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stargate, DanielJackson

LCI: Week 3

Posted on 2014.10.13 at 21:49
Tags: ,

I’ve suffered from mild depression and anxiety for several years. Even that notion itself was odd to me up until a couple of years ago. I felt that somehow I was being disingenuous towards ‘real depression sufferers’ if I claimed to be one myself. After all I had massive swathes of happy periods, where nothing was wrong. And I had coping mechanisms to deal with the bad periods, mechanisms that actually worked.

Said mechanisms were even non-destructive, I wasn’t getting drunk or high, that was a good thing right? I just liked to read and write and closet myself into a world that wasn’t my own, harmless. And it was harmless, back when the depression was only mild and the anxiety was something that was gotten through by reading a good piece of writing and forgetting about it.

(Just one more day, just one more week, just one more month, year).

Then I got worse. And it festered. The darkness was more prevalent and so the coping mechanisms were too. I engulfed myself in the world of fiction more and more, and became increasingly divorced from reality. I still clearly understood what was real and what was not, I just had little interest in the real side of things.

(After this day it will all be okay, after this week it will all be better, after this month it will all go away, after this year you can kill yourself if it hasn’t).

The thoughts on the real side were cyclical and horrible. I would spend the entire day, from waking to sleeping, either writing or reading. I didn’t take care of myself, I didn’t try to improve the situation I was in, I didn’t get myself any help. I just woke and sat and read and wrote and slept and woke again and did the same, again and again. For over two years.

I wanted to kill myself but couldn’t. I couldn’t do that to my family, I couldn’t do that to my friends. And the knives were very blunt.

And sometimes, standing on train platforms, the idea of how it would affect the train driver was the only thing that stopped me from jumping. Here’s the thing, when I said this it immediately seemed to mean that my suicidal ideation didn’t need to be taken seriously; because I was still in the place where I could have that kind of thought. I wasn’t desperate enough, I wasn’t broken enough.



*



One of my best friends convinced me to go and see my doctor, who referred me for CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy).

It helped me massively. I became able to cope in sensible amounts. I became able to function. The thing which helped me most was learning how to break down big things into smaller things and then deal with each smaller piece one at a time.

But I still needed it to be more than it was. I used it as a milestone for myself; I use too many things as milestones for myself sometimes.

It was something though, it mattered, an empirical count of progress. I began volunteering, and then working a handful of hours a week, and then more. I began going out to see friends. I began living my life again.

I was getting better. I was happy.

Then I learned that depression and anxiety don’t go away just because you learn how to cope.



*



There’s a difference between knowing and understanding. There’s no cure, there’s no quick-fix, there’s only coping and carrying on coping. And the point when you realise that coping itself is fucking exhausting.

I actually think my anxiety is the biggest cause of my depression, maybe that’s an oversimplification. Let me draw you a word picture. (Other people may have different or similar experiences; I can only speak to my personal experience). Anxiety means that little things, things that you know logically shouldn’t matter, make you as anxious as that job interview, as that final exam, as climbing that mountain or holding a tarantula. These are big box items; imagine massive cubes representing job interviews and the like. Then there are smaller cubes representing things that might make you nervous in everyday life.

With anxiety, everything is a massive cube. Learning to cope means breaking these massive cubes down into smaller cubes and then dealing with one little cube at a time. It’s actually a good way of dealing. But at some point you realise you’ve got a fuck-load of little cubes and that isn’t going to change. This is going to be your life, for always, there will always be a fuck-load of cubes. And you just have to keep on dealing.

(Just one more day, one more week, one more month, and when the voice says in one more year you can kill yourself; you tell it to shut the fuck up).

I’m getting better. I’m improving. I’m okay. These are things I tell myself. They are truths. And also lies.







Comments:


C.x
itsjustc at 2014-10-14 20:18 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you for sharing more of your life with me. I always appreciate it x
swirlsofblue
swirlsofblue at 2014-10-15 13:50 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you :). I don't usually write non-fiction, and this felt quite raw to write about, so it's good to hear it's appreciated.
Liz
labelleizzy at 2014-10-15 03:41 (UTC) (Link)
These are truths. And also lies.

Yes... I... relate. Though I do not have a diagnosis, I also fight the brainweasels.

*hug*
swirlsofblue
swirlsofblue at 2014-10-15 13:51 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you :).

I think at some point it's obvious even without a diagnosis.

*Hugs back*
A Karmic Sandbox
karmasoup at 2014-10-16 00:46 (UTC) (Link)
I saw a lot of myself in a great deal of this. I haven't had a lot of suicidal ideation in my past, though I'd be lying if I said it never came up... it was always simply easily dismissed. But, yeah, I get how it's easier at times to escape this life in a world that isn't real rather than live in the one that is.
swirlsofblue
swirlsofblue at 2014-10-16 14:36 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you, yeah, it can be so much easier
alycewilson
alycewilson at 2014-10-16 19:39 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you for this frank and open piece about your experiences.
swirlsofblue
swirlsofblue at 2014-10-17 14:24 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you :)
Jemima Pauler
jem0000000 at 2014-10-16 23:21 (UTC) (Link)
*hugs* That's anxiety, all right. Alllll the little cubes. *hugs*
swirlsofblue
swirlsofblue at 2014-10-17 14:24 (UTC) (Link)
*Hugs back* Yeah, I felt it was an apt analogy.
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