Tag Archive | depression

Hahihay

Hey blog. I didn’t think I’d be back this soon. I stopped writing as I felt I had outgrown the medium. It was part of an old life and identity that I wanted to move away from. I did think I’d do a Christmas post on how well I’ve done but that was the only intention. A little time ago I realised I missed writing in English and had nowhere to do it. Still, l didn’t come back – the earlier points remained valid. I didn’t want to write like I used to write. I wanted different.

Now, however, back with the most throwback post imaginable, coming from the fresh and less fresh depths of misery.

This August has been shit. It’s been shit like no August before. It’s so shit that that we are not talking of dog poo but an entire binload of elephant poo.

Last night was nostalgic. I hadn’t been depressed or truly anxious for a long time in the way that used to be a monthly occurrence in my previous life. Lying in bed in a state of immbolity but mind racing, heart pounding, no thought, just pain. Even the tranquilizers did not help. I felt like on stimulants. I got up and walked to the window and remembered how these states used to be so frequent before. Then they disappeared and since last December I’ve been mostly depression-free with negligible anxiety episodes.

But right now, all the old stuff is right back here with me. The desire to stop existing. Not caring. The thought that it’d be better for everyone and a solution to many problems if I stopped being. Usually thoughts of my cat would interfere with this line but not this time. I knew she’d be alright and well-looked after and wouldn’t miss me all that much. Just thoughts.

Today, the physical passivity and inner anxiety has turned to bouts of crying and not being able to eat. Or when managing the brave feat, crying straight into my stew. Also old familiars.

For a while now, I experience an absurd tendency to cling to things of the past, even the bad and trivial ones. They are familar, secure and don’t seem half as bad from my current perspective. Nature and the videos of Elton John have been my few comforts.

The other day I got myself new earphones. The last ones had broken from excessive use. What I did: I didn’t have the heart to throw the old ones away because I had spent so many happy hours with them. My sentimentality and nostalgia are skyrocketing because the thing I’ve wanted more than anything else has been for my old life back, the quiet upward journey I was making out of the social deprivation and into the light, which sadly got interrupted.

I need help very much but there is no one to turn to. The local mental health professionals are not to my taste and I don’t think I even need a professional. Just someone like myself who gets it. And doctors won’t and can’t do nothing because it is not drugs but understanding I’d like to find. I knew the stress I’ve lived with for a long time would cause something to snap eventually and I guess that was the snap.

Maybe I feared worse. This is getting off lightly because it is familiar. Misery like that. It’s not getting off though. It’s like Act 1, Scene 5. There’s loads and worse of it ahead. I’m afraid.

I feel very bad, but I also know that once it won’t be elephant poo any more, I will be an altered person, whether worse or better I do not know. Some people might have noticed a few early signs already, like my reduced fear of things I used to fear. Much has become insignificant that seemed a big deal and vice versa.

The biggest of the lot is that I don’t care about my social anxiety half as much any more. It’s peripheral now. And this, I guess, is some positive side-effect of having your life turned to elephant shit.

wahgahjaphjsph

I’ve been feeling very restless since Friday, grumpy, irritable, unable to do anything but unable to sit still. I had no idea what caused it at first, but later figured it’s an excess of my amazon energy (I’ve switched to that term over saying masculine energy because I’m about as masculine as a tomato). I haven’t had a struggle in a while and I’m somewhat used to there always being some serious unpleasantness breathing down my neck. So when there isn’t, when all I can do is sit back and be chill, some days my brain starts missing my battles.

It’s not a healthy longing but there it is. I only cheered up this morning when I remembered I could make myself a boat licence and discovered they had course material up online. Then I wrestled with that some, full of spirit and dreams, but it seemed so hard for a total outsider to enter into that world, so the excitement soon wore off and was replaced with the conclusion that a paddle board is my limit.

On a good, even great and awesome, note: I discovered I got a button to turn off anxious responses. I cannot use it, of course, but who’d have thought I even had it? It’s like this: I start thinking of something I want to do, then a cascade of anxiety drowns it out, I’m terrified and decide “I can’t do that, oh no way!”, and then, one time I glimpsed a new path, a path that completely cut the anxiety and made me feel brave and able. Just a switch of a button and the thought changes, with a parallel road opening up.

