26 May 2007

The Stranger

And a music/mental health post to end the week. Maybe I'll get back to politics next week. Maybe not.

You might have never heard of O.A.R. Or maybe if you're a fan of a reality television show where they tear down houses and build new ones, you've heard of them because they sing the theme song. They're a band, with a decent sized following, but not (at least as far as I know) mega stars on the top 40 circuit. They're mostly from Maryland, but the band lived in Columbus, while they all attended Ohio State. Which is of course my connection to them, that they lived once upon a time in Oh-hi-ia. Never mind that it is a large state and Columbus isn't all that close to me.

O. A. R. stands for "Of A Revolution." It is tough for me to describe their music, being comprised as it is of equal parts crunchy sweet pop, reggae, roots, ska and rock...

I'm a fan, have been for years. Babysis introduced me to their music, back when she was in high school and running to Columbus from the cornfields of our region to visit friends of hers who were going to OSU. I never went with her, but I wish I had, she got to see them in small Columbus clubs.

They released their latest album, Stories of A Stranger, in 2005, although a quick check of their website shows that they've got a new live album dropping on June 5th. Their website is also currently featuring the song I'd like to talk about, "The Stranger," so if you'd like to take a listen, check out the link to their page.

The song captures well what I've been feeling lately, being alienated from everyone and everything with the huge dragging suck of depression. It is hard to explain to someone who has never been there, but I feel cut off from the world, which is sunny outside my door. Inside, however, it is dark and gloomy, and I don't know how to change it. I can see where I want to be, I know how I used to feel, there's memory for the pathway back, but I just can't take the first step. There's a lyric in the song,

I remember
how to get there
Will you be there
When I'm coming through?

Take me back
Into your arms
Where I belong
Where I'm no stranger
To you

I'm fairly certain that friends and family feel that I'm radically different than I was a year ago because of this fog that surrounds me, that I've become a stranger to them with very little that is recognizable as "Lucy," when they're not thinking simply that I'm completely off my rocker.

Unfortunately, as I have told nearly everyone in my life, this is something that they can't fix for me, can't change for me, that I have to work through it on my own, despite how much I appreciate that they'd like to be able to just wave a wand and change it for me. (Why, yes, I'd happily accept a Cheering Charm from a Hogwarts student!) Some days are better than others, and as I told one friend the other day, I feel like every time I talk to any one of my wonderfully supportive friends, all I'm doing is whining and dumping on them, and I really wish I could stop that, because it isn't fair to them.

I can't help but wonder if the meds are not as much of a solution as I'd hoped. I'm taking 150 mg/day of WellButrin XL, and I've been taking it every day since early April. Do I feel better than I did during the darkest days before I was able to admit that there's a problem? I do. Do I think it is working as well as it ought to? I do not. Unfortunately, with the entire class of anti-depressant medication, sometimes what works for one person will not work at all for another. Another problem is that you need to give the meds 4-6 weeks to get into your system and begin changing your brain chemistry. Four to six weeks is a pretty long time when you're depressed. And a third problem is that researchers have recently discovered that even while changing your brain chemistry, sometimes the medications pescribed for depression make the patient suicidal. Suicidal thoughts are a SIDE EFFECT. Yikes.

Lest anyone start pushing the panic button: I am NOT suicidal. I do understand how someone suffering from depression can get there, though. With pretty frightening ease.

But I think for me, the meds are making it hard for me to feel much of anything. I'm not sure if this is a side effect or if the depression is progressing and getting worse. I feel obligated to point out that if I truly thought it was getting worse, I would ask my therapist to put me into inpatient psychiatric treatment. I don't really think it is getting worse. It just seems to not be getting better, really, either. I had said a few months ago that feeling nothing at all would be preferable to feeling the way I did, but now I'm not so sure. I'm having a very hard time being excited about anything, and the joy that I have always taken in very simple things is severely lacking. Except for randomly bursting into tears over really stupid stuff (such as television commercials?!) I'm not really feeling any emotion at all. I'm tired, and that's about it.

The emotions that I do end up feeling are like flashes of lightening, intense, bright, and very brief. Visiting a friend a few days ago, her little girl ran up to me and threw her arms around me, which nearly sparked more tears because I felt so good, for just a second. How can you not feel wonderful when confronted with a toddler's enthusiastic greetings?

I called Dr. Hottie's office, looking for some assistance and guidance about the meds. He's changed my dosage, and I'm hoping that helps. Of course, I don't have a medical degree, but the logic in my mind goes something like this; if the small dosage of the anti-d's helped, but wasn't quite the solution, then perhaps a larger dosage might be the ticket. I hope so. My next appointment with the therapist is in two weeks time, and I'm very glad that I have it scheduled.

I spent the whole day on Friday listening to "Stories of a Stranger" over and over, as is an occasional nutty habit, and I'll probably have bits and pieces of all the songs popping up in my head for the next 3 days. Shall I share with you? Yes! Why should I be the only one with it stuck in my head?

From "The Stranger"
I'm a stranger
on the outside
when I'm not right
next to you

From 52-50
fifty two, fifty more
days till I might come back from war
I'm gonna love you up and love ya down

From Program Director
Program director
on the radio
won't play my music
till I call and tell him so

See?! Crunchy, sweet, sticky pop...but you gotta listen to the music for the full effect.


Dawna said...

Yup, depression medication numbs a lot of people from a lot of things, happiness, anger... and one of the most dastardly side effects- the inability TO ORGASM!! I know, that would suck eh?

Lucy Arin said...

YIKES that would be bad. LOL

The literature for the one I'm on says something about "a low occurrence of sexual side effects" but I hadn't bothered to investigate what they meant by that. *facepalm*

MotherMe said...

Having children also creates a low occurrence of sexual side effects...


PS Dump and whine anytime. I don't mind.

Lucy Arin said...

I know you don't mind, but I do....

blah, me, me, whine, whaa, me me me me my life sucks, whaa, me me me....sounds like a broken record after a while, no?

Although- - - I do talk about something else from time to time, don't I?