Colorful cognitive dioramas.

Looking for a job while experiencing depression illuminates how thick a slice of self-confidence gets hacked off. Just like that. I’m not talking about the run-of-the-mill insecurity, the “normal” kind that reminds us we’re human. The kind that well-meaning friends, family, lovers point to in an effort to bring you some calm, to help you feel not so alone because, “Everyone feels insecure at some point. You’re not the only one who feels this way.” But you feel so desperately alone.

  • Items on bullet-pointed lists of job postings that interest you sum up requirements that seem improbable for you to fulfill.
  • Colleagues you imagine you would work with already dislike you and wonder why you were offered the position.
  • You’ve fallen behind on your task list for a project that you’ve not yet been hired to manage.
  • Your resume is a sheet of neatly organized words spelling out accomplishments and trainings you somehow completed.

Depression is a creative jerk. It creates colorful cognitive dioramas, falsely foreboding failures and fissures. It’s fucked up fantasy. Paralyzing bullshit serum. It’s a snake with three heads. A tiger with tentacled talons. A shade of black too dark for the human eye to see.

***

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Besides feeling that way sometimes — fearful, hesitant, twittered, jittery — I also do the things I enjoy (like record silly raps for potential employers and Vanilla Ice covers) and have meaningful interactions with people. I’m not always depressed or anxious but sometimes I am. Sometimes my mind feels like a cognitive stew with a side salad. Sometimes my mood rides out pretty smooth an entire day; sometimes my body and mind course through multiple moods by noon.

Do you have days when you wake up feeling irritated? Does your mind go blank and your limbs buzz with adrenaline when you hear a loud noise? Do you remember how your stomach felt in the moments just before your first kiss when your lips met hers/theirs/his lips?

We all are affected by our environment. Some peoples’ responses are standard, expected, predictable. Behaviors are conditioned, but for people with mood disorders (e.g. Major Depression, Generalized Anxiety, Bipolar Disorder/rapid cycling, Schizophrenia), their internal and external experiences can be 10x as intense as yours (persons who don’t experience a mood disorder first-hand.) Can you imagine that? I know some people are more “sensitive” or empathic than I am, and their experiences can be 50x as intense. I can only imagine.

 

A salvo of magic into the world.

I’ve been sleeping terribly the last few days.
(or do I feel that way every day?)

I just realized why.
(and it’s a good reason why)

🙂

There are so many creative project ideas in my head.
(thatIwanttothrust a salvo of magic into the world!)

I want to do it all.  (I feel good)
and that makes me happy.

{that’s not a hyperlink, #beeteedubz.
#bluetext
#iwonderhowmanypeopleclickedon”good?”}         anyway

That’s why
I’ve been getting
terrible
sleep.

[HASHTAG]nightynight

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Demons are not yours.

Check out my latest post on my relationship blog, xo, O:

Kevin doesn’t have depression. His knowledge of depression — first, second, or eleventh-hand — is limited. Sixth months into our life together, he’s spent time with depressed O at least half the time. I’ve been struggling with anxiety and depression for about three of the past six months. The struggle I’ve been grappling with and have held onto as a ‘my’ struggle for the better part of my 37 years has, in six months, become a ‘we’ struggle.

Every now and then,  when I emerge from the dark dizzying sticky slumber of depression, I ask Kevin, “Are you sure you want to move forward in this relationship? This is how it’s going to be the rest of our lives. I will always fall into depressive ruts.” I feel like I need to regularly give him an out, let him know that I get it if he decides that it’s too much for him to manage. I would understand if nurturing a relationship with someone who cycles through depression as often as I do is too overwhelming for him, for anyone.

Each time, Kevin squares his shoulders and steadies his eyes to mine as if to convey, if you don’t hear my words, feel the conviction of my presence.  “Yes. I’m sure,” he says. “I want to be with you.”

Continue reading this post here.

This tousled hair for you.

Here again in this dark pit. shit. fucking back again.

All those times. the energy. the feeling free. those weren’t me. yes they were. no, they weren’t. they aren’t. they’re not. they’re not. They’re not?

They are. They’re me. I’m caught. caught in depression’s throat. gurgling complaints of pain on pain on pain and pain. soaked in shame, blame. it’s all the same. the same as it was 20 years ago. the same as it was 10 years ago. 4 years. last year. yesterday.

