Exactly zero people have wondered where I’ve been. I’m not going to apologize and go into some lengthy explanation about my blog and my writing–because literally no one cares.
I am making a “where I’ve been” post though because I think there are others out there who need to hear what I’m about to say. I think many of you are going through this very thing.
I’ll just be blunt: I’ve been severely depressed. When I say severely, I mean fantasizing about different ways of dying, what it means to die, how it happens, how it feels; lying awake at night, bombarded with violent, morbid images I can’t escape. Sometimes, it’s just all-consuming despair and emptiness. It literally feels like it’s devouring my soul, this numb feeling of nothingness. I cannot describe it better than that.
How does that affect me? It means I don’t follow-through on things I should or need to be doing. If I summon every cell of energy, pray to every God in existence, and berate myself enough, I eventually can finish simple tasks like doing the dishes. I have no desire though to meet project deadlines, do basic chores and personal hygiene, or to even go grocery shopping (I’ve ordered delivery the past few days because I’m too overwhelmed to go to the store).
Oh and did I mention I don’t have a job? Yeah. I was fired for absences, and I was absent because I was so weighed down mentally and emotionally that getting out of bed was torture. Thinking about even trying to work was much worse than the fate of termination.
So lack of motivation regarding deadlines and consequences; terrible, violent thoughts; sleeping and eating problems; massive anxiety in social situations; and also, being tired and/or irritable all the time, and sore/fatigued for no reason at all.
Does any of this sound familiar?
What about guilting yourself about it? “Oh, I should really pull it together. Why can’t I just fucking do these things I need to do? Oh my God, I let another deadline pass. I never responded to this. I missed this appointment. Fuck it.”
How about self-loathing? I hate myself. Just for no reason–and constantly. If I miss appointments and deadlines, of course, I hate myself a lot harder. Can’t get out of bed or off the couch? Hate myself. Can’t eat healthy because I have no energy to buy fresh foods or even go to the store? Really hate myself.
And it’s not my job causing me this. So if you’re telling yourself (or more likely, someone else is telling you) that you’re just stressed. Hah. I’ve been unemployed for a couple weeks now and nope, it hasn’t helped. Of course, a stressful job can exacerbate, or even cause these symptoms, but you’re not guaranteed a cure by switching jobs.
I have brief moments of reprieve. Someone makes me laugh. I enjoy a hobby for a few hours. I spend time with people I love. I suspect though that it’s mostly just distracting me from my own self-destruction, since I immediately go back to despair. I can’t hold onto that feeling of happiness.
You might be wondering when I’m going to offer advice or encourage you. Truth is I don’t know when it will get better or how to make it better. I know talking to others about it has helped, even if they don’t know what to do or say. It’s liberating to name your feelings and at least call it what it is.
I’ve read about low-cost therapy options, which I (and you!) could explore more. I encourage you to google “low cost therapy+[your state]”.
Furthermore, I’m going to maybe look up some self-help worksheets on self-esteem or something. I don’t really know what the root problem is or if it would even help, but “loving myself” seems to be the biggest load of shit. My brain automatically calls bullshit whenever I see or hear someone talking about loving myself. So then I wonder if maybe that’s what I need to work on.
Lastly, something that I’ve seen as a therapist’s tool involves retraining the brain by reminding it of good experiences. Something to that effect. So I’ve thought about making a list of moments/experiences that made me really happy. A gratitude list works similarly.
I hope you find something that works for you. I hope you can at least confide in someone and not feel so alone. You’re welcome to reach out to me, of course. But I know it’s much more effective if it’s someone you’re close to. If that’s not an option, I hope one of these ideas sparks you to take some action.
Even if it’s just a teeny, tiny baby step. We’ll learn to walk again.