For the better part of 15 years now, I’ve dealt with mild to severe depression. It comes and goes seemingly randomly. I haven’t been able to pin-point the triggers and haven’t made much progress in controlling it. I don’t deal well with medication and I’m not big on talking, so the counseling angle is never very appealing. Usually, the episodes are around 2 weeks long and then fade and everything goes back to normal (which is probably still depressed, but manageable). For the last 8 months or so, however, it’s been more of a constant weight with some time-spans dipping into the severe range for extended periods. I think it’s time for me to get some help, but taking that first step is the hardest part.
What the last 8 months has shown me, however, is that most people in my life don’t even notice, or at least don’t get what is going on. And that makes it worse. Am I really that much of an asshole on a regular basis, that when things get really bad in my head, outwardly I’m not all that different? Those that do notice, tend to say the worst possible things that they could to a depressed person. I’m sure it stems from misunderstanding and a feeling of being unable to know what to do, but these are a few things that, at least from my perspective, should never be said to, or around, a depressed person:
- “Cheer up!” – That is one phrase, above all others, that makes just want to punch someone in the throat.
- “He’s grumpy today” – Grumpy? Talk about trivializing. Ugh.
- “He’s just being a dick today” – Yeah, while I had headphones on at work (nothing play on them) and a coworker (who is also a close friend) said that to a bunch of folks (including my boss) who were in his cubicle (next to mine).
- “What’s your problem?” or “Why are you so miserable?” – I’m not going to answer with “I am depressed”. So, my non-answer will just lead to the statements above anyway by my avoiding the question.
- “Focus on the positive” – If I could do that, I wouldn’t be a depressive. My brain doesn’t allow that.
- “I’m praying for you” – Just…don’t.
Some suggestions of things that might be somewhat helpful, or at the least not hurtful:
- “Is there anything I can do to help?” – Probably not, but at least it’s a non-accusatory thing to say.
- “Sorry that you’re dealing with this.”
- “I’m here for you if you need anything”
- Say nothing at all
So, I guess I just wanted this to serve as a reason (not an excuse) for the way I respond (or don’t respond as it were) to the various things that life throws my way. Take it for what it’s worth, or don’t take it. Either is fine. When it’s bad, I internalize. I don’t talk. I don’t want to talk. And trying to make me talk makes it worse. But saying stuff like what is on the first list above should be the very LAST thing anyone should do. But…they still will.
(actually…a lot of days have been UN-days lately)
So, upon reaching another milestone (or I should say 23,343,648,000 milestone) is seems natural to sit back and take a little ‘life inventory’. ..
40 trips around the Sun!
Those trips have been educational. The bumps and bruises along the way have molded me into the person I am now. It almost seems like these first 40 were just a preparation for a life that starts now. I feel like I can take the things I’ve learned, apply them to my life, and live better for the next 40. At least that’s the plan!
Learn, learn, learn, and then learn some more. I don’t have any grand delusions of making a huge impact on the whole world (though at one time I did – at least I hoped). However, if I can be a positive example on my little circle of influence, then maybe the exponential ripple will travel far. Constant learning and growing, that’s the plan!
Happiness! There’s nothing more important, in my opinion. I’ve seen the darkest of the dark in my own mind at times during these 40 trips. So I’ve learned to value the importance of just being happy and content. I intend on traveling these next 23,343,648,000 miles as happy as I can possibly be. I will try to take life’s lumps as they come, handle them, chalk them up to experience and learn to be happy through it all. Life is way too short to waste a single day in misery. I only wish I’d learned that sooner!
Lessons yet to fully learn: Patience & tolerance to name two (oh and to cut back on the road rage!). Always more to work on in those two areas for me.
So with that, how about a stupid little poem:
40 trips around the sun
Some were tough but most were fun
Don’t know how many I’ve left to run
maybe 40 more before I’m done?
Well, here we go again. I’ve been in a down-mode for quite a while now. It’s left me feeling completely unmotivated. I just don’t really get it this time. I don’t feel overly sad, actually, I FEEL kind of content overall. I just lack any kind of motivation to do the things I usually like to do. Exercise, take photos, write, etc. I dunno. I’m sure it’s some kind of seasonal affective disorder, but the random nature of it bothers me. It doesn’t seem to sync up to the same times every year. All I do is work, go home, sit on my ass, get up the next day and do it all again. I feel like this cycle is endless and there’s nothing I can really do about it.
I really do not care about being comforted by mythology. I’d rather have the harsh truth and learn how to live with it, than believe myths that are just band-aids to cover reality.
This statement popped into my head today, so I figured I’d share it. It really represents the realist in me. Most people misinterpret my realism for negativity. I do try to remain positive in general, but when life experience is combined with evidence, a lot of times reality just isn’t that positive. I firmly believe that I’m not being negative, just realistic.
In the case of this quote, I’m obviously referring to religious belief. To me, I feel a lot of believers hold those views as a comfort. A security blanket if you will. They try to run and hide from the inevitable reality that we all live in. The fact that each of us will have to face our own demise. There’s no escaping it for any of us. I prefer to accept that when I’m gone, I’m gone. It’s helped me a lot lately to value each day more. I live a much fuller life now. Today is a certainty…tomorrow is not. So, today I chose to live the HELL out of life.