@loripalminteriTweets by @loripalminteri
During my favorite kind of cousins baby shower, I stepped up to lead the gift opening business. This is not something I like doing. In fact, I would go as far as saying it’s something I hate doing. My cousin, who doubles as one of my best friends, is also not a fan of this attention grab bag of social formalities. The gift opening part of her shower, however, was more a gift to her own mother, my Aunt, who is a fan of such things.
As for me, if I’m in charge of the gift open process at a shower, duties of writing down the giver, collecting bows, throwing wrapping paper, making sure spectators receive their stupid gifts for winning Bingo will be delegated, mostly because I’d like to get it over with and for reasons unknown to me, I have the best leadership skills in this scenario. If I have a few drinks in me, I won’t be sour about it. Instead, I’ll be whispering sarcastic mockeries to my closest allies. If my mother and sister are watching, they already know that if I’m laughing it’s probably because I’m saying/thinking something half mean, and they’re a little jealous they’re not in on it.
During that baby shower, I specifically remember there being so many gifted swaddles. We had piles and piles of swaddles. We had so many swaddles, we categorized them by colors and patterns. Geez, she’s having a baby, not a permanent resident of a padded cell.
Swaddled in my own blanket, I often think how comfortable it is there, and I think, I get it, babies, you have a good thing going here. And how I never want to leave. In the winter time, my good friends already know that if the temperature drops to a certain low, I’ll more than likely cancel plans, as once the cold creeps into my bones, I’m in physical pain, feet and fingers literally turning blue, then white, due to a circulation malfunction of my body. However, my good friends also know that if I am able to pull myself away from the comforts of a warm blanket, that they are, indeed, a good friend to me.
This new psychiatrist and I have these conversations about my sleep patterns. I don’t really care for him. He knows this, I suspect. And he knows that I know that he knows I don’t care for him, which makes for an odd dynamic. In that first session, he pried and pried. That’s his job I suppose. As for me, well I withheld. It is my nature, after all. He gives me this look now like, “I know you’re not telling me things, and I’m not going to pry anymore. You’re only going to get out of this what you give and you’re not giving me much.”
Until my eyes divert from eye contact, my body language is more than just a giveaway that I am nonverbally saying loud and clear, “I don’t trust you.”
You don’t have to have a psychology degree or be a self taught obsessive whiz about psychology and mental disorders to know that if you are not getting enough sleep and/or quality sleep, you will go insane. Legitimately. Not only will you go insane, but it’s going to rot your brain with dementia down the road and is likely raising your stress levels to the point of giving you some form of cancer.
As for me, I know that sleep is a key factor for my moods. Though, here, I’m afraid I’m doubly fucked. Because I’m relatively dependent on sleep aids. And I’m pretty positive that taking enough sleep aids are making me retarded (if you’re offended by my use of the word ‘retarded’ then just stop reading my blog… I’m not going to cater to your PC bullshit that is merely arguing semantics). There’s no doubt in my deteriorating mind these sleeping pills are doing long term damage, likely far worse than recreational drugs I sometimes participate in.
It’s a dilemma. If I don’t get a certain amount of sleep (i.e. fall asleep by a certain time), there’s no stopping panic attacks and then inevitably nervous breakdowns. Without proper sleep, I won’t be productive or happy or fun with my friends, many of whom have never witnessed my depression (let alone psychotic breakdowns) in action (they take my word for it based on my writing). Both roads lead to the same dead brain damaging end. Though that is often the case if not always the case. Pick your poison. Something is always giving you cancer. The end isn’t usually something we have control over, it’s the moments leading up to it that count.
In my case, I rotate my sleep inducing little helpers. I am prescribed a sleeping pill called “seroquel,” It is an anti-psychotic prescribed for people diagnosed with bi-polar and also schizophrenia. One of the biggest side effects is drowsiness. Seroquel is what I used to take regularly for my moods. It did help, but I inevitably gave up on it because it made it impossible to get out of bed if I didn’t get in enough hours of sleep, and even if I did, it took a couple of hours in the morning to not feel like I was in some sort of delayed daze, a feeling I especially didn’t care for (this is the same drug I, very stupidly, didn’t wean myself off of properly and suffered withdrawals). The doctor still prescribes me a very low dose to take as needed for sleep (or wanted, I guess, which is not often since it does dull my brain thoughts a little too much).
Still, even though one could easily argue that I do, in fact, have a sleep aid dependency, I refuse to let any one sleep substance to be my nightly crutch. And so, I rotate: Seroquel (for nights I really, really need to get a long nights sleep), CBD with melatonin, weed, Benadryl, NyQyill Zzz’s (allegedly non habit forming), Valium (prescribed for anxiety/panic attacks, used sparingly as it is a habit forming drug), Tylenol PM, Sleepy Time Tea (not sure this counts), and sometimes “natural supplements” which I’m pretty sure never work.*
*[To clear, to those who may be concerned, I DO NOT mix pills. When used, I alternate.]
“Drinking is a vice I’ve shied away from,” I explained to a friend, half snide/half serious, as I’ll explain to you now, “I take too many different things to sleep to stop my mind from racing. Smoking weed is fine, but I don’t want to be one of those people who die from mixing booze and pills. Because too many people know I’m depressed so they’ll think it was a suicide. And I’ll be so pissed off if I die from what looks like a suicide that was actually an accident. There’s gonna be a note. I won’t leave without a note.”
We laughed at this. Any good friend of mine would laugh with me on this, even for it’s darkness (if not especially for it’s darkness). We’re a sick in the head crew, the likes of my closest comrades. I love ’em.
“Maybe you should leave a note by your bed every night saying that if you die, it wasn’t on purpose,” she suggested.
“That’s not a half bad idea.”
For as long as I can remember, I’ve always been weird about being touched. This aversion to people I don’t know so much as touching my arm made me squirm, and only grew as I grew older. I remember especially it being a point of contention when I was a waitress. Contact discomfort is an added layer to intimacy issues [someone remind me to bring this up to the psychiatrist I don’t like].
But for those good friends, the ones I smile to always see, the ones who laugh at my very dark sense of humor, when they hug me it’s a swaddle. It’s not only safe, but it’s welcomed and a comfort more needed than I ever let them know.