Depression Chronicals

So, a long time back, a doctor suggested to me that I was depressed and should seek help.  I decided that while I was a little down what with everything that was going on, I would never succumb to depression. I was just tired, and a wee bit cranky, and a wee bit sad, and a wee bit....well, I just wasn't depressed and that was that. 
Sure, I was perhaps a little more anxious than usual and I was finding it hard to do certain things like get up in the morning, or give a damn about anything, but that was to be expected.  No depression here.  Okay, maybe just a little. 
 I tried the whole 'fake it until you make it philosophy'.
Yay!  Happy, happy, me!   

After about 15 minutes of that particular stupidity I reverted back to my now standard position. Face down on the couch surrounded by my failure. It was comforting. NOT depressing.

I tried talking about it to people but that didn't go very well.
 Everyone seemed just as cranky and miserable as I was.
I read all of the books I could find and they seemed to work for a little while, but...
but, mostly, they just sort of sank into the background and I ended up dragging their words around with me conscious of my failure. 

So, I decided to go to the medication route.  It didn't feel like it was working, though.
I went back to the doctor and he suggested I try more drugs.
Now, my reality is a bit fuzzy.  I get dizzy easy and I feel a different kind of queasy than I am used to from the Crohn's. On the other hand, I really don't care. My body is screaming out in sheer panic but my brain doesn't mind at all.  Every thing is fine....
except it's not.  I don't know what I am doing wrong.  Shouldn't I be feeling better by now?

I think one of the hardest things to deal with is that all of the good things just drift away and stay out of reach.  You feel them go one by one and more than anything else you want them back, but you just can't grab them.

So, I figure that since they were mine to begin with, built with time, patience, experience and all of that other wise and sage stuff we are supposed to be capable of,  they were never really gone.  That which really matters to you never goes away, they stay with you, it's just that sometimes things get in the way.  If you can find a quiet spot within yourself, a place where you can just breathe and push the nonsense away, you will find them waiting.

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The little things seems so hard.  The things you need the most, human contact, normalcy, routine, are the most difficult.  Your brain turns off, there is no other way for me to explain it.  It's as if that part of you, the part that lets you reach out or just do basic functions, goes to sleep.  
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The harder you try, the more difficult it becomes.  You can feel the stress and anger coursing through your body.  Frustration becomes the main emotion for the day.  You just really can't do it.
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To make matters worse, the one thing that does work in your brain is that damned inner critic.  It doesn't notice how hard you are trying, it doesn't care.  It waits quietly and then jumps forward gleefully proclaiming your failures. It also whispers to you of how everyone else sees your failures and how much they hate you for it.  The logical part of you knows this is highly unlikely, but that nasty little beast dwelling in your psyche is great at kicking the logical part out of the way.

It's amazing how just the smallest of things can make my day.  I grew up in Connecticut.  I am a born and bred Yankee and as such Dunkin' Donuts are a part of my heritage.  Unfortunately, here in the mid west,  there are very few Dunkin' Donuts.  None within more than 100 miles of me.  
I can't tell you how much I miss such a simple thing.  There is something about that happy pink box full of soft, wonderful donuts, or the little bucket of munchkins or the bag of wonderful, moist, fantastically huge muffins that just make me happy.  I can't even really eat very much of it, but just knowing I could go get some if I wanted to would mean a lot to me.
Yesterday, in the news, I learned that they will be opening a Dunkin' Donuts here in Omaha.  I am a very happy camper indeed.  Yay!  Dunkin' Donuts!  

 Some days are just tougher than others.  Today was a rough one for me.  Little things kept going wrong.  My Wacom kept messing up, the Crohn's was feeling neglected and it was just an all around blah day.

