Monday, July 7, 2008

And we're back...

Update: OMG this is long. You have been warned.

Like the tides, my posting here ebbs and floods. Lately it's ebbed to the point of being completely non-existent, but I finally decided I felt like I wanted to write something. For the last couple of weeks I'd have ideas pop into my head about what I could say, but they quickly lost their luster before I even got started. It's been 5 weeks since I wrote anything here so of course things have happened. I'm not sure where to start and how to keep this from turning into something so long everyone loses interest before the middle. Since I can't figure out how to keep that from happening, I'll just type. I think I'll start with the good stuff...

My wonderful friend Rick came to visit the last weekend of June. He had wanted to see the Seattle Men's Chorus concert with Leslie Jordan. There ended up being five us at the concert, plus someone I work with so we had a private box. The show was quite good, and Leslie Jordan was as entertaining as I had expected (if not more so). After a post-show dinner we returned to the car to find that the driver's side window had been smashed out and someone broke into Rick's rental car. Fortunately all they got was his prescription sunglasses and my key ring. We joked about some thug stumbling around the neighborhood in glasses he can't see out of trying my clicker on every Ford in a 1/4 mile radius. Sadly, his glasses will cost some to replace, as will my truck key; the electronics in modern car keys means that dealers can charge an arm and a leg. Even more sad for is that I had a small miniature screwdriver on the key ring that my step-father had carried since the 60's. It went to me when he died and I'm sad that it's gone.

For the rest of the weekend we mostly just lazed around the house, which was fun in itself. You see, Rick and I never run out of things to talk about. We could both be in comas in a shared hospital room and we'd find a way to chat about something, anything. Sunday we decided to get off our butts and headed to the boat. The new headsail was finally in place and we got the boat away from the dock for the first time in a long time. We didn't do a lot of sailing, but it was still fun. I miss Rick when he's not around and always enjoy the time when he is.

I spent my entire weekend last weekend on the boat, and I have to say I really missed it. I did some engine maintenance on Saturday and then Sunday Anthony and I washed the outside (it needed it, desperately) and then went sailing. We were only out for about an hour, but it was a beautiful day. Anthony really got his first taste of sailing and he seemed to love it. He was like a little kid just having a blast out there. It made me smile a lot seeing how much fun he had. He's also taking an active interest in running the boat and taking care of it and I'm happy for that. He did a little bit of everything while we were out, including pulling away from the dock and bringing the boat back in. Jayson enjoys the boat, but operating it is not his favorite thing so it's nice to have Anthony there to do those things.

I'm looking forward to using the boat a lot more this summer. Only problem is that we have something amiss with the diesel engine. After it runs above 2500 RPM for about 5 minutes, the coolant alarm goes off. The engine isn't overheating so I'm not sure what's wrong. That was part of what I was trying to figure out on Saturday. Luckily a friend in town is a professional diesel mechanic and he's offered to help diagnose. It's good to have friends like that!

So now onto the bad stuff. Jayson's depression is as bad as it's ever been. He's been on a leave of absence from work because of it in fact. He thought being away from work would help, but it's actually had the opposite effect, probably because he doesn't have that much to occupy his time. Meds have only been partially successful. He's had some good weeks but then seems to slide downhill again. He's changed meds a few times trying to find the right combination, but each change requires a lot of waiting to see if they will have an effect; sometimes they can take up to 4 weeks to even begin to show any changes.

In addition to the meds there are obvious emotional issues that need to be dealt with. He's currently seeing a psychiatrist for the meds and a counselor for the emotional aspects. The counselor and psychiatrist both agree that the depression seems to have been made worse by chronic anxiety that was never fully addressed over the years. He's usually unable to sleep most of the night, often finally coming to bed at 3:00AM or later. Of course he's then exhausted the next day which doesn't help his overall mood. If he sleeps during the day then he's perpetuating the cycle of not sleeping at night. Sleeping meds seem to do almost nothing.

As one of the persons trying to care for him and help him get better, it's difficult, frustrating, challenging, and exhausting. As with anyone who's suffering from an illness, it's almost impossible for him to talk about much else. That's all that's on his mind, and it's overwhelming for me at times. The best description I can give is that for those of us caring for someone with depression, the person is an emotional black hole. No matter how much care and concern goes out, almost none comes back. It's not that he doesn't want to give it back, he's just not capable.

14 months of watching the person you care for vanish and be replaced by what I can only describe as a shell is mentally, physically, and emotionally draining. The best way I can describe it is that the person I met 11 years ago and knew and loved is gone. It's as if a new entity has taken over his body, and in fact it has; the entity is depression and it has really replaced my partner with a different person in the same body. Imagine if someone you cared for died and then an identical twin, albeit one with a very different personality, appeared. It would be very difficult to be around that twin and not grieve over the person you lost. I remain hopeful that between the meds, counseling, and lifestyle changes the person I know is still in there and will re-emerge.

Anthony and I have begun going with him to his counselor visits and I don't know if that's helping or not. We can point out some things that we see that Jayson isn't aware of and I think that's helping the counselor make some decisions that will ultimately help him. It's helping us a little bit in that we get to talk about things with the counselor there and hopefully figure out some better ways to deal with this. Anthony must be struggling being so new to things, but he's sticking with it. I know he's been a big help to me in a lot of ways. It's a difficult thing to deal with, and I know because I've been doing it for over a year now. I've lost contact with friends because I just get tired of talking about negative things all the time (I hope they understand if they're reading this), my work performance has suffered, we stopped using the boat and doing fun things, etc. But, the depression takes not only from the person who's dealing with it but from everyone around. Anthony seems to understand that and is coping as best he can I think. I'm able to help him because of my experience with it, he helps me by taking some of the emotional and daily stresses off me as well as providing an understanding ear, and we are both hopefully more able to help Jayson.

OK, that's a lot of negative stuff. Life isn't all bad, even though I could make it sound that way. I'm looking forward to enjoying the summer, taking a couple of trips both in the car and on the boat, and also enjoying leisurely sails in the boat. And maybe I'll have more to talk about on here too.

1 comment:

Romach said...

So sorry to hear of all your worries buddy. My heart goes out to each of you and I hope you can all continue to be there for each other. Depression can be so hard and for those caring too. I suffer from a little bit of depression myself due to my health issues and I am on medication for that myself. So I have up and down day and I know it ain't pretty at times. I am sending loads of hugs your way to all of you and thinking of you all and I hope some of those dark clouds part soon. *hugs*