January 15th, 2016 | No Comments »

Black boxes. Those mysterious entities of which the knowns are made visible on a strictly limited basis. You know. The need to know basis. The guzzintahs (inputs – what goes in) and the guzzoutahs (outputs – what goes out) might be evident, but the inner workings? Good luck with that.

I’m no stranger to depression.  Good gravy, that’s an understatement.  I’m the queen of understatements.

I’ve recently experienced new-to-me forms to which the only explanation I can muster is the tangled cocktail of hormones clashing within my body, wherever it is that they wage war.  Probably some minuscule region in my big giant convoluted and messy brain.  I dunno.  The ‘m’ word surfaces.  It’s probably the culprit.  Most likely.  But what do I know?

I will say, this latest bout was short-lived, and THANK GOD FOR THAT, because it was a whole new level of numbness and confinement that I’d never before experienced.  In a way, if I’d had the capability for emotion beyond numbness, I’d have been terrified.  Terrified because I could see clearly that I was absolutely stuck in a place that had no way in and no way out.  I didn’t know how I got there.  I didn’t know how I could get out of there.  I was just there.  Stuck.  In a box.  Stuck in a black box.  Stuck with no will for anything.  Living?  Sure.  Fine.  Whatever.  Existing?  Sure.  Fine.  Whatever.  Dying?  Sure.  Fine.  Whatever.

While I was there, I was at least able to battle myself with self-talk.  It went like this:

depression1

depression2

depression3

depression4

depression5

 

I did snap out of it later that afternoon.  Maybe the tides changed with the latest hot flash.  Who knows.  I’m left with mixed yearnings.  I want to be helpful to someone, anyone, with the experiential knowledge that I have.  If someone else at least knows that they are understood, even if there’s little to no explanation for the given emotional state, it gives a sense of comfort and hope.  I’m generalizing based on my own perceptions, of course.  The conflicting yearning is one that wants to distance myself as far as possible from things of this nature.  This is not a pleasant place to be. Or to think about.  Ever.

I’m calling a truce and settling for the moment with a blog post.  I seldom have the energy to actually polish my thoughts, so I throw this out as a placeholder and maybe one day I’ll revisit it.  Or not.

June 18th, 2015 | No Comments »

I have a LOT of time to think during my commute.  This morning I was watching my thoughts and my emotions as they swirled about, playing with and against each other.  There was nothing concrete; it was all very nebulous.  I noted that thoughts and emotions are completely different animals, so it’s almost futile to even attempt to manage or  understand them in the same manner.  Thoughts can be concrete and follow reason, so they can be grasped, given the effort.  Emotions,  however, are entirely different.  They are a form of data that requires a completely different translator.  The same rules of analysis don’t apply.

I’ve been wondering why certain emotions are surfacing.  Logically, there is little to no reason for anything but giddy happiness.  Life is so GOODMY life is so good!  Yet these emotions are surfacing and overtaking me.  Just when I think I’m all sorted out, grounded, steady, solid — BAM, tears are streaming from my face and my heart feels as though it’s clenched by an iron fist.

For some reason, I thought of PTSD.  It’s not reserved for battle scarred war heroes, you know.  Not that I want to assign another disorder to the list of labels already attached to me, but the words themselves –post, trauma, stress– align well with the emotional experience that I’m trying to describe.  I also thought of memories and associations.  So many associations stir fragments of memories that evoke buried emotions.  A song, the color of the sky, a turn in the road, the sound of a voice –so many random things in any given day can stir something up.

Memories are things of the past, and the experiences are over.  Any traumas and stresses were overcome, because they are in the past.  I am here.  I am healthy.  I am strong.  So why and how can an associated memory bring me to my knees and knock the wind from me and rob me of my now?  As I was pondering this, I wondered in terms of PTSD.  Maybe at the time I couldn’t actually process or deal with whatever it was.  Maybe survival was the only thing that I had the bandwidth for (and may the gods and my departed dad forgive my overabundant use of stranded prepositions).  Maybe, when caught up in the fray of whatever drama I was caught up in, all I could do was stay afloat and suppress rather than address the emotions and stresses du jour.  So maybe, because I’m no longer in sheer survival mode, the associations that stir memories release those emotions as though they are fresh.  BAM!  Ouch!  Me no likey.

I wanted to write these thoughts down, and I thought I’d entitle this post, “memories and associations” — it has a certain flair.  But it also rings a bell (hello?  how many things are endless repeats in this blog?), and so it happens that I’ve written at length about memories and associations before.  I re-read that post and thought, oh shit.  More tears.  I really needed more tears.

So here I am again.  I wish I knew a healthy way to address the emotions that overtake me.  I wish I knew how to pick and choose which emotions could overtake me.  I’d love to keep the giddy highs and dismiss the dark lows.  I bet it’s possible.  I just need to find the right decoder ring.

June 16th, 2015 | No Comments »

Stage I.  Darkness

I’ve had an epiphany of sorts regarding depression. Maybe it’s best not to make a global statement here and I will simply qualify this conclusion as a description of my own particular depression.

