March Recap

Can’t believe I haven’t written in a month! Holy crap! I thought it’d been¬†maybe¬†two weeks, but no. A month. Wow.

The last few weeks have been kind of bizarre. I interviewed for two positions within the company. I completely bombed the one interview (it’s okay; I think we were equally disillusioned with one another). The second interview went well enough that they offered me the job. It’s an actual IT position, and they want to take one of my projects from my current job and expand it. I, of course, accepted without a second thought.

Beyond that, I’ve done sort of well with my writing. Devin and Patrick are both annoying me, so I keep revisiting old manuscripts to figure out what’s going on. I think I need to do a short time jump because Devin’s currently having the most mundane conversation with her mother. I have to remind myself again and again that I’m not actually starting this story over, that I’ve actually completed it a few times and there are things from previous manuscripts that should be saved.

Most of my journaling has been in a paper journal or in my head. I’ve not reflected much of my life in the last month just because I want nothing to do with most of it. I’m sincerely trying to do this one-day-at-a-time thing, but it’s hard. I’m programmed to focus on the future.

Currently, I’m in Dallas with my mom and a good friend I haven’t seen in years. I’m learning a lot from him that I can use toward my writing. In fact, this entire trip has been filled with things I can use toward my writing, including a fortuitous seating assignment on the plane ride over. A deep conversation with my neighbor taught me a lot about being a good leader, a good supervisor. Again, I may never use these things in my life off the page, but I can certainly apply them to my stories.

That’s the nutshell of this last month. I’m waiting on a start date for the new position. I’m excited to be starting the next phase of my accidental career. I also have an impending deadline to complete my manuscript. Wherever I happen to be by that date is where the story will stop. I have a goal in mind and it’s going to take some considerable sticktoitiveness to get there.

I hope you’re all having wonderful Aprils. We’ll talk again soon.

What Depression Looks Like For Me

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.

Don’t

Day 14 (Monday)

“Don’t be public.” — don’t write blog posts about the games your mind is playing with itself.

“Don’t be weak.” — don’t cry, don’t bring your teddy bear to work.

“Don’t be vulnerable.” — don’t send a text message to someone who has the power to hurt you by choosing not to respond.

I’m tired of the don’ts. My anxiety levels are at record highs. I took another sleeping pill last night so that I could fall asleep even if my mind didn’t turn off. Spoilers: my mind didn’t turn off, so I dreamed of my anxieties instead. I found myself staring through a window, watching my loved ones go one with their lives while I stood still. While I could barely move.

I’m debating on taking another sleeping pill to get through the day, another when that wears off to get through the night. What really sounds good is a medically-induced coma. The whole Avicii, “So wake me up when it’s all over // when I’m wiser and I’m older,” makes sense for the first time now.

My brother is hellbent on reminding me that this is our year, that this will be the best year ever. I still believe that, but I have to correct my mistakes first. Still have 2 weeks before I see the psychiatrist. I feel like my life is on hold until then.

Detached

Day 8 (Tuesday)

I don’t feel like reflecting on yesterday – the sleeping pill I took last night is still in my system 12 hours later.

Yesterday’s a little bit of a blur. The psychiatrist’s office called to set up an appointment, so that’s taken care of, even if it’s three weeks away. I reached out to friends, something I haven’t been at all interested in doing for a few weeks now (still wasn’t interested, but forced myself anyway). Called it a night pretty early, felt weird. Felt . . . detached, outside of myself. It’s uncomfortable. I really could use that beach right about now.

Stepping Back

Day 1 (yesterday):

  • Decided to go into work 2 hours later than originally planned.
  • Had two slices of toast for breakfast.
  • Cried on the way to work, listening to NPR.
  • Made it through, like, 2 hours of queue training thanks to a bottle of Mountain Dew.
  • Told my mentor (Diane) the whole story. Well, almost the whole story. Like, 78% of the whole story.
  • Ate 4 baby carrots and a celery stick due to Diane making me.
  • Cried on the way home from work, listening to NPR.
  • Stopped at the mall, because fuck rush hour traffic.
  • Wrote a journal entry.
  • Consumed a venti Caramel Flan Frappuccino that was WAY too sugary (never again, but I got the rest of my calories in for the day. My CrossFit coach would be ashamed).
  • Cried in front of a very open window. Scared off some Starbucks customers.
  • Didn’t make any rash purchases.
  • Did buy shoes for work (brown) and socks (polka dot).
  • Did buy The Princess Bride in hardback (finally!).
  • Drove home. Only cried when Arctic Monkeys came on.
  • Doctor’s office didn’t call with referrals, so found the number of a psychiatrist with a name I like on the health insurance website.
  • Unsubscribed from Thought Catalog and all of their “How to Deal With Your Shitty Life”-style posts.
  • Took a sleeping pill.

In a non-vain vein, my heart goes out to the families and friends of the passengers on Germanwings flight 9525. There are no words to ease your pain, or that will make this tragedy make sense. May peace find you in this devastating time.