I had my yearly physical today. In the course of the appointment I mentioned that I seemed to have a sinus headache all the time lately; when she asked how I was sleeping, I said not great, and she asked if I felt rested when I woke up and I said huh? Does anyone? She also knew I was having breakthrough depression symptoms, which I wasn't that concerned about because I generally do in January. But just as she was about to leave the room and I was about to hop off the table and get dressed, she came back and said she wanted to give me a prescription for something that she thought would a)help me sleep more deeply b)be an adjuvant for my antidepressant and c)help my headaches, because it's often used as a migraine preventer.
I felt a little like Homer Simpson after Lisa tells him that bacon, pork and ham all come from the same animal: "Oh right, some wonderful, magical animal!". If this works, I'll be out in the street with a sandwich board shilling for the drug company that makes it.
Truthfully, my mood situation has been better this year than it has some Januaries. I crashed a little early this year, so Christmas was a little hard to get through, but the last two weeks I haven't been terribly depressed. Physically, though, I feel just kind of crappy. Not really quite getting anything but always sort-of maybe fighting something off, that kind of thing? It makes me think of this passage in one of my Top Ten Best Books Ever (The History of Love):
"My heart is weak and unreliable. When I go it will be my heart. I try to burden it as little as possible. If something is going to have an impact, I direct it elsewhere. My gut for example, or my lungs, which might seize up for a moment but have never yet failed to take another breath. When I pass a mirror and catch a glimpse of myself, or I'm at the bus stop and some kids come up behind me and say, Who smells shit? -- small daily humiliations -- these I take, generally speaking, in my liver. Other damages I take in other places. The pancreas I reserve for being struck by all that's been lost. It's true that there's so much, and the organ is so small. But. You would be surprised how much it can take, all I feel is a quick, sharp pain and then it's over. Sometimes I imagine my own autopsy. Disappointment in myself: right kidney. Disappointment of others in me: left kidney. Personal failures: kishkes. I don't mean to make it sound like I've made a science of it. It's not that well thought out. I take it where it comes. It's just that I notice certain patterns. When the clocks are turned back and the dark falls before I'm ready, this, for reasons I can't explain, I feel in my wrists. And when I wake up and my fingers are stiff, almost certainly I was dreaming of my childhood. The field where we used to play, the field in which everything was discovered and everything was possible... Yesterday I saw a man kicking a dog and I felt it behind my eyes. I don't know what to call this, a place before tears. The pain of forgetting: spine. The pain of remembering: spine. All the times I have suddenly realized that my parents are dead, even now, it still surprises me, to exist in the world while that which made me has ceased to exist: my knees, it takes half a tube of Ben-Gay and a big production just to bend them. To everything a season, to every time I've woken only to make the mistake of believing for a moment that someone was sleeping beside me: a hemorrhoid. Loneliness: there is no organ that can take it all."
Now, Leo Gursky has had a genuinely, monstrously, unfairly tragic life. Me, not so much. But still, I wonder if my depression and anxiety have gone undercover, and only come out in weird symptoms and discomforts. My sore shoulder -- maybe that's my fear that we spend too much money and have too much stuff. Headache -- the suspicion that I read too much and live too little. Rash on elbow -- the worry that I'm really not the best mother I could be. Aching breasts -- the regret that I didn't have more sex with more people. Cough -- existential fear of life, death, the universe, and everything.
Nah. It's probably just lung cancer or a degenerative brain disease.