Depression and Diarrhea: The Glamorous Life of Nicole Mojan

Well, well, well, look what the cat dragged in!

You don’t actually have to look. It’s me. I’m what the cat dragged in.

TBH, I associate more with the cat than whatever it dragged in.
TBH, I associate more with the cat than whatever it dragged in.

Okay, here’s what I don’t understand: when I worked at EQAL, I worked crazy hours and I still managed to keep a daily blog. Nowadays, I have the world’s best job with the world’s most flexible boss and I still can’t manage to eke out a damn “here’s what happened this month” post, so I don’t know what my problem is. (Granted, that blog was just about being a fat kid and the trials of wanting to stuff my face with food 25 hours a day 8 days a week, but still.)

But I figure today is a good a day as any to start back up. After all, this week has been a fresh start in its own way: I had my first colonoscopy in over a decade, finally went 24 hours without wanting to die of hunger and/or gastrointestinal distress, ate a real meal for the first time in a week, AND I scheduled an appointment with my psychiatrist to get off my current meds and find something that wreaks a little less havoc on my body.


So, times are a-changin’ for me. As they have been these past five months. 2013 has been a whirlwind so far. A new job (one could even argue “a dream job”) plus a promotion already, way too many medical issues for me and my family, not to mention the fact that I go to bed at 10pm these days which generally means I have no social life whatsoever (not that I want one, but still). So, if I’ve been off the radar lately, that’s why. These past two months have been especially stressful and I spread myself waaay too thin with making plans and committing to too much. So now it’s time to reel that shit in and give my mind and body some time to recuperate.

GPOY. This is why I don't return your texts, btw.
GPOY. This is why I don’t return anyone’s texts, btw.

One thing I’m not going to reel in? I HAVE to start writing again. It’s good for my brain, it’s good for my sanity, and I feel all pent up because I haven’t been getting things off my chest in a good and productive way. Although, I can’t just blame my writer’s block for my weird pentuppedness. My depression is back with a vengeance, and it’s a vicious cycle. I can’t write, so I get despondent. And because I’m despondent, I can’t write. With that plus my deteriorating health, I just want to pull a Sylvia Plath and make best friends with my oven.

LOL oven suicide
LOL oven suicide

Here’s how I know my depression is the real deal and not just me feeling sorry for myself: other than my health problems, my life is great right now. My friends are amazing and supportive, I got a promotion at work doing things I love with the best boss and coworker ever, Donnie and I are doing really well…and I still feel empty and kind of dead inside. I’m on an antidepressant, but it does nothing for me. I still feel worthless and obsessed with the existential question of “why even bother, what am I but a tiny speck on a tiny rock floating in the middle of space?”

But better out than in, so even though I’m used to hiding away when I get overwhelmed with The Nothing, it’s time to flaunt my emotional muffintop.

Speaking of muffintop: I can’t eat anything. For the past week and a half I’ve been on a no-residue diet, which means I can only eat things that by definition have NO NUTRITIONAL VALUE AT ALL. Cue the constant and exhausting fatigue. The bags under my eyes have bags under their eyes. It’s not a good look for me. Doesn’t help that my weight has ballooned because of this stupid disease: I’ve gained 18 pounds just in the last month alone. None of my clothes fit (cue the YOU CAN’T SIT WITH US! moment), even though all I eat is rice and broth and maybe a banana if I’m feeling really adventurous.

First two parts, check and check. Not so much on the proud part.
First two parts, check and check. Not so much on the proud part.

