Raw follow-up

That was a bit unhinged. But, guess what? I am completely overwhelmed and exhausted, and there’s not an ounce of relief in sight. So I vented in here, as I am prone to doing. And I’m sure I’ll do so again. And maybe I’ll do it a lot. If it seems like a sudden turn toward the pathetic, you just need to sift through years of blog/journal entries to find plenty more of the same (not that I’d recommend or wish for anyone to do so).

I spent an hour earlier doing yard work. I applied mulch to some dying emerald green arborvitae. These two pathetic trees should be really easy to take care of. But I’ve just about killed mine

I spent a good deal more time trying to deal with the insidious vine plant that dominated my front yard. I used to think it was cool, how it would grow so fast, and I could wrap it around stuff–a couple of years ago. But since I’ve had zero energy for yard maintenance, the vine plant has taken over everything. It’s swamped my baby crepe myrtles and my azaleas and my juniper. You won’t find one yard in an inhabited Durham home with such ridiculous overgrowth. So I just started pulling and pulling and pulling. And now I can see the other things that I’d actually like to take care of. But I have no idea how to kill this stuff and make sure it doesn’t keep growing.

The vine plant is an apt metaphor for life. I can pull away a ton of it, but there’s still a ton more that I can’t rid of it, and it’s just going to keep growing back. I don’t see how I will ever get a handle on it.

Back to last night’s rants…I’d only publicly write about my bitterness towards Duke Health if I had an alternative, and I do. Before the recent near-transplant mess, I had been on a path to getting on the Carolinas Medical Center list, and my assumption was that I’d inevitably get transplanted in Charlotte. I’m ok with going back to that plan. I have been going to Duke for healthcare for nearly 18 years, and overall, I’d say they haven’t gotten it right. And so, at my greatest moment of need, I’m so disappointed that they’ve put the burden of worthiness of care on me. Can I cope with what’s required of a transplant patient at Duke? I cannot get the thought out of head, “Where was this interest in helping me cope for the past 18 years?”

Why have I remained a patient at Duke so long? Why wouldn’t I? Who would not trust one of the premier medical centers and health systems in the world? There were lots of blips along the way, but as my kidneys failed and I approached dialysis and transplant lists, I’d be wise to live close to Duke Hospital so I could easily take advantage of that world-class care.

Boy, do I feel like a moron. I had no idea that I wouldn’t get to actually go to “Duke Dialysis”, that I’d be sent to facilities that sorely lack professionalism, skill, and empathy. I had no idea that the transplant team operated in a bubble outside of the rest of the health system, and that I’d be treated like an uneducated, undisciplined child. I had no idea that there’d be no dialysis options that could easily co-exist with a full-time work schedule. I had no idea that there’d be no one capable of meeting my mental health needs as I dealt with this end-stage renal disease, that social workers will be more concerned about you having post-transplant rides to the hospital than emotional support over the years you wait and your body deteriorates and life is a daily struggle.

Then again, I also thought it would the best possible job to work at Duke in the years of kidney decline. If I was going to have an IT career doing something I was good at but had no passion for, at least, if I did it at Duke, I’d be helping my alma mater, and it would surely be a fantastic place to work.

So wrong. And after five years, I so could not stand not being able to make the most of my potential in my field, to have my expertise routinely ignored, and (to be honest) to be paid far less than I thought I was worth, I took another job. While struggling to balance dialysis and chronic fatigue and chronic pain with working full-time, I decide to switch jobs. And I went to a global company, with far more complex systems, with a far more distant management structure, and, as I’ve discovered, a similar lack of appreciation for my very specific expertise. It probably doesn’t seem like I’m busting my ass, and I wouldn’t think I was from an outside perspective, but I am. I am, because I have no choice. I simply don’t know how I’d survive if I weren’t working.

I know people who have overcome far more. They’ve had physical challenges I cannot imagine. They’ve faced death and the sense that their dreams would not be attained. And, yet, they’ve persevered and survived and thrived.

