Depression is interesting. I like to dissect concepts and figure out how the pieces work together, and depression is one I’ve had too much experience with over the last 12 years. Let me begin by saying I can only speak from my own experience, so please do not take my word as gospel.
In my life, depression has led to becoming sedentary where I normally love being active. Hiking, sprinting–as a kid, I loved anything cardio-related. Playing basketball, even just shooting hoops alone, was my favorite way to spend P.E.
Depression continually makes goals seem unachievable. I’m a goal-setter by nature, but I always seem to fall short. This morning, I reread journal entries from my senior year of high school (2008). I wrote out a plan of how I wanted my life to go. I completely failed my goals for 2009 – 2012. 2013, though: “Start doing whatever it is I’m supposed to do with my life.” Well, that definitely happened, and completely by accident. 2014/2015: “Get married.” Ha. Well, the plan to elope in August didn’t work out, and then I went and fucked everything up, so the May wedding isn’t happening either. Great job, KaLeena. You’re a real rockstar.
Depression makes me pull away from people. I’m a listener more than a talker in most friendships, but I do know the value of sharing my thoughts in work-related circumstances. I also know how important it is to communicate and maintain friendships. However, sometimes I just don’t want to. I don’t want to talk. I don’t want to reach out. When I get angry, I don’t lash out; I remain quiet until the other person has said her piece, and then I calmly, quietly ask her to leave. For as long as possible, I sit alone until I decide my next course of action. That action is rarely to see other people.
Depression makes me obsessive. My thoughts circle back to the same mistakes again and again and again, until I feel my life has been completely destroyed by one circumstance, one decision. I change out my jewelry to match my mindset. I change my sleeping habits. I write in paper journals, always coming back to the same thought. Right now, I sleep with a journal under my pillow. After I wake up from stressful dreams, I write all of the things I can’t say to anyone. After a stressful day, the same thoughts go down on paper. Each entry usually ends with a devastated apology, admission of crushing guilt, and a desperate plead that only the Universe can answer. The same ten words every day.
Depression makes me anxious. I’m constantly on the verge of shutting down as responsibilities pile higher. The only thing keeping me from succumbing to my anxiety is knowing that behavior is the reason I’m in this place right now. In the past, I’ve shut down, become emotionless, relying on objectivity and logic. Logic like, “This is an effort that I am unprepared for and is causing an inordinate amount of stress in my life, therefore, I should allow someone else to take over the project instead.” Sounds logical right? Except that way of thinking has no place where matters of the heart are involved, which is where I always apply it.
Depression makes me tired. Depression emphasizes my physical aches. Depression makes me abhor the concept of food. Depression makes me hate myself when I do eat, when I know I’m tired, when I know I hurt, and when I know in my logical, analytical mind that my life is unhealthy but I don’t have the energy or the willpower to make a change.
I saw the psychiatrist one week ago. I’ve been on lamotrigine for 7 full days. I know not to expect things to get better immediately, but I thought that I was doing better on my own. I thought I was cycling upward. As May approaches, though . . . as my mentor starts obsessing over the details of her daughter’s wedding and telling me about the dresses and the decor and getting the venue ready for 15th, I’m heading downward again. I don’t want my mentor to have to hide her excitement–she should be allowed to be happy and enthusiastic and proud of her daughter. I can hide my internal destruction as everything she says reminds me of the wedding I’m not going to have in May, of the friendship and the marriage I ruined.
God, I feel like this is being too bold, too vulnerable to an audience of strangers. I’m sorry I obsess so much. It can’t be terribly fun to read. I guess I need to make one of my goals for today calling the therapist my psychiatrist recommended. It’s easier to write these things down than to say them, though. No one knows if you’re crying if they can’t see your face.