We finally closed on the condo in Indianapolis this week. It was on the market for over 14 months and was a major source of stress for me, both in terms of finances and logistics. No one wants to be stuck with two house payments. But the physical toll of repairing, cleaning, and painting 2,000 square feet of unoccupied space in another state has compounded my weariness lately.
On Tuesday, we arrived at the condo ahead of the closing to do one last walk-through. Dan and I sat on the stairs for a few quiet moments. Though I had been complaining for months that I hated the stupid place and wished I could burn it down, I was a little sad. Not teary, but nostalgic. Letting go was like tearing apart two pieces of heavy-duty Velcro. Possible, yes, but not effortless.
“I used to grab a cup of coffee and lumber down these steps after you went to work,” Dan reminisced. “And then a few minutes later I’d hear Taub clodding down the steps, his nails clicking when he hit the landing. He’d hop in his chair and we’d chill together.”
I smiled—laughed even—at the memory of Taubensee’s butt swishing from side to side as he made his way downstairs. In his old age he was a little less graceful on the steps, but no less adorable. I could see him jump into his overstuffed chair, lay his head on the arm, sigh, and melt into one of his day-long naps.
Bittersweet, that moment. Sad to be moving further away from it, but joyed to have known it.
That’s right, I said “joyed.” JOYED!
And that’s the exact moment I knew the Cymbalta was working.
Some people describe a sort of emotional flatness on anti-depressants, and I was concerned that could happen to me when my doctor prescribed it. But having experienced the inner stalemate of two equally matched yet opposing emotions several times before, I recognized it as a marked improvement.
When Taubensee died on August 4, 2013, I was an emotional wreck. I got trapped in an early stage of grief for well over a year. I was drowning in loss. Hell, up until I started the Cymbalta, I was still crying a few nights a week because he was gone and I missed him.
Remembering happy times with him didn’t help heal the wounds either, it opened them afresh. Thoughts of him that started as a picture of an ecstatic puppy frolicking in his favorite open field always ended with me wailing and sobbing in a cold, sterile room while Dan hugged me and the vet said, “You two take all the time you need.”
Happy memories of Taub were like watching a video, I could recall them but I couldn’t feel them. The grief, though, that was so much more. I was stuck reliving that shit, and I couldn’t shut off the sad. I could push it to the back to get through the day if I needed, but I couldn’t move beyond it. If being that perpetually sad took a physical toll on my body (and I’m sure it did), trying to suppress it depleted me entirely.
No wonder I’m physically broken.
Whether my depression lead to fibromyalgia, my fibromyalgia lead to depression, or my head injury contributed to both (post-concussion syndrome can be associated with fatigue and depression) doesn’t really matter. What matters is that I was unable to fix the problem on my own, and I needed help to have any hope of walking a mile without stopping to rest, sleeping through a night, or feeling anything like my old self again.
I am thankful that Cymbalta (duloxetine) exists, despite the horrible side effects I endured last week—the migraines and the restlessness and the nausea and the dizziness and the dry mouth. I’d suffer that god-awful week all over again for this small but important improvement in my health.
“A part of me really hopes the depression is the primary factor here, that my fibromyalgia…my physical symptoms are all secondary to that,” I told Dan as he drove me to work this morning. “If that were true, I think the Cymbalta could make my brain better and my brain could get my body to follow suit.”