This vision has appeared to me twice recently. It’s no more than a pretty vision at this point, I cannot press that button to take that path, but it’s a new hope. I’m so very convinced that recovery has to be a bottom-up process. I could never have made any progress with my social anxiety if I didn’t build up confidence first. It was always completely ineffective, these countless times I told myself “You be brave, you talk more, don’t be a coward, don’t be shy, you go and do this hard thing”. It never worked. I tried and I failed or immediately went back to the same level after my feat of bravery. It was just operating on a fight or flight mode. It wasn’t doing anything to the source of my fear. Now when I’ve dealt with the roots of it for the past years, things are showing improvement. Not massive great improvement, of course, but it’s at least hopeful.

Also and furthermore: I haven’t been depressed since December. I remember how astonished I was last summer about getting a depression-free month. Now I’m going on my fourth month and I don’t know which is the normality any more. Is that a good thing?

Back in June I was certain I’d be losing it and pinched myself every day – mentally – not believing it is still there. Maybe I did that in December or January, but I’ve stopped by now. I still don’t dare to think it will last because I’ve been struggling with depression my entire adult life, but there are moments when this depression-free state feels like the new normality, whereas the times of depression have acquired the taste of slight alienness. Oh, I remember them well, but there’s an element of looking back sometimes.

Of course I still feel negative emotions and anxiety but that’s a different matter and much more bearable because it doesn’t last very long.

I think I just have to keep myself away from new “battles”. I’m quite certain I’d be depressed in no time if I started car school in April.

All this is awesome progress. There’s been regress too. What started out as an effective strategy of not worrying about exams or presentations in advance, by blocking them out of my mind until relevant, has turned into excessive avoidant behaviour with all things I consider potentially emotionally impactful. I simply won’t do them. I push them far far far into the future, ignore them and excuse this behaviour with whatever excuse is available “I’m too happy today to be dealing with THAT” or “I’m anxious as is, I don’t want THAT on top of things”. This sort of thing has gone too far. It’s not good I push going to buy glasses forward a year or don’t read an e-mail I fear I may not like for two weeks. I understand why this behaviour developed. It was the only way to stay sane under heavy stress, but it’s gone too far. On the other hand, it doesn’t feel like the most pressing fault, even if there’s a lot to be said in favour of getting unpleasant things over and done with quickly.

Such news to report now.

Bad times and the hard times

My evening depression’s back! So hello, pet, how’s it been? Haven’t seen you around lately. Take a seat, let’s talk of life and love. Have you got your instruments of torture with you? I see that you do, good. I missed you, you know. Your morning sibling paid me many calls last weeks. Why did you stop? She’s so much worse than you. Let me have you, if I must have one.

*

That’s when I first began to suspect I had depression. It came in the mornings and I didn’t want to wake up. It felt like being under an iron press. Generalized ache in the gut and the chest. Skin stripped away. Staring blankly at the pillow’s corner for an hour. Letting songs play on repeat but not hearing them. People being kind and bringing presents, but not being able to feel. Everything a chore, except breathing:

  • do your work
  • do your home work
  • make a hairdresser appointment
  • buy that Elton ticket already
  • clean the floor
  • clean the kitchen table
  • go and make a sandwich
  • set up your birthday table
  • act normal
  • wash your hair
  • write a response to a person who asked if I felt more hopeless

I didn’t feel more hopeless. To feel hopeless, you need a conception of hope, a source and subject. I was under the press. It was generalized pain. Hope didn’t enter into it.

One night I experienced the first sign of the press lifting. I could peek into the cause a little but it was too painful. I drew back to prefer the generalized ache. Then I got ill. Physically. Some minor viral infection, which turned out to be my unexpected medicine for depression. I had an excuse to lie in bed all day and ask myself off work too.

Now it comes in the evenings again. Fewer things are chores and I manage to do more than stare at pillow corners. I do feel beaten up from the preceding weeks but healing.

I’m not certain if I will make a full recovery or if this is just a brief pause, but I feel optimistic. I was afraid I couldn’t get out of this with my own resources any more. But I did and this is a success.

