Tag Archives: coping

Suck it Up, Buttercup: The Road to the Cup

As the saying goes, life’s tough — get a helmet.

The omigod-I’m-bagged feeling I had last Monday sure as hell hasn’t improved this week. Let me tell you, people, if you’re a hockey fan and the Stanley Cup playoffs hits your town, you will feel like shit by the time the playoffs are over.

Drinking, eating badly, and falling off one’s routine has never been so easy as it is right now. Praise be, we’re at least half-way through the final series. The two-plus month road is nearly at an end.

This morning, it’s evident I’m closer to 40 than I’d like to be. I call it “Stanleycupitis.” It hurts here, and here, and here, Doc.

Tonight, I’ll eat better. I won’t get the sleep I want, what with a 5am wakeup call for yet another early game day. But THIS IS WHAT WE LIVE FOR, like the Canucks’ team signage says this year. We want the Cup.

If the players can make it through, I can toughen up on rigours imposed by a gruelling playoff diet of booze and pizza.

Oh, Lord Stanley’s Cup: The double-edged sword you wield.

Given my back injury’s nowhere near where it needs to be for the longterm, I have not yet celebrated with the masses downtown. Tomorrow, I may. Depends on the back, of course. Something about crowding with thousands and thousands of easily-excitable people on city streets is a little unsettling for me, even now.

Between the playoffs, having to start work at 7am just to fit in treatment sessions on my back, struggling to keep my place in not-a-crackden status (but not doing too well at that), I’m reaching the end of my ever-aging fuse.

I’m not alone, of course. A lot of my friends are trying to fit life in with epic hockey that’s become don’t-miss-a-minute kinda gameplay. (Well, when an overtime-producing goal happens at 13 seconds remaining in regulation, or a game-winning sudden-death goal hits the net 10 seconds into overtime two games later, would YOU want to miss a minute? Not me.)

They’ll tell you that the Stanley Cup is incredible for the local economy, but I propose that any advantage the local economy’s experienced through the cash-happy hockey fan’s overzealous spending of late has been directly countered by productivity losses in all offices as employees buzz with “We’ve waited our whole lives to win hockey’s Holy Grail!” energy every day, with more hangovers per capita over a longer period than even the Olympics could’ve induced.

We Vancouverites are hanging on by a thin-but-happy thread.

Usually, we’re celebrating victories but today we’re lamenting the worst game of all the series so far. An 8-1 drubbing at the hands of Beantown’s Carebears certainly took the swagger out of the Canucks’ game.

Secretly, people like me are happy. Good, Game 5 is when we’ll win the kit and the kaboodle. We’ll take it all, baby! And, on a Friday night, at home, with sunny weather, and the whole weekend to celebrate and recover.

Yep. Let’s do THAT.

I remember that game in Vancouver’s ’94 Cup-run, against Toronto or Dallas, I don’t remember — someone whose asses we thoroughly kicked as we made our way to the Finals with New York. Some 40 gloves were littered from end-to-end on that ice, with so much penalty time handed out you needed a calculator just to get a tally of it all.

I don’t remember the score then, I don’t remember the next game’s score either, but I remember the buzz around it, and I can’t wait to see how Vancouver responds on Wednesday.

The hangovers, the antacids, the ass-dragging, the time-crunch, the flagging energy, the death-defying schedule juggling — THIS IS WHAT WE LIVE FOR. This is what the Stanley Cup does to you.

This isn’t no dinky football final where they play one game, and whoop, there it is, you have a victor. This is an all-out, bone-crunching, bruising, gasping best-of-7 fight through the injured-reserve list victory, baby. The winner’s gotta make it happen four times JUST THIS SERIES alone! Never mind the other three series nor the oodles of overtime played.

Two months, man! I hurt, and I’m tired, and I’m fed up.

But I’m not gonna miss a goddamned minute.

Because, really, this is what we live for.

Today, this week. The Stanley Cup hasn’t been held by a Canadian team since 1993. Vancouver has never owned the Cup.

But this year we will.

And I won’t have missed a minute.

Make my coffee a double. Maybe a triple. And get me a bigger piece of thread to hang onto, buddy. 31 hours to Game 4. I’ll be glued to it. You?

_______________________

Photo: Canadian Press. Baby Sign: No idea–bouncing around Facebook for a few weeks now, anonymously.

Not-so-Confidential To Boston Fans:

After last night’s game, you don’t get to whine about “dirty” play. Enjoy losing the series, Beantown.

RANT: Guilt-Tripping: What Friends Don’t Do

I had a classic big ol’ Twitter fight with an insensitive fuckwit last night, who I haven’t blocked because I’m not in Grade 5 anymore, but it basically came down to me saying, “No, I’m not coming out because I need some time to myself.”

