking hill, I see her smiling face, her Rudolph nose, hear her way too loud sing-songy voice, I hate her I hate her I hate her with every step.


I think today when I walk up the dreaded hill, I’ll stomp.  I’ll stomp out her boasting, her “perfect” body, her agelessness, her superiority.  I’ll stomp so loud that even she, quite deaf, will be able to hear me.  I’ll stomp up to the condo complex and yes–past the condos, and–over the hill.  Because we all go over the hill eventually.  And when I make that last step over the hill I’ll turn around and glance back to where I came from, glance at all the fools who are too proud to come over the hill, to those like my mother, and I’ll look upon them with true pity.

The Topomax idea

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For some reason, I find sleep deprivation an excellent, tried-and-true method for controlling depression and psychosis.  Sleep deprivation is more effective for me than ECT (“shock treatments”).  The results are immediate and striking.  However, the trick is to stay up all night, not part of the night but the full night, without sleep.  Getting a few hours will make me miserable. 


Despite my success with this, though, I wouldn’t recommend pulling an all-nighter to anyone else.  For most, depriving oneself of sleep is just plain stupid. 


Frequently on these all-nighters I come to an epiphany partway through the long night; I solve some problem that’s been bothering me, or hit on a new idea.  Tonight’s idea stems from a careful look at my records over the past month: Out of 28 days, I was depressed for 18.  I wouldn’t call it major depression, which must last two weeks to be labeled as such, but these depressions, which last up to five or six days, impose on me such a burden that I cannot commit myself to long-term projects because I never know how I’m going to feel from one day to the next.  Telling myself, “It won’t last forever,” helps not the slightest, because while I’m depressed I can’t comprehend that I will ever not be depressed.  It is totally beyond the realm of my imagination.  Exercise is near impossible during these times; I move very slowly and frequently have trouble walking or even sustaining a standing position.  I take baths instead of showers.  QB and I spend a half hour walking around the block.  I have tried everything to overcome these brief depressions.  Nothing works.


Accompanying the depressions have been eating binges that ranged from moderate to massive.  Given that in 1984 I based a suicide attempt on my inability to stop the bingeing, I am placing myself in a dangerous position by continuing to binge, but I cannot control it (otherwise I certainly would stop), and my weight is on the rise, which certainly isn’t helping my mood.


The only thing that’s ever helped stop bingeing has been medication.  When I began taking Lithium in 1984 (about six months after the attempt) the bingeing immediately stopped.  The change was so dramatic that in the weeks and months that followed, I hardly recognized myself; I was a new person.  I should say that this reaction to Lithium is highly atypical, but I’ve always been an atypical patient.


Cymbalta, my antidepressant, also helps with bingeing, but it only works when–well, when it works.  I had been blaming the Cymbalta for the inconsistencies in mood, but now I’m realizing that the trouble lies with my mood stabilizer, Lamictal.  It’s obviously not doing what it’s supposed to do!


The appealing option I’m considering is Topomax, another mood stabilizer also associated with weight loss and decreased appetite.  I tried it about a year and a half ago and found the medication overly sedating, so I stopped it, but I’m willing to give it another try.  Friends have praised Topomax as the best mood stabilizer they’ve ever encountered.  I put in a call to my psychiatrist a few hours ago–yes, it was midnight but this was on her voicemail and she’ll pick up the message eventually–stating that I’d like to try Topomax again.


I can now allow myself a sliver of hope.

6/26/2006 (Later) Seroquel: Before and After

Before Seroquel                           After Seroquel



Looking at these two photos, I can laugh or I can cry, and finally, after I’ve spent a year and a half even fatter than “After Seroquel,” I’ve decided I might as well laugh.  In the “Before Seroquel” photo I weighed about 100 pounds, in the “After,” taken early in May of this year, I weighed 168.  I was at my highest weight, 197, when I finally decided enough was enough–there was enough of me–I had to get off Seroquel, an “atypical” antipsychotic, which was causing me to take up more space in the world than I wanted to fill.  I huffed and puffed my way into Dr. P’s office and told her the Seroquel had to go.  One of my friends, who is a therapist, confided in me that among his patients that take Seroquel or Zyprexa, another “atypical,” the average weight gain is 50 to 60 pounds.  I gained over 100.  And yes, that is a rat on my shoulder.


Now, Dr. P, do you believe me?