I’m a circle. i don’t fit. into the box of society’s expectations. my contributions are lacking. why they don’t send me packing, I don’t know. It’s gobsmacking.

Again? this is happening again? she feels down again? Again? Yes! AGAIN. Friends, this is the way of it. the timeless tide. unexpectedly expected. it’s a ride. with a hefty toll – regret.

regret. there’s no time for that. no time to sweat the things remembered; not remembered. I remember all those times. the times in bed. in my head. the dread. of being human. acting human. pretending human. but what’s more human than being in the depths of despair? This tousled hair. I’ve been working on it for days. for you.

for you I’ve fallen down the hole again. it’s unending. I know it won’t end. so much back bending to appear normal. to look ok. to be social. to force interaction. there’s an attraction to this hiding. this pulling away. this get-my-face-out-of-all-that-air-out-there. it isn’t fair. it’s not. but who said anything about that?

***

I’ve been holed up for a few days. mostly sleeping or awake-worrying.

I’ve been living with depression for years. it waxes and wanes. I’m in one of those stages. whichever one goes down.

I’m OK. Really, I am OK. I know this. but I want you to too.

Each time I share this part of me. these scary experiences. when depression strangles my self and life for as long as it does each time. when I feel most judged. most unsure. most shaky and shy in anxiety. I’m nervous. I’m nervous to share these things. to write them is part of my therapy. to share them is too.

I share them with you because it’s important. because sometimes I need to publish my crazy to the public. to make it more real – self-imposing paradoxical intervention.

I share them with you because I’m not the only one hiding and afraid. others have their dark clouds too. when they hover overhead, it can feel unbearable. it feels unbearable.

You may not understand this feeling. this fear. the strength involved in being here. but I hope that my exposure, my self disclosure. I hope it helps. It’s why I do it. It’s why I will continue to. even when I’m most afraid. especially when I’m most afraid. because vulnerability is key. it’s free. vulnerability is humanity.

Our hearts firmly on our sleeves.

While taking a walk with Thomas (a dog I’m looking after for the weekend) this evening, I had a brief chat with a fellow who was walking along the road carrying what looked like a saxophone case. Turns out it was, as he put it, “the briefcase from Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.” It held a Play Station and five games he was hoping to sell. The Play Station was for his sister.

We talked for a few minutes as I rounded the street toward the house I’m staying at for the night. He was going to go straight but he said he’d walk with me. He told me that his AA sponsor lived nearby. He shared that he sometimes has a hard time and has a tendency to drive his friends away every now and then. I understood. At least, I think I did. I was listening. He visited his mom for Easter. He asked how my day was and what did I do for Easter, an egg hunt, perhaps?

“Nothing. I slept in till 2pm…”

“Oh wow, a day off. That sounds nice!”

I shrugged my shoulders, “Nah. I’ve been sleeping a lot the past week, my depression and anxiety are acting up.” I looked at him.

He looked back, “Oh. Yeah. I get that.”

“But we’re both standing and out and about, so that’s good,” I responded.

“Yep.” I knew he appreciated the privilege it is to be out of bed when the depression cloud is looming. As we parted ways, he pointed to a house with a red door, “Is that where you’re going?”

“Nope.”

“That’s my sponsor’s house.”

“Oh.” We exchanged our good evenings. The night was falling as we headed in perpendicular directions. I heard him yell something.

“What?!” I turned but only caught glimpses of him as he walked behind the trees lining the road. He yelled, “You should sleep in till 2pm tomorrow!”

“Oh!” I hollered. “No! I have to go to work!”

I felt a lightness as I unlocked the front door. I wore a slight smile as I removed Thomas’ leash. (After which, Thomas nuzzled his face between my thighs. Something he does at the end of our walks. I giggle every time.) I thought to myself, “What a lovely little connection. That felt good. I’m glad the stars aligned in the way that they did to allow for that interaction.”

We were two strangers sharing a bit about ourselves. The things that came up aren’t usual small talk. We went straight to the rawness of our experiences. Oh, you feel like you sometimes push your friends away, too? I have depression and anxiety. 

Sometimes talking about uncomfortable or socially stigmatized things is easier with a stranger. Sometimes these tiny connections with strangers are intimate in a way that only strangers can create. Wearing our hearts firmly on our sleeves. Sharing little moments of humanity.