Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Re: Depression

Seeing as this is where I come to dump stuff that I write, I felt like this was one I should move over from Facebook (which I ordinarily keep private). It was cathartic to get out; perhaps someone else will find it cathartic to read.

Incoming wall of text. Fair warning; I'm going to be discussing depression.

Today, I graduated. Not in a good way; I went to the doctor's office because lately, I have been fighting one of my long time demons. If you have known me for a substantial amount of time, you know I suffer from depression. The severity of it has varied from year to year, but it was coming to a very nasty head. I was diagnosed as experiencing moderate depression with at-risk for severe. Thoughts were wandering where they shouldn't, I couldn't drag myself out of bed in anything close to a timely fashion, I haven't worked out in weeks, my work productivity was being severely impacted, I'd come home with a ball of anxiety in my chest and, in short, I just haven't been the same me many of you are used to.

Or maybe I have and you've not really noticed. Because, you see, I've gotten very good at hiding when I'm suffering. I have to. I work in a very publicly visible environment. I smile for the camera and add happy faces to most of my messages. I do my utmost to be polite and professional, or give a gentle, playful ribbing to my closest of e-friends. I lend an open ear and am always here to listen.

But what I rarely do is talk. For some people, depression is an intense feeling of loneliness. That isn't the case for me; while I do a really terrible job of socializing and creating a network for myself, it's not because I feel alone and that I can't relate. No, my depression is a raging bitch and likes to tell me that I don't deserve anything.

That's how it manifests for me, and why I hang on so long to things in my life I know are successes. Because I have to in order to survive. Small victories have to become big ones to me or they are otherwise meaningless because it is so easy for me to trivialize them or forget them altogether. I crave praise because it's completely tied to my self-worth and, when I'm at my worst points, I truly feel worthless. And telling myself otherwise just doesn't work.

So, today, I started medication again after twelve years of being off of it. I've scheduled counseling for next week. I am getting the help I need because, thank goodness, I am weirdly aware of my issues and when I need to resolve them. I am very glad for that quality because, if I didn't have it, I'd think taking these steps was some kind of failure on my part. Instead, I know, even if my brain doesn't want to accept it as such, that I took some very important steps today to getting better.

If you've gotten this far, thanks for listening. If you don't know what to say, that's okay; not everyone can or will understand the kind of thing I'm going through. If you want to do something, leave me something you like. Maybe it's a website you use to decompress. Maybe it's a ridiculously cute cat picture. Maybe it's your favorite meme. Whatever - I'll use this as a nice little pool for recovery for the next few weeks while my brain settles into a new chemical balance. I'm going to struggle, but I know I have met so many amazing, loving, thoughtful people who (somehow) think I'm worthwhile. And when I'm in this place, really all I need is a reminder.

Remember (and this is as much for me as it is anyone else who experiences the same thing): It's always lying to you.