Thursday, May 19, 2016

Me and My Depression

I, like other sufferers of "invisible illnesses", HATE my invisible illness. Most of the time, I don't even recognize that I'm Depressed until I get some "trigger" online or while watching a show or movie. I would guess that I've been Depressed for the last couple of weeks or longer, without even really knowing it. This is both a blessing and a "curse". Most of the time, what I experience as Depression isn't necessarily diagnosable. I have what most would consider "MILD" Depression. I don't ever reach the point of suicidal thoughts or tendencies. I don't ever get so "low" that medication is in order (I don't think, having never been diagnosed). I just ... don't ... feel ... anything. And so, because of that, I haven't posted a new "real" blogpost in awhile.

Yesterday, I went for a walk, because I have that stupid non-FitBit thingy that hounds me about my 10,000 steps. I walked slow for me, getting in fewer than 3 mph. I did laps at the mall, and even though I had my headphones so I could listen to a podcast or two, I never plugged 'em in. I counted my friggin' steps, and I got pissed off when they didn't register at the end of this particular lap, but then I was "okay" when the next lap seemed to catch up. There is a bit of a delay between the equipment I wear and the app in the phone that logs it all. I need to remember to trust that it's mostly accurate. I also ran into Stephen at the See's candy shop, as we had both arrived for our free sample. He went straight home from there, since I still had what looked like three laps ahead of me, and as I said, I wasn't walking my usual brisk pace.

But here's my takeaway from yesterday's walk, which I TWEETED upon my return:
No motivation to do anything except please non-FitBit thingy today: 10,316 steps, ~4.45 miles. What day is it, anyway?

While farting around on Twitter, I saw THIS link. Usually, I don't bother to follow links in Twitter, because then I can never return to wherever I left off (one of the things that irks me about Twitter). But I read the article, and tweeted again.
Just mentioned I'm unmotivated & then I see THIS in my feed. I'm not in the 1st group, but I see myself in the 2nd.
    6:43 PM - 18 May 2016

So, today, Stephen had an early meeting at his job, followed by a split shift. Before the first part of his day, he cleaned the kitchen while I slept, making no noise at all. I was gonna do that when I got up! He got back from his meeting and announced that they now have an "Employee of the Month" who wins a $25 Visa Card, and that he had won! Yay! Then he farted around a bit online before he had to return to work, and since he had heated a cup of coffee for me, I cooked us up some coconut pancakes with bacon for lunch. Sometime in that at-home break, he mentioned that he'd read my two tweets (on Facebook, since I have my accounts linked and he doesn't have a Twitter account), and was there anything he'd been doing to exacerbate my Depression? So we had a little talk about it.

There is not one Thing that I or any other person can Do or Not Do that makes me Depressed. We both know that Unemployment is a HUGE de-motivator for me, and that Not Working can make matters worse. It is possible that Unemployment is my Number One Depression Trigger, with "SAD" weather taking a Close Second, but again, I haven't been diagnosed, so who knows?

it's too long. I'm ready to buzz-
cut it, like in my Twitter profile pic
There are Warning Signs, though. My physical appearance suffers, even if my physical health is maintained. Essentially, if I have nowhere to BE, my hygiene falls away. Not that I ever allow myself to stink or anything, and I do brush my teeth, but I'll wear the same clothes for days; I won't bother to bathe unless I have somewhere to go (or I've sweated from a brisk walk), and I stop shaving or maintaining my mani/pedi/haircolor.

left hand in front of DIRTY hair
yeah, I dye the hair on my head. That's to help God keep it the color
He gave me at birth. I AM a Blonde! (which, of course, in my pits, just looks DIRTY)

And one last "physical" symptom that I know something is "up" with me: two toes on my right foot (next to Big, and Middle) have been hurting for awhile, as if they're broken or something. They aren't broken, but nothing seems to ease the "pain" I feel. Not being barefoot; not wearing sandals, nor high heels, nor sneakers. They just hurt. And yes, I know that I need a new pair of walking shoes (yay, a stupid reason to spend stupid money!), but getting my daily steps in (in whatever shoes I'm wearing) neither exacerbates nor alleviates the "pain" in Two Toes. Whaddup widdat?
right hand in front of disgusted-with-myself face

