Wednesday, October 18, 2017

There’s No Enlightenment at the End of this Post

Sometimes I think the most difficult aspect of mental health is how self-aware you can be even when things are wrong. I’ve struggled with depression and anxiety for most of my life. Much like my poor eyesight, at this point I can tell when something is wrong. I know when my depression is acting up. I’m perfectly aware when I have a panic attack that that is what’s happening. I even understand that there are steps I could take to improve things—but when my brain is telling me that life is too difficult, doing any of those things seems impossible.

When my depression takes hold, I sleep. Not good, normal, restful sleep but something I call escape sleep. I’ll get off work, go home, and sleep from 5-11. Then I wake up and struggle with insomnia until 2 or 3. I constantly feel tired. And even though I’m exhausted, sleep won’t come when it should. I know a good way to combat this would be to exercise after work. I know it has worked in the past. But I don’t do it.

When my depression takes hold, I don’t eat right. I know I should be cooking myself food that is good for me—but it’s easier to just have cereal or cookies or junk. The thought of planning out meals, going shopping, preparing food, and cleaning up after seems like far too much work. Sometimes when I’m hungry I just go to bed instead of dealing with it. Because my brain says it’s too hard to do all the work it will take to fix my hunger.

When my depression takes hold, you might not even notice. I can still laugh. I can still make jokes. I can make you think I’m totally fine. It sometimes feels like being a functional alcoholic. I excel at “hiding my crazy.” But it’s always there anyway.

This brings me back to the idea of self-awareness. When I read over my words I know­ they must sound insane to anyone not struggling with mental health issues. Even to me, they seem slightly absurd. All things considered, I’ve had a blessed life up to this point. I shouldn’t be sad. I shouldn’t struggle with basic self-care. But it takes strength, mental and physical, to break out of the habits of depression. And when you’re struggling to even get out of bed in the morning that strength is in short supply.

It takes going against everything your mind is trying to tell you. It takes ignoring your natural impulses. It takes finding the belittled, downtrodden, logical part of your mind—the 10% that knows depression lies—and trying to put it in charge of the other 90%. And it’s hard. It is so goddamn hard.

Friday, August 18, 2017

How Do You Deal With This?

I am struggling with a deep and unrelenting shame for my shameless family members.

I am ashamed of the fact that they are racists, bigots, and willfully ignorant to facts and reason. That regardless of how they identify, their actions more than give them away.

I am ashamed of their unchecked hubris. Of their unwillingness to see another point of view. Of their hatred that they mask with “patriotism” and Christianity.

I am ashamed that they call themselves Christians while unabashedly supporting the views of the morally bankrupt.

I am ashamed that they are too proud to admit they have made a mistake in putting their support behind Donald Trump.

This is ½ of my upbringing. ½ of the people who raised me. I don't know how to reconcile their current actions with my childhood memories.

Maybe they've always been like this and I was just too blind to see it?

Everything in me wants to say something about it. Everything I am wants to try to influence them to change. But it’s like shouting into the wind.

I know I'm not alone in this. I know others are dealing with similar situations. And I truly want to know how you manage it? Because it's like a weight that I can't shake.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

To 2017

Like most, I have, in my 26.7ish years, failed at innumerable new year’s resolutions. I think it’s a bit of a given, unless you resolve to fail at your resolution (which is a terribly confusing gambit in itself) or you resolve to do something very small (such as eat one salad) you’re probably going to lapse. The fact is, change is hard.

In the past few months, 2017 has been both a light in the distance and a looming shadow. While we leave behind the heartbreaks and disappointments of 2016, we are now faced with surviving 12 months of fallouts and ramifications. Gallows humor aside, I’m legitimately frightened about what some of those ramifications may be. Perhaps more than ever, the future is scary.

To that end, my resolutions are centered around actionable steps I can take to improve my life. I know there will be setbacks, but I’m resolving not to let them completely derail me.

1. I’m going to do my very best to write and post at least one thing here a month. I barely wrote in 2016 and I miss it. I’d like to get back into the habit.

2. I’m going to stop biting my nails. If I’m being honest, I’ve already had a lapse on this one. But I have to keep trying. That’s really all we can do. 
3. I’m going to take steps to improve my health and wellbeing. I’m intentionally vague here because I have learned in the past that putting stringent guidelines on my health does not work for me.

4. I will do everything within my power to encourage openness and acceptance. I will fight to not let the voices of a few, disenfranchise millions. I will choose love over hate. I hope you’ll join me.