Friday, September 19, 2014

Depression is Down, Desire is Up

When something is going well, I'm a very vigilant person. More than just 'waiting for the other shoe to drop', I typically wouldn't allow myself that positivity or happiness for much longer than a day before counteracting it with some sort of self-sabotage. Happiness is uncomfortable, new, and scary as hell to me; depression is what I'm used to, and there's a significant comfort I have with it.

So it's both good and terrifying that I've been feeling less depressed for the past couple of weeks. There's been a number of factors that are helping, what has helped most was finally getting to a spot where I really wanted the (sometimes literal) beating myself up continuously to stop. Nights where I stay up, stuck on thinking about previous failures and how I'm never going to improve enough to have a future worthwhile, are shit. Those nights suck up wants and desires. I had to, and keep having to, stop letting nights like those happen.

With feeling less depressed, there's two things I've been noticing. First is trying to be okay with it, trying to get the anxiety down of this new/different thing. Second is dealing with what my brain is filling up with when I'm not concentrating on my depression as much - and that's what I want/desire. There's a lot of different things I want, but this is the first time in a long time that I'm giving myself a chance to really think about it without getting mad at myself about them or be stuck in hopelessness.

It's a cool feeling, and I want this to continue.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

A Meta-Conversation

I find myself to be a below-average talker. In a serious conversation, I'm going to be slow because I want to really think about what it is I'm saying and to try to make perfect sense, but I'm still likely to mess up some of it by the end. I have absolutely terrible eye contact, my therapy appointments can consist of me staring into one corner of the room, and in the last few years, I've noticed myself closing my eyes completely while talking to others because it's easier (haven't gotten into the psychology of "why" yet). When in lighter conversations, I am more apt to be quick and it's going to be witty, droll, or maybe just mean - my friend Joe can attest to that.

Through text, it's a lot easier, because I feel like I have a lot more time. I'm going to type out what I want to say in three to five different ways, take bits and pieces of each, and come up with something hopefully sensible.

In conversation, I would really love a pause button - stop time and just get it figured out to my best ability before we can move on again. Being that that's not possible, the consolation to it would be something that I was thinking about the other night.

I called it 'meta-conversation' because I couldn't think of anything better, and wasn't aware of any coined term that described what I was putting together in my head. By googling meta-conversation, I'm not the first person to think about it either. This person from two years ago has a video that really got the general idea of what I would want to do.

Basically, I would love the chance to stop a current conversation with a friend or family member, and start an analyzing second conversation about it.‏Doing all of the typical self-analysis during the conversation (the self-conscious thoughts, the wanting to say one thing, but thinking it would come off as a way you don't want, or just being unsure of what to say), but out loud, and the other person able to do the same.‏

It would be completely vulnerable. It makes me both terrified and have a real desire to do it. Of course, in reality, I could probably only be able to pull this off with four or five people in my life. Also, it would make more sense to follow along the lines of the video where it's a much more subtle way of doing it and in smaller doses.

I don't know, this has kept me really interested for the last 36 hours, and I hope to try it out at some point with others.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

An Update

It's been 9 months since my last post, although I've probably opened up Word to write one about a dozen times since then. It gets so wordy and it rambles on and on, whatever starting point I was at goes down a long-winded tunnel that I can't make sense of when I try reading it back.

I've been thinking about doing an update here for a week or two, and then with what happened today regarding Robin Williams, the urge to write something grew, so here I am.

Major life events in the past 9 months:
  1. Graduated from my DBT group in late February.
  2. ....
That's really kind of it. This is a big problem when it comes to catching up with friends and family, I have absolutely nothing to add. One conversation with a friend consisted of me dreading and explaining the stressors of making a dentist appointment for three weeks (one I've given up on now without ever actually going to an appointment).

Then it's the physically painful conversation I had with my grandfather a few months ago of him asking what I do with my days. I was unprepared, and even a broad answer like "working on my depression and anxiety," didn't come to mind. I simply said "I don't really know," and he thankfully (or unthankfully) just left it at that. I don't know if he still remembers that particular conversation, but I'm kind of hoping he asks again sometime soon, so I can hopefully spit out something better than that.

What "working on my depression and anxiety" means currently is whatever my individual therapist is giving me. Right now, I'm struggling on getting out of the apartment. It can always be an issue, but times like now are when I really need to be aware of it. So I have written out a little schedule for two weeks (time between appointments) and it's roughly every other day that I make myself scheduled to go out. Self-judgements come first when I'm writing something like this - "90% of these things are to just get groceries or to stupidly walk around going nowhere with headphones on for 30 minutes" "How fucking pathetic is it that I don't even believe in myself enough to make it outside every day?" - like with anything that is designed to get me better, I have the initial worse feelings. A day or two later, I'm ready to actually work on the schedule, and it has helped. The central focus now is the days that I'm not making it outside when I said I would, and what (if anything) I'm doing/saying to try and still make it out.

