Author Archives: poorsickandshunned

Disjointed Rant in F Major

Poor Apple is all Alone

The over-diagnosis of depression, and people using the term to describe how they feel when they brake their fucking fingernail is a slap in the face to people who live with the disease.

Here are some of the things depression does to me:

I take a drink of something and a full 60 seconds later, I realize the drink is still in my mouth. I completely forget to swallow it. 95% of the time, I swallow it as soon as I realize it’s still in my mouth, but other times I can’t. It’s not painful, or unpleasant in any way when I swallow, but sometimes I just can’t do it.

I often sit and stare for hours at a time. I become so wrapped up in my thoughts that when I finally come back to reality, I realize my mouth was hanging open for an hour or more. This happens a lot.

Sometimes, I am completely unable to move. It’s like the scene in Kill Bill when Uma Thurman says, “Wiggle your big toe.” I come out of one of my previously mentioned staring fits, and I want to change positions, or go to the bathroom, or whatever, but I don’t move. I think, “Lift your hand off the desk,” but my arm is just like, “Nope.” It usually takes a full 3-5 minutes before I convince my arm to move, but sometimes I slip back into another staring fit.

There are strange moments when I start to groan. It happened last week while I was in the middle of reaching for my toolbox. I lost the ability to move, becoming a rag doll draped over the left side of my chair. I stayed like that for 30 minutes, mind blank, groaning repeatedly, completely unaware of my body. I felt like an injured animal, so hurt and scared that all I could do was make this pitiful noise.

Depression also gives me constant thoughts of suicide and anhedonia. Both make it nigh on impossible to feel any pleasure. Experiencing pleasure is necessary to human functioning. Without positive reinforcement, there is no motivation. No happiness at a job well done, no feeling of accomplishment, no desire to watch TV, play games, engage in hobbies, develop friendships, sustain relationships. Nothing.

That is depression, and living with it’s effects makes it beyond infuriating to hear people talk about how depressed they are that their car broke down, or their damn dishwasher is broken. And, the diagnoses of depression and prescribing Prozac and Ativan because someone’s pet hamster died, or because they have inoperable armpit sweat is not helping matters. This careless and flippant attitude is damaging and insulting to the people that really are depressed, the people that have demonstrably impaired brain functioning.

I understand situational depression happens, and it can be just as debilitating as chronic depression, but I’m not talking about that. I’m talking about the, “OMG im so totally depressed bcuz I cant hang out wit mah gurl friend 2 nite,” crowd. Yeah, stop using that word, you sniveling little shit. You are not depressed. You are upset.

This is why people scoff at depression. They don’t recognize it as a debilitating condition. They see it as a joke. A weakness. A character flaw. A condition that can be cured by a happy song and a new sweater. And, if a person stays depressed, well, that person is just lazy. They’re “…using depression as an excuse to be a worthless piece of shit,” as one fine gentlemen said to me recently. Thank’s buddy. You really made a point there.

Improvisation and Coffee Tables

I Think It's Dried Out

I could make a coffee table out of a piece of driftwood. I could turn old, discarded pallets into a headboard. I could sew fabric remnants into a dress. People say I have talent. That I’m creative and good at the things I do. But, I could do so much more. The things I make would be far better if I could just afford the materials that go into them.

“I could make that necklace…but, I don’t have $10.00 to buy the supplies.”

“I could make that felt phone case in 15 minutes…but, it would take sewing supplies that I can’t afford.”

“I could make that…”

“But, I don’t have…But, I can’t afford…But, I would need…But, I can’t get…I can’t get…I can’t…I can’t…I can’t…”

I try to improvise and make my own tools. Sometimes, it works, but most of the time it doesn’t. It’s frustrating, defeating, and embarrassing. I work for hours, only to have the project fall apart. So, I put away my shitty tools, clean up whatever mess I made, wash the glue off my fingers, and wait for the disappointment to go away.

I think about giving it all up. Never picking up a paintbrush, a needle, or a hot glue gun again. But, I keep trying because it’s the only thing I can do. I work until I get it done, until I get it right. And, if I can’t do it without some random, expensive thing, I file the project away in my mind and I wait. I know I’ll make my pallet headboard. I‘ll make that felt phone case. I’ll make that damn bracelet someday.

Yes, This is a Thing that Happens

Where the Hell is the Key to This Thing

Just last year, after fighting for an associate’s degree and then fighting the job market, I landed a job with insurance. It was the first time I had insurance in 16 years. My various illnesses then became so bad that I could no longer work. I lost the job and the insurance that came with it.

I tried to collect the private disability insurance that I had paid for every week, but because I had signed the policy in December of 2013, before the new healthcare laws went into effect, the pre-existing clause was still legal. After months of going back and forth with the insurance company. Running around getting medical records, sending them papers from my former employer, after signing a piece of paper that gave them access to any and all medical records that have ever been collected on me, they told me they came to the conclusion that I was indeed disabled, but they wouldn’t pay because of a technicality. Essentially, they made me run around and wait five months to tell me something that they should have said in five seconds.

After my disability was denied, I tried to apply for insurance through the exchange, but because I qualified for Medicaid, they would not let me buy a policy. Apparently, if a person qualifies for Medicaid, they have to apply for and then be denied it before they can buy an insurance policy on the exchange. It can take up to six months to get a decision from Medicaid. Also, and here’s the really fun part, in my case the Medicaid decision is attached to my Social Security Disability claim, which could take a year and a half before it’s settled. I am suicidal and physically ill, and I can’t get insurance, for up to a year and a half. It doesn’t matter that I’m willing to pay for a private policy. It doesn’t matter that my conditions can not wait for a year and a half.

