Sunday, March 4, 2012

The Bad Times

Last week Vincent and I got a new mini laptop so I can blog and do work stuff when Snowy is at work with him, so I went through all of my bookmarks, deciding which to transfer and which to get rid of. While I was doing it I came across one that I'd been checking on periodically but hadn't updated in an age, but that I hadn't wanted to get rid of - and I'm so, so glad I didn't. I don't know what your experience with depression is, or even if you have any. I've had a cousin come to live with us when he was having a really bad time with his, lived with my sister when she went through it (although I didn't know it at the time), and had a few times in my life when I haven't been sure if it was depression but was really struggling and didn't feel like the me I'm used to at all. The time that sticks out most was when I was at uni and just couldn't stop crying. I think I'm a pretty introspective person, and on the upside, it means I know myself well and I can usually work through how I feel about things (given enough time). On the downside, though, I can get really obsessed with things I feel, and if I'm having a hard time, the reasonable part of me can't reign in the bit that wants me to feel bad, and I get a bit stuck... It happens sometimes when I have a really bad period lead-up, but also if I've had a bit of a hit emotionally. Anyway, that particular time I tried to write down exactly how I felt to try to sort through things, and realised I felt like an enormous phony in my life; a realisation that didn't actually help me at all. Discovering and studying philosophy was one of the greatest things to ever happen to me, but it also means I can be a bit harder on myself about being authentic and doing what I think is right, and if I feel like I'm not being those things I can start to dig a hole for myself. Knowing that I wasn't being honest but not feeling strong enough to fix it (plus feeling so much guilt about having been dishonest) was crippling, and there wasn't anyone I could talk to who would understand but not be affected by it, and I didn't know what to do, so I booked in with a uni counsellor. I don't know why I didn't tell her straight out how I was feeling, or just give her these two A4 sheets of paper that said how afraid I was of being found out as a fake, and one bit I distinctly remember, that when I would drink (one of the only things that seemed to help) with my friends I felt like I was cutting myself in front of them, but they didn't notice (I'd like to clarify that I don't expect them to have noticed at all, especially me - the drunk mascot). Instead she asked me questions about my family, and I realised more things that were making me feel sad and useless, and we talked about those things, and it did help a lot, even though I had to keep working on the other stuff alone. In a way, doing it alone was kind of good; I'd had so few triumphs that I felt were my own that any kind of personal win was a huge boost. And the things we talked about still help me now; things about how I fit into my family, and trying to see myself the way they do (which was more favourable than the way I saw myself - who knew!). Being the cherished youngest does make me feel like all I do is take (which makes me feel guilty and like what I do and who I am doesn't count for anything), and underestimate what I mean to people in my family (so that sometimes I won't be there when they need me because I don't see how they could actually need me), whereas with my friends I feel needed and probably end up doing more than if they were my family (who are more important to me than books). Now I'm way off what I was talking about (I realise I say that a lot on this blog; how am I ever going to teach anything?!) so I'll give you the link now to what sparked all of this. And what I'd like to say, from me, is please don't be hard on yourself. I don't even know I'm doing it sometimes, but I am married to someone who thinks just being me is enough and tells me so, and also tells me when I need to give myself a break. Not everyone has this, or tells someone everything so that person know when things are getting a bit much, so we have to practise saying it to ourselves. It might not stave off the bad times, but it's something.

Here it is, one of the best things I've seen on the internet: Adventures In Depression.

And here is a song I've been listening to while writing this:

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