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9:22 AM - Sun 07.18.21

You Pays Your Money And You Takes Your Chances

I've been feeling depressed about my shoulder these days (I hurt it a couple months ago performing the Olympic-level activity of "reaching behind me for something" and, as a result, am now going through my first-ever physical therapy).

But yesterday I was reminded there's an even more depressing kind of injury, which is "when something suddenly hurts enough to be worrisome, and you have no idea what happened" (My left hip was all-of-a-sudden hurting badly enough to put a hitch in my step, making me wonder if this was going to necessitate my next round of PT; as of this writing, the hip still feels "off" but it's better than yesterday).

With Jane still recovering from her surgery, with another surgery in her future (And no guarantee this puts an end to things), it feels beyond whiny to cry about my "depressing" shoulder or my out-of-nowhere hip pain.

But here we are.

Turns out, in this arena at least, I can "multi-task", worrying about Jane's health and well-being while, at the same time, being depressed about my body's increasing tendency to snap, crackle, and pop while performing basic daily activities (Or, seemingly, doing nothing at all).

And while there's clearly no direct connection between Jane's cancer and my bodily complaints, I'm thinking of them on a continuum of "intimations of mortality" - from "my parts wearing down/wearing out" to Jane's body literally being "under attack from within".

As I told my friends Mark and Jane Z. recently, I often think about an interview I saw with John McCain years ago - I think it was 60 Minutes - where he was asked about the cancer that was eventually going to kill him.

McCain told the interviewer, "I'm going to fight it, of course, but realistically, something's going to get me and this might be it...". Or something to that effect.

I'm very aware these days that "something's going to get me" (And those I care about).

And I don't much like it.


(2:40 p.m.)

Talking to a psychiatrist recently (Primarily to get permission to up my dose of Wellbutrin), I was asked "What changed recently that caused you to seek help with your depression?".

For a minute, I struggled to come up with an answer, then I realized why - In this instance, I wasn't the first person (Or the second, for that matter) to judge myself as "depressed".

My regular Doctor was the first person to say, "You sound depressed. I'm gonna give you a referral to a psychiatrist" (I think specifically for medication, but I'm not sure).

Then when I recounted the episode to Jane, expressing some doubt about whether I was any more depressed than normal, I didn't get a full sentence out out before Jane jumped in, saying, "Oh yeah, you're definitely depressed".

Now, me being "depressed" isn't exactly novel. But it is weird, this time out, that other people realized I'd fallen into a deeper depression than normal before I did.

It makes sense to me though (That I'm more depressed than normal, not that other people noticed it first).

The pandemic did a number on a lot of people and I have not been immune.

I joked about the pandemic forcing everyone to live the way I always have (Not having physical contact with others, staying at home, not going to restaraunts or concerts, etc).

But joking aside, it was disconcerting, and depressing, to realize my day-to-day life, to normal people, would seem like prison (And that, whenever the pandemic came to an end, normal people would go back to their normal lives, while I'd just go on living in prison).

My day job went away. Which on one level wasn't a terrible thing - one of my goals in life is to not work a day job - but which took away pretty much the only regular, real-world social contact I had.

Acting - including Shameless - stopped, for a good six months or so.

When acting started happening again, live auditions became "self-tapes" - For me, generally more stressful and less satisfying than going somewhere and "being in the room" (And even though I've learned how to do them, it's still a "nut" I have yet to "crack" - I haven't booked a single thing in this self-tape era).

Shameless came back for a final season, which was nice, but is now gone for good. And there's no guarantee anything is going to come along to replace it.

And, pandemic aside, in May I turned sixty...which I'm telling myself is "just a number"...a really big, depressing number (the older I get, the more I think how I have no desire to "retire" from acting, but live in constant fear "The Biz" is going to "retire" me anyway).

In short, even if life hasn't been all bad (Getting unemployment for the first time, discovering I've earned small retirement pensions from SAG and AFTRA, taking my drawing online and getting pats on the back for it, Jane R. taking up a part-time residence here in LA, and...other stuff), there have probably been better times to be me (Oh, and I gained something like 30 lbs during the initial phase of the pandemic, when I was already a good 45 lbs overweight. And still haven't gotten it all off).

So I'm gonna do some drugs. See if it helps.

And I'm gonna give my CPAP (yet another) try - Because the psychiatrist said (And it's not the first time I've heard this) that if I'm taking psych meds but not addressing my sleep apnea, I'm really working at cross-purposes, because sleep apnea and depression go together like pb&j (And if I can't make the CPAP happen, I'll go a sleep guy and see if there's anything else to do - There usually isn't, but it's been years since I last checked).

And I'm (maybe) gonna see if I can get back in with my former therapist - I really feel "therapied-out" at this point, but have heard that the best course-of-action when you're taking psych meds is to "marry it" to talk therapy (The idea of adding a $100 a month to my monthly bills when there's no regular income is fairly unappealing - and, ironically, kind of stressful - so I might see if he'd be up for me checking in every other week, or once a month. Anyway, it's something I'm considering).

Gotta do something, in any case.

One thing I feel like I can do to help myself is work on, for want of a better term, my "mental health hygiene" by controlling what videos/news/social media I consume.

For example:

1. Limiting my consumption of news about Donald Trump - Unless the headline is "Trump Convicted Of All The Crimes" or "Trump Chokes To Death On Big Mac", I don't need to read it/watch it/know about it (I can't complain about the media's codependent relationship with Trump if if I feed into it by reading every article/watching every news clip I see).

2. There's a Christian "Apologist" on YouTube who calls himself "Darth Dawkins". He's just the worst, and like a lot of Atheists, I've hate-watched him obsessively for a while now. It doesn't help my mood, and helps him besides (In the social media world we live in, it doesn't matter if you watch a person because you're a fan or because you hate them and want them to crash and burn - If you're watching, it's a good thing for them. So "hate-watching" anything means you're making the world a shittier place).

3. Limiting/cutting out action figure videos - That would seem like a pretty innocuous category of videos to watch (And, unlike the previous two categories, I'm not hate-watching them)...but I've told myself that this is not a good time for me to be buying action figures, making a "rule" that they're only a "prize" to be purchased when I "deserve" them. And action figure videos either tempt me to break my rule (and feel guilty), or just make me feel bad about what I don't have/shouldn't buy.

As a general rule, it would be better if I just consumed fewer videos/less social media in general. But, barring that, I can at least feed myself videos and social media that don't actively make me feel bad in some way.


Mon 7/19/21 (10:35 am)

I didn't finish this yesterday because I ended up going over to Jane's place, finishing WandaVision, then watching Summer of Soul (Summer of Soul is great, by the way. See it if you can).

As I was coming home, I thought about this entry and almost deleted it, worrying that it was too whiny and annoying.

But I've re-read it, and "it is what it is".

You pays your money and you takes your chances.

Till next time...



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