I started writing this as a blog about my depression and anxiety. I figured out I couldn’t do that because I experience it differently on some days and it can’t be pegged down to one feeling or one blog really for me. I just jotted down how I was feeling on some random day over the last few months and this is what I’ve got so far. I’m going to make this an ongoing journal so others who are experiencing the same can read and hopefully relate. These are posts from just different days the last few months. There’s a lot of thoughts. Maybe you have felt the same before or are just curious. Either way…
Depression today feels like you just try your best to have good days and avoid the bad because sometimes you think that you only have so many bad days left in you that you can handle. You never want to find out how many bad days is too many and what happens on that day. Will you hurt yourself? Will you hurt someone else? Will you run away? Will you breakdown? What will it be like when they find you on that day?
Some days aren’t terrible but they aren’t great. There’s just a sense of sadness or something negative that just weighs me down from the moment you get up until I fall asleep. I hate those days as much as any of the bad days. I find myself checking the clock constantly hoping that the time is passing fast so I can get to sleep and maybe tomorrow will be better only to find myself counting the minutes again. That sounds somewhat normal, especially when people are doing it at a job or school. But what if it’s a day that you have all to yourself in which you could do anything you wanted? A day you can relax in a world that can be so stressful and tormenting…but it’s still a bad day and you always end up wasting precious time that you can never get back. I feel so selfish on these days. I feel useless and ungrateful.
I feel like I want to be with people sometimes. With friends. With new interesting people to make friends. With anyone. I love their company. Someone to talk to. Some friends to have a drink with. Sometimes going to play a video game, and I don’t even play those anymore. Maybe someone to come over and cuddle with. Someone to be intimate with. Someone to laugh with. That all sounds great doesn’t it? Imagine you want to do that. You want to feel those emotions and have those fun times and memories. You want all of that and you can do it. The problem is that there’s something smothering you. It hovers over you and talks you out of things. It has convinced me, more times than I can count, that no one wants to see me. No one wants to hang out with me. No one wants to just hang out and talk. No one wants to cuddle with me or be intimate. At the same time, I know inside that I have a lot of that to offer. I cane be a really good conversationalist. I can have a good time with my friends and they have a good time around me. I can be intimate with someone and they can love it. I can offer a lot. I know this. But, still… I know that’s so hard for many to understand who don’t deal with depression. Some may be thinking why is it so hard to just do those things? Why can’t you get past it and move on? Well, it’s extremely complicated and the grasp depression has one people varies and attaches itself to different parts of us. Sometimes I push through. I have good days for sure and I never feel bad after. That thought always gives me the motivation to try it again. It’s not always as simple as just “fighting through”, though. Depression, somedays, manifests itself as heavy chains that you just can’t break. There are no weak links of depression, but things like love, caring, and a something as simple as a touch can break them. But, sometimes this lasts a day, a week, a month, or even years. It’s a prison we walk around in and it’s setting is an illusion of a world where you’re free to do anything and be happy.
Depression can be so debilitating that it’s almost like a paralysis. I don’t use that word lightly because I can’t even imagine what it would be like to be inflicted with actual paralysis. Depression, however, makes me feel that way. It’s like invisible restraints that hold you down physically and emotionally. I sit or lie in bed barely moving with thoughts running through my head that I should get up, take a shower, read a book, or do any of those things with other people. I hate myself for getting defeated. I hate myself for being a bad friend and not being able to hang out. I hate it so fucking much. I hate depression.
I am by biggest bully. Since I have put on weight, a lot more than a normal person just does with shitty eating habit’s and largely due to a pituitary tumor, I have been bullied about it. I can’t count how many times online discussions and arguments end up with shots about me being fat. The look on the face! The face that will judge and find me disgusting and the face that doesn’t know who they see and look confused. It’s my face staring back at me into the mirror creating these two faces and feelings. Some days I feel so unwanted and undesirable physically but then I look in the mirror and think, “Hey, I’m not that bad. I’m fairly cute.” A smile on that face, both of them after meeting. Those are rare days and rare faces I meet. Some days I am feeling those terrible thoughts about my physical appearance and everything I see in the mirror, if I even build up enough courage to even look. I can’t imagine how anyone would want to be my friend, boyfriend, or physically intimate with me. It’s more than I can bear and my depression, like it does with so many other things handcuffs my will and effort to do anything to change it. The weight, like the stretchmarks, feel like a permanent condition that triggers a poor self-worthiness looking into the mirror without a shirt that would never go away no matter how hard I work.
