Last week, I talked about making an appointment for myself with the doctor. The main reason I mentioned needing to go to the doctor was because of pain. I hurt all over. A lot. There’s a plethora of reasons people tend to have full body pain. So many reasons, in fact, that making a list here would take up way too much space. So, I’ll just get down to it. The reason I think I have so much pain is because of depression.
I’ve battled depression before. I recognize the cycle. I’ve been going lower and lower and the spiral is so close to getting out of control. I can’t avoid the doctor anymore.
I’ve debated writing this post. There’s even a good chance I won’t post it, even if I do finish it. The reasons are all listed in that picture up there. The thing with depression, though, is that even though those are reasons, they’re incredibly unreasonable. I know on some level that none of it is true, probably because I’m able to recognize my own patterns of depression, but that doesn’t change the fact that it all feels true.
There have been numerous blogs where people talk about depression. None of them I can remember (Oh! Hyperbole and a Half!) so I can’t link to them, but they’re people in the writing world. I’m going to blame my current depression for the inability to remember who posted about depression because it does that. It makes you forget.
Out of all of the posts I’ve read, I do remember that pretty much every one of them was written after the depression or during recovery. They wrote with hope in their hearts thanks to the various ways they’ve moved past the depression, be it medicine or therapy or a mix of both. They weren’t at their lowest points. I’m writing this before recovery, during depression. At this moment, I am at my lowest.
So far today, I’ve contemplated giving up on writing, laying in bed for the rest of my life, and how long I can go without showering before getting crusty. Because, what’s the point? All of those things in the picture have been going through my head more and more every day. And, unreasonable though they are, they are believable. Depression lies.
Again, all I want to do right now is delete every word, log off the computer, and collapse in a heap on the couch while my kids watch Minecraft videos on my phone. Because, what’s the point? I want to sleep and sleep and sleep, so I don’t have to deal with anything. Because, what’s the point? I want to watch hours of TNG and DS9 in my room with no interruptions and forget that anything else exists in the world. Because, what’s the point? I want to delete every single file on my computer that has anything to do with the stories I’ve written and am writing. Because, what’s the point?
I’m lucky (I guess?) in that I recognized depression is kicking my ass. What I didn’t recognize was where the pain was coming from. Depression has never caused me pain before, though it can happen. I think that’s why I let things get so bad. Because I was concentrating on the pain while the depression worked on my brain, wiggling its way in and laying eggs of deception in my gray matter.
I wrote this about two weeks ago:
For me, one of the hardest parts of depression is accepting that it is depression and not something that will just pass. Then again, depression lies. It will tell you that all the pain is pointless and others have it worse than you and what right do you have to be sad. And all that only makes it worse.
This is a bad one. I’m in pain. Literal, physical pain. I’ve suffered from anxiety for years and I’ve had many a panic attack that [my husband] was convinced was an actual heart attack. But this constant ache is new. The pain has spread from my insides to my outsides. I go days where I can’t breathe, can’t think beyond catching my breath.
I’m rolling my own eyes at this point. Who the hell cares?
I know that’s the depression talking. I know that I have people in my life that care about me and care about my well-being. But that’s what depression does. It tells you that you’re not good enough. It tells you that you’re worthless. It tells you that no one in the world gives a shit about you or your problems. And while you know it’s a lie, you still believe it.
The Pit of Despair is a real fucking place. I live there.
It was at that point I realized, I needed to do something and now. It still took me a week to make an appointment with my doctor.
Depression has such a stigma attached to it, it’s easy to push away everything and do your damnedest to appear just fine. Not a lot of people know how to react to a confession of the truth, so you lie and say you’re okay, paste on a fake smile, and pretend that the world isn’t crushing you where you stand. Most of the time, it’s just easier to not answer the phone, not go out of the house, not do… anything really. Because, again, what’s the point?
I might step away from certain social media for a while, or at least not get on as much. There’s a particular trigger on a particular site that seems to make more and more of an appearance lately. If that seems vague, it’s supposed to. But, if you don’t see me much, you’ll know why. I’ll still be around, but I might not respond to you as quickly as I have in the past.
Now, to delete or not to delete?
Screw you, depression. I’m going with not…
ETA: Thanks to Caryn Caldwell, I have several links to other writers who face many of the same problems I do. These were the posts I couldn’t remember:
- Natalie Whipple with both Anxiety: Yes, I am a “crazy” person and For the Bad Days
- Libba Bray with Miles and Miles of No-Man’s Land
- Alyssa Day with On one writer and depression, aka life in the black pit of hell
- April C. Rose (on YA Highway) with On Writing, Depression, and Gaining Control
- Lauren DeStefano with Calm Down: Anxiety’s deaf ear to logic
- Lydia Shart (via Writer Unboxed) with Seasonal Writing Disorder
It’s worth noting that every single one of these describes an ongoing process with depression and anxiety. I stated above that what I could remember of them was after their lowest points, and I see now, after rereading all the posts that was inaccurate and unfair. I’m extremely thankful that Caryn brought these to my attention so that I could go through and read them again and see that I am not alone in this.