I looked for something I could do in the meantime, but there was nothing. There is no coverage available for people stuck between Medicaid and the exchange. This is the system that is supposed to protect the most vulnerable of our citizens? This is what we came up with? And people wonder why I feel hopeless all the time.

A Bite for a Bite

The Original Clippy

My brother and I used to try to kill each other on a regular basis. My mother decided it might be a good idea to put a stop to it, and she came up with unique ways of doing so. The least drastic punishment she came up with was to force my brother and me to hug for five minutes. That one was always a fun one. We would whisper exactly how we were going to murder each other as soon as the time was right.

I used to bite my brother in retaliation for punching, kicking, or trying to suffocate me. He would run to my mom and tell her I’d bit him. She would force me to stretch out my arm, and she would bite it. Sometimes, it was hard enough to draw blood, but she knew how much pressure it took to break the skin, and tried not to go beyond that.

I eventually stopped biting, and I discovered my fingernails could be used as a weapon. My brother would start in with “torture little sister time,” and the second he turned his back I would dig my fingernails into him. This resulted in scenes that looked like something from a Freddy Kruger nightmare. My mother, being the problem solver she was, continuously clipped my fingernails short enough to make them bleed.

Eye for an eye punishment was my mom’s specialty. I know these punishments affected me, but I don’t know if the effect was good or bad.

Roaches Make Strange Bedfellows

Rusted and RuinedMy mom tried to kill herself, and was consequently deemed an unfit parent. Children services took my brother and me away and introduced us to the wonderful horrors of foster care. Luckily, our grandparents decided to take custody of us shortly thereafter, but forms and proceedings had to happen before they could take us “home,” so we were stuck in the system.

Children services decided to put us both into a group home for boys. They knew the situation was temporary, so they gave in when we begged them not to separate us. That’s how I, a girl, ended up sleeping on a couch in a group home for boys. They only let me stay there because I promised not to go upstairs where the the boys slept. I stayed downstairs, where the bathroom had no shower or bathtub, and I went without a shower for a week. But, all this was fine by me because my brother said the roaches were worse up there.

It was hard to imagine an infestation larger than the one downstairs. Roaches where everywhere. I hardly slept the entire time I was in that house. I knew the roaches would crawl all over me the second I drifted off to sleep. When the house was dark, they crawled out from their hiding places, frolicking on the counters and cabinets, tables and chairs, walls and ceilings, curtains and rugs.

I fought the urge to burn my clothes and tear off my skin every morning. I knew, I just knew the filthy creatures laid eggs under my skin while I slept. The disgusting things had crawled in my mouth while I snored. They went into my ears, ate the wax, then shit it back out. The dirt of their little bodies covered every part of me, but I couldn’t take a shower because it was upstairs with the boys’ rooms. I washed myself in the bathroom sink downstairs as well as I could, but I didn’t feel clean again until after I had taken four or five showers at my grandparent’s house.

People seem to think that foster homes are safe and clean. They think that the places are regularly inspected, the foster parents thoroughly checked. They think the system works, that it protects children. They’re wrong.

Bad Hood

It Took Way Too Long to Take This Picture

We lived in a neighborhood where abandoned couches and soiled mattresses filled the alleys. Crack houses dotted the landscape, and we had the pleasure of having one right behind our house. Gunshots and sirens pierced the night while we tried to sleep.

We were kids, though. We thought all these things added excitement to our lives. The thrill of police rushing by, my mom yelling, “Hit the deck” when gunshots rang out, the shady people walking by while we played in the yard. It all made us feel like we were living in a gritty movie.

It was an exciting life, and we loved it until our house was broken into. It was right before Christmas while we were away visiting my grandparents. They robbers took what little we had, all the way down to the welfare butter and cheese in the fridge.

The crack head crooks were kind enough to completely wreck the house while they were there. It takes real talent to trash a piss infested rat hole of a house, but they managed it. I remember seeing all of our family pictures thrown all over the dining room floor. They were wet and curling from the beer the thieves dumped on them. All those happy memories spread out on the ancient, scratched, pitted hardwood floor. Pathetic in their ruin.

Our house was broken into again a year later. My mom had once again been carted off to the loony bin, and after a week of my grandma and dad trying to get the house key, we pulled up alongside the house only to find the door already open. Mom in the hospital, house robbed, uprooted again, no clothes, no security, no nothin’. Fun, exciting times, indeed.

Frozen Fish Sticks Aren’t Funny

Tasty Apples

My stomach was trying to eat itself, my legs wobbled, my head spun. My parents were asleep, and I wasn’t allowed to use the stove. No cereal. No bread. No peanut butter, leftovers, nothing that didn’t require cooking, and there wasn’t much of that either. I found a box of frozen fish sticks, sat on the kitchen floor, and ate them one by one. They tasted awful, shards of ice mixed with frosted breading, but I was so hungry I kept eating them.

When my parents found out about my fish stick feast, they laughed and laughed. They told my grandparents who also laughed. My goodness, it was so funny that a little child would up and eat half a box of fish sticks straight out of the freezer. They didn’t realize that I never got enough to eat. They didn’t know that my little body ached from the lack of food. They didn’t know that the tomato soup they’d fed me a few days ago was the last thing I ate.

I told my grandma there wasn’t any food at our house. She went over and looked through are kitchen. Sure enough, hardly any food. She yelled at my dad about not providing for his children. She called my mom names. When she left, my dad beat me. He screamed that I would get far worse if I ever told anyone else about things that happened in our house. I kept my mouth shut for many years after that.