(I had written this in April, but somehow it got saved to drafts instead.)
There’s all kinds of layers of tangible and intangible reals. Compare against real boy’s photo or real boy the images steps away, one of decades ago, one of this year.
All kinds of us walk around looking real. And being real but not identical. I feel like I harp on this point and perhaps I do because I’m harped at and told I’m normal, a dismissal of sorts. I have an inkling of normal I’m led to believe that there are people who live outside of depression, panic attacks, chronic pain, etc. Got out of bed is a Kilimanjaro without a guide nor expedition company.
One feels less real some days as if behind block glass. You know there are distortions.
You have to go forward with the assumption that you have reliable information you can act on. Somewhere inside I believe that my perceptions are true complete assessments, even if I hedge with the vast unknowable humbleness, there are still patterns reliable enough to work on.
If I wake up feeling 4x my normal gravity and I get out clothes and bring 3 pairs of socks and no shirt when I do persuade myself to get out of bed, it’s one of those days. Not an absent-minded day but when everything will be hard. Probably my depth perception will be off as well. Mindfulness practice or walking or monk music may help, as well as staying hydrated and patient but not exacerbating doesn’t remove the base state. Skewed me.
Did I tell you the story of when we first moved to the neighbourhood and tried to do grocery shopping with an incoming migraine. I swore to Brian it was ugliest of stores with violent lights and hostile clerks and dirt and it took him a while to persuade me to try it again. When we did, it was like returning to a town after decades away. Of course, in the return I assumed, now I had the proper Platonic truth filer on and this is how charming the store is. (ugh. can I be a feeding tube earthworm in my next incarnation? but they may have the same issues.)
I’ve mentioned before Christine Miserandino’s spoons theory (Starting 3 minutes in)
The noteableness about the quote is that descriptions of depression talk about sudden onset, change in appetite, change in passion, moods. It is more thorough than that. The chemistry tips at random times like a deer scarer. There may be disproportional reactivity and cascading from a cause, or no discernible cause.
It is a radio in the head, sometimes quiet, sometimes screened out or clicked off. If it asks for attention and is ignored, it becomes a roar that’s hard to hear past.
It is chemical predisposition. That idea cleaves chemistry from the organs that make and express it, but it is another beastie among the menagerie of influences within.
Sometimes it seems to go away. Exhilarating normality of relief from low-grade distress. It’s one of the possible impairments at play. It doesn’t mean low function. It often means invisible. Although I suppose with time, we all become energy-readers of those on the same wavelength.
Acting cheerful isn’t the familiar face of depression but I years I refused to spiral down to a socially acceptable level of mope so others’ prejudices would be validated. Was that it? Or I didn’t want to be a trigger for others and cause a cascade. If we assume we are all delicate and forget we are all also tough and resilient even if inconvenienced by body and mood…
It’s easy enough for me to think I’m “all better” and then get thumped by that hybrid of Eeyore and Tigger. I have to be my own firm advocate of time and boundaries. That means opening boundaries not only shutting out. Close yourself off, you practice threat, rehearse anxiety. Open yourself up? Others are signalled that it’s safe & you give them that freedom to be safe as well. Except for the bullies who will smell blood and attack. Yeah, there’s that. Or the well-meaning will give unsolicited advice because they are a one-article expert as vs. living the walk for two or three decades or more.
Depression’s not only stick in the mud.
It’s not only being the bitter note or the calloused reply or dark humour. It can be any of that.
It is learned behavior in part and mental habit is part. Stress is the outward things, the people, the pollution or economics but it is also the self-talk.
Depression isn’t cause-related. When you’re bummed, you can point and say, this, me sad. Everyone gets “depressed” now and then. People die. Jobs disappear. People steal things from you or act mean. You may not bounce back right away. That’s not depression.
Depression is more than context-based. It is ach, who built this mental city where all the off-ramps lead to existential angst?
Head game. Observing self. Strategies.
It’s not only strategies and workarounds.
I want it to be simple as diet and exercise and having a central sense of purpose and schedule. Panacea? Sign me up. I’ll be a sucker for a bit of relief again.
It’s not only those but they and allergic triggers although all those can amplify or lessen. Stress, self-talk, worsens.
It’s a work with, not a fixable; not discipline-related any more than dyslexia is. To say think your way out of is like saying, just concentrate, you can grow a 3rd arm. Or pray for a new foot, it would have come, if you really wanted one instead of just liked complaining. Or just pay attention and instruct yourself in how to live and in a puff of purple smoke of blame, you’ll be a millionaire.
Depression is more systemic and not mood exactly. I’ve been pounced on more times than I can count by people who want to prove to me I’m fine because I was just witnessed, (witnessed I tell you) enjoying something, or look relaxed. Aha, proof of normalness, therefore I was just overstating, exaggerating and plain wrong before because I appeared cheerful. And was cheerful even.
Therefore the situation is mood and lack of logic to see that there is no general problem. I don’t know what drives people to try to help this way. I suppose by “helping” they are not helpless in their empathy and can dismiss something from being worried about.
Our social contract with one another is to inform and to entertain, but also for all to excel, one needs empathy which is based on caring not on suppressing. Based on listening and on speaking frankly. [More on that tomorrow.]
Noteable Quoteable: “Depression is mistrusting every good thing that happens. Depression is realizing that, when things seem to be going your way for once, this is always the part of the movie when aliens attack and destroy the earth.” ~ Anne Thériault