Two New Storms

Two New Storms

A Story by Carol Cashes

Katrina and Irene now live with me.





I have dysthymia.  I was first (properly!!) diagnosed in 2002.  When you look it up, every single time it begins:  “highly functioning depressive.”  Mostly I’m highly functioning" because I have no choice.  But many who know me forget about the depressive part.


I do not cry.  I do not mope and moan with back of hand to forehead, wailing “Why me?”  I usually have to tell my friends, even my mother, when I’m having a phase and have nothing to say or I have no opinion about anything.  My husband knows the signs and tries to “cook” me out of it!  I’ve gained five pounds in the last ten days (bless his pointed bald head!)


My symptoms are subtle and many times confused with who I actually am; however, the main symptom is…I.  Don’t. Care.  While a lot of depressives forgo hygiene and personal upkeep, in keeping with my contrary nature, I wear more makeup than usual. I fix my hair in different styles.  I polish my toenails and fingernails, changing the color every three days.  I fret if I don’t have the right shoes for whatever I’m wearing"which has to match exactly or I’m undone all day, and I never have the right shoes.  I become just this side of obsessed with my appearance.  I suspect it’s my brain’s way of attempting to fool me into thinking I’m really okay--“just get over yourself, already!  There are people with real problems”.


I was already two or three days into this last phase when my beloved Sophie had her stroke and I had to let her go.  Again, the “highly functioning” Carol was able to make the decision, take her to the vet and bring her home for burial with the three cats that preceded her.  She is the reason that I’ve been able to cry through this one.  But it did not change the other symptoms. 


My condition is why both my husband and I have thirty plus pairs of underwears--I don’t do laundry.  I do dishes because B. cooks and that’s only fair. I do not have small children and my cats use their litter box faithfully, so I seldom do floors.  I “wipe down” the bathroom, but only clean the toilet and the tub.  I go to work on time and do my job, perfectly executing all tasks as usual.  Did I ever mention that I’m extremely good at my job?  So good, that, in 2005 when I started my employment, I set up all files, hard copy and computer, and they are easily accessed, and daily tasks can be completed with little or no thought. I also changed the office from two people to one--myself.  I anticipate my employers’ needs and requests and only have to be advised of new or unexpected responsibilities.  I have worked for these wonderful people for thirteen years, and have educated them about how my job needs to be done, and within a very short period of time, was granted complete autonomy.  It’s the perfect job, and the last one I will have in this lifetime. 


I watch Netflix anytime I’m not doing something else, including at work because I’ve done my job and my employers don’t care--because I have done my job.  Sometimes, I bring my 172 coptic markers and color elaborate pictures with shading and color blending--because I’ve done my job.  When I’m home, I have the wireless headphones on and am not to be disturbed unless it’s important.  I’ve watched in excess of twenty movies in the last three weeks.  I cannot write--I have no stories.  I engage my mind so that it’s not blank, thus Netflix and books.  I say I don’t care, but it’s really that my mind is blank.  There is nothing original or of any interest even to me.


My medication works.  Many think that if you faithfully and properly take psychotropics (medication for mental conditions) you should be fine…all the time.  This myth rates right up there with not letting cats near your baby because they will steal their breath.  Medication allows you to have more good days than bad.  Medication, for some, allows them to function.  My medication keeps me from pulling away emotionally from the people I care about, and helps me to sleep.  It keeps me employed and in relationships until the phase passes"anywhere from three days to two months.


All this to say that, this Saturday B. and I went to the Humane Society because he told me that since Sophie’s death, the hole in his heart was too big and gaping and needed to be filled.  Not by replacing Sophie, but by refilling some of the hole she left.


*sigh* (wait…change that to *big sigh*)  We are now foster parents to two very small, too young for adoption…puppies.  The Humane Society had named them Katrina and Irene:  for those who don’t know, those were the names of some very fierce hurricanes.  We laughed.  We’re not laughing anymore.  The new breed predominant at shelters now is pit/terrier mix or terrier/pit mix.  They all look different, so I don’t know who is deciding the breeds of these dogs, but they…will…steal…your…SOUL!!!!


