willkommen! bienvenue! …you get the idea

Hi! You’ve reached the blog of Lune Lyon, alias Cass, alias Elen of Thescorre. Don’t worry. You’re probably in the wrong place. :)

I write. Obviously. I mean I write more than blog posts. 2014′s projects include Nuclear Winter, which is not actually as grim as it sounds; Cherry Blossom Girl, an introduction to Ada Kirova and Rory Maclean; and as ever, pieces of a fantasy universe in which nobody wants to be the queen (but somebody must). And that’s just the original stuff! You want my fanfiction? I’ll link it from AO3 as I write, or you could check my Tumblr.

My pop culture interests bridge the gap between geek and chic. I’ve gone vaguely boho and vaguely prep (see Gravatar). I am looking forward to Downton Abbey, Call the Midwife, Archer, Grey’s Anatomy, and Lost Girl. Oh! And if Canada would give us a little more Bomb Girls, that’d be luvverly.

I’m not from around here. Technically, yes, I’m a native Western New Yorker, but I don’t remember any of it before we came back; my dad used to be military, and when I was a toddler, we moved to Germany, where he had met my mother in the first place. I am that rare US citizen who had to assimilate. It didn’t even begin to take until I left high school… eleven years after we returned here and thirteen after coming stateside. If I can’t find a word in English, I may well have it in German or French. Just for kicks, I practice my Nasta’liq alphabet using English words — phonetic transliteration is nuanced and therefore great fun. My bootleg manga habit shhh reminded me that I ought to learn a bit of Japanese, and this time it’s taking. Yay!

Don’t hesitate to say hello, or bonjour, or guten tag. I even respond to hajimemashite, ni hao, and as-salaam alaykum.

oh, white collar, i miss you.

I couldn’t get into White Collar this season, which makes me sad, because the older episodes bring me such happiness. I’ve got “Company Man” from 2010 playing. Neal and Peter didn’t have ugly secrets, Mozzie was getting to know the rest of the team, and best of all? No Sara. No. Annoying. Freaking. Sara. I could reasonably believe Neal and Mozzie would become part of the Burke miscellany, a family for two people who needed it more than anything. Mozzie would’ve made the ideal mad uncle, and the chemistry Neal had with both Peter and El just slew me.

And who doesn’t love Diana and Clinton? — No, not together, though I freely admit I’d date Diana. Mmm, Lady Suit.

We did, of course, lose the possibility of more Hughes via Actor Existence Failure, but oh, how I loved Ross “Liebgott” McCall as Keller. What a delicious villain!

I think the show lost me a little bit into Season 5. I saw where the Neal and Rebecca thing was going and I didn’t like it, or that Neal wasn’t actually growing as a character. I didn’t believe “once a criminal, always a criminal” of him. Mozzie, sure. But I really thought Neal was changing.

I might make an effort to watch the next season. It’s only been picked up for six episodes. I hope the show gets a better farewell than Smash, anyhow.

unaccustomed to

I don’t like the influence Facebook has had on my ability to keep a journal. Instead of saving up thoughts for a lovely, coherent entry, I microblog. Then again, when I was fifteen and sixteen I made short, excited entries in my Livejournal. Facebook and Twitter would’ve been ideal then. Not so much now. I have more to say and consider, more, perhaps, than may be said here, or indeed to anyone. Know please that I am considering, at the very least.

“The Remorseful Day” on WNED. “Lewis, I’m having a heart attack, but first, I’m going to help you break this case!” The way he prepares for his death fascinates me, damn that professor’s eyes for opening mine. He actually sits down and arranges his wishes: he’d like his body to go to science, and no funeral service of any kind, please. I’d do it that way. I will do it that way. I should. I should sit down and work out my wishes. Combine Morse with Five Days at Memorial and I’m inclined to make sure everyone knows what it is I want in the end. One thing’s clear to me after this semester: we do a lot for the dying to keep ourselves comfortable. We don’t privilege their voices nearly as much as we ought.

“Lewis, here we are in Coronary Care, but I’m going to give you another major break before I go.”

It’s his life’s work done.

Will mine ever be? For while there’s life there’s bound to be work. Cases may come and go, but I may need to be persuaded to retire during a lull in the action. Do I maybe want to die on the job, somebody’s Oma to the end? Do I want them to find my gnarled little body in its papa-san (there may always need to be a papa-san), with my laptop open and my final can of Pepsi just cracked? And will it be a curly straw or just a cheap straight one?

Even Morse has someone to mourn him. I must live in the hope that, like Morse, there will be someone left to mourn me. Maybe I’ll become one of the venerable aunties and uncles of Thescorre. Maybe I’ll have to move. The younger generation of my own family has forgotten I exist. The children I took swinging at the Kirchweih won’t have a face to put to the name of that distant cousin. Julia’s babies, Georg’s, these are not yet born. They could know me someday. Being hypothetical, I cannot count on them. So it’s the family I make and not the family who made me who will come to matter most.

