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.

***

Screen Shot 2017-04-18 at 1.26.37 AM

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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Happy new year, 2015.

Well, 2015. This is it. It’s been a year, hasn’t it? I’m not gonna lie. You’ve been difficult. A real bitch at times. Cancelled wedding. Death of a friend. Moving away from Meowster Thumbs McGee. Endings of relationships in so many ways… and tumbled and tangled betwixt all of that, depression and anxiety visited. They’re good at that – visiting. Those loyal old friends.

2015, as you bid your farewells, I realize how suffocated I’ve felt throughout the year. Looking back, it seems like I spent the year gasping for air and grasping for respite in deep, calming breaths. Some days, it felt as though, with each step, I sank steadily into a sandpit sludge of shame, guilt, insecurity, disappointment, fear, and quadruple-guessing. (Though, this unsettling swirl of emotions also loomed on the many days I lay supine – taking actual steps not necessary.)

But, as time ticks on, 2015. I am thankful. Thank you for kicking my ass when I needed it. Thank you for encouraging me to continue to learn and to grow. Thank you for putting me first.

You never invited in hopelessness. You offered up pain as a platter of opportunity for gaining wisdom. You inspired me to seek alternate perspectives. You told me to trust my gut, especially when it felt ‘wrong’ (translation: unfamiliar or different, not wrong or right). You inspired me to seek out more of myself and to honor the process of seeking. You reminded me that you are a friend and that you want the best for me, as each year does. I trust your friendship. Thank you for trusting mine.

I’ll give 2016 your regards and we’ll talk about you fondly over a bubbly, sparkling flute of champagne. Thank you, 2015. And Happy New Year.

This moment more fully.

I’ve been wanting to write about what’s been going on for me for a few weeks now, but have tended to talk myself out of it because (?) Whatever the reason, an unleashing must be unleashed before I can move on to the daunting amount of reading I have to do for school. (Or anything else resembling productivity.)

I’ve hit that point that doctor’s tell you about after you’ve found something that works for you, “Now, the medication may stop working at some point and we’ll have to try something else.”

Ugh. Really?

Wellbutrin has been my magic bean. It has lifted me to life for years. After a while, I started taking Zoloft for anxiety, and the combination was just the potion I needed to manage my depression and anxiety. Over time, the highest dose of Zoloft was no longer effective, so my doctor prescribed Effexor. Voila! It gave me the kick I needed. But. That effect eventually wore away, as well.

Currently, I’m tapering off the Effexor and will slowly introduce Prozac. I have my fingers and toes crossed that this will help me cause this girl needs some relief! I haven’t been feeling terrible. I’m not bed-bound or voraciously eating whatever I can find that is not best for me – two symptoms that are part of my depressive episode experience. I’m functioning. Showering. I wear clean clothes. And ‘outside’ clothes, not just pj’s. I do my homework. And work-work. I read. Post funny things on FB. I play with my cat and call him silly names. I attend social gatherings with friends, sometimes.

I’m not in a melancholic paralysis. I’m not standing in the kitchen, staring at the knives. I’m managing. But I feel like depression’s talons are holding me hostage until I feed it just the right prescriptive concoction. I feel tired. And spacey. My excitement and motivation hit a low ceiling that isn’t there when I feel OK. It’s difficult to focus, to remember, to speak sometimes. Negativity and self-deprecating thoughts squirm in my brain. I question my abilities, my talents. I triple-guess my thoughts, my choices. I worry about my present, my future. Round and round they go:

  • How can I possibly get through school feeling this way?
  • What kind of counselor would I be with these phases rearing their unattractive heads?
  • Why haven’t I completed my poetry project? There’s no point, I suppose.
  • I’ve been so moody. I can be a better partner than this.

Though I know these thoughts are poppycock, they’re rubbish. I still feel them. I know they are farce but they still affect me and my behavior. I’m not riding each day with the curiosity, vigor, and creativity in the way that I know I am capable of. And I know these are symptoms. I know this state is temporary. I know I’ll be OK. I know I am OK. I’m not forlorn about my situation. The joy and vitality will emerge.

But it saddens me, as it does from time-to-time, to know that while in-the-moment, I ‘could’ be appreciating this moment more fully. I could be holistically appreciating and taking advantage of these moments more completely, if it weren’t for depression. I know that depression isn’t a part of me, of who I am. It likes to parade around in costume that looks like me. It likes to mimic my voice, my gestures. Steal my thoughts, emotions. I know I’ll win this round, as I have each previous match.

I must be patient. Keep pushing. Keep waking up, taking showers, wearing clothes, clean clothes, clean ‘outside’ clothes, clothes other than pj’s. Keep reading and working. Stay in touch with friends. Play with my ridiculous cat. Water the plants. I haven’t gone anywhere, I’m here. For now, there’s a wicked snickering monkey on my back.

 

Appropriate shapes. at apropos times.

I don’t have the luxury of knowing I’ll feel OK today.

I’m not assured that my confidence won’t waver
to an adolescent level tomorrow.
or that I’ll cancel plans tonight

because I feel like I can’t get up.
because showering and picking out clothes.
and seeing my image in the mirror
all sound so exhaustingly exhausting.

socializing would be frightful.
and I would be the plastic wall flower
on the fringes again.
bench pressing smiles on my face.
desperately lighting synapse wicks in my brain
trying to keep up with

what’s going on around me.

around all of these smiling faces
and laughy laughs.
listening for cues
to scrunch and stretch my cheeks.
lips.nose.forehead.chin.eyelids.

into appropriate shapes.
at apropos times.


– Written Friday, March 21st, 2014.