Not In Kansas Anymore...

Click your heels, and see if home is where you hang your hat, or somewhere else inside yourself as this simple, postmodern girl takes on L.A.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009


Breathe in. Breathe out. Breathe in. Breathe out.

Now. Let's get a few things straight:

Okay, you know what's not fun? A 6am phone call from your dad all hopped up about the money he's sending to "a state that's bankrupt and therefore unable to send you your benefits like they used to. Am I supposed to subsidize a welfare state and a stupid govenor that needs a bailout?"

No, I reckon you're not. But when I call to ask for help because the fine state of CA has indeed decided that I a.) owe them $4K + because I made some money last year and b.) has rescinded one of my benefit checks because they're cutting their budget, I'm not doing it to irritate your Republican tendencies. I, too, find their reckless spending and ridiculous puffed-up maroon of a state leader one of the most inept fuck-ups of this decade. But, as a mere citizen, and not someone holding a position as a lobbyist or anything executive-branch related, there is very little I can do, except tighten my belt and try to come up with other ways to get blood from a stone. Right now, given the acute state of my illness and way the OTHER branches of local government have decided to jack up my bills ( hello there DMV! Thanks for the $250 penalty for not getting my liscence renewal in on time! I realize I was tardy, but the entireity of my fee is now gaining speed towards being at least the same as 3/4 of my rent!), I just don't know what to do other than sacrifice a goat in the yard.

Or call my parents, which I am SO loath to do. Because when I do, I get this diatribe from my dad, who is only partially paying attention to my life anyway. Today he got on the phone and said "Now, listen. You're going to have to get a really good job." My mouth fell open. Not because I'm allergic to work, or in any way adverse to even ATTEMPTING to work even I'm not up to it ( HELLO! Lori and Nate tried to pay me to work on their indie film last month, and I tried to do it when I wasn't even sleeping through the night. Obviously, I failed, but the effort was indeed made, and Lori can attest to that.). Because he is apparently suffering under some sort of delusion that a.) I'm just sitting around the house malingering, eating ice cream and watching bad cable and/or b.) well-paying jobs are out there, ripe for the picking, and I'm just letting them slip by.

Listen, I am in no way saying I am entitled to their money or their help. But CheeseandRice, could we stay in the realm of reality when we're discussing it? If you don't have it, FINE. If you're withholding it because you resent the political situation of the state I live in, well, dude, that's stupid, but I can't stop you. If you're doing it because ( and this is what I really suspect) you a.) had a mother who was a life-sucking self-involved manipulating hypochondriac and spent alot of your adolescence/early adulthood trying to jack you and your siblings around, resulting in your inability to discern real illness from some sort of emotional blackmail AND/OR b.) what you REALLY want is for me to move back home, where magically, some sort of financial miracle will ensue and I will be able to afford bills, get a desk job and be "normal" like your friends' kids, not out here in Sodom and Gommorah with some weird goal of being an artist, which we all know isn't a real job, anyway. ( Oh, and BTW, please ignore the fact that your 29-yr old son WHO LIVES THERE had ( past tense) a good job and was laid off and is now currently working a Guitar Center and relying on unemployment checks to supplement his meager income, and is practically in the same position as me, sans mental illness, although that could, in fact, be debated. Whatever, right? That's DIFFERENT, somehow.)


And hey, it's not like I don't sit here EVERY EFFIN' DAY and think, "I hate it here, it's expensive, what am I doing with my life, what am I going to do, why can't I just be like everyone else and work 50 hours a week, I wish I didn't want to be an artist, maybe I can do something else, maybe I SHOULD do something else, what else can I do, what else can I do, what else should I do WHAT ELSE SHOULD I DO?!?!?"

Nope, that's never crossed my mind.

So whatever, you know? It's now an hour and half later and I'm awake when I'm supposed to be asleep, thankyouveryfuckingmuch.

But while we're on the topic of reality, let me just point out ONE last little TEENY thing that's been reeeeallly stuck in my chaw lately, and my dad and mom were choosing to convienently overlook during this call this morning, untill I forced them to take a hard look at the situation. And let me just also add that ALOT of people around me have been taking a rather blase and 'meh' attitude to this, and I feel like apprising them of this little factoid as well:

I'm fucking SICK people, and I'm not fucking dicking around. I'm not fucking sitting here in my house moping over broken heart eating cupcakes and whining. I'm not fucking being a drama queen and malingering on my fainting couch saying how I just "can't go on" and sobbing into my lace hanky. NO. I have spent the last TWO FUCKING MONTHS in and out of my therapist's and doctor's offices attempting to get stable enough to FUNCTION. Do we need to clarify that?Perhaps I SHOULD take this opportunity to clarify what "functioning" means:

  • Getting out of bed. Completely out of bed, not just to go to the bathroom.
  • Putting on clothes, not just laying there in the same pajamas.
  • Showering.
  • Eating a meal or two a day, consisting of something more than cereal or toast.
  • Keeping that meal down, and not barfing it up or having it come out the other end because your stomach is too anxious to digest it properly.
  • Leaving the house at least once a day. It should be noted that this shouldn't be terrifying or seem impossibly hard or send you into a panic attack.
  • Driving without crying so hard you can't see the road.
  • Being able to go to appointments and run errands without panicking and requiring help from a friend to enter a store.
  • Sleeping a normal schedule, at night and waking in the morning. Not oversleeping 16 hours at a stretch, either.
  • Being able to socialize with friends without running home early because of anxiety or bursting into tears in the middle of dinner.
  • Being able to attend to household chores or neccessities without bursting into tears or becoming overwhelmed.
  • Being able to hold a conversation without bursting into tears and becoming exceptionally unreasonable, like asking "Is it going to be okay?" for the 10,000th time.
  • Being able to get through an entire day without sitting in your bedroom rocking back and forth begging the Universe for help and crying.

