Posts tagged with "depression"

hello? is this thing on?

The world still turns, even when it’s in lock­down, and there’s been much to say.

If only writ­ing came as eas­i­ly as it used to. The bulk of my entries have been a com­pul­sion, a way to sort out thoughts and feel­ings when I had no one to talk to.

Then I start­ed dat­ing Heather — my first time cohab­i­tat­ing with a roman­tic part­ner — and sud­den­ly had an out­let that was both acces­si­ble and val­i­dat­ing1. It became eas­i­er to turn to her than find the words for a screen that nev­er spoke back.

My time in ther­a­py has also giv­en me bet­ter emo­tion­al mod­er­a­tion; a skill to deal with the dis­tress that comes from depres­sion and trau­ma. Instead of spi­ral­ing into pan­ic or rage, I’ve learned to embrace dif­fi­cult feel­ings and let them pass through me. Scary thoughts and painful mem­o­ries don’t con­trol me the way they used to. A healthy trade for the loss of inspi­ra­tion.

In that sense, I hold an evolv­ing style and sub­ject mat­ter to be pos­i­tive devel­op­ments. After all, I began this blog almost 20 years ago. If I was fill­ing the space with the same things as I was back then it would be an embar­rass­ing sign I had­n’t grown at all. I imag­ine I’ll always have more things to say as long as I con­tin­ue learn­ing, even if the impe­tus is lack­ing.

It makes me won­der why oth­ers stopped blog­ging (or why they start­ed in the first place). Checking my RSS feed is still a habit, but nowa­days I’m left invari­ably dis­ap­point­ed and feel­ing more dis­con­nect­ed than ever. Social media has become too shal­low for my tastes. Medium too imper­son­al. YouTube too obnox­ious and osten­ta­tious and increas­ing­ly com­mer­cial, with Twitch being even worse on all those counts.

And yet there’s relief to be found in the fact that no one knows I’m writ­ing any­more2. This space is no longer sacred when I feel oblig­ed to or inhib­it­ed by an audi­ence. Self-imposed exile became an impor­tant step towards reclaim­ing the sense of con­trol I’d lost. My sto­ry isn’t fin­ished, and per­haps enough time away has giv­en me the dis­tance I need to be com­fort­able shar­ing myself again.

  1. The fact that she’s usu­al­ly on the same intel­lec­tu­al lev­el (or high­er) is also an impor­tant fac­tor. []
  2. With a few notable excep­tions, I’m sure. []

nothing is something worth doing

When talk of COVID was hit­ting our shores and busi­ness­es were start­ing to shut down as a “tem­po­rary” mea­sure, I expect­ed the sit­u­a­tion to last a great deal longer than a month or two. Gut feel­ings sel­dom grace me, but some­thing told me the Western world was severe­ly under­es­ti­mat­ing the sit­u­a­tion. Maybe it was the mem­o­ries of my last trip to Hong Kong in 2009 — five years after the SARS out­break was declared over — when malls and streets that were once packed to the point of claus­tro­pho­bia were then lucky to see more than a hand­ful of souls each day. The ther­mal cam­eras at each bor­der cross­ing in main­land China cer­tain­ly gave me the impres­sion that a pan­dem­ic was some­thing to be tak­en seri­ous­ly.

cat on tree

A while back, the Humane Society host­ed a cat-tree build­ing work­shop, and we decid­ed to make a date of it. Percy, being a percher, is very pleased with the results (espe­cial­ly when com­bined with an emp­ty box).

It’s already been four months since Heather start­ed work­ing from home. The lit­tle space she has set up at the pub table in the liv­ing room offers her a view of the back­yard while she takes calls and makes quotes. Management has decid­ed to fol­low their own safe­ty pro­to­cols1, which means it’ll remain her office for the fore­see­able future. She com­plains to me about how Byron gets in the way of her video meet­ings every time he walks across her lap for atten­tion, but I know deep down she loves show­ing him off to any co-work­er who’ll lis­ten.

Taking lunch­es togeth­er has been an unex­pect­ed lux­u­ry2 — being avail­able for kiss­es through­out they day even more so. I no longer feel the need to fill the hours with busy­work until she can keep me com­pa­ny again. That’s prob­a­bly why the quar­an­tine has­n’t been as dif­fi­cult as expect­ed; this is noth­ing com­pared to the bouts of unbear­able lone­li­ness I’ve sur­vived with­out a fam­i­ly or part­ner on which to rely. Not that I was going out much before any­way. Depression and trau­ma had already kept me house­bound for years.

freestyle rap cypher

One of the last times I saw Jesse was at the fifth birth­day par­ty for Dominion City Brewing, where he was lead­ing the freestyle cypher.

The biggest change has cer­tain­ly been Jesse’s absence from my life. I’m thank­ful for the fact that he’s not tak­ing any risks (both for his sake and his house­mates’), even if it means I’ve gone months with­out his com­pa­ny. His inten­tions to be in bet­ter con­tact come to him when he’s falling asleep or sucked into work, and I feel strange­ly com­fort­able inhab­it­ing the space between; I know it’s not cause he does­n’t care or I’m not impor­tant, that he’s always strug­gled when it comes to man­ag­ing time and pri­or­i­ties.

