Not just a river in Egypt

Two nights of Ambien® and I was stoned all day Wednesday. Not good. Plus, I couldn’t stop talking about it, driving Heather crazy. Two more nights of over the counter sleep aids and I’m sleeping like I did the nights after I quit my office job. Lovely. And damn, that Ambien® is spendy.

I was diagnosed with walking pneumonia, which I’ve had before, in 2002 right after we got Chuck and before we got married. Back then I took too long to see a doctor and drove Heather equally crazy then as now. I’m always worried about taking antibiotics and given my constitution, I worry that I’ll harbor the next pandemic. But I finally said enough and I’ve been taking a strong course of them, with a few side effects. I feel much better. Yesterday wasn’t so good because somebody decided to sing her way through her nap and be super bipolar through the rest of the day. Not such a big deal, but then her parents didn’t have a nap and the whole family was grumptastic. Minor bumps, really.

The other thing I’m looking at is that I likely have a case of mild depression. Talking with Heather and looking at a bunch of sites has been a little eye-opening. So I took all of the reading and talking and spoke with the doctor about the possibility of depression. What I think is that if it is depression it’s a mild manifestation of a thing called dysthymia, where I can function, but don’t get all the enjoyment I could/should from life. I wouldn’t think to use terms like “dour” or “humorless” to describe myself, but I know a wife (and likely an ex) who could.

The doctor felt that because of my horrible sleep habits most of the signs of depression that I exhibit could be caused by lack of sleep. He wanted to get the sleep fixed and then see how everything else went. I’ve slept horribly for most of my adult life. So before I get all hypochondriac-y on it, I’m going to stay on the over the counter sleep meds for a few weeks.

I’ve had some therapy and in those sessions I’ve spoken about depression, but there have been so many other things to work through and talk about that it’s always been kind of hidden. The therapy was mostly to work through long-standing issues resulting from a rigid religious upbringing (not blaming the parents, the culture or the religion, just my reaction to it, settle down) and the upheaval from the divorce and remaking of my life following. The therapy was really good, but now that I’m not in a crappy work environment and I get to spend time watching educational TV with my daughter, there isn’t anything to blame for some of the persistent emotions. Except maybe Barney. Or the Wiggles. Sure, watching Leta can be trying some days but that passes.

Looking deeper, I’ve had a long history of anger and denial. Mostly against group think, group culture and what I felt were unrealistic expectations from family and culture. Mormonism prides itself on a hive mentality, especially in daily living. While a Mormon missionary, I dealt with some of the scariest thinking by group that I’ve ever encountered. And I was angry about it. I tried to mask it with a veneer of calm detachment and humor, but the denial part of it is that I was angry at myself for participating and encouraging the very thinking and activities I despised. So too do office environments tend to breed the worst part of group thinking, not the best, and I have typically done well in environments where I felt more free to express myself and more free to succeed or fail based on my own merits. Most jobs I’ve had that were bona fide career enhancing positions were easier to deal with than those where I felt I took the job as a desperation move to get out of a situation or to change a situation. Since I’ve been with Heather, the latter are the only kinds of jobs I’ve had until now. And I’m still struggling to be as joyous as I should be. Maybe it’s an echo slump from the sewer line replacement? Maybe it’s the middle-age crisis stereotypically attacking me? Maybe it’s just aliens. Or a virus.