And it’s hard because this is a relapse of an incurable disease that I’ve had for thirteen years and will have the rest of my life. And it’ll only get worse as I get older. Colorectal cancer runs in my family, so there’s that to look forward to. I kind of play it off for laughs, because it is kind of a funny disease. I mean, it’s poop. Poop’s funny, so if I have to deal with sudden and desperate squirts, I’m gonna crack a joke or two (HAHA NUMBER TWO IS POOP AND NICOLE ALMOST POOPED HER PANTS AT THE IRON MAN 3 PREMIERE AND HAD TO GO HOME TEN MINUTES INTO THE MOVIE LULZZZZ<–or something like that). But the truth is that sometimes I get really overwhelmed with the reality of this godforsaken disease. How it’ll affect my future, my family, my children someday. I mean, I haven’t been able to leave the house for almost two weeks. How am I going to manage when I have kids to take care of? What if I don’t always have a boss who’s understanding and flexible with my condition?

And the cruelest twist of fate, the one thing that makes me feel better (walking and hiking and generally being active) is out of the question. Not only do I not have any energy for it, but my joint pain is out of control. Crohn’s is an inflammatory disease, and that means a shit ton (ahem) of swollen knees and fat sausage fingers. I’m bloated up like Violet Beauregarde right now. I can barely bend my legs to sit and stand, let alone hop on the elliptical. I literally sat in an Epsom salt bath last night and cried because I’m just exhausted. The pain, the cramps, the fatigue…it’s overwhelming.

Literally me, except instead of dwarves I have depression and diarrhea.
Literally me, except instead of dwarves I have depression and diarrhea.

It’s just one thing after another, and I’m drowning in it. I’m gasping for air…like, literally. My therapist has me doing “bellybreathing” exercises to help me quell my anxiety and reduce my stress levels. Okay, gasping is a little dramatic, but it never fails to get weird looks from whomever I’m with when I start hee-hooing like a Lamaze coach.

Truth is, I don’t even want to blog anymore. I don’t feel like there’s a point. Who would care what I have to say when I don’t even care? All I do is babble and wax ridiculous about my life. It’s weird and exhibitionist of me. I’m just sitting here typing away, wearing the virtual face I keep in the jar by the door. WHO IS IT FOOOOOR?

I have all these drafts saved, all these stupid stories and inane anecdotes, but I don’t even want to share them. I don’t even want to post this, but people keep encouraging me to blog and share my feels and let it out, so fine.

Honestly, I do feel a little better today. I feel like I’ve turned the corner on this flareup and I might be on the road to remission again. I’m changing my meds soon, so I may be able to get the Big D under control soon. And, gasp, I’m even going back to work like a normal person instead of tweeting from the bathroom in between uncontrollable GI explosions.

Sorry, that was gross. HAHA POOP FUNNY.

Agreed, Emma. Agreed.

Anyway, back to an earlier point. I have to start writing again. I’ve been reading a lot on my downtime (Neil Gaiman has kept me so much company during excruciating bathroom episodes, I owe him such a debt), and my brain is overflowing with ideas…now I just have to get them down. And the best way to do that? Start writing. So I’m going to try to make it a weekly thing. I know, I’m terrible at sticking to deadlines and extended plans, but I’m really going to try. I’m thinking about doing Fiction Fridays. I’ll post something I’ve written during the week, and you guys help me tear it to shreds and make something glorious out of the ashes of what was. Deal?

I’m in if you’re in.

Anyway, enough about me. The worst part of this period of being incommunicado is that I’ve been a terrible friend, to both my online and IRL people. So if you’ve stuck around this long, bless your heart. Please, get me up to speed on how things are going. Tell me the best news you’ve gotten this year and the scariest nightmare you’ve had.

via Dharma Comics
via Dharma Comics

15 thoughts on “Depression and Diarrhea: The Glamorous Life of Nicole Mojan

  1. The worst part about not being able to cross the weird dopplegangery-alternate-universe divide? I can’t give you a hug right now.

    Not that you’d want it. When I’m overwhelmed I pretty much have a DON’T TOUCH ME EVER mantra going.

    So maybe the long distance virtual hug is best.

    Glad you are writing. It’s catharsis. Even when it’s crap. Or even better, when it’s about crap.