I don’t see myself becoming one of those success stories. The best people will be able to say about be someday is, “At least he’s not suffering anymore”.

I know this is not the tone that anyone wants to see in my blog. No one wants to read this. And I certainly don’t want to be a burden.

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Stuff circa January 8, 2011

Dating I went on a date a few days ago, and it was heartbreaking. It was a stark reminder of why I rarely ever go on a date. I battled for ninety minutes to be funny, engaging, and charming. She often seemed genuinely interested in me. I rattled off feelings about being on dialysis and transplant lists that I hadn’t shared with anyone. I, briefly, had the sense that it was ok that I hadn’t been to other countries, held an advanced degree, read five books a month, or looked like every healthy bike-riding guy who comes into Whole Foods. There were five or ten minutes when I had self-confidence. But later that night, I received the “I don’t think we’re a match” email. Rather than pick myself up, dust myself off, do whatever one is supposed to go to keep functioning, I took the rejection as a gravely-wounding piercing. I did not react as such by choice. This humiliating numbness is a physiological reaction I’ve been getting since I was in grade school. Allow myself a moment of being open to something amazing, and I will inevitably experience crushing agony. This never changes. At 35 and stuck on dialysis, the cumulative weight of all of these rejections is indescribable. I do not know anyone who gets how badly this feels.

Housekeeping I had been so excited that I was finally, after years of thinking about it, going to get a housekeeping service to come and clean up my place. I had been reluctant, in part, for so many years, because I feared that such a service would be unable to do a whole lot without me first doing a hefty bit of pre-cleaning. How can they clean the floors if I don’t remove the clutter? How can they clean the kitchen if I don’t do the dishes? But the same fatigue and paralysis that prevent me from going through a stack of junk prevents me from vacuuming the floor. If I can do the first part, why do I need to hire someone for the second? But I reasoned to myself that there must be services to clean the homes of those who pass away or those who simply live in extreme filth and can’t help themselves at all. My place isn’t nearly that bad. These services must know how to help me. But my original fears were realized. When a rep came by to discuss my options, I was told that, no, the cleaners would not throw anything away. They would not do my dishes. They would not pick up piles of stuff. They’d do cleaning and dusting of areas that were already clear, thus validating my theory that only people who have reasonably clean homes actually hire cleaning services in the first place. I still plan to use the service, but my enthusiasm has most deflated. The phrase “putting lipstick on a pig” comes to mind. I’m going to pay them a couple hundred bucks to make my baseboards shiny. The place will still look like a dump.

Work Let’s assume no one from work is reading this. I am overwhelmed by my new job everyday. No one has told me I am failing to meet expectations. No one has told me I am doing anything wrong. But I just assume that I am. My brain is not up for following phone conversations with a dozen people scattered across the world. My brain wants to engage is problem-solving off in its own space and does not want to be interrupted by endless meetings and endless exercises in documenting what I haven’t had the chance to even do yet. And then there’s the small matter of, everyday, wondering how I will put in a solid effort alongside my thrice-weekly dialysis sessions. My body and mind are exhausted, and there seems to way for them to rebound as long as I rely on a machine to filter out toxins from my body. Sounds like a bad time to have changed jobs! Except my last job was soul-sucking; I needed to move on. I don’t regret taking the new job. I regret that I don’t have 2-3 years of savings so I can just do what most dialysis patients do, which is to go on disability.

Dialysis I had figured out what made me so horribly uncomfortable at dialysis, but I never shared the resolution. First, I didn’t want to dwell on how the medical establishment had failed me. Second, dialysis did not turn into a picnic, and it just didn’t seem useful to comment on how dialysis had become just a little less intolerable. At it’s best, I’ll have competent techs and a quiet, pain-free treatment. But, at it’s best, it’s four hours out of the heart of my day that will cause my body to feel uneven for another couple of hours and fail to give me any noticeable boost in energy or affect.