A blah-day wardrobe usually consists of anything soft and loose and comfy to lay around in.  Half of my wardrobe now consists of this type of clothing.  I am thinking it's not a good thing when your husband actually offers to take you clothes shopping because he thinks that you have somehow magically run out of clothes.
There was a while there when all I watched was Netflix.  I was into British murder mystery shows.  Netflix has a lot of them.  Some of them had over a hundred episodes and I watched them all.  I actually considered this an accomplishment.  It was proof I could stick to something until completed.
When I realized that the t.v. watching might have been draining my vital essences I switched to music.  I have learned to pick the right types of music to get me motivated, to calm me down or to do things that I really don't want to do but are extremely important.  Like shovel out clean the kitchen.  Now I am permanently attached to my iPod. 
Meals mainly consist of anything I can put in a bowl and if necessary I will take the extra step to put it in the microwave.  It's just easier that way.
And then comes the whole writing/creating/school thing.  I used to find a blank screen or a blank piece of paper exciting.  I couldn't wait to get started on it.  Now it's just intimidating.  However, I have found that if I just start typing or drawing, even if it's just a silly doodle, I can actually pick up some momentum and accomplish something.  Sometimes the something accomplished is a scary example of what never to do, but, hey! it's all a learning experience right?  Erasers and the backspace key are now my best friends.

And then there is bedtime.  It is interesting how, when you are depressed, you can spend all day feeling like you are going to drop right where you stand.  You want nothing more than to crawl into bed, and then when you do, you can't fall asleep.  You just can't.  Your body is exhausted but your brain just will not shut down.  You can try the 1,2, trick, the little ball on the pyramid trick, the counting backwards trick, even imagining yourself painting a rainbow and nothing works.  The next thing you know it is morning and the whole thing starts all over again.

The above was written and drawn in January of 2012.  It is now May 31, 2013.  A lot has happened in the last almost year and a half.  Some good, some bad.  By the time I was done with The Depression Chronicle entries my fondest wish and desire was to run away.  Run away from everything.  Life, disease, depression and mostly myself.  I despised myself, I felt weak, useless, and like a total waste of space.  I disappeared from everything for awhile, not just the internet but I pulled away from friends and family and I sank into a very dark place.  I didn't want to live anymore.  I didn't contemplate suicide, I just didn't want to wake up.
The Crohn's became unbearable.  Pain and nausea was managed on a minute to minute basis rather than a daily situation and that just made things worse.
But, after a while I became frustrated and angry and that turned out to be a good thing. The anger gave me the strength to start moving forward.
  I was so tired of all of this and begam to pull up and out.  I did it by concentrating on what I felt I needed to make my life better and to make myself happy.  I know it sounds selfish but it wasn't.  I needed to reconnect with my friends and my family.  I needed to reconnect with myself.  I needed to accept some things and discard some others and develop some new things.  For example, I had to accept that Crohn's wasn't going to go away so I've been learning to live with it and work my life around it.  I needed to discard the negative thoughts that I was useless now and realize that I still mattered and that people still wanted and needed me in their lives.  I needed to develop new attitudes about my abilities and self-worth and accept that perfectionism is destructive and holds us back from achieving anything. 
It took a lot of time to get to the spot where I am now. I had to pull myself through miles of sticky, horrid gunk to finally find the right door to open.
 It is still a work in progress and always will be but that's nothing unique.  We are all always changing, always evolving, digging ourselves into holes and pulling ourselves back out again.
I used to hear that now-cliched statement 'It gets better' and sneer.  Now, I realize they are right.  It does get better, it takes time, but it does get better.  I now have whole days where I am happy.  I am smiling and even laughing again.
Life isn't perfect, it was never meant to be perfect, to expect otherwise is unrealistic and silly.  There are still days I am sad, depressed, and feel enveloped in a heavy, grey, fog, but I recognize it for what it is; temporary.
If you are going through depression please realize you are not weak, you are not a freak and you are not alone.  Millions of other people are going through it, too.  If you feel like you are at the end of your rope please talk to friends, family, a medical professional, or if that option is not open to you then Google a depression hotline and let them help you.  Keep talking, keep reaching out, don't treat your depression as if it is hopeless or an embarrassment or something that isn't real and most of all ignore the people who tell you to 'snap out of it'.  It is a very real illness, it deserves to be treated seriously and it can get better.  Just keep searching and you will find the right resource for you.

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