Monday, January 28, 2013

An attempt to explain my 'cycle' of depression

First and foremost – I am not posting these blogs and statuses for your sympathy.  When I re-read this I tried to add some lighthearted jibs, so please keep that in mind if something comes across as shocking or offensive (unless you deserve to be offended, of course).

Big head+Tiny arms = Sad T-Rex
While I do appreciate the sentiment behind your support, and it does give me strength at times, these posts are an attempt to make myself communicate with the ‘outside’ in a way that I can set the pace, subject and tone without feeling guilty.  Additionally, I see these posts as an opportunity to be held accountable and responsible – not for my emotions, but for the actions those emotions sometime aspire to inspire.  When I have the breakdowns that have plagued me for the past few months (at least with such intensity) the last thing I typically want is to talk to anyone about it for any reason.  But, again - accountability, responsibility and whatnot.

At my lowest points emotionally, the level of grief is just short of being at the funeral for one who (generically) is most dear to me.  The pangs of sadness give way to unpredictable waves of anger (some of you might have seen the infamous ‘Garner Wrath’ from other members of the family), detachment and guilt.  On a typical day, I probably don’t want to be wherever I am.  My brain will race for alternatives – home, the lake, Dad’s, Mom’s, Wal-Mart, some Mall, the porn store – and every single one sounds as dreadfully gray as the last.  The worst may be at work: being in a call center tied (almost literally) to a desk and having your every word and breath scrutinized is agitating to say the least.  I hid my discomfort for a while, but you can only cry in the hidden corner so many times before people start to think something might be up.

All of that said, it isn’t always doom and gloom; I’m at my best when conversing, creating or consuming (reading and learning – appetite is another beast altogether).  One of the biggest obstacles is that they almost all sound empty when I’m not engaged in them.  To make things worse, when there are lovely people there, ready to converse and engage, I can sometimes shut down completely.  There may be a trigger, but usually it’s a subtle shift in my internal perspective that sends me rolling back down the slope. 

And that slope is steep.

Once I do slide back down, as seems inevitable, the small crest of the wave I had almost attained is even further than I had remembered it ever being.  Expressions of concern, sympathy and especially empathy breed a deep resentment in me that is incredibly terrifying.  In these times and situations, hearing laughter or seeing someone enjoying their day tosses me into some mini-rage in my head, where all I can think to say is “Shut-the-fuck-up.”  Instead, I turn inward and try to keep a cool veneer that doesn’t hide the bristling anger and frustration very well.

Not even Sepia made me smile!
By this time, there is not a single person in all the world who can do right by me.  My social interactions become forced and strained, even with those that mean the most to me.  The mess of meat and chemicals in my head conspire to convince myself that people are simply incapable of leaving me alone.  It’s like they are trying to put out a five-alarm fire by pissing on it.  All of this time, the rational piece of me is there, telling me that the way I feel is truly ridiculous and the only repugnant thing about the situation is how much of an ass I can be to everyone I know and love.

And cue the guilt.

The final stage of these breakdowns is a mix of two very toxic emotions: guilt and worthlessness.  To be absolutely clear, these two are inexorably intertwined and cocoon my mind nearly completely.  Guilt for the way I’m treating everyone around me and worthlessness for not being able to make them feel better about me and the uncanny feeling that this thing in me is going to always keep me one step (or more) behind my peers in terms of social and occupational success on the level I was once (as my ego tells me) capable.  The only thing I can bring myself to do at this point is to ball up in the fetal position and sob like Abraham might have, had Yaweh not interceded, probably with a slight chuckle.

When I review these things, my immediate impulse is to run away from my life.  That is to say, get in my car and drive until the gas runs out, then just keep walking until I hopefully find whatever it is I’m looking for.  I know, however, that all I need is here and now; but my brain doesn’t seem to want to create the right amount of the appropriate chemicals to make me realize that.

With all that said, I am seeking help.  I have a therapist, psychiatrist and family doctor all working in some loose concert to try and give me the extra rope to climb out of this muddy, slippery and beckoning pit.  At this very moment, I’m neither happy or sad – but I can imagine either.  I can remember times when I couldn’t stop laughing for hours; I can’t remember the feeling of such joy (or even imagine it), but I know it can be there and has been there before. 

I’m still climbing and will probably slide back a few more times – but if I do reach the top and plant my flag once again, I have so many of you to thank for your support.  Please know that every comment left and message sent has been received with love, read and pondered upon (sans the superstitious propaganda). 

Back to the trail for me, hope to see you along the way.

For now, shine on.

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