maybe he’ll come tomorrow

I am secretly convinced of my own brilliance. this is a recipe for endless disappointment, as nobody ever seems to really appreciate it. or they appreciate things about me that I’m not necessarily proud of. I think I’m hilarious and smart and knowledgeable and I try to be considerate (though occasionally parts of my brain move faster than others and I speak before I realise something). I think critically about everything, sometimes to my detriment, but it means that I examine everything closely. maybe too closely. it probably says something that I’m trying to enumerate what I like about myself but I keep making qualifications. 

my point was the disconnect between how I feel about myself and how I feel about how others perceive me. I get told I’m smart and beautiful and whatever and I don’t believe they mean it because conventionally I’m not any of those things. but I do believe I am those things. it’s just I don’t think anyone ever expresses it in a way I can process without thinking critically about it. it’s the curse of my brain, that I have to analyse everything. and of course I can never quite seem to make myself realise that my analysis is subjective. which is so obvious it’s painful, but it’s like because the thought didn’t originate somewhere else I can’t put it down to subjectivity. because I’m in my own head I can’t see how I’m influenced by external forces. which is stupid because of course I am and if I had any kind of objectivity about it it’d be the first thing I’d see. ironic. 

so instead I end up trapped on this merry go round, believing the bad press about myself that I’ve oh so critically evaluated, and ending up miserable. maybe one day I’ll be able to get off and see things from a distance. today is not that day.

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someone said a thing today that set me off. that my experience in a group was just as important and everyone else’s. that I was just as important. it hit a nerve. I’ve been sad and emotional for the last two hours despite every effort to dig myself out of the mood. I know it’s my brain chemistry responding to a deeply buried trigger, and my inability to process and accept that I am as important as anyone else is what’s causing the problem. knowing all of that doesn’t help the fact that I feel like shit. my rational brain has gone home for the day and emo queen brain is in charge. on top of all that, at the moment I am very anaemic. I have an inherited anaemia as well as iron deficiency anaemia. that means I have zero energy. I am running on fumes. I can’t remember the last time I felt well rested or energetic or just not tired all. the. time. right now I want to curl up into a ball and sleep and I really can’t afford to. I have work to do and assessments due tomorrow. I want to stay home tomorrow because I’m so fucking tired and emotional and it makes me want to burn everything down and then sleep for a week. 

maybe I’ll just take a nap.

I’m going to sound like a total drama queen for the enth time. I don’t like it. I find it difficult to reconcile. I wish I could be subtle and clever but I’m not. if I were I would probably be a better artist. instead, I am obvious and clumsy and entirely unoriginal. this of course is one of the things that stops me in my tracks when I think about letting anyone else see my work. I’ve already judged myself and what I produced before anyone sees it, and I have eyes in my head. I know it’s not objectively new and interesting, so it’s a bloody miracle if I’m happy enough with something to let it see the light of day. 

I digress. I’m going to sound like a drama queen because somehow I have this idea that if I describe how I feel, people might just possibly understand and forgive me for being less than they are. I get told not to be so hard on myself, but the world is hard on me, so why should I judge myself differently? there are more voices that tell me I’m worthless than there are telling me the opposite. I’m overweight and I overthink and I’m introverted and I prefer reading to parties unless there’s alcohol involved. someone actually recently asked me “do you read books?” of course I mocked them mercilessly, but it still stung. this was someone completely accepted by society – thin, energetic, sociable, outdoorsy, mainstream interests. the kind of person I grew up around, and the kind of person who makes me feel like some kind of strange aberration. 

why should it matter to me? the million dollar question and the one I really can’t answer. honestly I try not to care. and I don’t spend my life agonising about what individuals think of me. it’s more that I internalise their message. I’m not going to stop reading books or enjoying them, but I am going to continue to feel like I’m different to what’s accepted by the majority. very never wanted to try to be who I’m not just to fit in, but I do want to celebrated by more than the people who know me and articulate what they like about me without criticism. 

it’s easy to say fuck the haters. maybe I’d be better at it if I weren’t fat AND awkward AND bookish AND a tech nerd AND introverted AND female AND ethnic AND serious AND a drama nerd AND a sci-fi/fantasy nerd AND a crafter and every other uncool or marginalised aspect of my identity.  

this post has gotten away from me, and I’m hungry and I have a headache and this much psychoanalysis on an empty stomach is starting to go nowhere fast. it’s getting published now because I have a policy about drafts that I’m trying to stick to. at least this way the ideas are out there and percolating rather than sitting unpublished and stagnating.

(insert clever sign off here)

happy valentine’s

it’s valentine’s day and my valentine is at work. we won’t see each other tonight and won’t for a few more days. my impulsive gift is perishable, and might not last til then. part of me wants to cry. my emotions are usually close to the surface, and the delight of female hormones means that today I am more susceptible than usual. I’m also tired and hungry, which is something of a constant these days, as I live alone and take care of myself and my dog and frequently have the energy for neither (though I force myself to take care of the dog because she depends on me, fallible as I am). I won’t lie, I am crying now. I blame the hormones and the words.

the reason I sat down and started writing, forced myself to write even though I just want to sleep, is that this is the only way out. just as I forced myself to make dinner (mac and cheese, because I’m craving it and going to bed without eating will just make me miserable in the morning). coping with depression is a series of choices and the strength you have to make them, and not blaming yourself when you don’t have the strength. not blaming yourself is hard enough in the first place, but then you start repeating every little thing you’ve heard someone say about people with depression, or worse, that they’ve said to your face. you need to eat better, exercise more, sleep more, sleep less, eat less, drink less, watch less tv, spend less time on your own, just get out there, just go outside, stop complaining, stop being so negative, be more positive, just be happier, you can if you just try. because obviously you’re not trying. obviously it isn’t taking every ounce of willpower you have to just exist. obviously it isn’t taking every bit of energy you have just to achieve the bare semblance of normality that you are presenting. obviously you aren’t trying to claw yourself out of a desperate void of nothingness that feels like it’s swallowing you despite how hard you’re trying.