The other two 'assignments' my psychotherapist has are two bigger projects. The first one is a relationship timeline - a breakdown of every significant relationship I've had in my life, the positives and negatives I've gotten from them, to try and figure out exactly what it is I want from future relationships (and what to avoid). Another great/not-so-great part of the relationship timeline is seeing why some of these relationships ended. I've found that a lot have never had a falling out or blow up or anything of the sort... they just died. I stopped talking to them and they stopped talking to me.

The second one is what I've been avoiding for 6 days now. It's an otherwise empty sheet of notebook paper with the questions on top of: "What is the fear of getting better? What's stopping me?" A million and one things come to mind, and while I would love to write it out and make better sense of the jumbled mess in my head, it's also going to hurt really, really badly.

That's it. My birthday is in eight days (the 20th), and I turn 25. Not sure what my plans are about writing here again, but hopefully it will be within 9 months.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Sleep Being a Challenge

One of the early signs of me feeling worse (depression and suicidal thoughts going up) is when I'm having more difficulty than normal falling asleep. Sleep has always been a problem for me, at least since Middle or High School, so sometimes it can be difficult for me to figure out if it's just the 'normal' staying up til 3-4am, or tossing and turning until 3-4am or later.

These past three weeks, my sleep has been terrible. I've been staying awake until 7am in a lot of cases, this past Sunday I finally fell asleep at 4pm after being awake the previous 30-some hours. It's a mess, and as a result (or source), I've been miserable.

When I've been awake, I'm doing a lot of busy stuff. I'm on my computer, been reading more books, walking more, been making more stops to the coffee shop nearby that I like being at, but none of these things have had any real meaning - these are things that I'm doing to avoid attempting to sleep.

I'm wanting to avoid attempting to sleep because thoughts have been the issue. I've been thinking about electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) a lot, something that I did around this time last year, and possibly doing it again. Not really for the chance of getting better, either. I'd like to do it again for the idea of my short-term memory being wiped out every other day. While it would be an easy out, it sounds like such a good thing to do. If it were possible, I'd love to have my entire memory erased and be given a do-over.

One of the things I remember most clearly when I went for my ECT appointments last year were laying in the bed right before being given the anesthesia. Surrounded by 2-3 doctors and the nurse who I'd talk with in the room before for a few minutes to get prepped. They'd talk with me shortly, make sure I knew my name, DOB, a couple other things, then give me the anesthesia. The cold sensation that I'd feel up my arm right before falling asleep is one I honestly wish I could have more of. Just that instant sleep, on command, is something I'd love to have, especially on days where I'm unable to fall asleep on my own.

This is where the more permanent option of instant sleep on command comes into my mind, and it's difficult to get away from it.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Example of why I Hate my Brain

'Here are 5 successes. These are things that have made you feel competent, confident, even happy in the recent past. Simply sit with them, attempt to allow yourself to feel those things again when you're thinking about those successes, and don't do anything else.'

Getting these instructions from my therapist, I instead analyze all of those successes, invalidate them, and shatter them.

I broke them down to a point where these now so-called "successes" were through no doing of my own (either just happenstance, a nice way of saying I really failed, or since they're not current, they don't count).

Not only that, but I made comparisons to what I view a "normal" person my age would be dealing with. That's when I get the feeling I'm behind where every body else is in life, I'm defective & I'm inferior.

All of this was in a matter of 45-60 seconds. I break down crying because of this frustration that my brain and line of thinking always seems to point towards the way where I suffer. I can't allow myself to enjoy successes, and I have no compassion for myself to where it might lighten that suffering. I can barely allow other people's compassion because either I don't believe them or I don't deserve it & them.

I really hate my brain.

Friday, September 6, 2013

The Fears & Frustrations of Getting Better

Over the past few weeks, I've been in a better overall mood. There's more positive feelings, more possible outlooks that I'm looking forward to try and make work, and a little bit more comfort of being me in my own body.

That scares the fuck out of me.