Long story short: I’ve been up at 5 the last four days, have worked in four days what I usually work in 5, still have to work today, am trying to get back onto a fitness regime & healthy diet, and have slept far too little all week. Add to that that today I should get my period and was therefore a grumpy cunt last night, plus I worked 10 hours during the day on a very mentally-draining couple of projects, then, yes… I thought staying home was a good plan.

Asshat, however, thought he should keep pressuring me on Twitter to come out. I kept saying no, then got more forceful about it. Asshat finally got the point. I said “Toldja,” and asshat got offended that I was such a smug bitch about it.

Oh. So, you, in your insensitive and fuckish way, get to bang a drum that’s totally self-serving, because your cock somehow seems to think it’s necessary I attend a party, but when I bang any kind of a drum, I’m suddenly a cunt. Uh-huh. Ass. Continue reading

Tired, Wired, At the End of It All

I’m frustrated as hell today.

I know I’m PMSing. I’m getting pissed off at obligations, frustrated at my lack of time, angry at the day ahead of me, and I have nothing I can do to really change or improve any of it, other than the plans on tap.

It’s chemicals, man. I’d apologize, but I don’t want to. I didn’t ask to feel like this. I don’t want to feel like this. I also know it won’t be around long. But it’s around now, and there’s not much I can do to shake that.

For now, my life’s pretty consumed with obligation. I’ve got a lot on tap in the next week, and it’s frustrating, because what I really want to do is just get back into a routine. Any, really. I’m stretched too goddamned thin. Still. I’m tired. It’s been a very, very long time of feeling this way. Normally it doesn’t bother me much, I’m used to it, but come PMS time, I get resentful as fuck. I’d like to live on Easy Street. That’d be a nice change of address, if even for a while. Continue reading

The Middle-Earth Blues

I’m at that point of my depression that I’m realizing I have become the worst version of myself.

Of that, I am absolutely certain.

I’m self-involved. I’m angry. I’m negative. I’m not being thoughtful of others. And the thing that really, really hurts is, I know it, and no matter how much I know it or fight it, I continue reverting back to this Steff I’m not too glad to be around.

And that’s the kicker, because I usually really dig being who I am. No matter how fucked life gets, I can usually make myself laugh pretty hard a couple times a day — in private, even. These days, no. This isn’t recent. I’ve been sort of moving in this direction for three weeks now, and I fear I’m hitting bottom with it. Well, I don’t fear that; I’m aware of it, and grateful. I want this to change. Wanting it is a good start. The ability to do so is probably not far off.

I have emailed a woman I once received counselling from. I haven’t heard back, but hopefully she’ll drop me a line, and if not, then I’ll call tomorrow. I figure four or five counselling sessions would be good. Any time I’ve had troubles in the last seven years, when life just got to be too much, I’d visit her a couple times, and she just created this ability in me to find the reserves I needed to fight a little harder, a little longer. She’s this really down-to-earth woman with a strong but inoffensive personality, warm eyes, and a brassy laugh. It’ll be nice to see her again.

I don’t know where this anger’s coming from, but there are a lot of things that have been said and done to me in the last six or eight weeks, and a lot of adversity and drama and craziness, and I just kinda need to lay it all down for someone who’s objective. Counsellors can provide a lot of guidance. Like, you tell ’em what’s stressing you, and they’ll generally take you through it so you at least begin to understand why. Anger and depression, to me, are like mysteries I’ll simply never understand nor solve. If I can at least have a concept of where it’s coming from and maybe even why, it gives me the ability to find a way to shift things so that the invading negative mental state can be better managed until it’s eventually simply overcome or ousted.

Climbing out of depression is like trying to climb the spiral staircase up the Statue of Liberty or St. Paul’s Cathedral, and you’re half-way up, gasping, out of breath, and you look down and think, “Fuck, I’ve come a long way!” and then you look up, your heart falls, and you silently groan. “Fuck.” Just gettin’ this baby started, honey.

Yeah, well, I’m gasping, groaning, and my heart’s all shrunk down. I’m a little worse for wear primarily because PMS has hit with a vengeance. I’m being logical about it all, though. Intellectualizing my angst and trying to find a way to make blame symmetrical so I can at least remain objective about what it is I’m angry about, and not just start finding Evil Bastards to lay all the blame on. That is the kind of action that merely results in leaving me feel like a victim. Heh, this course thingie I went to last summer was talking about self-victimization and just said, “What would you rather be? A victim or a warrior?”

Call me Conan.

I’ll tell you the worst thing about depression. Are you ready? The worst thing is that you’re a fucking hero, the way you’re fighting this mysterious fucking beast of a thing. I mean, truly, it’s so damned hard. If you’re up and out in the world, you’re winning. Any day you’re breathing and not lying in bed is a good, good day. That’s all it takes to beat depression: Do not let it win. Just keep going out, tell people, be real about it, you know? But the bitch of it, this clinical illness, the bitch of it is that no matter HOW WELL you are doing, you will always, always feel like a loser. It’s so fucking Catch-22 it hurts.

