My dark places

I’m not sure when the downward trend started, but Sunday night I went to bed at about 9:30. I didn’t bother setting my alarm; I’m used to sleeping 7-8 hours, which would mean I’d get up on my own before 6 am. Well, at about 8:37 I sat up, looked at the clock, and realized I was way late for work.
When I’m not sick, I can’t sleep more than 9 hours. I’ve tried. It doesn’t matter how tired I am.

I was down all day. I asked my sister what the difference between anxiety and depression are. From what she said, it sounded like I’m dealing with anxiety.

At one point today I remembered when I read The Vita-Nutrient Solution, by the infamous Dr. Atkins, that he talked a lot about depression. Now I remember when I read it that the only way to get any useful information out of it is to read it with a notepad in hand and take notes, because the book is organized very poorly, and the index only gets you about half of what he has to say on the given subject. In short, Atkins is a poor writer, and his indexer is even worse. But I didn’t have time for that. I flipped through the index and I realized something. For repetitive stress injury, skin problems, and depression, there’s a good deal of overlap in the vitamins and herbals that help. I’m prone to all three, and I’ve been prone to all three for a very long time. And my arms have been fine for a long time, so I haven’t been very good about taking my regimen of vitamins. So I took my daily dose, kicking up the B complex, since it’s vitamin B1 and B2 that are more important for mental health. B6 is useful too, but not as useful as the others.

Atkins also said a few other things. The only source for one of the nutrients he recommended is raw, fresh produce. I haven’t been eating much of that for the past month or so. And he said that fats are fuel for the brain. When you’re not bringing in enough fats, your brain doesn’t work right. I haven’t been eating much of those either. So I guess that double burger, chili, fries and milkshake at Steak ‘n’ Shake I was craving Sunday night was actually pretty good for me.

I asked my sister if she thought I might need to see a doctor, since my tendencies in the mental health area seem to recur a lot. I’ll go in for counseling, then I’ll be fine for a couple of years, then I eventually find myself back in the same place again. She said to do it as a last resort, because dosing you on antidepressants is very hit and miss. You try a dose, and if it doesn’t improve, you try a different dosage. Plus the side effects suck. Atkins’ supplement dosages are pretty tight and don’t have the side effects.

And my pastor has said, repeatedly, that if you’re not feeling right, you need to go do something for someone else. I had my opportunity. After work, I stopped in at the grocery store because about the only thing I had left at home to eat was a box of mostaccioli noodles (and no sauce). As I checked out, the cashier was a younger girl. I couldn’t place her age, but I’m pretty sure she was younger than me. She greeted me with a really warm smile. As I was getting ready to pay, we made eye contact again, and she smiled again. And I seem to recall that as I bagged my groceries, she looked over and flashed me that same smile. I didn’t say anything and I found myself regretting it.

As I drove home, and as I fixed dinner, I found myself running dozens of conversations through my head. I had to make things right, I hoped I’d have the opportunity. I made a mental list of other groceries I could get. I always buy just what I need to get by for a couple of days or a week–I’m a bachelor, after all. And when it comes to things like groceries I hate planning ahead. So I drove back to the store. I scanned the checkers as I walked in. She was still there, in aisle 6. So I grabbed some things like potatoes, pancake mix, boxed soup–stuff that keeps forever so you only buy it occasionally, then you only buy it again when you miss it. I got in her line and no one got in behind me. She gave me a knowing look. “Weren’t you here earlier?” she asked.

“Yeah. I forgot some stuff,” I said. Well, it was sort of true.

“Is it cold out?” she asked.

“It’s not bad,” I said.

At some point she flashed that smile again.

“I wanted to tell you, you have the prettiest smile I’ve seen in a really long time,” I said.

Her eyes lit up. “Thank you,” she said. It was really cool.

I didn’t need to say anything else. I’d made her day. I paid and bagged my groceries as she started ringing up the person in line behind me.

As I left, she glanced back in my direction. I mouthed the words, “Good night.” I don’t know what exactly the look she gave me meant, but it definitely didn’t look bad.

Twelve words to make someone’s day. Not bad for a superintrovert like me.

And you know something? I felt a whole lot better too. And I doubt it was the B complex.

Hopefully tomorrow I’ll deal with some mail. I haven’t done it yet because I haven’t really felt up to it.

10 thoughts on “My dark places

  • November 13, 2001 at 3:52 am
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    Ya’ know…

    Your bad days are a whole lot more interesting than mine.

    Have some lettuce,

    dan

  • November 13, 2001 at 10:13 am
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    Yes, but don’t have iceburg lettuce. That stuff has about as much nutrition as a riding lawnmower (I had to think of *something* silly, right?).

    Go for leafy or romaine lettuce.

    Ah! Here’s a quick and easy recipe:

    1 bag baby spinach leaves
    1/2 lemon
    a handful of baby snow peas (removed from their pods)
    a handful of feta cheese
    olive oil
    fresh ground pepper

    Mix the spinach and peas in a large salad bowl. Put about five seconds of olive oil in there. Mix it up some more. Squeeze the lemon juice in (being careful not to get seeds in there). Mix some more. Add cheese and mix some more. Pepper to taste.

    It’s extremely good.

