more on depression

i can exercise and make goals and check off lists and pursue dreams and eat healthy and volunteer and help others and medicate and self-medicate all i want, but none of it really makes the bleakness go away. all that stuff just distracts me from it. and because i've expended so much energy trying to get away from it, when it seeps back up through the cracks it's even darker and scarier. 

mindfulness is the only real, sustainable, practical solution i've found so far. i've tried antidepressants, stimulants, mood stabilizers, etc. (some of them do help in regards to being productive enough to survive) but none of them address the real root of the issue because the root of the issue is spiritual, not physical or biochemical. not even emotional. it's so much deeper and larger than that, which is why it feels so heavy and overwhelming when i'm not listening to it. 

every moment is an opportunity to tune in to existing. it's painful at first, because with it comes the realization that it can't last—none of it can. but once you get past it, or settle into it rather, it lightens its hold. you lighten your hold. depression can feel bleak, but awareness of depression can't. no medication can make the decision to tune in for you (although i admit it's possible that it can help with motivating you to try). that's a leap you have to take for yourself. 

Note: i understand that everyone and every experience is different. i am only speaking from my own <3

Mental Health

My elusive muse.

How do you choose who gets to be well? Who gets to sing, and who has to swell?

Are you a calling card? My fated gift? Or just a long roadblock I could have missed?

I’m feeling unwell this morning (week, month, year, decade).  It dawned on me yesterday, as it usually does after a few weeks of hopeful upward motion, that I am still struggling with the same negativity I was when I was 13. The same demons are still knocking at my door, trying to rattle my bones and steal my air. Instead of my usual route of shameful victimizing, I’m trying to keep a firm, loving eye on this. What does this information tell me? Where does my mind immediately default?

I am inherently broken in some way, and no matter how long and how hard I fight to remain steady, positive, healthy and clean, I will always wind up back at the bottom. This is what history tells me, at least — but here’s the paradox of it all: I’m at the bottom right now. Once I’m at the top again, I’ll feel and think the reverse with the same strong conviction that love is law and persistence is key.

I must admit, there is huge relief in conceding that I’m wounded. That my drinking habits are self-medicating, that mid-night crying spells and bodily dread are not totally common experiences, and that constant intrusive images of my own slit wrists may actually be trying to tell me something. Already, I notice my thoughts creeping into binary patterns: nature vs. nurture, chicken vs. egg, guilty vs. not guilty. Is all this pain and confusion merely a symptom of my own laziness and lack? My own inability to take full responsibility for myself and my life?

Or, could it be something a bit more detached? Some unfortunate combination of genes and trauma that have given birth to a parasite that I simply have to deal with in whatever ways I can? It is refreshing to take the less defeating stance.

And of course, all this comes down to one nagging, generational-specific question: Do I medicate?

As I was thinking about it yesterday, I felt certain it would be worthwhile to try again. I always do when in the throws of the dark.

It isn’t that easy, though. It isn’t as if medication will magically make things easier. There will be side-effects. There always are. I guess my main reservation, however, is that it will feel like cheating. As if somehow, it will confirm that I’m not strong enough to heal on my own, and that is not a productive or rational argument. The bottom line is whether or not I am willing to treat my pain and darkness as a disease to remedied or an intrinsic part of me to be worked with and healed…. and as I wrote that, I realized how binary it was (society has trained me well). Who says taking medication can’t be viewed as a loving way to heal the self? In cognitive therapy, we work to change our neural pathways by way of intentionally creating healthier habits; might medication only help to augment those efforts? A little push in the right direction?

I’ve thought these thoughts before. So many times. So the struggle continues.

One thing is for sure: I have to stay cognizant of my moods. My overall feelings toward life. I have to stay diligent, observe, and genuinely work toward healing, however I choose to do so.

Starting...

Starting is the important thing, right?

I don’t know exactly where this is going to end up, or even what the content of this blog is going to look like. I have no clue what I’ll be doing in five years, whether I’ll still be living paycheck to paycheck in a crappy water-damaged apartment building or struggling to avoid the constant temptations of alcohol and processed bread. I don’t know if I’ll reach my goals, if they’ll change completely, if I’ll still have both my parents, if I’ll no longer be chronically tired, if I’ll feel at peace, if I’ll have a child, or one of those shiny gold bands on my finger. I have no idea what I’m doing or where I’m going, and I’m totally not okay with it, but always striving to be.

Lately I’m trying to embrace an attitude of forward motion. Nothing else, just motion. Everything else is irrelevant. I can’t control where or when or how I get to wherever it is that I’m going, but I can choose to start the journey. As long as I start, I’m on my way, and you never fail unless you give up. It’s literally impossible to fail unless you give up. Did you know that?

But it’s also okay to give up. Sometimes you have to give up, and you have to fail. And now that snooty voice inside wants me to say that you may think you have given up, lost the path and turned around, but in the grander scheme of things you are still following those greater invisible lines, and you are still moving forward. Forward doesn’t have to be linear. As long as you’re able to start, you’ll always find yourself moving forward.

And on that note, I will call this a wrap. Aren’t first blog posts supposed to outline and define what the purpose of the blog is?