Saturday, May 4, 2013

A moment of Venting - or About Depression...

Posted in honor of Suicide Week.
Depression isn't something we can just turn on and off at will when it is convenient. Too many people who do not, or have never had depression of any kind have no idea what it is like. Oh, sure all of us get down from time to time, but that is not necessarily Depression.

Depression, treated or not, can be devastating.

From the point of view of someone who can not afford medication, and has never been on medication, let me tell you what it feels like.

First and foremost, any action we take, thoughts we think and reaction we have is most likely going to be irrational. Bear that in mind, because if you tell us we're just being irrational, we are likely to kick you in the face and tell you to leave us alone. We're not in a state of mind to be rational - we already hate ourselves, our lives and or very existence. Does that sound rational to you?

Now that that's cleared up, let me do something that I have not done since I was 15 (and was guilt tripped so badly by my mother that I NEVER spoke of it again in her presence) – talk about how I REALLY feel, day in, day out.

Some days, I feel all is well with the world, and I get on with what I'm supposed to do. Usually, this is most of the time.
Some days, however, due to something that happens (and it could be anything that triggers it, simple or complicated; even I don't know what all of the triggers are), I feel like I shouldn't bother getting up – and sometimes, that is so unconscious that I just sleep, and sleep and don't know why.

I find myself asking my boyfriend – and he usually reminds me of something that recently happened that could cause it – usually my period, which is a whole other story of insanity. Suffice to say that my cycle is um.. not really a cycle, but a randomly chosen event that lasts a random number of days, that has random flow to it, so I never know if the cramps will make me pass out, or if my legs will be numb when I wake up, or if my back will feel like someone came along and dropped a very sharp rock on me while I slept. So the whole ordeal makes me bone-deep tired.

Now I've been told that I have no reason or right to be tired. I may be bleeding, but I have been told that blood was lost weeks before the cycle started. I have no right to be achy or tired DURING the cycle. I've also been told that DURING is when I DO have the right to be tired, as my body is working overtime on something other than normal day-to-day function. I've read that being tired before, during, and after is common.

What am I supposed to believe?

Another answer is “You've been sick, duh.” And that's true. Allergies can knock me down into mild-high fevers, tiredness, and my body is constantly fighting SOMETHING if I miss a day in bad weather or high-allergen days.

It could also be because I'm overweight – obese by doctor's charts, but hey, I'm built like my great-grandmother, and I can outrun people younger than me, so I'm not UNHEALTHY. I didn't ask for that WiiFit so I could sit and watch it, after all. I'm not perfect with all the yoga, and half the strength exercises I can't even do because my balance isn't that great yet, but hey, that takes time to work on.

So whatever reason it is that I sleep so much, I sleep.

And then the commentary starts – I'm just lazy and should get up early. I shouldn't stay up all night. Maybe I shouldn't eat so much.

Okay, you want to know how much I eat? VERY. LITTLE. I often only have one large meal a day (meaning more than a piece of fruit, or just vegetables, or a handful of chips, or whatever – a proper meal consisting of protein, starch, vegetable all on the same plate). This may contribute to my tiredness as well, but I won't eat if I'm not hungry.

I shouldn't stay up all night? Why not? If I go to bed and lay there tossing, turning, my mind constantly working, and I can't sleep, why should I be in bed? I've read an awful lot of doctors' reports stating “If you go to bed and can't sleep, get back up until you are sleepy, so “bed” isn't associated with “unable to sleep”, so when you are in bed, you sleep.”

So if I go to bed and can't get to sleep, I get back up. Finally, when exhaustion kicks in and I crawl into bed, I tend to be awake for nearly an hour before I get to sleep anyway.

I also find that my body wants to go to bed, but my mind comes up with ten MILLION things for me to do RIGHT NOW.

Being the jewelry artist I am, I often get up and pick up wire and pliers and get to work, as late as 5AM. If I'm working on a specific piece, I could pull an all-nighter working on it.

When I get up (anywhere between 6AM and 4PM), I tend to get back to work – cleaning the kitchen, or tidying my bathroom, or laundry, or whatever it was I wanted to do that day. If I'm up until 2AM – I could be cleaning the kitchen at 1AM. It's not like my usual round of chores doesn't get done.

If insomnia hits and I'm up until 6AM? It's not strictly because I'm gaming all night, though yes, that often happens – but guildmates in WoW, and my boyfriend (who I am nearly always on Skype with) can attest to the fact that I do go AFK between dungeon runs or between quests, or even during raids if I need to do something by a certain time, or if Mom asks me for something. I'm rarely ever “settled in” for solid gaming, unless it's a SCHEDULED event – such as our old Saturday/Sunday raiding slots, and the new, upcoming Sunday morning raid slot; my family knows that during those times, I'm part of a dedicated team, and pulling me away means I screw over the rest of my teammates. Of course it took me MONTHS to make them understand THAT. No, guys, WoW doesn't have a “pause” button if I'm in the middle of combat – if I just walk away, I will die, and because I am one of the 1-3 people responsible for keeping my teammates alive, THEY will die if I'm not there doing my job.

My family and some friends LOVE to lay the guilt on thickly – telling me to just get over it, and get up, to do something productive, stop thinking about it (about WHAT? The fact that I'm depressed? I'm sad and I don't know why? I don't have energy to get up? I don't feel enough worth to GET up? I don't feel like I should be around other people? Stop thinking about WHAT?!), or telling me there's nothing wrong with me other than I'm just being lazy.