Metablogging I post the croutons as a reminder to myself of a part of myself that I hope still exists, even if it’s easy to cast it off as foolish and naive–the young, unapologetic romantic. Or something like that. I still mourn Toastie Radio, my attempt in the early part of the 2000s to share the music I liked with the world, which at some points, like then there’d be 40-50 concurrent global listeners, came close to being gratifying. In the end, it was a failure, a colossal waste of time and money…and the currency of optimism, of which I’ve always been short-changed.

I posted an unflattering shot of my gut because I wanted to document the time prior to my nephrectomy surgery. I have profile shots that make that distended abdomen far more grotesque. Then again, those shots may be from 15-20 pounds ago. It’s unfortunate that I can be 15-20 pounds down from my heaviest weight and not feel the slightest bit of accomplishment. I don’t feel anything, because my body is weak and completely lacks agility. I’m a sloth. And I’m clearly not having any success on the dating circuit.

I post about politics as a reminder that I’m thinking about these things. I regret that I can’t write intelligently about these issues. It’s much simpler to just throw up a link to someone who had written something intelligent.

When I write a long post like this were I’m stressing about the consequences of my writing, I must put to the back of my mind the thought of who may be reading this. Family members read this. People solely interested in kidney disease and dialysis read this. Former coworkers read this. (I hope no current coworkers read this). If I worry about how I’m coming across, then I’m writing a different blog. Perhaps one day I’ll have a blog dedicated to a particular topic, and I’ll write it in a professional matter, and it won’t be self-absorbed.

For now, above all else, this blog is a coping mechanism for everything. I am not always explicit about how a given post is meant to be therapeutic. Ideally, I’d be writing more. I’d be writing just like this. Granted, it’s 3:52AM, and I don’t strive to be up at this hour on a regular basis. But the benefit of 3:52AM is the lack of inhibition. I’m just writing what comes to mind, and I’m going to hit the Publish button, and this will be up there in the morning. I can go back to sleep with a far-clearer head.

Absymal HR

Not only did they f-up the entire hiring process and fail to provide me with useful starting information, but now they’re f-ing with my health insurance.

They run their HR operation out of New Jersey, and it’s readily apparent because every conversation is lacking in empathy, friendliness, and respect.

I elected my 2011 health insurance provider on December 3. 26-days-later, the provider has no record of me whatsoever. My HR throws the blame back to the provider; “they should have your data”.

A case has been opened, and it should take “3-5 business days” to conduct an investigation.

Hey, f-ers…there technically aren’t any business days until January 3, so you’re telling me I may not have this resolved into January 10? What am I supposed to do until then?

Oh, you can fax me a letter certifying that I’m covered, which I can’t even get until January 3.

Here, dialysis center, this says I’m covered! I don’t have a number or anything. I’ll accrue $1000 in charges over the next week, but, trust me, I’m covered!

And then I’ve got the surgery on January 19, for which the pre-authorization department already called me to get my new insurance information.

“It’ll be resolved by then,” I was assured. “F*U. This should’ve been resolved two weeks ago. Why would I trust a (*#*$&( word you’re saying”.

I didn’t really say that. I told her that I had plenty of other medical expenses that would come up before then, and it was not acceptable that I had to simply lay out the money for them in the meantime.

But it’s acceptable to my HR department, so that’s the bottomline.

Seriously, I do not need this shit. This week off is great, except it’s a blip compared to what I really need right now, which is about a year off.

I imagined while I was on hold for 25 minutes that HR was going to come back and say, “The reason you’re not in their system is because you’ve been terminated.” And I completely believe that my company would fire someone without bothering to them. Completely.

Is that MegaMillions jackpot still growing?

</rant>

The next four/five months/years

If this Duke tenure lasts four years, that would be terrific. Unfortunately, I’ll be working under the three-month temp label, which I know should be insignificant, but until I go perm, I’ll be worried. And I’ll be worried today, that I’ll find out I’m in way over my head.

Meanwhile, I could’ve slept an extra hour. As I typed the above, I got a call from Melinda from Kelly. I don’t need to be there until 9:00. I now have an extra hour to kill. I’ll get some coffee and a yummy pastry at Caribou.