So this is My Depression: I do what I gotta do. I don't do what I don't gotta do. I ... feel ... nothing. I really just want to be working; is that so much to ask? Oh, and to win the Lottery. That would be good! Then I could take a nice, warm, sunny vacay away from Depression and do the Work I need to get moving on to propagate more WORK. I love Work. Have I mentioned that? Can you tell, in reading this post, why Depression is an "invisible" illness, for me and for others?

***** Mommy was Depressed for much of her adult life. We know she was diagnosed with Postpartum Depression after Inner Hippie was born; it's possible she also suffered with PPD after I and Baby Bro were born, but she also had undiagnosed Chronic Fatigue Syndrome during that same time period. Mommy's illness was Very Invisible, sadly. It took much too long, and stole entirely too much of her joy, to get her illness out from "all in her head". So I'm blessed to only suffer my Mild Depression, and to be able to suffer it openly. I'm blessed that Mommy had as much Joy as she had, which was quite abundant, for someone who was silently suffering for so long. Typing all this is bringing me to tears, which means I'm feeling something. Thank you, Mommy.


  1. Like I said before, I'm sorry you're feeling this way. I know what it feels like. I'll tell you a little story about the first time I got depression (or the first time I realized I had a bout of it anyway). I was 25 I think. I was in college, being very hard on myself about feeling not as good as others even though my grade's were fine. I was obsessing over an ex-girlfriend at the time too. One day I just woke up and I felt nothing. I mean, nothing. It was the most fucked up..."feeling" ever. And I would cry...I don't know why I cried, I just did. I quit school and laid in bed. I lived with my parents while I was going back to college, and they didn't know what to do. My mom would just sit beside me stroking my head. My sisters, god bless them, dropped everything and ran to my side cause my parents weren't sure what to do (I refused, at first, to go to a doctor). They would just hold me, and I would cry not knowing why. In the evening while I was alone, I would sit there, looking out the window, with a knife in my hands wondering if I should just end it. As I said it was the worst "feeling" I had ever had. People said when they looked at my face, it was like they were looking at death. I finally agreed to go to the doctors and he prescribed me something but I barely took any of it. In the end it was my family that brought me back out of it. They were just always there for me, and helped me get through the darkness.

    I've had episodes since, but not as bad. The one bad one after that when my oldest was just a little over a year, I had started therapy, and that lady was so good and helped me through it. It's also when I started meditating, which helped a lot. Not sure if you've tried that, but it really helps with me, and I notice when I stop doing it or when I don't do it enough.

    Also, a book I keep on my desk is called "How to be Happy All the Time" by Paramhansa Yogananda who was a Yogi that came to the US a long time ago. He'd dead now, and some of his teachings were kind of trippy, but this book just has little spurts in it. It's not really a "book to read". It's just a book with versus (sometimes a paragraph or two) that are very uplifting. I read a verse every once in a while to help me to realize what true happiness is. Of course it doesn't always work, but it helps sometimes. Even if it's just to read something positive.

    You're a wonderful person. Just focus on the good memories in your life, and let go of all the clutter. Just be. A good movie to watch right now (if you like it) is Eat, Pray, Love. Just a suggestion. Hope you start feeling better.

    1. Thanks, Lee. As I said, I only ever suffer from "mild" cases, and I know that the one I'm in right now is definitely "mild" - even mild for me! Because there were a few videos I watched online yesterday that had me laughing HARD. Usually, when I'm in the pit, I like to watch something that will make me cry HARD, like "Truly Madly Deeply" (especially now that we have no Alan Rickman anymore). I haven't yet watched EPL because I'm not generally a fan of Julia. I don't DISlike her; I just end up seeing her movies for other reasons, typically.