Even with a life­long his­to­ry of aban­don­ment issues, I can feel secure in a rela­tion­ship where I have no idea when I’ll see the oth­er per­son again. It’s a sign that I’m not only recov­er­ing from emo­tion­al wounds, but grow­ing too. The fact that I could go this long with­out post­ing some­thing is anoth­er sign. I used to be such a goal-ori­ent­ed per­son with projects lined-up, one after anoth­er. Creativity, work, and self-improve­ment were huge parts of my life. But so much of that moti­va­tion came from the fact that I nev­er felt like a valu­able per­son unless I was mak­ing progress on some­thing, that I nev­er deserved to be hap­py unless I suf­fered a great deal for it.

After strug­gling with men­tal health for so long, I’m start­ing to under­stand that hap­pi­ness itself is a per­fect­ly rea­son­able goal. And now that the deci­sion to iso­late has been tak­en out of my hands, I’m try­ing to indulge the indo­lence. If I was ten years old, it would be a dream come true to be giv­en inter­net access, a com­put­er, and so much free time. Maybe one day I’ll fig­ure out how to live a life between the extremes of indul­gence and mor­ti­fi­ca­tion; for now I’ll stay in, try­ing to be that boy again.

  1. They don’t trust the var­i­ous gov­ern­ments where their offices are locat­ed. []
  2. She gets an hour, so some days I’ll go down for an ear­ly after­noon nap and she’ll pet me to sleep. []

lost weekend

I used to have a rule. If I ever feel like get­ting high and stay­ing home instead of going out and doing some­thing — any­thing — then I’d make a point to do the lat­ter.

Otherwise, it would mean I’ve giv­en up. That there’s noth­ing out there for me, and any­thing the world has to offer is no bet­ter than what I have in my house and on the inter­net. It’s a rule that served me well for years; one that kept me healthy and bal­anced and off my ass.

So when I found myself in my neck­beard nest after anoth­er month, not par­tic­u­lar­ly car­ing whether I got up or show­ered or shaved, I knew I was in a bad spot. Of course, just know­ing there’s a prob­lem isn’t enough to rouse one into action when basic hygiene hard­ly feels worth the effort.

Continue read­ing “lost week­end”…

an eternally new now

I’ve grown hes­i­tant when it comes to writ­ing about my emo­tion­al state. More often than not, I’m in a com­plete­ly dif­fer­ent head­space by the time I hit pub­lish. It’s left me feel­ing like I’m per­pet­u­al­ly wait­ing for a chap­ter to end before I have enough per­spec­tive to get some­thing down. Days turn into weeks into months into scenes get­ting ever small­er in the rear-view mir­ror. By the time I have the words, I’m lost in a new scene again.

It has­n’t giv­en me much of a chance to be mind­ful or present. I can only hope my cam­era will help me remem­ber the details as they pass.

4/20 protest on Parliament Hill

The 4/20 protest on Parliament Hill this year was blessed with mild weath­er and good friends.

Most recent­ly, I’ve been hav­ing con­tigu­ous days that weren’t filled with mis­ery or hope­less­ness, and the fact that I can make “days” plur­al is a small won­der. I can’t explain it on any­thing oth­er than a new dose of anti-depres­sants — 2mg of arip­ipra­zole to top off the 100mg pre­scrip­tion of desven­lafax­ine I’m already tak­ing — but I can tell it’s work­ing. The bot­tom isn’t as deep when I’m feel­ing low. My reac­tion to any set­back isn’t imme­di­ate­ly giv­ing up (on life). Being buoyed by two lit­tle mil­ligrams feels like a cheap answer after search­ing des­per­ate­ly for mean­ing and rea­son for all the pain for so long, but I’ll take it glad­ly.

Continue read­ing “an eter­nal­ly new now”…

almost like the blues

Now in the dark world where I dwell, ugly things, and sur­pris­ing things, and some­times lit­tle won­drous things, spill out in me con­stant­ly, and I can count on noth­ing.

—A Scanner Darkly

Winter has tra­di­tion­al­ly been a dif­fi­cult time. In my youth, the hol­i­days were filled with fam­i­ly gath­er­ings where I nev­er found my place1. Then I start­ed com­ing into my own, but every­one else began spend­ing time with their sig­nif­i­cant oth­ers, leav­ing me an observ­er with a sur­ro­gate fam­i­ly. Eventually, I grew the need for a con­nec­tion with peo­ple who could bet­ter under­stand the per­son I’d become, and again found myself in exile.

cat with bass guitar

This year is no dif­fer­ent. The weath­er has been par­tic­u­lar­ly pun­ish­ing, with extreme cold fronts that make any form of trav­el a lit­er­al pain. It’s a fine line between inspi­ra­tion and oppres­sion when trapped in a win­ter won­der­land. Even after a week of Darren’s com­pa­ny, along with new instru­ments and some of the stick­i­est of the icky, I haven’t been able to shake this feel­ing of lone­li­ness.

Continue read­ing “almost like the blues”…

  1. Now I real­ize that being forced to spend a night with a ran­dom assort­ment of peo­ple is a crap­shoot at best. []