Irene is all of 2.5 pounds and Katrina is a whopping 4 pounds.  They are 4 weeks and 3 days old and require more attention and feedings than any human baby I’ve ever cared for.  Irene is marked very similar to Sophie and was the reason I even laid my hands on her, which, of course, was my undoing.  We gazed into each other’s eyes, and it was magical.  I’m aware of how corny and clichéd that reads, but truer words I have never typed.  As she is too young for adoption, we had to agree to foster her with a sibling, thus, Katrina.  To bond with Irene, she sleeps with me on the couch, I play with her and she is already almost “pad” trained.  Both are still grasping the concept of staying upright when they walk or run, they still want to suckle when they sleep and they poop in four hours more than they weigh.   I play and interact with Katrina, too, but Irene is the s**t, ya’ll.  She is wild as a March hare, has no fear, and will follow me to the gates of hell.  Katrina loves me, too, but as my husband is still recovering from back surgery, her mellow and loving nature makes her the perfect companion for him, so when the "storms" are not playing together, we each take our baby with us so that they know who they “belong” to.


Since my husband had to quit working in 2009 because of his back, he was with the animals 24/7 and I became an afterthought to them or just someone else in the house.  I don’t mind the cats being that way so much, that’s the way they are anyways…but I missed having a creature that existed and breathed for just me.  Irene is my creature.


I’m still in my brain-dead-don’t-care phase, but Irene is not having it!  So, instead of another week or two that I anticipated for this latest phase, I find that my brain is beginning to function again:   original thoughts and my sense of humor are returning.


I will be writing again in no time, probably late at night as Irene and Katrina play for about half an hour, sleep for maybe an hour, eat, poop, and the process begins again.  I figure since I’ll be up anyway, and not able to finish a movie from beginning to end to occupy my brain, original thought will return and I can once again amaze and delight my fans with fanciful stories or deep philosophical essays on the meaning of life and the ways of God and man.


Please, please send me Read Requests!  The Feed does not go back more than five or six hours and I know there has been a ton of work posted that I need to read.  I figure I can get two or three in before the “storms” wake up and I so want to return the love the Café has never failed to show me.







© 2017 Carol Cashes

Author's Note

Carol Cashes
I've been away, but I'm back

My Review

Would you like to review this Story?
Login | Register


very good writing my dear very good

Posted 11 Months Ago

Hahaha... what a whirlwind girl you are :)
I think most of us like to have a treat and make ourselves look extra special to lift us up out of the doldrums even if we don't have mental health problems.
Your husband is an angel and i would think he knows the real you better than you sometimes know yourself; and as for fostering those gorgeous puppies, i think you will never let them go and will end up adopting them. I just love dogs.. and usually i love them more than people :)

Posted 1 Year Ago

As always, fascinating, charming and intensely human.
Hell of a read, Carol!

Posted 1 Year Ago

Well welcome back dear Carol- you can bring the storms and be as dysthymic as heck as long as you stay here & keep writing! Welcome little Irene and Katrina- you are important babies & your mom and dad need you! Pictures of the puppy-noses please!! Great real story here. As a nurse, I know the difficultiy of getting this very insidious Depressive Disorder diagnosed and treated properly. Your loss of Sophie probably put it in high gear. Anyway, glad you're back & God bless all! :):)

Posted 1 Year Ago

Carol Cashes

1 Year Ago

Yes, dysthymia is the hardest one to "pin down" because it doesn't manifest like other depressive di.. read more
Annette Pisano-Higley

1 Year Ago

So glad you're back! And those two babies are so darn cute! :):)
Hang in there, Miz Carol. You've enough experience with tough spots and dark clouds to get through. I wish I could analyze my "I don't care" periods as well as you do.

Posted 1 Year Ago

Carol Cashes

1 Year Ago

Yeah, I'm not frettin' this, I know what to expect and what to do while my brain is "on break": min.. read more

Request Read Request
Add to Library My Library
Subscribe Subscribe


5 Reviews
Added on September 5, 2017
Last Updated on September 5, 2017
Tags: nonfiction


Carol Cashes
Carol Cashes

Biloxi, MS

I'm very cynical, jaded, just this side of bitter and the only reason I haven't crossed that line is a good man loves me. I am extremely empathetic, but seldom sympathetic. I can be a ferociously lo.. more..


Related Writing

People who liked this story also liked..

A Widows Request A Widows Request

A Poem by Gee