I was even suicidal once. I did write a lot of rather gruesome poetry back when I was a teenager. Not that I know where those books are now, nor would I share them if I knew.
Of course, when I told my mother, back when I was 14-15ish, how I felt, she asked me how I dared feel that way after everything my parents do for me.

I never, EVER mentioned it again.

Not that it stopped me from actually trying, especially when I realized that my boyfriend, when I was 16-17, had pushed away all of my actual friends, and then when he noticed that I changed myself FOR HIM, turned into what he ASKED me to be, decided I wasn't the girl he fell in love with, and dumped me, knowing I had no one to turn to.

Neither attempt went noticed, thankfully, and neither was successful, obviously.

Being around people, upon moving to Maryland, helped until the self-doubt crept back in. The harder I worked, the more I lost. I ran myself ragged, getting up early, getting home late, going to bed late because I couldn't relax until chores were done, and then not sleeping properly when I DID get to sleep. The more I did, the less I was appreciated. The harder I tried, the more I was pushed aside, and worse, lied to as time went on.

Moving back home was less of a “happy” but more of a “relief”. My ex-roommate still owes me quite a sum of money, and only ONE person up there even said goodbye, hugged me, and told me to keep in touch, which I do on occasion.

Of course, when I moved back home, I realized I was “Called” back home. Whatever deity that watches over me and my family took everything out from under me to get me to go home – because my father had cancer, that went undiagnosed for quite some time, due to a physician's assistant signing off of something he didn't even look at (Yes, we could have owned the whole practice; Dad asked us NOT to sue them before he died), and so after 10 months, 7, if you count time I could actually SPEND with him, I lost my father.

And I still haven't mourned – I've just been the strong one for everyone else, as I always have been, even in NJ, MD, everywhere I've been, I'm the strong one everyone ELSE leans on, but when I need to lean? No one ever had time for me.

… which is yet another reason I feel I have so little worth.
How am I supposed to feel worth something when I'm just something to use?
I was used up in MD, and then discarded, like so much trash.
Hell, even my “best friend”, who was very fond of my father, couldn't be bothered to attend the funeral.

So what am I worth? Apparently not much.

So what are we on now? Lazy because I sleep, and Worthless because once someone's done using me, I am no longer worth their time. OH! Right! And Fat – because of genetics.

And then comes the depression that I can't sell my jewelry – I make things because it brings me joy, and then people say it's pretty, but … even when people have said “I want to buy your things,” they never do. Yes, I'm fully aware of the economical stupidity that's going on right now. But when I want something, I tuck a little away every time I'm paid, until I have enough for it.

Just ask Heidi of Heidi's Handmades – I saved up, and was put over by the high price of a very intricate special custom commission, and am gifting her products to my family, and am currently enjoying the benefit of supporting a small business/hobbyist, and enjoying the benefit of hand-crafted soaps and lotions that are far better for my skin, and less expensive than the stuff I'd been using.
With the leftover money, commissioned Nancy of MonkMama's Shoppe ofDecorative Painting to make Mom a gift for Mother's Day. I also asked Sunfire of Breath of the Dragon Pyrography for one of her famous Dirty/Clean dishwasher signs some time ago.

I feel good, supporting other hand-crafters, since I know what it feels like to go a year with only ONE sale. Unfortunately, if I don't MAKE sales, I can't support them.

I start to wonder if one of the few joys I have left is even worth it – yes making jewelry makes me happy and brings me joy, but there is another half of that dream – to sell it, to make enough money to get a proper business license, to have my items in a shop somewhere, to proudly display myself as Dream Weaver Jewelry (and more!) with full copyright and legality, instead of a “studio name” that I've used since I was 18, and to turn jewelry into my full-time job – it's not as though I don't put my heart and soul into every piece I make!

And so the cycle begins anew, as I feel the heart and soul I put into my work is done for nothing at all.

Instead of support, I was pushed away, which only made me hate myself, and sometimes my work, more. The spiral of self-doubt and self-hatred is poisonous, and so few people even understand it, unless they themselves have been through it.

Thankfully, now, I have at least one person who understands how I feel, and he just listens, and draws me into something fun to cheer me up, without telling me to get over it, or telling me I have no right to be depressed or stressed out. I have a WoW guild of friends who listen to me, instead of belittling how I feel, and often encourage me to take out my frustration in dungeons or in battlegrounds, or just talk about fluff, making me laugh, smile, and make me feel as though I'm part of a group, instead of pushing me out of it just because I'm not always happy.

Do I need medication to correct the chemical imbalance I was diagnosed with when I was 19? Probably.
But I'm afraid I don't have the money to get that medication, or to even see the doctor to GET medications.

So it's up to me to figure out a way to correct it – and it's up to me to seek out those who will listen, not belittle, encourage, not just order me to snap out of it, and cheer me up instead of pushing me away so I don't bring them down too.

Comments will be disabled for this post – since I'm not interested in hearing the excuses people will come up with, or the tide of “You really are just lazy and want an excuse for it.” I've heard all that BS before, and you know what? I'm sick of hearing it, and so is everyone else who has a similar situation to mine.

If you actually have something positive to comment, contact me directly; I can always post a follow-up.