Not having a job nor going to school, I really only have two things that I'm responsible for doing, and that's group therapy and individual therapy. I do those two things pretty damn well, too. I've been in group for 20 months now. I enjoy talking with the people there, not only other group members, but the facilitator I can talk sports with, and other facilitators & therapists that I run into in the hallways or during down times, I'm able to have friendly & fun conversations with on a consistent basis. Since I've been there for so long, I've gotten a really good grasp on the material (Dialectical Behavior Therapy), and enjoy talking psychotherapy at length. In individual therapy, I've been seeing the same one for years, and the same sort of thing - we're able to have fun conversations (joke & laugh with each other), also discuss general psychotherapy, not necessarily my own, and it's comfortable to do that.

So when the idea of getting better and moving on comes up, there's a real willingness and willfulness to it. I don't want to be a disappointment, I already feel like I am one to my friends, family, and myself. I don't want to limit myself to just going to a shit-ton of therapy the rest of my life, not advancing anywhere in school or a job or relationships. I want successes.

However, I'm scared of expectations and responsibilities, I'm absolutely terrified of failing at meeting those, and I can self-sabotage myself at any opportunity. So even if there is a chance at moving on the 20 or whatever steps from where I am currently and getting a job or more likely going back to school, even the smallest thing that I think or did wrong, I can go in a "fuck it" mode, and shut down completely.

The frustration is that I'm never entirely sure if I want to get better. Frustration is that even when I feel relatively really good right now, I'm stopping myself from enjoying it because of a crippling fear. Frustration is that in this good mood, I'm still at a place where the thoughts of killing myself come up just as frequently as if I were in a bad one, and that those suicidal thoughts have been so consistent now (over 500 days straight), that I'm doubtful those thoughts are ever going to go away.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Untitled

Tonight's the night I really would like to give up.

I'm struggling to find any use for anybody right now, and the best I can come up with is to take care of my cat. Nobody else would want to, or have the patience to deal with her moods, and she does seem to really like it being just two of us. I made sort of an agreement with myself a year or two ago that I would at least wait until my cat died until I'd commit suicide ... that's honestly the only thing that's stopping me tonight, and I'm judging that as me being extremely pathetic.

I would like to find some sort of purpose for myself. It was an assignment from group a couple weeks ago to find purpose (through values, dreams, wants, needs, etc.), and then come up with some future goals that you would truly like to do. They had no restrictions: big/small, realistic/fantasy, anything ... I could've put "to be a major league baseball player", and that would've been it, but I came up with nothing. There's no goals because there's no purpose.

I don't have any dreams or wants or needs or priorities. Not even the imaginative ones anymore.

Then the suggestion was to come up with things that maybe a more optimistic me would consider as being goals, and possibly, through achieving some of those goals, I could find purpose. Problem: I've been working on, and achieved some of, those faux goals for 5 years now. It's not working.

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I don't have anyone currently that I would like to talk to about me or how I'm doing. I have two individual therapists now, and group twice a week, but even now on a Friday night/Saturday morning, where I skipped group therapy on Thursday, these 4 days without therapy or having any sort of deep conversation, is making feel so shitty and alone and isolated.

It's not like I've been isolating myself, either. I've been helping my mom and her fiance move out of their condo multiple times this week, I went down to my grandparent's cabin this morning/afternoon and helped my grandpa put the dock in, along with cleaning up his pontoon and doing random chores around the place that he wanted my help for ... I even had a great time with him, joking with and being "normal" around him.

But that went away pretty quickly. His and I conversations aren't anything deep, on the car rides, we don't even speak a word to each other. Who do I have to talk to, that I have a solid, functional relationship with, where it would feel comfortable? One close friend that I have is continually moving on with their life while I'm in a standstill, and I am avoiding contact with them for no sensible reason other than I think it's just been too long of so little contact that avoiding just seems like the easier way. I could talk to my mom, but she seems particularly miserable because of stresses that she's going through (which some I believe are completely on me), just after a few minutes talking with her, I'm feeling these same stresses as she is, and my problems don't even seem comparable.

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This post has no point to it, I don't have any particular person to talk to, so part of the reason of why I made the blog was so I could just get thoughts down, and it just be read by anyone who would want to.



Update: It was really dumb of me to write a post like this, and then once I finally did fall asleep at about 6-6:30 this morning, put my phone on silent so I could get some sleep. I incidentally scared the fuck out of some people (I'm really sorry, Joe), and that obviously wasn't my intention - I know when to check into the hospital on my own if I'm at that point of needing help.

The biggest problem with my writing above that I didn't make clear at all - that while last night was some elevated levels of depression and suicidal ideation - this is the kind of stuff that runs through my mind every day. And I mean every single day, it's something I wake up to and something I try to fall asleep to each morning & night. So while it was different for others to read that sort of thing, any worry/concern there was specifically for last night ... while it certainly didn't feel good, it also didn't feel too much out of the ordinary for me.