So I was conscious today, all day, of just how much my self-esteem is suffering right now. Holy SHIT, batman. It’s just subterranean, it’s so low. I got the subterranean blues, I do. And believe me, I know what I offer, I know my talents, and this is not how I should be feeling about myself. I should have a little mojo, man.

But I am doing everything I can to keep it going. I am reducing my hours of work — working more was a big mistake. There’s no sense making more than what’s paying the bills if it’s just taking me to the edge of a breakdown, now, is there? I didn’t realize how exhausting depression is until I began to challenge it. Now I know there’s a limit to what I can do, and I’m working within it. I’m optimistic I’ll be at a more even keel in a week or so. Plus, my social life is going all right. I have more plans. I have a major tech-geek weekend at the end of the month, going to this… oh, I dunno, indie sub-culture tech-conference type weekend dealie-thang. Should be interesting. I’ll network for connections. I’m at the stage now with this blog’s readership that there has to be something I can do to make money off it. It’s just ridiculous to be in the top 8K on Technorati and not have a dime off it, you know? Maybe I’m just totally clueless (and I suspect that is indeed the case) but I’m hoping to learn a little.

So, I’m going to be social, but only, say, a couple nights a week. I need to keep a limit on my social activities and try to focus on the things I need to do for myself, for this place and the podcast and all the things that make ME feel accomplished. I got shit to prove to myself, you know? It’s time.

Once I get my grasp back on all this shitstorm whirling around me, and I suspect that’s in the next four to six weeks, actually, I believe I’ll be in one hell of a different place. I hope this to be the case, and I’m doing all I can to make it happen. I don’t know if my output on here will be all that great during this time, but we’ll see. But when it’s done, I’ll be in one of the best headspaces in my life. I know there’ll be a change coming. I just do, I know it like I know my social insurance number. Etched.

Anyhow, I have wanted to be more open about my depression, but there are days lately when it’s winning. And they’re hard. Hard fucking days, man. But, like I say, I’m fighting. It’s just painful realizing I’m acting in ways I don’t particularly like, feeling ways that I absolutely hate, and wishing like hell time could pass a little faster. It’s difficult KNOWING just how fucked up my perception of the world is right now. The logical, intelligent, articulate part of me tells me I’m getting it all wrong, and this is the way it oughta be, but this nutbag alter-ego of mine, she’s a persistent little bitch, you know? God. Frustrating to KNOW this much about depression and to be able to understand every bit of it, but to have it be so damned dominant nonetheless.

It’s times like this that one could really get to doubting the old adage “Knowing is half the battle,” you know?

On the State of the Steff

It’s official. I’m depressed. Next Thursday, I’m seeing the doc to go back on meds for the first time in a few years.

I started the birth control pill again last October, and it has been fucking with my equilibrium since. (I’ve changed several brands, but the first one sent me spiralling into a deep depression I had to claw out of, but never really emerged from.) I was beginning to get a grasp on it the old-fashioned “I’m too tough for depression to beat me!” trouper kind of way, but then life reared up and got ugly, and I’m losing my grasp.

Depression’s a terribly stigmatic thing to admit to suffering. Just admitting it makes you look like an incapable pussy who’s running from a scary monster. There’s too much ignorance about depression as a disease, and there’s too much misunderstanding of what it can (and does) do to its sufferers.

Me, I hate admitting I can’t cope. I hate admitting that, right now, I’m weak and having a real, real hard time just fighting the good fight. The realization hit me yesterday that, if something else were to befall me in the “happenstance” category these days, I just don’t think I could wage that war. I’m too burnt out. The energy levels, gone.

So, then, what do I do? Pretend? Put on a smilie face and hope it all looks better than it feels? Oh, that’ll work. Or do I give into the agoraphobia and lock the door? Yeah, that’ll work. Maybe I try to find balance? Hey, there’s an idea, but what is balance anyhow? Who says, “Yep, that’s balanced!” Is there a dinging bell I’ll hear when I finally have it right?

And that’s the thing. There’s no tried and true method for beating depression. It still confuses medicine and practitioners. It’s not like the weight loss secret of, “Eat a little less, exercise a little more.” Its roots come from a dark place that’s physically impossible to shine a light on.

Depression is perceived as a systematic sign of weakness and this society has little, if any, patience for it.

It doesn’t matter that I could make you laugh within five minutes of meeting you, or make you feel like you’ve known me for years. It doesn’t matter that I’ll understand most problems you bring to me and be able to give you worthy advice on it. It doesn’t matter that I’ve been through more in my 32 years than most have. It doesn’t matter that I’m about as resourceful as any person you’ll ever meet.