    I’m always here to read what you write (and, you know, my email inbox is a cozy place for those shy pieces to hang out…wait…that’s so very Chester Creeper. Apologies.)

    I’ll quit rambling now. Good to see you here. And anywhere.

    1. Nicole Mojan Pirshafiey

      Blessings on you, blessings on your family, blessings on your cow!

      Seriously, bless your heart. I’m just past the overwhelmed point to where I can accept hugs and extended hands to help pull me up, and I’ll gratefully and greedily take all of them, even long distance virtual ones. ESPECIALLY long distance virtual ones, because then I can go hide again when I start to inevitably feel panicky and smothered.

      My Shy Guys are going to be paying your Chester Creeper a visit soon, methinks. THANK YOU for extending that invite. You’re the tops, you know that? ♥

      1. No, YOU’RE the tops, even when you feel like the bottoms.

        (haha – butt references among the poop references. NAILED IT.)

        Chester Creeper looks forward to your Shy Guys. (worst children’s story EVER.)

        PS, if you ever want to hear about weird diets that could possibly help, my mom is on one now that is actually helping her with a myriad of issues. But I will only share deets if you ask for them, cause I don’t want to be one of THOSE people. 🙂

        1. Nicole Mojan Pirshafiey

          I most certainly would love to have diet deets shared with me. I’m kind of just sticking to “unprocessed healthy foods as natural as I can get them” right now, but more guidelines and structure would definitely be an improvement! I’ll Shy Guy your Chester Creeper soon.

          PS: I swear, one of these Fiction Fridays I’m going to write the children’s story of Chester Creeper’s Visit from the Shy Guys.

  2. Keep blogging. Someone else that is suffering with crohn’s will read your post and not feel so alone. And someone like me, who has been where you are today, will come tell you that you are strong enough to make it through this. That it gets better. That its hard, and it takes time – sometimes way too much time. But it will get better.

    1. Nicole Mojan Pirshafiey

      Wow. That helped immensely…I almost feel like a got a visit from Future Me. Like that Robert Downey Jr. car commercial where he keeps meeting versions of himself.

      Thanks, Future Me. Past Me and Present Me really needed that pep talk and perspective.

  3. Bev

    Wanna know a secret? You are a “tiny speck on a tiny rock floating in the middle of space.” And that’s the best thing ever. See, life has no purpose–no purpose whatsoever, except what you give it. Why should you blog, why should you share all those drafts you have hidden away? Because that kind of expression is how life becomes meaningful; it’s the link between you and others that forms and strengthens connections, that forges new pathways. See? Your writing is totally, like, a neurotransmitter, and we’re all hungry dendrites waiting for the chance to hook into your axon-ial reality. So if you don’t write, we all suffer from a lack of serotonin, and you know what that causes–depression.

    Also, holy shit, you have been having a hell of a time and I’m sorry I haven’t been around more.

    Also, who recommended the “no residue” diet? Your doctor, or your dry cleaner?

    Also, I’m fairly sure Freud would have predicted a relation between depression and constipation, not diarrhea–with that much “anal expression” going on, you should probably be a serial killer.

    Also, if Fiction Friday doesn’t happen, I WILL CRY. You don’t want to make me cry, do you?

    Also, this comment was sponsored by Bulleit Rye Whiskey. Mmmm, whiskey.

    1. Nicole Mojan Pirshafiey

      This. This is what I needed to hear.

      GD, Bev, I can’t wait to sit and have a finger (or fist) of whiskey with you and wax redpandasophical someday.


  4. MK

    Coley joon, it’s all good when you write. It’s alive and with all the pain, still soothing. Does that make sense? You have to write, like a dancer has to dance. You’re too talented not to do it. Get it out there and it will live on its own and make people happy 🙂

    Love you,

    1. Nicole Mojan Pirshafiey

      M, you are the BEST. Honestly getting a little verklempt over how supportive you’ve been, now and consistently in the past. I’m trying my best to be my best, and encouragement like this will help me keep that focus. ♥ Seriously. THANK YOU.

