Posts tagged with "depression"

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. []

keeping the rage tender

Fall has fall­en, and I was ready. I was wait­ing. I was trapped for months on end, when my body would­n’t coop­er­ate or anx­i­ety got the bet­ter of me. Even hear­ing Townes Van Zandt sing to me about snow in Raton was enough to make me miss win­ter again. I’d live vic­ar­i­ous­ly in any form of visu­al media I could find, just to remem­ber what it was like to feel the tin­gle of sun on my skin.

Now I can go out, but on my own terms and for the sake of it, not just ther­a­py or a doc­tor’s appoint­ment. It’s giv­en Heather and I a chance to date — to dress up for each oth­er, to trade secret glances about peo­ple who might be the oth­er’s type, to hold hands and show each oth­er off — instead of all the cop­ing we were left doing after falling into the rela­tion­ship so sud­den­ly.

portrait of Heather and Jeff

Rachel Weisz has noth­ing on dem brows.

Ever since she began her career, I found it dif­fi­cult to deal with how lit­tle we saw each oth­er. It felt like we were bare­ly con­nect­ing or hav­ing mean­ing­ful expe­ri­ences when we had such lim­it­ed time. Now that she has a bet­ter shift and a car­pool, we have an extra hour and a half togeth­er on week­days. Combined with Jesse com­mit­ting to hang­outs twice a month to play games or jam, it’s made a huge dif­fer­ence in the way I approach my goals and plan my time.

They’re small steps, but after so much regres­sion, I tend to be hap­py with any move­ment in the right direc­tion. Still, I won­der if I’ll ever find a bal­ance that won’t leave me fran­tic, one that’s con­ducive to get­ting my intro­vert needs met while let­ting me feel secure in my rela­tion­ships.

Continue read­ing “keep­ing the rage ten­der”…

whales in the bodies of tiny fish

It’s been months since I had an appoint­ment with my ther­a­pist. I’ve need­ed the time to work on myself before mak­ing fur­ther progress with him; a sign that I’m at a point where there’s a sense of direc­tion, instead of relent­less con­fu­sion and dread. Now it’s a mat­ter of absorb­ing the con­cepts I should know by now, devel­op­ing health­i­er emo­tion­al habits, and let­ting time heal what rea­son can­not. As my body recov­ers from the phys­i­cal reper­cus­sions of depres­sion, find­ing the ener­gy to do these things gets a bit eas­i­er each sea­son1.

As a result, I’ve been pick­ing up new respon­si­bil­i­ties in my pri­ma­ry rela­tion­ship, which I have to care­ful­ly bal­ance with my per­son­al goals. Maybe that’s why my wants have become such sim­ple mat­ters. Some days, I look for­ward to noth­ing more than eat­ing ice cream after din­ner, or play­ing a game until my thumbs are raw. The dis­til­la­tion of my dreams has giv­en me anoth­er child­hood, which I’m deter­mined not to squan­der.

underboob

Part of the rea­son I stopped tak­ing pic­tures is because I need­ed to believe Heather was real. To prove to myself that she would­n’t sud­den­ly dis­ap­pear and only exist as a col­lec­tion of pix­els on my screen, like oth­ers lovers of my past2. Mostly it was because every­thing was ter­ri­ble, and just being con­scious was a bur­den. Some days I was too sad to walk or eat, let alone decide what lens to put on my cam­era or how to frame a shot. The start of any rela­tion­ship tends to be a time of won­der and excite­ment for me, but I don’t remem­ber those years with par­tic­u­lar fond­ness3.

Continue read­ing “whales in the bod­ies of tiny fish”…

  1. There have been many steps back on the jour­ney for­ward, enough for the progress to be indis­cernible from a week-to-week (or even month-by-month) basis. []
  2. It’s strange to real­ize that my dri­ve to pho­to­graph things was par­tial­ly a way of deal­ing with my aban­don­ment issues. []
  3. At least I feel secure in the knowl­edge that Heather stuck by me when I was lit­er­al­ly at my worst. []

facing eternity, or the lack thereof

Heather man­aged to snag a job at a great com­pa­ny on the oth­er side of town. She start­ed her train­ing last month, and I could­n’t be more proud of her for mak­ing the cut after months of resumes and appli­ca­tions, hope and patience.

While it makes sense for her to start work­ing, I’ve been forced to deal with an unset­tling void in the house — like the deaf­en­ing silence of a black­out, when the elec­tron­ic hums and glows cease to pro­vide their per­pet­u­al com­pa­ny. We nev­er spent more than an hour apart before this, when she might have stepped out to grab some gro­ceries or a pre­scrip­tion1; near­ly two years where we could­n’t help but be close­ly in tune with each oth­er’s needs and moods. Now, it feels like we bare­ly have a chance to get our dailies with a bit of extra con­tent before it’s time for bed.

Cadem Forest in Plains of Ashford

I always trav­el with my menagerie of cats; this month with Zuzu, Cat of Darkness at my feet (in cel­e­bra­tion of Halloween) and Brill on my back (who’s actu­al­ly a tiger cub).

Losing so much of each oth­er has been a dif­fi­cult adjust­ment. I was­n’t ready for this. It was­n’t a deci­sion I made. I’m not use to being so alone, or even tak­ing care of myself, for that mat­ter2. When she’s away, the void makes it painful­ly clear how much I sur­round­ed myself with her. I can’t even write with­out men­tion­ing her, cause there’s rarely a deci­sion I make with­out con­sid­er­ing her first, whether it’s how we’re going to spend our time or what I’m going to say next.

It’s a dif­fi­cult reminder of many years spent with­out a part­ner or par­ent to rely on. I’ve been try­ing to reclaim my inde­pen­dence by pick­ing up small respon­si­bil­i­ties. Something as sim­ple as mak­ing my space more com­fort­able, whether it’s a thor­ough clean­ing or new light­ing arrange­ment, turns into a chance to suc­ceed and feel accom­plished. Even games become lit­tle projects, ways of exer­cis­ing my cre­ativ­i­ty or keep­ing myself sharp.

I knew Heather would even­tu­al­ly be work­ing, and I’d be alone. Now the day has come, and I’m con­stant­ly won­der­ing: who am I when I’m by myself? What do I do to fill the hours that she’s away?

At least it’s giv­en me a chance to write again. The break has­n’t been entire­ly inten­tion­al. Part of it is the fact that writ­ing takes ener­gy, and I rarely have any to spare when I’m try­ing so hard just to feel okay. Another part is the fact that I haven’t need­ed this in the same way since I met her. She’s become an impor­tant out­let, one who always makes her­self avail­able to me. There has­n’t been the same long­ing to write, cause I haven’t need­ed to vent, or sort out my thoughts, or feel val­i­dat­ed.

Nevertheless, this peri­od of empti­ness has become a chap­ter in itself. A change that will be a great deal of the rest of our lives. I’m stuck here, while the days stretch out before me with end­less pos­si­bil­i­ty. The hard part is final­ly stum­bling into the life I’ve always want­ed, find­ing a part­ner who fills in my gaps in all the right ways, but not being ready for it all.

  1. Aside from a few days she spent vis­it­ing her fam­i­ly last year. It was the first sig­nif­i­cant amount of time we were away from each oth­er since we met, and I had a pan­ic attack before she was out of the city. []
  2. She still han­dles the meals, and has a sys­tem where most things are done in the slow cook­er; all I need to do is pour the con­tents of a bag into the pot and turn it on at a cer­tain time, although, some days, even this can slip my mind. []