I sometimes want to be alone, in a room, and not even utter a word to another person for days at a time. I’ve done that and it helps and hurts all at the same time. Usually I need it after a large even when I need to be an extrovert. Keep in mind that I do fine with others. I can work a room full of people with no problem. I can give several trainings to people younger and older than me. I can give speeches and seminars in front of hundreds of people and I have. I can stand in a packed room in a local board meeting in front of elected officials and a room full of people who hate what I’m going to say, all while be broadcasted live on TV, and not miss a beat. Still, I need my alone time but I feel so selfish doing it and I know that I can’t working. I’m afraid I can’t do the job I, campaigns under so much stress, anymore because of it.
I haven’t really been out with my friends or in a similar setting in quite a while. I am somewhat busy picking up the slack and taking care of my grandmother while I look for the next campaign to work on. I also feel a ton of things when I’m asked this. I get anxious. I will talk myself out of it for no reason at all. I love my friends. I truly do and hope they’re still my friends. I’ve just been so closed-off from my social life. I feel like I need it, and I really do, but at the same time I feel like it cripples me. I can’t think of a time that I’ve spent time with them and didn’t have a good time or not come away happier than I was before. That’s what happens when you spend time with people you love. Still, my depression prevented me from even going to the bank today. I hate it. I love my friends. I need to overcome this before I lose them and lose my mind. I’m still the nice, sometimes funny, goofy guy that I hope they still love. I’m working on it.
Putting myself in others shoes. I do it a lot now and I hope I never lose my desire to empathize. I sometimes do it with strangers as I’m sure my fellow people-watchers know. I also picture myself as my stepfather. Does he regret marrying my mother? Does he regret having a stepson like me? If I never existed, would their marriage have worked better to the point of never divorcing as I see it happening in the next 5-10 years. Does he feel that this is it? Working in a coal-mine as much as he can to come home to what I have? Do I have a future that isn’t covered in black dust as much as I’ve managed to make a career out of organizing.
I need to lose weight and the depression it causes scares me. Part of it was because of my poor eating habits but mostly, now, several health issues. It’s terrible. I still won’t take my shirt off and look at myself in the mirror. I show no one. I panic when I have to raise it up some at the doctor. I feel massive. I have lost all confidence in myself to do so many things. With the opposite-sex I don’t really feel any heavier, pathetic, and unattractive though. As for those other days? It’s everyday, or when I do actually go outside. I don’t like myself, I mean that as in what I see. It repulses me and I assume it does everyone else. I’m trying.
The worst thing I’ve seen around mental health in this area is multiple past generations being simply ignorant to any mental health issue. They call us pussies, soft, coddled, babies, product of a “everyone gets a trophy” generation, race-baiters, SJW/Social Justice Warriors, the “give me” generation, etc. etc. It’s not acknowledged by many and the ones who do? Better hope those around you aren’t Baptists or Pentecostal’s because you might end up with a visit from their pastor and you still have every single health issue as you did before. How do you talk to “adults” about mental health, your mental health, when these are the things we hear on a daily basis? You don’t. You are forced to keep it inside. The stigma around mental health in this society is bad enough as it is. What if you live in a place that time forgot to check in on? A place where attitudes about things like mental health are as antiquated as their social views. To make matters worse there is a shortage of mental health clinics or outlets to turn to for help at all. Our only saving grace with my generation is that we have the internet. We can express things that we normally wouldn’t in person and connect with so many people who are feeling the same way we are. With this, there’s also the bad. The internet has opened up an entirely different way for youth to be bullied and tortured by complete strangers, classmates, and even family.