  • November 13, 2001 at 10:41 am
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    Hey Dave, don’t forget that the St. Louis Boy Scouts are gathering canned foods this coming Saturday. Well, it’s just another excuse to visit the grocery store. ๐Ÿ™‚ Hope you get to feeling better.

  • November 13, 2001 at 10:52 am
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    The Akins Low Carb diet is a big hit around our house. It’s the only one I can stick to for any length
    of time & do good on, plus my wife has lost two dress sizes on it in the last month or so. For anyone
    contemplating it, just be sure to read all of the instructions and follow them, as the initial part of the
    diet is not healthy long-term (and he tells you so). His Vita-Nutrient Solution book is a good companion to this, of course…

    BTW, good show with the checkout girl. I think you should head back there soon and chat her up
    some more ๐Ÿ˜‰ Heck, you might even (gasp!) ask her out for coffee or something…

  • November 13, 2001 at 11:36 am
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    Hmm… today’s entry got me thinking:

    What ever happened with Wendy?

    What ever happened with that girl from work that you went out with last month?

  • November 13, 2001 at 3:47 pm
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    Being new here and all, I don’t know how my humor might be taken, but would smacking you on the back of the head and calling you a moron be too far?

    The checkout girl was obviously digging you. Forget the lettuce diets and get your sorry self back to the store. Bring some dinner items to her checkout counter, exclaim that there’s obviously too much for one person to eat and then invite her to dinner!

    Sheesh! And HoBiscuit thinks I’m thickheaded…

    ๐Ÿ™‚

  • November 13, 2001 at 8:55 pm
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    Yikes. I don’t know when the last time was I wrote soemthing that got this much response. And I didn’t even edit it well.

    The Dave Social Scene Update. (Should I be scared that people care about this stuff?)

    Girl from work: Where? Who? All the girls at work who are within 7-8 years of my age are married, engaged, or divorced and convinced that men are to be avoided outside the workplace.

    Wendy: Nothing on that front. I’m a long shot. I don’t write off longshots–a relative of mine was a long shot to make the Los Angeles Dodgers’ roster in 1979 and he ended up being Rookie of the Year, so go figure. But a long shot.

    Atkins: I’m afraid of what his diet does to the kidneys, and I’m not the only one. If carbohydrates were really as bad for you as Atkins makes them out to be, they wouldn’t exist. But his vitamin advice seems OK. I don’t need the Atkins diet. According to my sister, the healthy weight range for my build is 129-169 pounds. I’ve never weighed more than 145. I’ve probably dropped below 129 before, but not in the past three years. But if a salad will get me some nutrients I need, fine.

    Checkout girl: 1. Last thing I want to do is be interested and then find out she’s 17. 2. How many girls can a guy pursue without feeling like a gigolo? 3. Should it bother a guy if he feels like a gigolo? 4. How many times can Dave work the word "gigolo" into something he writes? 5. I know what I’m looking for, and she hasn’t proven herself not to be that. I don’t have much of anything to lose. So the thought has crossed my mind, yes. 6. Someone I respect once told me you can’t go too slow. 7. I read somewhere that the best thing you can do early on is be enigmatic and mysterious. Might as well try it, eh?

    A couple of girls I haven’t told you about: I still don’t plan on telling you about them. It occurs to me that I need to be a little more enigmatic. But that does bring up that question again: How many girls can a guy pursue at once without feeling like a gigolo?

    Hmm. I count four times. That’s a new record. Previous record was two, in high school. One of my reviewers had to ask me what that word was. When I said it aloud, it drew a few snickers. And suddenly everyone wanted to read my paper.

  • November 14, 2001 at 11:38 am
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    Someone I respect once told me you can’t go too slow.

    With all due respect – bull ๐Ÿ™‚ If you go so slow you miss out on an opportunity, then that’s too
    fsck-ing slow…

    I read somewhere that the best thing you can do early on is be enigmatic and mysterious.

    Not a good idea if it’s just a cover for being too shy or self-conscious to chat up a girl who’s
    obviously interested. I can’t tell if that’s the case for you or not, but that’s what self-examination is
    for… ๐Ÿ™‚

    Trust me on this. I’m an almost middle aged guy who has had alot of time to think about how he
    blew some really good potential relationships when he was younger by being shy and
    self-conscious. Maybe even most women you chat-up won’t be interested, but enough will that it’ll
    be worth it (and if you never try, then your batting avg will be .000)

  • November 14, 2001 at 11:52 am
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    If you go so slow you miss out on an opportunity, then that’s too
    fsck-ing slow…

    And we all know just how slow fsck can be. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • November 14, 2001 at 12:18 pm
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    1. That would be bad. Still legal, but bad.
    2. Officially 3, four with a note from your doctor.
    3. No.
    4. Ripley’s says 14. But the last Dave who tried ended up with a hernia and high blood pressure.
    5. Good. No, you don’t. Good.
    6. True, but misleading. While you can’t go too slow while in a relationship, you can move too slow to even get the chance to have the relationship in the first place. I think this was proven when caveman Erghom (inventor of the wheel) missed his chance with high school sweetheart Snorthena because he took all year to ask her to the school dance and she went with Doversh (the school rockball jock). This doomed the human species to another 10,000 years of amazing stupidity, and all due to Erghom not wanting to "move too fast" which lead to his inability to procreate and add his genius genes to the human gene pool. What a moron.
    7. True.

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