A journey to San Francisco to become no less than Me. (BLOG REBOOT: Former site of Hairy Legs.)

Posts tagged ‘mental health’

I’m tired, and kind of sad.

It’s always a good idea to write a blog when you’re in a good mood and have a positive outlook on the world.  You’re putting good energy and advice out there, and probably writing something that might actually be a pleasant experience to read.

It rarely happens.

When you’re in a good mood, you just ride the waves of your current awesome events and experience life.  You don’t necessarily feel the need to sit in a darkened room with your fingers alternately resting on the keys and on your temples, pointing your examination inwards and pontificating on page what exactly went wrong.  I find it’s only a depression that makes me slow down and take stock.  Necessarily, that makes the majority of my writing dark, negative, boring and awful.

That’s not to say that I’m a dark, negative, boring and awful person.  I spend a lot of my time on the upper end of the scale, going around doing positive things for my community and fun things with my friends.  Just last night, I went out with a couple of friends, wore some seriously anachronistic hats, chemically altered my perception just a smidgen, and had a rousing time on the town.  How can a pirate and a repressed englishman from the 1890’s not delight?

But you don’t write about these things, you just do them.  Well, unless you’re that irritating facebook sort that feels the need to update whenever you’ve successfully completed laundry, or made it out of the DMV in one piece*, or woken up, or are going to bed, or stumbled across a particularly impressive bowl of onion soup.  (*There are some allowances for the DMV thing, as making it out alive is sometimes an impressive accomplishment, and also there are some fertile joke breeding grounds there if you don’t mind your humor a little warmed over from the 90’s.)

The point here is, I’m sorry.  I have a lot of guilt and shame attached to dumping out my negative shit on the internet because there is already so much of it here, and I just don’t like adding to the landfill.  Furthermore, I’m an adult now.  My prefrontal lobe has developed, and now, it’s easy enough to distinguish the difference between

1) an emotional/spiritual apocalypse of doom and depression and angst, and

2) my brain chemistry being kind of temporarily fucked due in part to my hormone levels and in part because my meds are being adjusted.

Like, I get it.  Logic is engaged.  I know in my brainmeats that this isn’t an eternal state of ugly feels, despite the fact that the depression is inherently just engineered to feel like it’s going to stretch out for an eternity and there’s no hope of ever recovering.  That’s why it’s called a depression, that’s why it’s so effective at being the horrible thing that it is.  If I could see the light at the end of the tunnel from where I’m standing, it wouldn’t be a depression.

As far as facts and figures are concerned, I get that I’m feeling icky, due to physiological factors beyond my control, and it will pass.  I understand that this isn’t the end of the world and eventually I’ll swing right back on up to feeling like that superman who can handle eighteen thousand things at once (for better or worse).  I understand that, until that happens, for the meantime, the best I can do is ride it out, hope it’s not my meds doing this to me but some other factor (so I don’t have to switch my meds AGAIN) and try to not to anything destructive.

But fuck it’s hard to keep some perspective when I’m like this.

It’s like being in a house of mirrors.  The state I’m in means that my energy is very, very low.  That doesn’t translate to “I’m feeling lazy”. What it translates to is, “I don’t have the capacity to process very much without getting immediately burnt out and ragged.”  What it translates to is “it does not take very much to overwhelm me right now, and overwhelm is very very bad for a mind that is teetering dangerously close to suicidal and self-harm kind of thinking.”  What it translates to is “too much stimulation and input very easily leads to panic attacks and uncontrollable lashing out.”  What it translates to is that I need to be very gentle with myself and take a lot of things off my plate.

That kind of self care is very, very difficult for a Type A personality. You get crippled by the shame.  People like myself constantly have a tittering demon on our shoulders telling us that we could be using our time more effectively.  That’s good on most days, because it means a lot gets accomplished.  On the (rare) depressive days, that leads to panic, guilt, shame, anxiety, frustration, and suicidal thinking.  If you had an overbearing schoolmarm breathing down your neck 24-7 telling you what a useless lazy sack of sludge you were, and if one day you got exhausted enough to slow down enough that you felt like the words she was saying might actually carry a grain of truth, you might lose your will to carry on a little too.

I think that’s the word I’m scared of more than anything.  Laziness.  Just about that second that I realized how fast life goes by,  I realized that I had such a limited amount of time in this life to actually accomplish the things I want to do.  On the days when I have the energy to go out and make things happen, that’s a motivating kind of thought.  On the days where finding my shoes is a task that crumples my resolve like tin foil, it’s a sucker punch to the gut that sucks any and all life, positivity, motivation and enjoyment out of anything that I could be doing at any given moment.  It’s a mind-shattering realization, one that makes you feel futility in any endeavor, from going back to school to drawing your next breath.

So, my conclusion here is that manic depression is a really dangerous disease for Type-A sorts to have, because the downtime days are just so much more devastating to handle for someone who is so driven that absolutely almost nothing can stop you.  When something as simple as your own brain chemistry trips you up, and there is nothing you can do to fight it that doesn’t put your mental health in serious danger, it’s a real kick to your self-esteem, and that deepens your depression further.  It’s an exponentially folding, billowing well of tarry black darkness and shame that encompasses everything, chokes your air supply, snakes down your nostrils, tangles your limbs, and commands every sensory input until the only escape is sleep.  (Hey check out the imagery in that last sentence, I’m a depressed 17 year old with a livejournal.)

I think what I’m saying is, if I could relax for five minutes, maybe this whole depression thing wouldn’t be so fucked.

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