Today was one of those days where nothing bad really happened but I’m still fighting off depression at the end of the night. Everything is normal and then turns depressing. I feel pessimistic. I feel as if I’m worthless. I went from feeling like I had a lot to offer to wondering how anyone could ever see anything in me. I went from feeling as though this new year would be great, to trying to picture how on earth it will get better. I need to get back to work but I’m afraid of failing. I don’t know if I’m up to it mentally and physically. The stress is terrible. The physical pain I suffer from daily from various ailments almost makes me literally cry some days. How can I handle all of that and do something as grueling as working on another campaign? This would be number 7 for me. After that, what’s next anyway? The only thing that keeps me from panicking too much when I wonder what I’ll be doing in five years is thinking back to what I was doing five years ago. Not much. I’m stuck between feeling accomplished and feeling like a failure all at the same time. I don’t know whether to be proud of myself or take pity. I wonder what others think? Proud or pity? I don’t want to know.
I’ve been thinking about cancer again. After I was in remission for so long I just pushed it out of my mind. It has been nearly 12 years since I had my last bout. For some reason the thought that it will come again later in life is plaguing my mind. I feel like it’s inevitable. I feel as though I cheated death and I’m in debt. We all die, of course. I just wonder if I could beat it again or how I could even pay for it then? I also feel like I owe so many: friends, family, St. Jude, and all of those that supported me. I feel like I owe my friends and the kids I never got to meet that died far too early to that horrible disease. Who knew surviving would make me feel so guilty? I’m fortunate and I know that. I just hope I’ll do enough to make all of the time, energy, money, and care spent on me worth it. It was a lot. Enough to beat cancer. I have a lot to do.
I often wonder how much religion has contributed to my mental health issues such as my depression and PTSD. Many of us around here in Appalachia are brought up in religious homes, some very strict or at least we’re the product of the “fire and brimstone” teachings from the seemingly endless amount of Baptist and Pentecostal churches you find every half of a mile. Most of us are taught we’re going to hell for a multitude of reasons which include pretty much everything a typical young person experiments with. Sex is made out to be this forbidden subject at a time when we’re so interested it in and rightfully so because sex is amazing and, ya know, hormones. Young LGBT kids are either tormented relentlessly at school or home, if they’re out or many times when they aren’t “officially”, all because some book that these same tormentors haven’t read says somewhere in it that it’s wrong. Is that not so bizarre? Of course it doesn’t seem that way on the surface when you’re surrounded by it your entire life. A book, written by numerous men who had no concept of sexuality, thought rape victims should be stoned to death and husbands had a right to RAPE their wives whenever he pleased, had many wives and concubines, etc. That’s what they use to beat over our heads and make us feel horrible about being fucking human beings doing what we’re programmed to do and being attracted to whoever we find attractive.
What about the end-times cult? That’s what that is. Of course the argument could be made that any major religion is actually a cult by definition, but I see this particular sub-sect among a lot of the religious here in Appalachia and the South. They’re obsessed with it and scare the hell out of children their entire lives. Some around here, like myself, used to freak out if we came home and no one was there. We would assume the rapture occurred and we were left behind. Do you know how traumatizing that is to a developing mind? I can remember many panic attacks of coming home to an empty trailer, because both of my parents worked during the same time, and the more I thought about it, the more I convinced myself something might be wrong. I would check all of the news stations and if they were on commercial? I would call the “best” Christian I knew, who I thought would for sure be taken in the rapture, to see if they were home. Imagine the panic when there was no answer. I broke down crying more than once convinced I was all alone and had to fight it out by myself until God came back. It was horrible and I know it still happens today.
I, of course, realize how silly the entire concept is (sorry), the idea of an antichrist, and the rest of it. It took me until I was into my late teens to not be afraid anymore. Out of all of the things I stress over and terrify me, religion is one thing I have overcome and am so proud of myself for doing.
I’ve had a feeling today that I sometimes get where I miss someone but I don’t even know who. It’s like something or someone is missing from my life and I need their affection. Maybe it’s someone I knew or someone I haven’t met yet. I don’t know. Does anyone ever feel this way too? It’s a feeling that will make you feel lonely in a room full of people or friends. Why does it have to be like that? Through it all though, I think I can and do find comfort with people.
