Avoid. Avoid. Avoid. Avoid.

Like a hermit crab scared into her shell.

Kitty died on Sunday evening. I was with her. She howled in pain a couple of times. On her last howl she gasped. After that she couldn't breathe anymore. I got on the phone to find an oncall vet, so I could have someone put her down. I asked my mother to look online for me and call back. Mina took a few futile gasps and died within minutes. She died the way she wanted to and looked peaceful.

I don't know what I'm going to do now. Emotionally, I have shut down. I spent the month of June avoiding my life and responsibilities. I cried more before her death than I have since. I don't think I've cried for more than 5 minutes, three or four times. I start but then my mind shuts that shop down; distracting me with other thoughts. The last two weeks, maybe more, my mind has worked like a radio scanning the stations. I think about Mina and start to cry then my mind brings up other things to worry about. When I've tried to think of a subject for a post, I can't get past the first line before my mind moves on. Or, it pulls up memories that I'm ashamed of, forcing me to fight them off, thus losing my train of thought.

It's pathetic and sad, but that cat was my source of unconditional love. She gave me comfort. I've alienated myself from all the people in my life, so now their words of condolence don't help much. Plus, they are all far away, hundreds or thousands of miles away. My friend Barbara is here, she wanted to help and was very sweet. But I feel better when alone. I don't have the energy for other people right now. I don't have anything to say to anyone so I don't make phone calls. Seeing people is not worth the effort. It requires a performance of niceties, giving my reluctant smile, concentrating on paying attention to what they say so I can respond. All the while I wait to go home. Anxious. I leave at the first opportunity.

One of my best friends just moved to California. He had a farewell party in early June. I got as far as the Port Authority. Once there, the lights and noises and people made me so nervous I felt sick. That, and the thought of being at a party, even though I'm friends with all the people there. I called him to say I was too sick to go then turned around and went home with much relief.

I've changed a lot in the last year and a half. My bad qualities have grown like cancer and taken over my whole personality. I had hoped it was caused by over consumption of Aspartame in the liter of Diet Coke I drank daily. But the Aspartame is gone. My head is more clear but nothing else got better. I'm killing my yeast and parasites. So I have more physical energy. But the motivation, passion, ambition, competitiveness, humor, and all accompanying social skills have gone the way of the cassette tape. In previous depressions, I kept all those things. That's how I was able to get a B.A. and and M.A. and get into a doctoral program. It got a lot harder to pursue my goals but I always cared.

Working has helped a bit. I have done a few hours of work this week. More than I have done since the fall of 03. I think I should go with the shut down and just try to bury myself in work. It's hard when I can't muster the energy to care. This isn't grocery-store variety Depression. There is something terribly wrong with me. I remember my life two years ago, I remember what I was like when I moved here:excited, loud, very social, flirty...(for me anyway) and I don't understand how this degradation of self has happened. I don't know how to fix it. I have a new doctor who says she is going to change my medication. That's a nightmare I'm not looking forward to. If I had insurance she'd want me to get ECT. (Yes, they still do that. And it's still scary.)

Wow. I just re-read the draft of this post. It clearly shows my fractured mind rushing from one subject to another. No amount of proofing can fix this post. So here it is, as is. Welcome to my confusion.