I’m afraid to disturb this equilibrium though. I try to think little and dream little. Today I came up with some ideas for what work I’d like to do in the future in addition to/instead of what I do now or have already decided to do, but I shut it down a bit. I don’t feel well enough to plan and dream yet.

I’ve done all my homeworks reasonably well though and slept well and ate tolerably. And that’s as much as I’m going to expect of myself until I stop feeling beaten up. Really, a huge pat pat for me for doing all my homeworks so well and tomorrow’s ones today. I’m normally not doing anything a day before the deadline.

Head aches

This morning I woke up very depressed. It also happened yesterday and normally never happens.

My depressive slumps are always worst in the evenings and my mornings are usually the brightest times of the day. Often I wake up feeling good but gradually remember things and think myself into a state of depression by afternoon or evening. Last two days I’ve been very cheerful during the day. Almost hypomanic and carefree. I suppose the misery has to go somewhere and the hypomania is a desperate attempt to drown it out. It isn’t a truly sincere cheerfulness, even if it feels so at the time.

It did feel so at the time. Last night there was a beautiful crescent moon over the sea and I felt like twirling around at the seaside to my favourite Elton songs. But sadly, even the darkest areas of the seaside don’t feel private enough for dancing. My social anxiety was as low as it can possibly be. I was vibrant, friendly and talkative. None of the difficulties seemed to matter. I’m still not sure that they matter.

Later I watched three episodes of War and Peace with Anthony Hopkins as Pierre Bezukhov. I love him. His Pierre has always been my favourite but I’m enjoying it with even greater relish on a second viewing. Sometimes I don’t even listen to what he is saying but study the way he does a socially awkward person.

My favourite Pierre moment is when he says a brazen thing he doesn’t mean and asks himself immediately after: what did I say that for? I’ve rarely seen that done in a socially anxious person portrayal and it’s quite relatable. Sometimes I also feel it is my words that speak and not myself. Some of the things that come out of my mouth when I’m socially anxious are really not things I mean or think at all. I also like how he is unintentionally rude because he is too oblivious or awkward. I’m rude too sometimes, less for obliviousness (though that happens) but more for plain overpowering anxiety. I still recall woefully how I accompanied a girl to the train station once and it didn’t occur to me to offer to help with her luggage, even though she said that it was heavy and was obviously struggling. I was feeling so anxious I couldn’t operate on the level of situational cues and missed it completely. I can start conversations/topics too abrubtly instead of sliding slowly into them too. That’s a deliberate disregard of small talk though, so probably not relevant. Other than these things there is also much that is different in mannerism and I’m not really like Pierre, but he is definitely part of my tribe.

I’ve switched tribe in recent years. Maybe it’s not good for my mental health that my tribe includes people like Elton John, Hart Crane and Dylan Thomas and I should strive to be a balanced citizen and look up to people that hold it together better, don’t make spectacularly wrong life choices or resort to alcoholism and debauchery to drown out the world. I do look up to them, but they are not my tribe. My tribe is people that make mistakes, emotional, sensitive, self-harming-in-the-process, struggling people. When I was younger, I couldn’t see it quite as broadly as I do now. I don’t drink almost at all, for example, and including an alcoholic in my tribe would have seemed quite alien. But it’s not about drink or drugs or whatever a person’s chosen way of drowing it out is. It’s about the emotionality and sensitivity underneath and having that struggle. Resorting to drink and drugs is just sad. That entire downward spiral is. I hope I’ll never have to know.

I think all weakness is the same weakness, really. It doesn’t matter what anyone has: eating disorder, alcoholism, butt implants, casual sex, drug addiction, obsessive working out, gambling, gaming addiction. It’s all the same root and what ends up being your thing is sometimes just a matter of upbringing and the kind of influence you have around and what your priorities or interests are. I’ve been fortunate to have so much good influences around me to protect me from many things like that – except for spectacularly wrong life choices – but I do have that weakness in me. And when you see things as connected, it’s easier to be sympathetic to weaknesses you don’t share, provided the person underneath is alright.

I think my way of drowing it out is to be totally passive and watch comedy or detective shows. But it could have been partying or food, so.