Days Like These

Warning: depression. Seriously, do not read this if you don’t feel like looking at the inside of a brain on serious depression.

Depression is evil. The matter how long I manage to keep it at bay, when it comes back I always feel like it’s been here the whole time; like I’ve never felt any way other than this.

This week has been full of stressors. My tendinitis doesn’t seem to be getting any better, and I’m getting tired of trying new things. I’m exhausted from trying new things and having them not work. Yesterday I went through what we might term a mini-breakup, which as it so happens was perfectly aligned with the other things going on in my life to trigger a number of different fears and insecurities all at once. Last night, for the first time in quite a while, I woke up in the middle of the night with back pain — the kind of back pain where it feels like someone snuck in the room in the middle of the night and set your body on fire.

I know this is a response to stressors. I know there’s a good chance that in a few days I won’t feel quite so bad, but knowing that doesn’t mean I can fast forward to it. Right now I just feel like life is determined not to give me a chance to feel happy. I’m tired of trying to make things work. I’m tired of having a body so determined never to give me a chance to live a life without some sort of daily pain. I’m tired of those pain issues preventing me from being able to work like a normal person, and contribute to the world around me like a normal person. I’m tired of asking for help. I’m tired of doing everything I can feel better, for myself, and for the people around me, and having it not work.

I’m good at this. In many ways, I’m good at staying rational in the midst of dealing with depression. I know the things that I need. I know the things that have an effect on feeling this way. But I don’t know how to get them. I know I need to find things I can do that feel good, but given the physical issues of struggling with there’s almost nothing that I know that I can do that doesn’t have some chance of aggravating the chronic pain symptoms I’m experiencing. There is almost nothing I can do that, while it might make me feel better in one way, will increase my anxiety that I’m doing something that will worsen my physical issues at the same time. I can talk to people. Talking to people usually helps. But I’m tired of asking this of people.

There’s a scene in the West Wing where Leo McGarry comments about being an alcoholic:

Leo: I went to rehab, my friends embraced me when I got out. You relapse, it’s not like that. “Get away from me.” That’s what it’s like.

I know I should ask people for help. I know I should call, I know that whenever I talk about worrying that people will get tired of having to help, they tell me I’m wrong, or at least that it’s never happened yet. I know that. But I can’t help but think that at some point enough is going to be enough. At some point I relapse and, “Get away from me”, will be what it’s like. And I wouldn’t really blame anyone for that. At some point, after a certain number of times at a certain frequency of needing to ask for help, I just start to feel like it’s never going to make any difference. This will happen a few more times, and then there’ll be one time where I know all the things that I know right now about how it will get better, or at least a little bit better — manageable — if I just wait it out, but I just won’t be able to.

The turn of phrase is, “Rearranging the chairs on the Titanic”. At some point, you just start to feel like asking people for help is like asking them to say supportive things to the chairs on the Titanic. If it’s going to go down anyway, better sooner rather than later, so they don’t have to waste so much of their time talking to a sinking ship.

In a life that puts me in this place on what feels like such a regular basis, I don’t know how to stop thinking that. I really don’t.

I will call, and as frustratingly invalidating as it feels to say, there’s a good chance I won’t feel this bad in a day or two. We’ll see. But for now, I just wish there was some way I could see my way through to not having days like this happen anymore. Or at least to not having them happen so frequently as they do. The longer you deal with depression, and the more things you try that end up not working, the more you start to wonder if every new solution you come up with isn’t just another way of rearranging the chairs.

It doesn’t make sense that yesterday had this much of an impact on me. It doesn’t make sense, and if I had to explain the full story to someone, I would feel, well, crazy. I don’t mean to overreact in this way. It just happens. It makes me feel so stupid every time it does, but feeling stupid about it doesn’t keep it from happening. It doesn’t keep me from needing support again. It doesn’t keep the depression from resurfacing. I don’t know, I guess I’m just a really poorly made ship.

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