I’m still suffering from depression. I’ve been fighting, and I was winning, and now the tide has turned.

So, I’m swallowing my pride, telling you where I stand, and promising to keep a light ongoing record (I’m toying with a depress-o-meter passage at the end of postings after I get back on the meds, to kind of keep a record of the small but steady changes in mood, primarily for those who are having a hard time deciding if they need help out of their own private hells or not).

I’m not the kind of person you think about when you think “depressive,” but the truth is, I’ve dealt with that demon off and on since my late teens. Most of the time, I’m pretty good. I know what to look for and know how to fight it — me time, indulging myself, exercise, healthy outlets, punk rock music, heh — and so forth, so this is why I’ve suddenly decided to change strategies in my fight, and why you may hear more of it.

Anyhow, great concert last night, but I fear I’m too tired for my party tonight, so I’ll be taking a “me” night in. Since I’ll soon be on meds and won’t be able to enjoy a bottle of wine solo anymore (shouldn’t really drink on meds), I plan to instead cook a mighty meal fit for a king and drink incredibly good wine to celebrate my lowering of my defenses and accepting my humanity. My fight has changed this week in that I’m kicking my ass physically with cycling and working on a healthier diet. I just know I won’t get the results I want soon enough, and who really wants to live in the dark any longer than necessary, huh?

Happy Friday, kids. My week’s looking up.

Motherless on Mother’s Day

I’m a daughter without a mother, and anyone who’s read me awhile knows that it’s not only what you would read on the back of my collectible Bloggers-of-Now baseball card, but it’s a fact that absolutely defines me to my core.

My mother dying destroyed me – utterly, brutally, without a doubt, destroyed me. Every now and then, someone comes along and gushes, “Gee, Steff, how’d you get so darn smart?”

I couldn’t tell ya, honestly, other than those three or so years after my mother’s death left me swimming in alcohol and as fucked up as any person’s ever been. I was a wise, smart girl before she died, and I’ve come back to who I was, but when I was shaken off-course, I’ll tell you, I fell hard and I fell far.

Climbing out of oblivion can take a hella long time, kiddies. There just ain’t no compass for that climb. I did much of my ascent over the course of five years. It’s been nearly seven since my mother left for the great gig in the sky, but over those years I’ve come to decide that the woman I am now was worth the price I paid through my mother’s horrid cancer death. It’s unfortunate, this not-having-my-cake-and-eating-it-too thing, but if her dying is the only way I’d have learned to be this person, well, so be it. Like I have a fucking choice?

I’m not writing about sex today, because I don’t care about sex today. Today’s a mental health day. My loverman’s off to see his granny, since his mother’s dead as well, and maybe we’ll hook up tonight for a couple hours, and maybe we won’t; it depends on how much the alien mind probe (aka 20 hours OT) has messed with him. My day’s plans include being a rebel and barbecuing burgers for breakfast with my brother before we head out on a grueling mountain bike ride around the city and through Vancouver’s legendary UBC Endowment Lands, home to some 70+ kilometres of primo cycling and hiking trail within city limits. And THAT is why I live in the coolest fucking city in the world.

Y’know, probably the most important lesson I’ve ever learned is that of knowing when to say “fuck you” to the world, when to unplug and go your own way. I don’t take calls from relatives on Mother’s Day, because as much as I know they’re thinking of me, they’ll never understand what I lost, nor what haunts me still. And that’s loss, pure and simple. It’s different, depending who the person was to you, and I think probably few deaths equal the impact of our mothers’. There comes a point when you just have to accept that other people care, but they just don’t know jack about what’s going on for you. Turn off the phones, ignore the emails, and do your own damned thang, baby.

We want to think we move past lost, but we don’t. We learn to assimilate it into who we are. It becomes ever-present in the back of our mindscape, like a shadow, or something we always know and need but seldom refer to, like a social insurance number.

Some days it hurts to realize who it is we’ve become in the face of such things, but some days it’s worth celebrating. I think burgers off the barbecue for breakfast with my big brother before a bitchin’ bike ride around this far is exactly what I’ve needed.

For those who can’t fathom the loss of their mothers, or for those who understand it all too well, it’s probably a good time to point out that one of the best things I’ve ever written, IMHO, is what I wrote about my mother last August on the sixth anniversary of her death. It’s on my other blog, and it’ll probably help you get to know me a little better, too.

Meanwhile, I’ll be back tomorrow with your regularly scheduled smut. Sometime Monday will be bondage, baby. Until then, restrain yourself. ;)

Happy Motherless Day, folks. Gimme my burgah! (Oh, right… I’m the grillmaster.)