Geez, it’s been 12 years since I had my first first day at Duke.

Can’t sit around the apartment and pick up cat hair on my first-day polo shirt.

Not driving three hours. Will be home tonight. Yay.
Another first day at Duke.2005.07.05

And my tenure working for OIT at Duke University lasted for four years. It lasted for 5 &frac13; years, obliterating the spans I spent at previous jobs and winding up well over a year longer than my undergraduate tenure there.

This is not the time to write about my tenure working at Duke. It’s end was necessary, but sad, nonetheless.

I am frankly petrified about my new job. I should have a lot on my plate, and I look forward to that. But I’ve got another plate to contend with…a heavy plate that I carry three times a week called dialysis. How these two significant time commitments will coexist, I still do not know. Between HR’s unwillingness to address the issue during the window of the last three weekds, and my dialysis facility’s unwillingness to level with me concerning realistic shift options, I don’t know what my schedule for even tomorrow will be.

Must try to get some sleep, though I know that, since the age of five, I don’t get much sleep the night before The First Day of &;.

I put together my new IKEA coffee table today. I was pleased with myself for that. It’s a massive toy for the cats; I know they appreciate it.

I also spray-painted the light-wood-colored Mission-style plant holder. It was a…I don’t know the color…but now it is black. This shall be a black living room, with some hints of brown. Like this really matters, given the average of 2.84 people who see this living room on average in a given month.

Aremid new coffee table bw

Penultimate day on the job

American Tobacco - 080618:50 AM – Settled in for my second-to-last day on the job I’ve been at for five years and four months. I have had by longest tenure, by far, here. So, while I have experienced many last (two) days, this one is different. All of my pet photos are off my cubicle walls. I have a few papers to sort through, but most of what needs review, at this point, exists on my hard drive. If there are any important documents that exist on my PC but not up in network space, I’ve got to get them uploaded. I do have a sincere desire to do all I can to “transfer knowledge” in these closing moments. It’s been a difficult slog at times. I do hope things go smoothly for those I’ve worked with. I do hope that, in retrospect, my efforts are appreciated. I realize that much of what I’ve done may be figuratively thrown out in the next year or two; this is unfortunate, but a reality of work in the IT field.

9:30 AM – Have successfully gone through My Documents root. Now for the subfolders…

Everyone asks me, “Are you taking any time off in between?” When I say that I’m not, people seem surprised, since, aren’t you supposed to? “Don’t you have any sick days?” someone asked. Everyone means well, but I wanted to explode here. I’VE BEEN SICK FOR THREE YEARS. I had over two weeks of vacation time stored up by early 2008. Then I got a kidney stone that eventually required surgery. I lost all of time right there. Between kidney failure fatigue and three fistula surgeries, I wound up veering into negative numbers for time-off. Since I’ve been on dialysis, I pretty much have used sick and vacation time as I’ve accrued it. Thus, I take an occasional three-day-weekend and that’s been it. Oh my God, I’d love to take two weeks off to just chill before I start my new job. But I needed to give a month’s notice here; my new job wanted me to start asap; and I can’t afford to have no income coming in for any length of time. I am so thoroughly exhausted…but no time off. A four-day Thanksgiving weekend is approaching. I will watch West Wing DVDs in my living room while my cats eat their Roasted Turkey Fancy Feast.

2:00 PM – Lunch at Toast was so very, very good. I wish I had made the very short walk to Main Street more. I’ve gone through all of my documents and uploaded the relevant ones to our wiki or emailed them to my teammate. My desktop is essentially cleaned out. All of the cabinet drawers are essentially cleaned out. I have a five-year-old box with what appears to be 500-or-so business cards. I think I’m progressing well toward a goal of being essentially done by the end of the afternoon, where tomorrow can be a no-stress day.

4:00 PM – Real work to do because of something I bungled. Learned something from TM—F2 allows you to edit an Excel cell directly in the cell, which I never, ever know after all of this years.

