Climbing Out

Just a bit at a time.

This year has been particularly difficult.

Between injuries, some fucked up mental health issues, and blood pressure bullshit, I’m not at my best.

I don’t do as much as I used to and I’m tired all the time. I thought it was mostly due to getting used to the new medicines. In fact, I discussed that possibility with my doctor on Friday. I told her that I felt like the medications was causing some depression symptoms.

She floated the possibility that perhaps depression was causing my depression symptoms.

Which, you know, makes sense.

I’m super grateful that the panic attacks are still under control. That’s awesome. But it’s not enough. We’re going to try some new medications, but I also know I have to force myself out of the pattern I’ve been in.

I have to force myself to care about more than bingeing something on Netflix.

So I did.

I did a few things.

First, a few weeks ago, when I was driving around trying to decide what I wanted to do for lunch, I decided to get a tattoo that I’ve wanted for years now.

I talked to the nice lady in my phone who tells me where things are and she led me to the closest tattoo parlor.

The tattoo I wanted was very simple. I wasn’t worried that it wouldn’t look good. I didn’t think I’d actually be able to get a tattoo, but I’d at least make the appointment.

I went in and there were two young men who were the artists and one had a client in his chair.

I told them what I wanted and the other dude said he could do it right then.

So, I was in.

The artist who had a young man in his chair asked Alexa to play The Doors. I heard the beginning of Light My Fire, just as I was settling into the chair.

Tattoo Artist #1: Oh man…it would the one song of theirs I don’t like.

Me: Yeah. It’s hard to listen to. Kind of like Stairway To Heaven. It’s just been too many times.

We proceeded to have a lovely conversation about The Doors.

Tattoo Artist #1: So, did you get a chance to see them live?


Me: Dude. How the fuck old do you think I am?

Tattoo Artist #1: Uh…no no..I didn’t mean.

Me: Jim Morrison died in 1971.

Me: I was 8.

Tattoo Artist #2: But you were at least born.

Me: You know…I haven’t tipped you yet.

I let the poor guys off the hook. They were both younger than 3 of our 4 children and therefore are babies.

Tattoo Artist #2 did a great job. My new tattoo serves both as a reminder and as a homage to Douglas Adams.

The other thing I did was find an open mic event.

We went a week ago Sunday. I didn’t practice this at all, but I was familiar with the material. I felt pretty good about jumping back in. The audio isn’t very good. Mostly people say they don’t understand the last line. It’s “you must win”.

Anyway…I have been writing some new material and am going to do this again soon.

I’m trying to climb out.



28 Thoughts.

  1. I love Douglas Adams! “Don’t Panic” is applicable to so many situations. Keep hanging in there and things will get better. Your blog brings so much encouragement to so many people. You seem like someone who really knows where her towel is. 🙂

  2. You’re definitely making progress, Michelle!
    Love the Tat.
    And your standup was awesome! That’s going WAY above and beyond for me! Well done, you!

  3. Firstly, I’m happy that you’re starting to get back into open mic and that you are making people laugh!
    It is a great tattoo – and Douglas Adams was the best!

    Secondly, I’m going to let the conversation with the tattoo artists pass me by without any (snarky) comment except this – I was at Woodstock. At nineteen.

    Love that you’re back with us!! Another great tattoo that applies is – Keep on truckin’!

    • I never left…I just got, well, tired. I guess. Depression is an asshole.

      And you were at Woodstock?? That is so fucking cool!!!

      Speaking of “Truckin” my baby boy just saw Dead and Co last week. He is a huge Grateful Dead fan.

  4. You really are one hoopy frood. (Fun fact: spellcheck tried to change that to “Goopy Frodo” and that’s something I would have seriously considered if I had a kid.) I love your open mic performance but even more than that I love that you had the tattoo planned but decided to get it on a whim.
    That right there speaks volumes: you plan ahead but also seize the opportunity.
    You win.

    • At this point it has been years that I’ve “known” you. I may have said this before, but if I did, then it bears repeating. Your comments always lift me up. I love how you find little aspects of whatever I am writing about and celebrate them. It means a great deal to me and I appreciate it very much. Sometimes, when I feel like giving up, just never writing another word…then I think…but but but…what about (fill in all the regulars because I’m not because I will forget someone and then feel like shit)…I love you all so much and I love our little connection we have in our space and time.

      In case I’ve never mentioned that.

  5. Nice tattoo, I would like another tattoo but the cost and such makes it difficult
    Depression is horrible and affects so many people, including myself, life is hard but worthwhile at the same time.

  6. I have never wanted any tattoos, but yours is the bomb. Douglas Adams has a video you can watch called “Parrots, the Universe and Everything” that is so damn smart and so damn funny that I have it downloaded on my drive in case YouTube takes it down or some shit.
    I loved your stand up. It reminded me of a realization I came to a few years ago, when I was commenting on Aussa’s blog (remember her?) and wondering whether the comment needed some spicing up to be good reading. No. It didn’t. The real, actual stuff I have lived through is perfectly good story material in its own right and only the names need to be changed to protect the guilty.
    Depression sucks, and it’s sneaky and fools you into thinking that the problem has to be anything else besides the depression. Sometimes it is, and sometimes it isn’t. By some weird irony I haven’t had many problems with it since my stroke fifteen years ago. Before then, however, it was mostly a constant presence muddying up everything good and amplifying everything bad. Anyway, I hope you beat it back.
    Is your blood pressure under control? Blood pressure medicine can be a little annoying, but not nearly as annoying as the little chunk of your brain that you lose from a stroke…

    • Okay, here is what is weird…I was JUST thinking about Aussa literally less than 10 minutes ago and I haven’t talked to her in years now. Wow.

      The blood pressure? Well, it’s better. It’s not horrible, but it’s not great. They doubled me up on one of the meds and it’s only been a few days, so we will see.

      They assure me I’m not in danger..but when that lower number gets up to 100, I’m pretty much freaking out.

      But it is getting better.

  7. Michelle, I wish it was as easy in these cases as it might be if I found you in a pit in real life… to extend a hand and help you climb out. It isn’t, but I can cheer you on from a distance. Here’s a story about the Don’t Panic motto. When I was in my early 20s I’d just read Hitchhiker’s Guide (while hitchhiking from Malibu Beach to Boston via Idaho and Yellowstone Park), and got myself a black T shirt with DON’T PANIC across the back. A friend was helping me move a fridge out of a third-floor apartment, and half way down a flight of stairs, he said ‘Don’t Panic’ (reading the shirt, of course)… I had spaced on the fact I had that on my back, and thought he was warning me he was losing his grip on the fridge and I was about to be crushed by a small Italian fridge… which panicked me and I almost got crushed by a small fridge. Unintended consequences. Fun, fun, fun.

  8. My doc says many are feeling this way especially since COVID. I’m older than you but am trying out pellet hormone therapy. I notice some improvement in areas of mood and motivation. You might consider getting your hormones tested. Best of luck with it all. You make me laugh even through the distress of what is true.

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