it was hard to get out of bed today. that's what i dislike most about depression, i think: the sluggishness. sadness, even inexplicable, crushing sadness, is something that i think can be dealt with, to a degree, since it's just an extension, or maybe it would be better to say a mutation, of a genuine (and even potentially therapeutic) human emotion.

but this tiredness, and the feeling of helplessness, the sick malaise, the tendency of the eyes to close of their own accord - that's the stuff that really chaps my ass.

i've found that on the occasions that i can, in fact, muster the willpower (not the right word) to stand up and get moving, it becomes a little easier, a little better. but the idea of sleeping, shirking my responsibilities, hiding from the world, is so appealing on such a deep level for me when i'm depressed that it's often really, really difficult to make the necessary first step.

this lack of energy and enthusiasm creates the biggest obstacle for the fulfillment of my goals and ideas and dreams. i have a huge, almost demented, lust for life: i want to experience everything i possibly can before i go down into the dust forever, and to do it all with as much gusto as possible. but i'm lacking the energy for so much of it, or to do the basic tasks that allow me to do what i really want: finding a job and holding it down, shopping for groceries, paying bills. brushing my teeth.

there are pills for this, i know there are, but i'm broke and wary and scared and confused as to how you would even go about getting them. i know i could research different medicines and treatments (which i have done) and just generally be an advocate for myself (less successful), but so often i don't have the energy, or the wherewithal, and the thought of going through all the different steps and processes involves puts me into torpor.

a vicious circle, innit?

plus i would feel like a cop-out if i took medicine. i've been raised in a family that subscribes to the bootstraps mentality and, even when presented with the vast body of scientific evidence about the neurochemical and behavioral elements of depression, believe that i should be able to leverage myself out of my "funk" through sheer force of personality. and, of course, to some extent i have internalized that. maybe this is something that therapy might help - to silence the internal voice of the disbelieving father, the disapproving mother.

just had a hard time of it today. it's a little better now. can't wait for the weekend so i can cut loose.

look forward to another long and scholarly article soon soon soon. also, i want to do one on societal effects on the moods and disorders of humans. you'll see what that means before too long.

i close with a list of five things that make me want to go to sleep forever, and five things that make me want to stay awake forever. and when i say forever, i do mean forever.

1. car registration stuff and beauracracy in general
2. bluetooth headsets
3. ovaries
4. fluorescent lighting
5. the fact that you have to work a shit job to survive

1. dance parties
2. stuffed cyclops monsters that smell like patchouli
3. driving around on a sunny day, listening to NPR
4. my friends
5. blogging and generally being irresponsible at work


Phillip said...

I want to live because I want to know what happens next. I've really fallen into following politics, electronic culture, the 'market' and historical developments, etcetera. Also of course I enjoy people. I want to see what happens :P

ummm.... you can't pull yourself up by your own bootstraps.... BECAUSE ITS FREAKING IMPOSSIBLE. What a ridiculous saying. Like lifting yourself in the air.

But without being literal, I would say also that people become attached to their depression because they view it as themselves. The zendo kids say that the 'yourself' that this indicates does not exist at all. Attachment to depression is the same as attachment to anything. Illusory. It's a form of keeping or owning.

Anonymous said...

If you could pull yourself up by your bootstraps, then wouldn't you have already done it? Like, with levitation? Science?

Here's what happens when you do pull your sorry ass up by your bootstraps: You fall flat on your face because you have pulled your own feet out from under yourself. Good going, dumbass.

So, as Phil said, bootstraps and attendant metaphors are gay.

I need to elaborate on what Phil said about attachment. This is something I struggle with-- the idea that mental illness is somehow fundamental to my being. Even as I move forward with my life, I cling to depression, afraid to leave the security of stasis behind for good. I feel like I need to know I can always get back through the trapdoor to sleep on command.

. . . my tummy hurts.

elly_or_esther said...

Just to follow with what everyone else said, that bootstrap stuff is ridiculous. I've told you about my mom and her view:
-Medication is drugging yourself with a placebo that doesn't accomplish anything except giving you this crutch that you will depend on later in life.

-Positive thinking works because your emotions are linked to how you think, and that you continually drag yourself down when you focus on how bad things are.

-Herbal therapy is great because really, you're only depressed because you have a magnesium deficiency.

Now, after thinking about my mom's view, I don't dismiss everything everything she has said. I think that eating a good diet makes you feel better. Pills can be problematic if you think they're the cure-all. If you focus on how bad life is, you will feel bad. I just don't think that it explains all of my issues. The problem comes when you try to attribute depression to one thing while dismissing the fact that it is a very complicated medical condition.

elly_or_esther said...

Another thing, in response to your two lists of things that "make me want to stay awake forever" etc, that reminded me of something else in therapy. Laura wanted me to write a list of things that made me feel better. I think to this day I'm still stuggling to write that list, and it makes me wonder why. Even when I feel on top of things, that list is still short and obscure.

His Majesty King Mob said...

Phil - i feel the same way about wanting to know what happens next. i remember when we had the wii in the apartment in lakewood and we would go online and play those opinion surveys. one of them was something like, "would you rather know what's going to happen to you or what's going to happen to the rest of the universe?" i picked the first one, but my answer would be different today.

i am really interested in trying to put on a zen pair of goggles and look through them at depression. maybe you have something further to say about it. whether or not it's true that it is illusory (the self, depression, take your pick), it is true that i am a being with a conception of myself and i experience depression to be something real right now. maybe that will change as i explore it. if i could just think depression away by demolishing the ego, that would be neat.

IHJ - i always picture a person hanging off a cliff, trying to pull themselves up by their own bootstraps, and since that is so obviously physically impossible, eventually falling to their doom.

everyone we know is attached to mental illness in one way or another. maybe it's just that our mental illness coincides with so many of the positive things in our lives, like friends, music, and the past (which, for me, looks better and better all the time - yay nostaliga).

the conception of depression as an escape hatch is interesting. i don't want to say it, but it's almost like an excuse. "i want to sleep all day, and i can, because i am depressed." but to me, depression is more something that i want to escape from, not into. again, if you had asked me two years ago, i would have felt differently than i do today.

EorE: your mom is a friggin psychopath. the video about "good advice" reminds me of the little i know about her.

i'm glad you said that you don't disagree with all of it. i think she has good intentions (and even some insight - negative thinking is incredibly destructive to me at least) but probably the wrong information.

i don't think the correlate about incessant negative thoughts holds true - that incessant positive thoughts can lift you up from your low moods, especially when they are primarily chemical in nature (i think). but i do think, from my experience, that when i start to hate on myself and the world, it always leads to more hate and anger and sadness about things, almost infinitely recursive.

positive thinking (puppies and rainbows, or envisioning yourself where you want to be, or whatever) is sort of a crock in my opinion, and certainly isn't going to fix any real illness. but negative thinking is definitely a sonofabitch.

then again, you never know - are the negative thoughts a cause of the depression? or an effect? or a bit of both? this is, i think, a pretty essential question to answer.

as for lists, i have found them helpful and i think that you could, too. just start with the very basic stuff, such as cats or beers. if it doesn't come easily, just keep trying. try to add one a day. i ended up with over a hundred things on my list and it's helped me quite a few times.

again, this isn't something that's going to cure depression (if such a thing is possible), but it's definitely a palliative, something that makes you feel a little bit better in the interval, something to hold on to.