Do you wonder why I cling so hard to the people I meet and love? It’s because this is the magnitude of my loss. Thirteen years. My grandfather. My grandmother. My father’s best-beloved brother between them, and Pat-next-door. Before that thirteen years, I was down two grandparents already, three if you count Ray, probably four because I doubt Dorothy made it to the Century of the Fruitbat. I get to stand around and watch them all fall, or forget me, and I know why the Doctor loves his TARDIS better than any other soul: she is the constant. She is eternal. He can survive millennia and she will watch over him.

I’m going to lose everyone who loves me, but if new people love me, it won’t hurt as much. So I can’t shut down. I can’t give up. And I won’t go away without being pushed.

do not call for help.

When I am at my least rational, I feel as though death would be preferable to finishing the mountain of work I’ve yet to do this month. I know I can’t kill myself. I won’t kill myself. But whenever I get a flutter of chest pain, I wonder if God is being merciful.

I hurt. There is just no not-hurting anymore. I am one giant charley horse.

I don’t know what I did to deserve this. I’m sorry, whatever it was.

why I’m anti-anti-psychiatry

There are people in the world who will tell you that it’s completely subjective, this matter of mental health, that you don’t really need those nasty drugs, and they make things worse.

In some cases, they will be correct. Depression can be a natural reaction to trauma, and as the trauma resolves, sure, so will the depression. This is why I haven’t messed with my meds for many years — no depression has been that severe. No, not even the one where I sat under Jessica’s office table and waffled about going inpatient while uninsured. That happened after months of my family being totally broken. I got a psychiatrist, and he monitored me, but it turned out I just needed to hit bottom and be caught. Realising I could be caught when I fell was good medicine all by itself. School started and I had little goals, little successes. Very little brain fog.

Some depression has more than just trauma behind it.

I was depressed for the better part of ten years before anyone decided to medicate me. I have been medicated for eleven years this month. That’s a total of twenty-one years living with a fire-breathing flying monkey on my back. Sound like fun to anyone else? No? I have had one hell of a life, I’ll say that up front, but it’s not enough life to have your umpteenth nervous breakdown before you can vote. No reason to suffer that much from being brought back to America unwilling; no reason to develop panic disorder doing something you love (in my case, a solo at a band competition in sunny Virginia Beach — first vacation I’d taken in years!). What ought to have been mere teenage bagatelles hit me like anvils.

And no, the first medication wasn’t the magic pill.

I went on two pretty much simultaneously. The Ativan was to manage the fact that I sat in a corner and screamed like the doctor was going to kill me. I’m shocked he didn’t just grab a blowgun and shoot me full of Haldol. Would’ve been justifiable in someone who wasn’t 4’11″ and, by that point, maybe 93 pounds. I figure he knew he could just sit on me if I got fighty. Am I happy they failed to tell me Ativan came with dependency? My dad even kept it from me. Bless him, I think he was just happy to see me out of panic mode. Lexapro… starting that was shit. I thought I was going to puke it back up that first night, and I wasn’t quite right for the next three months. (Junior year? What last ten weeks?)

Lexapro wasn’t right, exactly. Its cousin Celexa would be, once I got the rest of my life sorted out. Like I said, hell of a life. Along the way, I made new friends. I don’t have full-blown bipolar, but I experience hypomanias, agitated depressions. Or I did a lot more often before I started Klonopin. Yep, I’m an easy fix. That particular psychiatrist gave me the side-eye. They’re not used to patients educating themselves about medications. That one peddled me Lamictal, but I declined. In case you’ve never tried: yes, you can say no. I promise. You have to be strong sometimes and accept that it might get you labelled non-compliant or diagnosed with a personality disorder for the wrong reasons. (By which I mean I did have borderline traits, but the dude who first brought it up did so when I refused another mood stabilizer.)

Medication is useless in a vacuum. You need therapy. I needed therapy, and it’s no coincidence that I finally got better when I combined the right meds with the right therapist. You’ve got to have support. You can’t survive this without support. I got better because I was able, at last, to see that monkey and hand him a damn breath mint. “Here, take this, and quit burning my ears.”

I have only had one true disaster along the way. Hello, Remeron! Please never come near me again with your noradrenaline and dopamine reuptake effects. The damage meant adding Atarax, which is an antihistamine, because what was left of my natural appetite took a nosedive. It also meant a valerian supplement at night. I don’t take much, just eight drops compared to the half-to-quarter-teaspoon originally recommended.