  5. As I told you, I am so down for Fiction Fridays and general blogging-ness. I am a big believer in the cathartic powers of writing (and actually, studies show that it is helpful), so blog and write away! Even if you feel like it’s pointless or that no one is listening, even if the posts remain as drafts, it’s something for you – for you to get those feelings and crazy thoughts all out. Your words are never worthless. 🙂

    I’m so sorry to hear that things have been tough, but as you’ve already proven, you’re more than capable of getting through it and rising above. Remember how bad things seemed last year, and you made it through that and gotten to a better place! I am always impressed by your ability to maintain a sense of humor through all of this and by your honesty. Just know that you have little cheer squad over here in your corner of the internet. Stay strong, Nicole!

    1. Nicole Mojan Pirshafiey

      Fiction Fridays: they’re definitely going to be a thing! (Shit, I’d better get writing.) I still need to check out that link you sent me, but I’m all in, friend!

      And seriously, thanks for your kind words. You’re totally right, writing is such a therapeutic release…man, if I bellybreathe while I write, I’m gonna be the most blissed out son of a beesting you’ve ever seen.

      But for real. THANK YOU. It’s a good reminder to look back and keep that perspective and try to keep ascending. Mwah!!!

  6. simbeau

    I’m just gonna comment here in point form rather than coherent sentences. I wrote a couple of those already today and I don’t think I’ll have any more for two or three years.

    I really am happy you have your new gig. I’d love to have anyone pay for what I write, even 140 characters at a time.

    I was wondering why I hadn’t read anything from you in a long while or heard much from you at all. I know I’m thousands of miles away but I’m also there right beside you, too. If it’s 4am and you need desperately to talk please call me. I have hundreds of unused minutes each month and we both know free ways to get around that as well if necessary. You have become a friend I brag about and love when you comment on things I say because I respect you so much and like knowing you want me in your life. And I miss you when you’re not around. 😦

    I know finding things to write about is hard. I bought this ( on the weekend and I want it to become the stepping stone for me each day, letting out the waves of frustration and metaphor that consumes us both.

    Curious: What meds are you on? Message me if you don’t to post it here.

    “Why even bother, what am I but a tiny speck on a tiny rock floating in the middle of space?” – I get this. As a “preaching” atheist I REALLY get this. Lying in bed this thought has been known to kick me in the stomach until I can’t roll over let alone crawl to the kitchen for a glass of milk. I keep reminding myself of the conversation between Jack Palance and Billy Crystal in “City Slickers”.

    I’m trying to find it. So are you. Don’t be despondent because you don’t know what it is yet but know that you have tried things and found it isn’t them. That in itself is progress.

    Thomas Edison on creating the tungsten filament for the light bulb.
    “I have not failed 700 times. I have not failed once. I have
    succeeded in proving that those 700 ways will not work. When I have
    eliminated the ways that will not work, I will find the way that will

    Ironic that you have Crohn’s is an inflammatory disease. I have psoriasis, also an inflammatory disease. I let it run it’s course, unchecked, for 39 years. I have recently begun a regiment that has cleared a great deal of my skin and made the pain in my knee and my arms bearable. I know that my body will eventually find a way to get around the meds I’m currently on and it will come back with a vengeance but that isn’t going to stop me from enjoying the freedom to wear short sleeved shirts and shorts for the first time since I was 14 years old. You’ll get through this and one day it will come back again later. There’s nothing we can do about it but it doesn’t mean we should stop striving for the days when the symptoms are minimized and we can walk down the street with the knowledge that no one sees us as different.

    If in the end that doesn’t work then maybe this will. I am forever a better person for having you in my life but not only that, there are dozens of others that feel the same way and hundreds of lives you’ve touched that will never have the chance to tell you how awesome you are.

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