      What you described (your experience in college) is ABSOLUTELY a perfect description of Depression in general. I'm sorry it hit you so hard. I'm grateful that I've felt those "non-feelings" but not gone so deep that it's affected my school or work or family. Mommy definitely got that deep into it, and I wish there had been more we could have done for her, in those days.

      There's a book we randomly distribute to people we encounter who are grieving, called "Healing After Loss", which is similar to the book you described, in that there's a verse, poem, or quote at the top of each page (and it's dated, so there's a whole year's worth of insight), followed by the author's insights into how that verse, poem, or quote helped HER in her grief, and the last thing on each page is a challenge of sorts, to incorporate that outlook into THAT DAY. It helped all of us so much after Mommy's death, that we couldn't help but buy them in bulk and make it a mini-ministry.

      I don't focus on clutter much. I mostly "be". I spend most of my time in "the now". But that's easier done when I have something (anything) productive to "do", like a day on set. I'm going to be contacting Warner Bros. again soon, to see if they need me back for the summer season. At least if I'm there, I'm not "worrying" about unemployment!

    2. Yeah that's what I'm trying to work on most lately. Keeping my mind in the now. Trying to focus on what I'm doing in the moment especially when the bad feelings hit. It's hard to do but I think I'm getting better at it.

    3. It's kinda like the difference between a "diet" and a lifestyle change. You just have to notice if you're dwelling on the past or worrying about what "might" happen in the future, and re-center yourself in the NOW... as a habit. You'll know when it's your new lifestyle when you're telling someone new something about your past and you realize that it's just storytelling, or when you talk about future possibilities as exciting opportunities rather than with a sense of dread. The two (past and future) are REMOVED from you, and you live in a more positive frame of mind most of the time because you can't really change either of them. You can only change your own outlook. I dunno; maybe it's all a bit "woo woo" and "new agey" but, hey. You meditate and do yoga, so it's ALMOST like we're speaking the same English! ;)

    4. I don't do yoga, too hard on me. But I do want to start Tai Chi. :D

    5. I've done yoga a couple of times; tried Tai Chi only once, I think. Have fun!

  2. Sorry you're down, Boo. Something happened a few years ago that made me stop taking my healthy mental health for granted. I actually periodically remind myself to be thankful for it, cause I see a lot of suffering people around me. I do know how real it is. Hugs and Smooches.

    1. Thanks, 500. It amazes me how many of us are affected by one invisible illness or t'other. At least we've reached an era in our medical maintenance where we can openly talk about the issues without fear of being diagnosed "crazy" (or "it's all in your head", like it was for Mommy).

      I have a Bat Mitzvah to attend this evening, so I've BATHED today and "feeling" a little better. This wasn't a bad one, this time. Not that I'm out of it yet, but I'm not deep in a pit, either.


  3. Found you as I was reading the comments over at 'halfa1000'. I blog at 'A Life Well Red' on 'invisible illness'. So sorry you have to deal with depression, but I'm glad to have found a fellow 'Spoonie'! :)

    1. Thanks for finding me and for commenting. I'll check out your blog when I can. There is a #Tribe of us weirdos on Twitter, brought together by Jenny Lawson, @TheBloggess. If you haven't yet read her blog or books, you are really missing out.

      I don't actually consider myself a Spoonie, since my only invisible illness is my mild Depression (I see on your profile that you suffer from a few). I'm blessed to not have to measure my shits that I give in terms of spoons. But I'm also grateful to understand the concept.

  4. OH, I know Jenny, LOVE HER! Makes me LMAO! Your 'mild' depression, as you call it, is just as weighty to me as any condition out there. Depression can be crippling at worst, and just a bitch to have to live with at best. All my best thoughts to you today! Hope it's a good one :)

    1. I probably take after my Mommy to some degree, downscaling my ONE issue because it's so much better than what others have to deal with. I mean, is it even fair to call Unemployment Frustration a "Depression" at all? <= yes, I know. UF is the TRIGGER for my D. I just wanna be working.


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