This is my face. This picture was taken about 30 minutes after a major breakdown. You can barely see it thanks to the dark glasses but my eyes are pretty red from crying. I never smile in photos. Feels inauthentic. I also don’t like photos of me being taken. Feels inauthentic. Hilarious, isn’t it? That I’m a photographer…
This article will be random and disjointed… Like my thoughts. It’s one of those ones I’m writing just for catharsis. You don’t have to read it.
There’s No Such Thing as a Dragon
I have lived a darker version of this story for over 20 years… Get help!
I’m not depressed because I feel hopeless, worthless and unlucky. I am depressed because I feel very lucky, like I am meant for more and full of hope. But I’m running out of time to live up to the hope. I live with an overwhelming sense that my luck is running out and all the hopes I cling to so desperately are slowly but surely dying. One day the jig will be up. I’ll be too old and too “responsible father, son and husband” to quit and bounce back almost immediately. My body will start wearing down and insurance will start being more important. Savings… Let’s not even open that door. Familial responsibilities and trying to settle my mind at work long enough to do my job… The end is nigh, and there is nothing I can do about it. Just brace for impact and prepare to be a disappointment.
But there is also a very quiet knowledge that there is a way out…
What is Depression?
Depression is living life exhausted, waiting for things to get even just a little bit better. For a little surety that never comes. But not being able to recognize even if it does. Because “better” and “sure” is not something you were ever taught to feel consistently.
In case you were wondering. No, I am not enjoying this and the only thing I want less than this is attention because of it (or anything else for that matter).
Thursday Morning, 31st May, 8.45AM:
I’m in a really good place today, so I’m going to ride the wave and put out something positive. Don’t know how long the elation will last. Those of you who know me, know that I am not OK. I haven’t been OK in a very long time. Those of you who know me really well, know that I am not just not OK, I am clinically and suicidally not OK. I have been in this new level of not OK for about 6 months. Finally getting diagnosed with Adult ADHD and severe clinical depression saved my life but simultaneously made it significantly more complicated.
Living while knowing that something is wrong is hard. But living while knowing what’s wrong but not knowing how to fix it is significantly harder. But it’s a process I recommend. No, I don’t know why I’m here. Or you. Or your cat for that matter. But I’m still here for one more day. That’s enough for now.
Thursday Afternoon 31st May, 16.16PM:
I wish someone would punch me in the face… I’d rather feel that than this. I’m exhausted.
Sometimes it actually really does come out of nowhere. Great mood in the morning, dark mood in the afternoon… No I’m not Bi-Polar! That’s a whole other universe I respectfully wouldn’t want to be part of.
Depression Can Be a Lifestyle
The Bible, The Secret, The Pick-Up Artist (please, don’t ask, I judge my youth enough as it is), Positive Psychology, Binaural Audio, Holosync, Brainsync, Tony Robbins, Oprah, Bob Marley and lots and lots of music. I’ve tried them all. Some things help. For a time. But not all the time.
People have good intentions. The family member who tells me they are praying for me. The friend who offers me a drink and the latest “How to Life” book or YouTube video. In 32 years of life, the only thing I can tell you with absolute certainty is that a lot of things can distract the mind from depression, but they aren’t always powerful enough to cure it. Worse still, they can become food for the dragon they are supposed to be helping to slay.
I’ve been tired for a long time man. Doesn’t mean I want to quit. Just emotionally exhausted. I’ve lived a life of trying things. I can tell you for free before you spend money on that book or that course or join that cult masquerading as a “business group”, it only works until a limit, then you are on your own. That’s the point really. You have to do it for yourself. That, is the hard part. People can only help you so far, books can only help you so far, faith can only help you so far. The rest is up to you. But faith helps. Almost as much as it hurts.
“Heaven bend to take my hand and lead me through the fire, be the long awaited answer to a long and painful fight. Truth be told I’ve tried my best, but somewhere along the way, I got caught up in all there was to offer, but the cost was so much more than I could bear.”
Shhhhhh… Watch both Part 1 and Part 2.
Look, It’s Captain America! On Feeling Isolated and Alone…
My mom tells me that when I was a kid and I lost my temper, I’d slam my head into walls. A temper is not something new to me. I’ve always had one. I get frustrated and upset very quickly, particularly when I am asked or forced to wait for things. That or if I don’t understand something basic that everyone else seems to understand.
I’m impulsive and have been known to burn things (literally in some instances) just because I wanted something done fast. But I remember I used to feel the anger and it was directional. I would be upset at someone or something. I don’t know when it started, but one day I stopped being outwardly angry and I started being angry internally. I stopped slamming my head into walls, stopped acting out, stopped being violent and all of that turned inwards. That’s what my friend Nan calls depression, anger turned inwards.
I don’t like being a part of things. I want to. But just can’t. Mostly because I don’t trust myself to people (“people” as a verb). A lot of what I say and do seems fun, random and sometimes spontaneous but it’s well calculated and over-thunk. I doubt the authenticity of my own intentions most times. I feel like a fraud most of the time. Then there’s the knowledge that I don’t belong. People have money, things to talk about, status and can genuinely connect with each other. I don’t even know if I’m acting or connecting most of the time. What does connecting even feel like?
It helps to know that people you admire struggle too. Don’t be afraid to let people know they aren’t alone. I think that’s what connecting feels like. But I don’t know if I’m really connecting or just talking. But survivors guilt is something I deal with. A lot of people don’t get it but my family sacrificed a lot and let me stand on their backs to get where I am now… Sometimes being the one that “got out”, is just another prison all together.
My Everything Song…
I don’t want a lot in this life… I just want to live like the words of this song. But for now, I’ll just try to live it out one day at a time.
I’m floating down a river…
And Now, Unsolicited Advice
- If you or someone you know is going through depression or exhibiting symptoms of depression, seek professional help. It’s an illness, not something that can be managed by sheer will alone. Even in church we pray for the sick who are in a hospital or going to receive medical attention.
- If you are going through it, talk about it. Find a small group of people you trust and let them in. Let them help you. Isolation is easy, I know, it’s quiet. But it only leads to dark places.
- Let your HR department know. Depression is an illness but it is not an excuse. Do your job but when you absolutely need it. Stop everything and take time out. Trust me, the challenge isn’t going anywhere.
- Create, write, draw, photograph, film e.t.c. channel it into the things that make you feel good about yourself. Lately I’m hooked on data analytics.
- Whoever’s approval you are seeking, accept that it will never come. Not from them or anyone else who reminds you of them.
- Learn to sit with your thoughts. Not all of them need immediate action. Or action at all. Just let them pass.
- If you have a psychiatrist, tell them what your pocket is capable of. I was started off on really expensive stuff when I worked for the UN but my current insurance demands a bit more modesty. The shrink knows what to do if they are good.
- Take your meds. I know. They change how you feel. But just take them. What have you got to lose?
- Don’t rush into electro convulsive therapy. Try meds and hypnosis first. But if all else fails.Trust your doctor.
- If today is that day, then it is that day, but if it is not, then just get through this one day.