I am feeling so lonely right now. I hate mentioning it, though I know I do, because I know how pathetic it sounds. One of the worst things about depression and anxiety is wanting to hang out with someone in particular or with a group of friends friends and wanting to be by myself at the same time. I love my friends. I have great ones who I can even forget to get in touch with for extended period of times and they still don’t hate me. I hope no one gives up on me. I’ve had that happen before in relationships and whatnot. Hell, my biological father gave up one me before I was even born. I know his shortcomings as a man isn’t my fault but it has that affect sometimes when I’m grappling with self-worth and confidence. Isn’t that such a terrible aspect of mental and emotional issues? Sometimes you know you’re right. Sometimes you know you’re better than what you think of yourself. Sometimes you know you have a lot to offer the world and the people in it. Depression, however, will make you doubt even when you feel good about yourself. I don’t know if that ever goes away. I can see how that can wear on some people to the point of breaking down. Nothing is ever good enough. You’re never good enough even in your own eyes that see the goodness in the deepest parts of you. The parts, the good ones, that only you can see…but depression tells you that it’s not really there. What an awful feeling.
It’s weird how certain moments in your life stick out to you. Some are just memories that aren’t tied to anything in particular and others that would make more sense that you’d remember. I remember my first piece of advice on self-worth. While I doubt it from time to time, I know it was so sincere that I can’t ignore it so I hope it dear. It was just a few words from my grandfather. I was about 16 and I had just been dumped by the first real “hard” crush I had ever had. I felt like the world was ending like many of us do after that happens, especially as a teenager. I didn’t have a car so I asked him to take me to her home to pick up my stuff. I began thinking that I should have known it was coming because this girl was absolutely gorgeous and
she was way out of my league from day one. As we were driving over there he asked about what had happened and I told him. I remember saying something like “It doesn’t matter. She was way too pretty for me anyway.” My grandfather got so mad. He rarely ever yells but his voice raised as he shouted at me to never talk about myself like that again. She’s just a person that come in and out of our lives as they will until we die. I’m better than that and never let someone you’re in a relationship with ever make you feel like that. Never convince yourself of that convinced by a broken heart. I still think about that. I can remember the summer evening in his truck driving over there. I thought I’d never get over it or find anyone else. I did, of course. People have come in and out of my life since. Some of it was good. Some weren’t as much. Most of the time we had good times at least some of the time so I don’t mind regardless of how those relationships turned out in the end. They left. I went another way too. The world never ended. It didn’t end in the passenger seat of that truck that day and a lesson in worthiness that I’ll hold onto until I let go of the world like we all do hopefully when we’re all old and too frail to dance anymore.
I had a rough week last week and it really scared me. I felt so depressed and alone. The worst about depression, I think, is that feeling that it will never get better or stop tormenting you. For the first time I felt that immeasurably. I love stand-up comedy and it’s usually my go-to when I’m feeling depressed. There’s a bit, however, by one of my favorite comedians Tom Segura. In it he explains how grueling life can be and how it sort of hit on how I felt and do feel sometimes. I can’t find the clip but his bit was…
“You guys, are you ever just, tired of being alive? You know what I mean? Like, I’m not suicidal. I just feel like I’ve done a lot and I’ve seen a lot and I’m now I’m like, you know, let’s just wrap this shit up. Right? Like how many fucking days are there?”
Tonight I want attention. I am depressed and just want to talk to people. If you’re reading this I don’t want anyone to just talk to me because I’m depressed and you’re a nice person. I really want people to genuinely want to talk to me and, well, like me and want to talk to me more. I feel so lonely and I shouldn’t that much. But I am. The thing that is bad about this is that you wonder why someone hasn’t replied back and the crippling fear of rejection sets in. They could not want to talk to me but also may be having a bout with depression themselves and this is one of those days for them that they really don’t want to talk to anyone. These are the thoughts that go through my head.
To be continued…