5:15 PM – It was not a stress-free afternoon since a query I had used to help migrate some data neglected to include 5% of instances. I had to scramble to fix that. But with “that”, I did manage to finish up a task I had been anxious to get done for five years. I had to manually tweak some data, and in doing so, I saw the names of individuals and groups that had flickered on my screen these past five years. I’ll have an entirely new set of names and groups and terminologies and screens to look at starting Monday. I think I’ll be relieved.

One down, many to go

No energy to put any thought into this post. Perhaps more to say soon. Perhaps not. Posts like this are rare. I wish I had a more creative way of announcing this.

Starting a month from now, I will have a NEW JOB!

Five years at my current job is three-times more than I spent at any other previous employer. I don’t have much to say about my soon-to-be-old job. I have no desire to burn bridges. Ok, I have some desire to burn some bridges, but, apart from this very comment, I shall say elaborate no further.

And I shall say very little about my new job, other than that I have been informed that the organization makes Fortune Magazine’s Top-100-Places-To-Work List. I guess that’s not too shabby. I am not moving anywhere, so it shouldn’t be terribly difficult to narrow down who the employer is, and I’m happy to share more details off-blog.

I would love to say I’m “happy” overall, but the reality is that I still be buried by an awful lot right now. There’s a little bit of daylight, and that’s a nice feeling. However, I’ve still got lots of digging to do.

August 5 rapid blogging: job

I’m having one of those weeks when I feel like anything productive or positive I’ve done in recent memory is completely moot.

Two issues have come up that are being completely overblown. One involves communication process. One is technical.

Regarding the first one, I forgot to switch an oncall pager to my teammate before leaving town for the weekend. The pager forwards to my phone. I happened to walk into a swimming pool with my phone in my pocket. That last detail, in itself, has really, really sucked for me personally in the past week. As for work, I missed an important call, never having gotten a good enough internet connection to get the right phone number to switch the pager to or letting coworkers know my predicament. I spent half my mini-vacation worried sick about how to reach people.

This week, rather than chalk it all up to me having done something stupid, it has been proposed that entire processes be overhauled. There was nothing wrong with the processes. I walked into a pool with my cell phone.

As for the second issue, a few times a year, I take it quite personally that some conclusion I’ve come to is questioned and torn apart, or my analysis is completely ignored in the first place. This is happening again, and again it is a demoralizing feeling to have worked with this same stupid product for 13 years and not have management trust me when I come to a conclusion. Let’s ask the vendor to make triply sure, even though I know our environment ten times better than the vendor, and the vendor only knows the product slightly better than I do.

Alas, I meant to do rapid blogging…

I really have been trying to like my job lately…it’s so difficult, though, when you are constantly reminded just how indifferent the-powers-that-be are to fact that they actually have a valuable resource if they bothered to look. Of course, that’s a double-edged sword. People realize that a guy working on the app has 13 years of experience, and they may ask, “Why does our app suck so much then?” The short answer from me would be that I haven’t been able to convince TBTB to do anythng useful with the app. I’m constantly working on b*s items that barely matter because approval is needed for any significant.

No, I don’t fix computers

Toastie: I work in IT.

Oh, so you fix people’s computers?

Toastie: No.

No, I don't fix computers

My two-year-old HP Pavilion laptop developed a crack in the screen hinge. I lived with it for a couple of months. I could have tried to send it in under the two-year warranty I had. But I didn’t want to go without it for a few weeks. I’d live with it. Well, a couple of days ago, the crack got a lot worse. The screen half broke off from the rest of the laptop.

My solution: duct tape.

My solution: FAIL.

My back-up plan: buy a new laptop.

My back-up plan: fiscally irresponsible.

Plan C: grab the nice 19-inch monitor from the old desktop that I never use.

Plan C: WIN.

See, I don’t know how to fix anything, with the possible exception of broken Remedy workflow, and you have no idea what means, nor should you, since it’s not exactly an in-demand skill.

