Tag Archives: communication

writing into the wreck

Years of struggles with depression, where talk therapies, light and dark therapies (not magick, literal use of light and darkness), SSRIs, SNRIs, Mood stabilizers (all meds since becoming a mom), trying to address a moderate to severe case of appeared to be obstructive sleep apnea (but may actually be central-nervous system), plus the seemingly endless but hardly clean chute that is perimenopause is taking its toll. It has gotten to the point now where typing is my safest communications method.

Typing, especially in a buffer, allows for edits. Yanks, esp, for all you emacs people. I can sit, look at the sentence and say, “No, I think I will regret both saying that and leaving a bit trail.” I wish I could type to my kids, but my buffer is shot in the face-to-face stuff.

I have never shied away from talking to my children about things in our world, but at levels they can understand and handle. My depression, which clearly has a sleep-disorder component, is something I’ve told my son about this way: Mom has trouble sleeping. She doesn’t get the deep sleep you get, because different parts of her body and brain want to do different things. Her body, especially her mouth and throat, want to just relax and have a “California stretch” (something he learned at soccer camp, which is basically laying down sprawled on the ground and approaching napdom). But when they do that, they block the airway, and she doesn’t breathe. Sometimes it lasts for a second, many times it lasts for more than 30 seconds. And every time her body stops breathing, her brain has to wake up her body, so she never gets sleep. And a brain that doesn’t get sleep doesn’t work well. A brain that doesn’t work well gets irritable, and sad. So we have to find a way to get Mom’s brain and body to work together, as a team.

But no sleep, no peace. No buffer. No high road, just the chute. No reserves, and few opportunities to fashion them from the remnants of what I have to get through the day, mentally.  CPAP to sinus infections to BiPAP to more sinus infections and swallowing air to the point of abdominal distention resembling me at 28w pregnant. Losing 20 pounds in three months through the first real exercise program I ever took on, and still, my airway would collapse while I was upright and awake. One year later, the MRI revealed all sorts of obstructions in my nose and throat, so we went in and did a complete airway overhaul.  It’s three months since the surgery, and my husband still hears me gasping for air in the night, and I can barely get out of bed.  Not surprisingly, the quality of my communications have plummeted. It’s no fun to be me, and perhaps even less fun to be around me.

As a result, I have found myself less and less open to realtime conversation, even if I like the person. The typing is safer, less volatile. The way I get around it with the kids, if I can pull it together, is to read stories to them, complete with dramatis personæ, and drift off together to sleep. That there is a way for them to know I love them, and that it somehow has to do with how perfectly they fit in the crook of my arm or curled up under it; for this I am so grateful, I would consider revisiting the whole virgin birth business and saying, “Okay, I guess I can’t disprove it.” But obviously, this doesn’t work all the time.

I’ve had to write news like this, only with much more detail, to two different people over the past month. I didn’t want them to think I was ignoring them, or that I had a bee in my bonnet – of course, I do, but it has a different name. The advice I am getting now, to reflect on different stages of my life and write them down is exactly what I have done in my stronger, struggling times, and is precisely what I am terrified of doing now. I read the simple questions in a thoughtful book, or the gentle alto comments of my counselor, and there it is – all that I know are problems, and how they seep into me like so many toxins in the groundwater. The guilt of knowing I’m responsible for the spread, and not knowing if any of the correction in which I’ve engaged from literally the first waking moments of my firstborn will take. As much for his (and his sister’s) lives as for the record I will leave behind. Pretty small person, hm? I never thought I was proud, but I am, insofar as I would not want to look back on what I have done in my life and felt embarrassed or ashamed.

The typing, again, is easier. The talking, and the physical writing, what I did for decades before now, is what I feel incapable of doing – my supplest, longest-lived pleasures, those of voice and story, of my voice and story, and I can’t bring myself to say or write what is there.


Leave a comment

Filed under depression, sleep apnea

office as meditation space

My home office is transitioning into a new sort of space. The office line has been dropped with a service order, and with it the bleepaleepaleepaleep that peppered and sometimes triggered my waking hours.

I still feel the need to be seated by 9, but when I sit down to a few Webmail clients, I find far fewer messages marked “URGENT!!!”, spam or otherwise. Logically, I understand that this is an opening, a rare opportunity to slow down, recalibrate, and choose a new adventure, but this sort of silence is not what I’m used to. Before, the office was a physically isolated place, with copper and wireless lifelines. Now, the lines are quiet too. I don’t think meditation is meant to be forced.

Leave a comment

Filed under changes, communication, reflection, tensions, transition, work

Excuse me, do I know you?

It’s a question that comes up for me more and more often as I move into an independent online life. I haven’t yet crossed the threshhold of more virtual friends than physical world friends, and I imagine that in terms of readership, my quiet table doesn’t really have many seats, the kitchen relatively free of lurkers except when it comes to the stuffed mushrooms in the oven. You can have my portion.