Pregnancy on these drugs is controversial. Good thing I don’t want to be pregnant. Yes, sometimes I feel I’ve had certain choices taken from me, but the alternatives are so unthinkable. What if I wanted to give birth? I don’t trust this cocktail, but without it, what would happen to my mental health? Never mind worrying what will happen to the kid when it’s born; I kill myself before that happens, the kid doesn’t stand a chance. So. Should I decide to parent something that isn’t housebroken, there will have to be a surrogate. That is the price for the kid coming out unaffected by my meds. Nobody can know, and there are always genetic mutations in play, but I will minimize the risks.

And that is my choice. There are parents who are on fewer varieties of drug who are making educated decisions to try for pregnancy. That’s their choice. There are studies making the risks look staggering, and there are studies minimizing the risks. God knows who funded which ones; I know the government funded one of the “don’t do this shit” papers. Studies have followed children whose parents took drugs (prescribed and illicit) and researchers found that poverty was the largest factor in those children’s success. I wish I’d saved the link. I’d link it far and wide.

As for my continued use of my cocktail, hell, yes, I’ll keep going. It hasn’t failed me. Circumstances have failed me multiple times. I know what it feels like to need a change and it’s orders of magnitude worse than this. This right now is stress combined with academic weirdness. That’s why I have Wade, to help me sort things out. That’s not why I have Eleven, but he’s really useful when I get turned around. You can probably thank him for my career goals. I’m going to put Wade and Eleven in the same room Monday night and watch awesome happen.

I could have turned left so many times and died of it. I didn’t. I stayed this course and I’m going to be okay. I’m even going to be well. I wish the same for you.

superskinnied.

I told Wade how much I miss eating like my growing teenage self. I told him I’d risk all the frightening unknowns about being on a cannabinoid, even long-term, if it would help me gain to a healthy 95-100 pounds. That this life is not worth it if I have to live it starving. Which I am. Starving. Malnourished. Not on purpose. So completely a result of the abuses to my body. This bonsai-tree self is inadequate. I am dried-up, though not yet old before my time. I have hips, at least, but no breasts, and gray! Already! Gray bits of eyebrow.

I have this thing — thinness — that so many people try to die in order to achieve, and I want to throw it away because I want to feel real. I want to be able to buy clothes without hating myself. I want breasts. I know I’m lovely when I fake them up, and I know I’m lovely without, but some part of me wants breasts that weigh something. I want more time in this hourglass.

They say that after you lose weight, your body will make you hungry again. Why did mine stop feeling hunger? Most people in recovery eat on their missing pounds. Why couldn’t I, except on Remeron? What’s different here? Why can science offer me nothing?

. . .

I feel rather like a horse tethered to a wheel, flogged as I trudge in circles trying to live up to my owners’ expectations. Make of it what you will.

impossible girl on good drugs

This is what I want you to know:

– Heroin would have been the primary drug in Mr Hoffman’s last cocktail. Not Valium. One of them is famous for killing people via OD and the other is Valium.

– “Benzodiazepine” is not pronounced with an eeee sound in the middle. No, not even in this neck of the woods.

– Valium (diazepam) is a benzodiazepine, not the other way around. It is in the benzodiazepine class. Others in this class include Ativan (lorazepam) and Klonopin (clonazepam). In fact, Rohypnol (flunitrazepam) is a benzodiazepine. You know, roofies?

– All of these drugs are different. In terms of potency, Xanax (alprazolam) tends to beat Ativan tends to beat Valium. All three are known for their anxiolytic action, which means people can use them during a panic attack. They are also good anticonvulsants, and can behave as mild mood stabilisers; this is more true of Klonopin, in my experience.

– See those last three words? Yeah. What you may not know is that I spent the last ten weeks of my junior year and my entire senior year carrying Ativan along with my books because I was still prone to panic attacks. It would have been useless kept in the nurse’s office. At no point did I abuse it. At no point did I sell it. I obtained it legally, by prescription, from either a psychiatrist or my general practitioner.

– It is really very hard to get benzodiazepines legally. It is worse when you have no health insurance and cannot keep a prescriber. When you are almost out, yes, you’re going to do everything you can to get more… because withdrawal is sheer hell, and oh yes you still need the drug. Genuine need for a substance is not abuse; this is lost on paranoid clinicians who pretty much have to see you have a panic attack in front of them. (And my first one did.)

– Did I mention withdrawal is sheer hell? Because it is.

– So if I had a teenager who stole my meds, and I found out, said teenager would probably turn himself in to the police because Mama’s wrath is worse. Episodes like the one at Greece Arcadia High School make it harder for us to get the medications we need. They probably make it harder for kids who need rescue meds to get permission to carry them (because liability or some such crap).

– Do not be that person who makes life harder for people with epilepsy and panic disorder. Just don’t.