I’ve been looking through some of my older, less positive posts on depression. There’s a theme that keeps popping up. At times, I can go from recognizing that I’ve made progress in treatment to forgetting it entirely. It’s like there’s a switch that tries to downplay any and all effort I’ve made in the past few years. That’s a natural feature of depression, and certainly it’s difficult to remember how to cope while having anxiety issues.
Like many problems, it can’t be seen directly.
I needed to look back in order to see it in action. There are days where I tell myself I’m no better off than when I started going to therapy and taking meds. Like many of the other lies of depression, this one sounds reasonable when I feel like I’m better off dead. Forgetting important facts puts me at the mercy of whatever whim I’m currently faced with.
That said, it’s not too big of a surprise for me. I still can’t bring happy memories to mind without spending a long time thinking about them. Sometimes I have to settle for when I broke a bone or had some other injury that I survived. The exultation of not dying is a cheap substitute for being happy or content.
Until recently, I didn’t know that depression robs me of more than just happy memories. It really does affect my thinking process. Details that might combat it get forgotten or misplaced. Instead, the only positive feeling I’m allowed to have is the peace that comes with contemplating suicide. Of course this is dangerous, and my only defense is to quietly and persistently question the conclusions I draw when depressed.
I feel like I need to do more.
I might need to make this post the first thing I read whenever I do get into a depressive episode. I need to remind myself that yes, it feels like shit right now. It never was always this way. The details will come back, like the tide rolling out and revealing sunken treasure. Just let the water roll out, and they will reveal themselves again.
Naturally, it’s hard not to do this in a way that doesn’t feel like I’m lying to myself. The cynic in me is pretty harsh when I’m depressed. It tells me I might as well go find a unicorn that shoots rainbows out of its ass. I get left with feeling like I need to just shut down entirely.
Thus, fighting the process appears to be defeating in its own way, or at least a pursuit my depressive self has experience fighting. At times like this, I’m reminded that struggling with depression means I need to be smarter and better than myself. Logically, it’s an impossibility.
I’m also ignoring the role that anxiety plays in all of this.
Depression is a mechanism to shut my mind down. Anxiety is what prompted its cultivation, because my brain would not stop working when it was agitated. And it was agitated all the time.
Maybe if I worked on that a bit more, I might need to rely on depression less, and then it will weaken over time. I really don’t know, since I have no way of measuring results. At any rate, I feel like I should at least still keep notes.
And on the plus side, at least it has me writing more often again.