But as the blogosphere is rife with opinion, one might be tempted to consistently associate the passionate expression of it with identity. There are no doubt many sincere, earnestly opinionated people who write from the heart, or write as the person they might want to be (I’m reminded of the warning from Natalie Goldberg‘s seminal book on writing, “Never write to seduce” and think it’s as relevant to oneself as to others). And as we read them, we might think we know what they are thinking, and that we can then say we know them.

But the truth of the matter is we probably don’t. I think about the conversation I had with a family member about the excitement of new technologies. He noted how children from my generation managed the multitasking phenomenon as a generation thanks to TV, and now how widespread Internet presence, the systems and devices built on top and through it make it possible for unprecedented levels of data to be available. I pointed out to him that there was only one problem – that the speed at which all of these devices and systems had appeared and evolved was far beyond that of our own social systems, our mores, the things that still mattered when we tried to communicate with one another. We still need to talk and listen. We struggle to know each other.

Some of us don’t really want to know others, as we don’t see how it serves our purposes. We want to be known and seen, and we’ll provoke anyone to get that level of attention. In those instances, there can’t be enough struggle. And this is where the some parts of the blogosphere reminds me more of the first web pages, or worse, of talk radio. It ends up being more about broadcast than conversation, even in a format made for interchange. Blogging does not oblige you to be rude, anymore than it obliges you to be a good writer. (If only the latter were the case – then my posts would be whittled down to about 3.)

But for those of us who want to know each other, actually getting there takes more than a twitter.  Let’s try in 2008 to do just that. Lurkers, leave more than a page count. You’ll be rewarded with cookies, and not the Montulli variety.

1 Comment

Filed under atoms v. bits, blogosphere, communication, intimacy, people, privacy, Talk Radio, Web privacy

my iPod: the jury duty soundtrack

I’ve just started using my iPod for music instead of audio books, and I am completely hooked. And since I was in a particularly good frame of mind when I made my first purchases, the music is in major keys, relentless in its rhythm, easy to sing. It is also impossible for me to sit still, or not to view my surroundings in relationship to the music. So here are some of the juxtapositions:

“Bibo no Aozora”

I’ve written about this as best I can a few days ago. It’s how I start my walk to the bus stop. A open, contemplative moment, feeling my way, eyes and heart first, to where I need to go, who needs attention and compassion, what needs to get done. And of course, the dreams of where I have been, what I’m grateful for.

I shared the song with someone in the pool who arrived toting an Ann Coulter book, and he softened, talking about his children. Anything is possible.

“Boogie Wonderland”

It’s a formidable challenge – listen to this, try not to dance on the bus. Perhaps if I had some sense of personal dignity it would be easier, but my feet and shoulders will have none of that. They feel free to move around, tap and figure 8 on the downbeat, and shake everything inbetween. It’s possible I will get the award for kookiest potential juror if any court officials bear witness to my battle with self-restraint and Boogie Wonderland.

“I’m Every Woman”

Armed with encouragement from Chaka, I make my way, in time, from the bus to the stone steps of the King County Administration Building. I manage a pivot ball-change in the entry, without missing a beat. Maybe I’m not everywoman, but it feels like it could be a good thing to be.

“It’s Raining Men”

I enter the dark elevator in the King County Admin building, filled with 50+ men in Eddie Bauer shirts, implicitly saying “Yer starin’ at my gut, aren’t you?” And that’s when the thunder starts, and Martha Wash tells me the humidity is rising, and the barometer is getting low. God help me, yes, I need to get into the street – it’s clearly the place to go – or at the very least, out of this elevator.

“Try a Little Tenderness”

I’m fifteen minutes from home, on foot. The driver asks me if I need a transfer, and I say no thank you, I’m good.

The way home involves ever darkening pathways – inky at 4:45pm – and a pedestrian overpass. I remember I’m not going home by foot so much as I am going home by boot. Low heeled, high-calfed, genuine naugahyde boot. A boot made for big haired, big piped back-up singers in a R&B band. They’re singing a song that I’m trying to rewrite in my head as “Try a Little Post and Get” in tribute to HTTP, and how to make a young geek happy. The pedestrian overpass becomes a suspended runway, suitable only for strutting over traffic. Wish you were there to join me.

“You Are In My System”

Before Robert Palmer started “performing” with mannequins, he was pretty soulful and understood the beat. In the slick, leafy dark of the walking path home, I comply, moving in sync, snapping, swaying with purpose, grapevining on the wet asphalt. It’s probably not congruous with the studied reserve of the moneyed northwest, but it is entirely consistent with the world inside me. In my system – you bet, and I have no intention of repaving it out… it’s not a bug, it’s a feature.


Filed under communication, connectedness, dancing in public, happiness, iPod, jury duty, music, people, soundtracks, transformation, transformative