Are we clear now? Good. If you like, feel free to contact the professionals involved. Or, just ask Lori and Nate, or Rick and Ross who have been the only ones clued in enough to notice that hey, Jessica doesn't sound right. She isn't washing her hair. Hey, Jess, when's the last time you ate? And you know, checking in on a very regular ( every couple of days) basis to see how things are and let her know that well, even if I can't solve it, at least she knows she's not alone. Go talk to them and ask THEM how I've been doing.

Furthermore, it has been almost a daily debate in my mind about that topic we all know and despise, The Hospital. As a matter of fact, it came up in my doctor's appointment JUST last week, given the fucked-up state my brain was in. Should I go to the hospital? I'm not doing well at home. Jessica, do you feel you need to go to the hospital? Do you think you want to go to the hospital? No, I haven't really been talking about that, I admit. Why? Well, because it's just goddamned depressing, and embarrassing, and I swear to god, if things go south from this perilously perched semi-okay place on which I sit, and I have to go in there, I just......

The thing that keeps running through my mind is that I will not be able to to do it and have it not break my spirit. I've been in the hospital before, and I will say I have a pretty indominitable spirit. I have yet to be broken by anything I've been through. Somehow, I've managed to heal at the busted parts and come out stronger. But this time, I feel like something in me will give and I will just not be the same if I have to do it. And I've been struggling so hard against it, I won't even talk about it. (Well, I told Master P last week that I ABSOLUTELY WOULD NOT be going back in there so he needed to step up his game. But that hardly counts. It's confidential, after all.)

But yes, it's been THAT bad. And ONCE again, I'm not saying that to be melodramatic and attention-grabbing. ( Why is it I have to even QUALIFY that? If I had heart disease, no one would even THINK that. So fucking stupid and infuriating). I'm SAYING IT because it's the way things have BEEN.

So, to anyone ELSE who wants to call me and bitch at me --or even feels the need to tell me that "working might make you feel better!"-- at this juncture, I want to make sure that we are CLEAR on the fact that getting out of your pajamas and not waking up and crying for an hour are prerequisites to holding down a job, last I checked. SO GET A FUCKING CLUE, okay? If you don't understand the disease, maybe you ought to Google it or something, because I'm sick and tired of explaining what it's like to be in an episode. Yes, it is different from being down situationally. Yes, it is different from being, in the vernacular "depressed". Yes, it is different from just feeling sorry for yourself. All of those may be included, but let me put it to you in these words ( which aren't mine but I cannot at this moment recall the source):

"If people with depression could go to the ER and the staff there could have the ability to assess them with the criteria they use for other patients with physical complaints in triage, I assure you, the people with depression would be first on the roster. The pain and the inability to function normally are that profound."

In short, it's like being crushed from the inside by a powerful vise grip of despair and fear that you cannot control, or get to stop. The more you wrestle with it without help, the more the vise tightens, and the more tired you become. Eventually, you get so tired and are in so much pain from the ever-tightening vise, it begins to seem like it will never end. And you want nothing more for that pain to end, and to rest. Which is how you end up in a psych ward, or dead. That's just a fact, too, not hyperbole.

The only reason I have yet to enter through those locked metal doors for yet another trip down Pharmaceutical Guinea Pig Lane is because of sheer fucking brattiness, which I'm sure my father and mother and a few choice others will tell you I have in spades. I have screamed and yelled to get appointments ,attempted to alter my own meds on my own when I couldn't get into see the doctor and I have doped myself into oblivion , all so the vise would loosen and I could get a little bit of room to breathe. As one might expect, I'm pretty possessive of that hard-won air, and I'm pretty fearful of its possible disappearance. It hasn't been long enough to where I've been breathing well for me to get complacent. I'm finally nearing functioning. I can see it from where I am and am more and more able to actually attain it. But I'm not stupid enough to think I'm out of the woods yet.

And as one might also suspect, and after reading all of this, thusly surmise, it pisses me off to no end that the people closest to me have done nothing but say unhelpful things like, "Oh, you'll get over it" or "You've been through it before, you'll get through it again" or " Just find something else to do for awhile, and don't think so much" or, what started this whole diatribe, "You just need to get a good job." Maybe I haven't been clear enough til now exactly what I've been going through. I've been trying to spare you and not make you live through another rollercoaster with me while you all have your own problems. I've also been really embarrassed up til this point- this disease does not come without its humiliation or sense of failure, as illogical as it is. And to my own detriment, up untill about a week ago I had been trying to be in a state of denial about how bad it had gotten, in some twisted attempt to force myself to be okay.

But now you know. You all know. In case there needs to be any more clarity, let me just spell it out: I don't want to hear any dumb shit any more. I don't have the energy or time to a.) pretend it's not happening or b.) try and make you feel better about my being sick or c.) force myself into pulling myself up by my bootstraps because you think I should. I'm doing the best I can to support myself, get on my own two feet and get back on track. So get on that train or get the fuck off of it, plain and simple ( NO, I'm not asking for you to send me money, or feel sorry for me. I'm just asking some mindfulness about what's going on now that awareness is present , and perhaps, if possible, a few more realistic, --no matter how small-- attempts at support. You'd be surprised at how far a hug or just a phone call saying "I care about you" will go.). Believe it or not, I think that's pretty fair to ask.