The state of being depressed is the inability to feel, see, hear, remember or understand love.  When I say love, I mean all love.  The love that others have for me, the love that I have for others, and the love I have for myself.  In short, a love eclipse.  Complete and utter darkness.

In the moments when I am stuck there, it’s almost impossible to imagine being elsewhere, because at those times there IS no elsewhere.  It’s a lost land.  Another world. Breaking free from that place is almost unfathomable. During those moments of darkness,my thoughts drift to the conclusion that life (in this form) is pointless and empty, and being gone would mean no longer feeling the desolation of the absence of love.  Add to that the vile voice from without, sneering the words “you are unlovable”.  At the same time, I yearn for loving arms to hold me, without judgment over my ridiculous display of ego, while my tears release the poison that somehow got stuck inside me.  Clearly (now that I am collecting my thoughts), the yearning for the external expression of loving kindness is to thwart those acrid words, proving that I am, in fact, lovable.  So yes, I feel the need for an outside source to envelop me, accept me, and let me be me, while I flush the icky stuff out.  Also at the same time, I am tempted to flee and sequester myself from humanity altogether.  I want to hide somewhere alone, curled up in fetal position, and weep until I am strong enough to emerge.  Meanwhile, another part of my brain also derides me for this despicable self absorptive indulgence.  I am well aware that in this place, my ego is running wild, an untamed beast.  I am also fully aware that, logically, reasonably, the balance of positive things in my life so far outweighs any measly negatives, that in reality there is absolutely no shortage of love in my life, and it’s almost inconceivable that I would or could ever get to such a place of despair.  I don’t want to feel like this.  Ever.  And yet I do.

It’s perplexing.  It’s embarrassing.

I got stuck there for a little while yesterday.  I felt it coming on the day before, and tried to power through it with various thoughts and reasonings.  I even went so far as to try the prescription my doctor gave me when I tried to describe this phenomenon of getting stuck once in a while.   In all fairness, the pill did help a little.  I could feel that I had taken something, and I could feel it maybe keep the wave at bay, but it didn’t keep it from hitting.  In fact, I felt disoriented the next morning, and that could be due, in part, to the effects of the medication.  At any rate, the eclipse happened.  I knew it was coming and I didn’t know how to diffuse it.  Bam.

Stage II.  Anger

I come out of it when I get some sleep and rest, and distance myself with a little time, but I noticed this morning that, although the darkness and despair is gone, something else lingers.  It’s like a constipation of the brain.  I’m nearly full up, blocked up, and have barely any margin for throughput, so the slightest inconveniences or irks or frustrations push me to the ragged edge where I feel like I’m gonna blow, and I just want to explode somehow, or smash something, break something, do something, anything, to get this detritus OUT of me.  It manifests as anger.  I start dredging up thoughts of other frustrations or experiences, etc etc etc, and think about how awful so and so was, and how horrible such and such was, then immediately turn it back on myself, because ultimately, I’m the one who made the choices that put me in the situations that resulted in the various unpleasant outcomes.  So then I chastise myself for my poor choices, for wafting through life with my idealistic notions that all people are good and nice and honest and loving and kind, and everyone deserves a chance because who am I to think that I am better than someone, or that someone is unworthy of me –rather than exercise a little bit of common sense and self respect to protect my heart and my soul, for God’s sake.  Ohhhhhh, I’ve already been down this thought path before, and established that I am The Fool.  I may yet come out of this diatribe emotionally intact.  So.  Anger.  Because I am not at liberty to break or smash things, I manifest with tears.  I must be quite the vision, should passersby glance in my car as I’m driving to or from work.  Sobbing, otherwise attractive woman behind the wheel.

Stage III.  Back in the Saddle

I’m glad that I took the time to try to capture these thoughts.  Well intentioned friends and family members may point out that I don’t love myself (enough, not necessarily at all), or don’t respect myself (enough, not necessarily at all), or that I don’t treat myself as though I am complete or whole.  Maybe.  Maybe not.  It’s a whole helluva lot easier to see things from another perspective when you’re on the outside.  I don’t know.  This blog is testimony to my emotional struggles.  I should probably take some time to write about the joys and wins, but I’m generally too busy enjoying and living those days and moments to bother documenting them.  Writing out and working through my struggles helps me get back to my normal self.  I suppose it’s true to say that when I am caught up in a dark place, of course I’m not whole, of course I’m not complete, of course I’m not self-loving, of course I’m not self-respectful.  Which causes which?  If I were whole, etc, would I ever get caught in that dark place?  Or am I whole, except when I get caught in that dark place?

The mere fact that I felt it coming leads me to think that with proper and rigorous vigilance, I could thwart it.  And if that’s the case, maybe I don’t have depression at all.  Maybe I just have an untrained, untamed mind.  And if’n that’s the case, well I’munna beat that thang into submission.

Posted in depression, ego, me