Why Depression Is Such A Thief

So. This is a blog about mental illness. I started to write it because I wanted to scrape away some of the stigma about mental illness and show what it was like to live with manic-depression. The only thing is, I live with manic-depression. And I forget that sometimes, I am not always this picture of myself that I have in my head — the good picture — the high functioning, creative, well-spoken, well-written, witty, lovely, person.

The one who prolifically writes blog posts and does great video blogs and has a million awesome creative projects going and has a lot of great creative friends doing great things and tons of passion and energy and advocates for those who can’t, and spreads information about mental illness and addiction so people have a better understanding about what it really is so they can better work with and love and have relationships with those who have manic-depression and regular depression and alcoholism and ADD and OCD and schizophrenia and anxiety disorder and eating disorders and a bunch of mixtures of all of them.

No. I forget that sometimes, I am riddled with fear and anxiousness and caught up in my head. I am spun around by things that I have no control over and caught in a cycle of “thinking about this thing that is bothering me and getting really worked up about it in my head and worrying about the outcome and then realizing that I’ve been thinking about it a lot for way too long and man I’m really exhausted and wiped out by all the thinking and I am SO FUCKING TIRED AND SAD AND OVERWHELMED AND time for a nap.” Instead of the huge piles of laundry or the blog posts or the organizing or the errands or the 1,000 other things I need to get done. Yeah.

Wash. Rinse. Repeat.

The dreams are vivid and detailed and an hour feels like five minutes. But the energy to get up isn’t there. I pull the fleece around me some more; it’s chilly in here. The day looks sunny; I bet it’s actually pretty decent out, and I should walk to the beach or something, especially since the light is so very precious these days. But wouldn’t it be so nice to just .. close … my  … eyes … yes.

Nowadays, I don’t have the luxury of marijuana or alcohol to tone things down, so Facebook and Netflix and sleeping will have to do. Mostly sleeping in the autumn afternoon. And just like the vices before it, it’s a vicious cycle. Knowing how much time I’m pissing away — how much daylight and good, productive time I’m wasting is just more guilt and more anxiety on top of the the swimming pool of despair I can’t quite seem to get out of.

The thing is, I don’t know how to talk about it. I am not really contemplating anything drastic; I don’t want people to worry. It’s more grinding than that. It’s more Chinese Water Torture than waterboarding. I just sort of feel like a mattress is sort of on me all the time. Like it’s hard to breathe, but nothing life-threatening. A very slow-motion panic attack. It’s just wearing me down.

Much like my pain tolerance for physical pain is quite high, I’m finding that my threshold for mental anguish is also pretty up there. It takes me awhile to figure out the crisis point. And I shouldn’t even use the word “crisis.” Is finding “Freaks and Geeks” for the first time a crisis? No.

This is why I wonder if this was all a mistake. I want this blog to be honest and true — I wrote so many posts like this over at The Smussyolay — my first blog — and always wrung my hands worrying that someone would think I was headed over the edge.  I’m not. But this is it. This is what depression looks like sometimes. It will steal your appetite. It will steal your drive. It will steal your focus. It will steal your motivation.

But I’m here. I’m fine. This, too, shall pass. It does. It always does. Now, I have some “Freaks and Geeks” to watch.

Keep up with my head … type your email address in the box and click the “create subscription” button. You will NEVER get anything else from me (no SPAM, and you can opt out at any time).

Filed under: Memoir

Tags: depression, depression nap, sleep


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  • A beautiful description of depression. (Wait...that sounds odd. Can depression be beautiful?) I have been there so many times where I get so exhausted just walking to the bathroom, where sleep feels like escape (except when I can't sleep because I already slept so much). Thank God my depression is currently well-managed, because I'm scared of sinking into depression again. I also miss it, in a strange way. It hung on me for so many years that life feel strange without depression.

    Anyway. Sorry for rambling, but I wanted to say, I appreciate your posts. The more people are honest about mental illnesses, the better things will be for our fellow survivors.

  • Thanks. It's hard sometimes -- I don't want to worry people, but that's what this is supposed to be. An honest look. Not just when I'm feeling like Ms. Awesome Advocate. (And if that's rambling, then .... HA!)

  • I love this particular post. I feel like you held up a mirror to me and started writing. Have to say the part that resonated with me, ridiculous or no, was "Wash, rinse, repeat." When I describe my mania and depression, I always end it with that phrase. Not fu*king ridiculous, just reality. Ridiculous is pretending that I'm protecting others' delicate sensibilities by replacing the letter "c" with an asterisk, when it is quite clear that the word is "fucking". So be it. When I say "manic", people say "god, that must really fun.". Yes, running around wild eyed for three or four days on a creative or joyous high knowing that you are going to hit rock bottom and be filled with such extreme and often anxious inertia is akin to pixies and unicorns coming out of every orifice. Let's not forget rage mania - that's super duper fun. Mixed state? Cannot even describe the thrill of that ride. Want to experience it? Go on an alcohol bender: you're "I love you, man" to "I'm worthless" to "I will fuck you up, asshole" to "I love you man" to spending copious amounts of money that you don't have to having sex with someone that you just met or with someone you know (and will really regret doing it, but that's later) to I'm happy/I'm sad/I'm angry/let's get high/ let's . . . anything. And then the three day vicious hangover kicks in:vomiting, regret, HEADACHE, memory loss, fear, embarrassment, body feels like it's been run over by a truck, no bathing, bed or tv (when your head can take it).


    For us, anyway.

    Let's be clear: being Bi-Polar is an actual MEDICAL condition. Our BRAIN CHEMISTRY is measurably different. It is an illness, not a behavior or choice. Depression is also a difference in brain chemistry, conditionally related or not. PTSD is a formed reaction based on events in your past. You can be hard wired for Anxiety, or it is event related as well. And, there are varying degrees of all of these. We know this. Those peeking in the window or those watching and sneering, rolling their eyes and whispering, and pointing and judging do not.

    I'm coming off of the soapbox and the defensive rant now. Thank you for writing about the serious depression part of your (our) life. I am currently rocking the hell out of that right now and for someone to describe it so cleanly and plainly and easily understandable to a "layman" ;) and say it to and for me is such a gift. I am all of the things that you wrote. I am all of the things that I wrote.

    But, not always.

  • and this is me.

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