sometimes you catch a break though. sometimes in the midst of all the endless trudging you’re doing, you have a minor victory. something pays off and you actually feel good. if you’re lucky, there’ll be a few somethings and that will give you enough of a kick in the relentless low mood and you’ll actually feel like something approaching good.

one of the things I hear a lot these days is that everyone goes through depression. it’s a well intentioned comment meant to normalise the experience and remove some of the stigma. the problem is that people then think they understand depression based on what they went through during a bad breakup, the death of a loved one, or some other kind of emotional trauma. they think that they know what you’re going through. they don’t understand that those blips of depression in their lives are your day to day existence. that how they feel on any given day is what you’re desperate to achieve on any given day. 

this evening, I’ve felt good, despite the crying. I keep a mood diary on my phone, which prompts me to enter my mood on a scale of shit to neutral to great, every day. most days are neutral. I don’t actively feel awful but I don’t feel good either. when I say most days I mean maybe one day in a month is good. two days is a bloody miracle. there are smatterings of shit days. most days are just bland existence where it counts as a success that I’m still alive and I haven’t tried to do anything about that. that’s neutral. your shit days are my every days. your every days are a rarity to me. that’s why I can’t just take your advice and feel better. because I’ve tried everything and I’m doing everything the best I can. maybe that’s not good enough for you, and it’s my lesson to learn that it’s not personal and it’s not my fault. that it’s ok for me to be who I am on the neutral days and the shit days and what you might think about it doesn’t matter a damn, and shouldn’t matter to me at all, or I’ll just end up having more shit days than not. 

it still matters to me though.

a day in the life

you need to get up and move because there are things to be done and you just can’t. there’s a deadline looming and your feet won’t budge. you tell yourself to do it, that there will be consequences if you don’t, but you don’t care. you don’t care about much. you’re going to disappoint someone but the blankness has you in its grip. chaos builds up around you and you don’t have the energy to be vigilant against it so it builds and builds til you’re crushed under the weight of things left undone and the world unravelling slowly around you and if you didn’t have any energy before now you really don’t. just looking at a task saps the life out of you. you know what needs to be done but your feet won’t move. that part of you that is sane and rational and wants you to live and be happy, it’s fighting a titanic struggle with the sucking void. most of your moments are that struggle. you watch as your will is hammered back again and again by apathy and inaction. it doesn’t help that you’re good at these colourful turns of phrase. everything is cast into much more dramatic terms. the void is lent strength by your strengths, the things that people praise about you just make it stronger. you’re smart and creative and imaginative and resourceful, and so is your enemy. your ability to analyse a problem is turned in on yourself and you burn an ever widening hole in your heart with your laser-like focus. you’re bleeding out and no one can see. what they see is the detritus of the battle. things left undone because you’re walking wounded but they can’t see it, so you’re just lazy. there’s something wrong with you but it’s a character flaw, a moral failing, nothing else. you can overcome it if you try and you’re not trying hard enough. 

you’d try harder if you could just get up and move.

so today has been worse than most days. I hate trying to figure out why. it’s my hormones or a conversation I had or the weather or something I ate, god only knows. it’s a thousand little things ever day and day by day it’s just a matter of something breaking the camel’s back. but it’s more like quicksand. I’ve spent the day trying to keep from getting sucked into the morass of despair that’s always looming, and it feels like I’ve barely managed to stay alive. certainly there’s been some very alarming imagery in my mind about ending it all. it’s difficult to talk about. if you come straight out and say it you sound melodramatic, but if you hedge around it, it loses a lot of the sense of just how awful it is. everyone feels the drudgery of existence sometimes and struggles to find the energy to go on. but to have genuine suicidal thoughts about actively ending your life, well, that’s a different beast. there’s a great deal of horror at yourself, and shame, but at the same time it feels inevitable, like it’s the only possible conclusion. the depression, the hopelessness, it feels so inescapable, because it’s always there no matter how many good days you have. and when it’s bad, it’s fucking awful and climbing out of that pit isn’t just a matter of picking yourself up and making the effort. it’s like beating and clawing and scratching against a smooth impenetrable wall that has defeated you a million times over until there’s a tiny crack in the surface. then you do it all again until there’s another crack, until you have handholds to pull yourself out. “out’ is merely returning to a somewhat normal state where you don’t feel completely despairing.

I get asked if I’m feeling better. I want to reply, “well I don’t want to actively kill myself today, so I guess? but it’s still early, who knows what the day holds.” 

it feels like I’m dying. somehow, for whatever reason, my brain has decided that how I feel right now is pretty much the worst thing in the world. objectively, it’s not the worst thing in the world, but this is what my brain it telling me.

I know precisely what’s going on in my head, chemically, psychologically, but I’m essentially at the mercy of it. sometimes it’s like my body is taken over by a completely different person who is in no way rational. I know that it’s completely ridiculous for me to be overreacting like this but it’s so unbelievably difficult to control. the pain that I feel, well, it’s real. if I try to describe it, it comes out sounding incredibly dramatic, but how could it not be, considering that my brain has basically decided this is The Worst Thing Ever and my body is following along obediently because that’s how autonomic responses work. 

what’s incredibly frustrating is having to explain it to people who don’t understand. somehow people expect it to make sense. probably because their experiences with intense emotion like this have made sense. which means I’m expected to justify how I feel when it’s not justifiable. none of this is fair, or right, or sane, or logical. it’s just shitty. I have to deal with it, why can’t they?