More work-related brain-dump

Lucky Strike Sturm und Drang

Ideally, I’d have someone to review my data-migration process with. Ideally, there’d be someone to look at each step, and affirm that it makes sense, or question of there’s a better one, or if I’m missing something.

Whom I can help me here?

_____? I blame him for much of the sorry state of the application, and I do not want to enlist his help in anything if possible. Yes, it’s personal.

_____? He can give me another set of eyes. He is not seasoned enough (don’t take that personally) to know if a method is sound or not, but I could have done some form of technical review with him.

_____? I have wished since you started in this position that you would be a project manager who would help facilitate true project plans—not kick-off meetings, and marketing meetings, and change management meetings–but meetings to help nail down schedules for specific tasks in a project. However, you non-chalantly labeled this [project] as a mere release and did not seem to appreciate the breadth of activity needed to get this done, particularly when it was not ultimately going to be done by the “two developers over two months” that had ben touted. Second, and this has been a sore spot with me all along, you haven’t familiarized yourself with our environment and applications to the point where you can offer meaningful suggestions at a technical level in developing a project plan. That has been very frustrating to me. You have made a conscious choice not to learn about the basics of our our systems are developed, configured, and maintained. And you have little patience for skepticsm when I don’t think a previous experience of yours easily translates to a present situation.

Consequently, I feel like I bear the whole load of the projects. I feel they are always destined to fail, or at least have significant problems. I cannot foresee everything on my own. In a complex project such as [this project], there were dozens upon dozens of tasks of varying degrees of difficulty-level and time-consumption. I did very well at about 90% of these. The other 10% I failed out, failed to execute when the time was needed and failed to communicate to you that these were issues to be mindful of. As always, a 10% failure looks to everyone else like a 90% failure. I care enough about the project that I can’t help but take it personally and have it feel like a 90% failure.

I feel like we’re at a stalemate. We’ve been here before. I usually just let it all recede until the next crisis, because I don’t see how this can work, and I cannot survive with the level of stress I have while contempating trying to face this.

I don’t take solace in the mindset of “at least I have a job”. I might need to get out of this environment. _______ would be better off, because without anyone who really knows development, the only choice would be to adopt the new software package with no customization. I don’t know where I’d go, but it is hard to continue in an environment where I know customers and leadership don’t like the application and don’t trust that the team is competent enough to implement any significant changes, and where my manager hasn’t made the effort to understand the application at a level that would allow him to help development meaningful project plans.

My morale is about as low as it can get. It was terrible after the October 2007 upgrade, and this is as bad by the mere fact that it’s happened again. Despite my best efforts, I will always be in a position to fail and disappoint. This is not a healthy recipe for tackling working challenges on a daily basis.

Just feeling sorry for myself, nothing to read here

Tonight, I’ll pretend that I don’t have a bunch of new readers, like my mother, like people who don’t know me well whom I hope could have a favorable impression of me, and like Facebook readers who never asked to hear exactly what’s in my head. For new readers, I’ll repeat what I’ve said a bunch of times before, which is that I used to have various journal platforms for these kinds of thoughts, but I can tend to lose my inhibitions and just throw those thoughts up here.

I just had my worst day at work in over two years. I had to put something into production today, and that usually happens on a Saturday. I thought there might be a few minor problems, but, in general, I thought I had done a great job of developing this custom module that would allow us to do a way with another annoying app. It’s ironic, because the-powers-that-be are always stressing going “out-of-the-box” but they had no problem scrapping a mostly out-of-the-box app for something that is total custom development, that, for all intensive purposes, I’m the only one who can really support it. In reality, the-powers-that-be don’t really understand that platform I work on at all, and don’t have any idea what the difference between “configuration” and “development” is. Nor do they appreciate at all that they have a developer with 11 years of experience who does understand this.

