This has been a tough week for me. I was reminded, yet again, that depression has more than just the stereotypical symptoms of sadness and a general feeling of no motivation. There’s also the constant exhaustion, feeling like you’re never waking up rested, a constant state of either paranoia or anxiety, and of course, a pile of steaming hot Take Everything Personally.
I was supposed to meet with a friend last week for dinner, but at the last second, I canceled on him because of something he’d said to me a few nights before. For some reason, I just couldn’t get it out of my head, even though I knew the way he wrote it probably wasn’t how he meant it. While I knew in my heart that he wasn’t the kind of person his comment was portraying him to be, my head thought it would play a game of Let’s Take This Personally and Overthink Things.
Yes, women generally overthink and over-analyze everything… but since I was diagnosed with clinical depression, I’ve discovered there are two levels. The normal level, which varies person to person, and the Drive Yourself Crazy level, which I deal with.
It’s a constant state of monitoring the things my brain says to myself, as I explained to my dad last week, that makes me so freaking tired all the time. I used to want to go out and have fun with friends, especially on weekends, but now? I look at weekends and I pretty much just see two full days with a huge chunk of time to sleep. I see naps. I don’t see lunches or dinners or movies with friends. It’s ridiculous that sleep wins out. Something I used to despise when I was a child (going to bed while it was still light out and all my friends were still out playing) is now something I crave. When I’m out running errands, coming or going to work, eating any meal, watching T.V., I look at the clock. I see 8 o’clock and think, I can go to bed now. I take my shower, I come out and tell my Mom I’m going to bed, and she looks at first the clock and then me and says, “Really? OK.”
I guess I’m getting a head start on being an “old person”? My point is, three paragraphs into this thing, is that depression fucking sucks. I’m so unbelievably sick of it sucking the life, literally, out of me. I drink a ton of water throughout the day, I exercise several times a week, I work full time at a job I adore with amazing women, I am freelance writing for magazines (which is what I actually went to college for), and I have very supportive friends and family. So to say that all that’s wrong with me is a chemical imbalance is just …almost humiliating. Because this thing that is so tiny – some chemicals in my body – has such a strong hold on my life.
Granted it’s better than it used to be. When I was 11/12 I slept with a knife under my pillow because I was terrified of my living situation and went to bed thinking maybe someday that knife would come in handy in another way. I cried myself to sleep every night, unbeknownst to my family, because I was so miserable and felt so unsafe and unhappy. I was so young I didn’t realize that I wouldn’t be in that situation forever. I didn’t see that there was going to be a way out. My way out definitely didn’t come quick enough, but it came. And it’s made me realize that NOW, now that I’m older, I have control over more of my life than I did when I was little. I am able to change things. But with the depression it’s 1) hard to remember that and 2) not let my lack of motivation get in my own damn way.
I’m 26. I do realize there is a way out and I’m beating this thing, slowly but surely. But at my really low points I forget that. I alienate people, isolate myself, shut the world out, and sleep. Probably too much, but what else takes the tiredness away? Thank God for my job. When I was little, school was my refuge, and now work is my refuge. They’re the only places I don’t think about the reality of my situation.
Does any of this even make sense? I guess I just remembered I hadn’t updated this thing in forever and now it’s turned into jumbledness. I’m so sad for myself sometimes, thinking about the friends I’ve lost as a side effect of the depression. Not wanting to go out, instead opting for my bed and the dark. Not wanting to text, because sometimes lifting my hand to touch the buttons is a LOT of effort. Not wanting to get dressed and look like I’m alive, because looking in the mirror reminds me of how unhappy with my appearance I am. And good Lord, feeling like (when I do go out) I’m annoying to my friends because I’m The Depressed One. Sometimes I can see myself from the outside, a silent hermit crab in her shell, not saying anything because I’m afraid it’ll sound like I’m complaining, or just generally sad. And who wants to be around a sad person? No one. This is what I tell myself. So I find myself canceling a lot of plans, which only adds to my lack of social life. Which only reminds me I need to force myself to do things if I’m ever to get back to who I used to be.
OK, I’ll end this here. I could’ve written this in my personal blog, but I figured maybe someone could benefit from somehow stumbling across this.