Anyway, I was pretty sure that there would be a few data hiccups in migrating from one system to another, and I thought it was understood that this could happen, and we’d iron out these problems within a couple of days of launching. However, as testing revealed that some data wasn’t right, even though I knew exactly how to fix it, the-powers-that-be decided that if they couldn’t trust that it was all 100% accurate, we’d have to roll back. Logically, from the point of view to someone who doesn’t understand the app at all, which is everyone involved in today’s implementation except for me, there could be a distrust that any percentage of the data was wrong. But I knew otherwise, that these data problems were isolated and quickly fixable.

I take these things very personally, even though I am always told not to. The only thing worthwhile I do with my life is whatever I get done at work. When I’m pretty sure that I’ve done an A- job on something but I know it’s perceived as a D, it’s incredibly demoralizing.
I mean, what the hell else do I have going for me?

As far as my career is concerned, I am completely trapped in this niche, of which I think I’m somewhat of an expert. And yet, my judgement is also questioned, and the powers-that-be don’t even bother to ask for my input on the direction of our app, content to ask the advice of the vendor, who knows nothing of our environment and is only interested in selling us services that we can’t afford.

I so wish that I could afford to live on what disability would pay. The stress I get from my job is going to kill me, in conjunction with my shitty kidneys and unrelenting depression.

Oh, did I just mention the D word? Not dialysis…depression…which I make a passing reference to every now and then in here. Since my mother reads this, or, rather, in spite of the fact that she reads this, because this may be an unfair comment to make, it’s always infuriated me how much focus she’s placed on how I should deal with my kidney disease…endless emails and encyclopedias of information…what to avoid eating and doing…while all along…it’s been crystal clear to me that if I have a premature death, it’s is not going to be due to kidney disease but due to depression.

I realize a statement like that makes people very uncomfortable. People can sorta figure out to say to the guy on dialysis with kidney disease. But the guy who’s depressed? People want to stay away from that guy.

And how I got onto depression when I was talking/ranting about work, I don’t know.

Let’s go for the gold, while I’m at it, while I don’t care how inappropriate any of this is to say publicly.

Anyone care to know just how bad the depression can get? No, not really, Toastie. Well, please, by all means, stop reading now. This is your warning. YOU DON’T NEED TO READ ANY FURTHER.

So I recently unearthed an email I sent to one the various mental health professionals who have failed to be of much help over the years. I’ll just say this was written sometime in the last five years:

Subject: Urgent Help needed

Hi ____________,

I am writing rather than doing absolutely nothing as a course of
action for my depression. I have been in what I consider an absolute
depression for a couple of days now. I suppose if it were truly
absolute, I could not even be writing this email.

I’m not suicidal, if suicidal means there is a danger I am going to
physically harm myself. I don’t see the use in doing anything that
would result in me being at the ER or being locked up in a psych ward.

But I’m hardly functioning. I am not at work today. I am not taking
care of myself. –

Clearly the medication I take now does not prevent these “episodes”. I
cannot imagine any medications or therapies that would do me any good.
There is no reason to believe that you would suddenly have a magical
solution as opposed to any other point during the last many years.

But I have to tell someone if there is any remote chance that there is
help available. And you’re my doctor. So I am telling you. Do we need
to zap my brain? What do you do with the suicidal patients? I’m almost
sure I am just as depressed as they are, without the small problem of
being on the verge of trying to kill myself.

I’d call, but that means leaving an awkward message with ________,
who may or may not get you the message. In fact, I did just
that back [a few months ago], in which I practically begged to have you see
me sooner than our next scheduled appointment, and I didn’t hear back
from you. I didn’t bring it up again, because if I burn bridges with
you, I am completely without options.

Inappropriate blogging. Yup. I just don’t care right now. I may regret it tomorrow. I’ve made posts before that I’ve later put behind a password or just made private, and I might just do that with this post. Or maybe I won’t.

If I have given anyone the impression recently that ANYTHING is ok, I intentionally wish to shatter it right now. Not that I expect anyone to have any words of wisdom. Not that I expect that I won’t lose readers over this.

The blog will say ‘no comments’. I don’t know how to prevent comments on the Facebook feed.