depression, emotions

Suicide

Trigger warning: this post will cover suicide and my experience with that. If this is a trigger for you, please do not continue.

Recently, someone I knew took their own life. He wasn’t a close friend by any means. He wasn’t even really a friend. He was someone that I knew in passing. Someone I have had conversations and laughs with. So if we weren’t friends, why I am talking about this? Why is it affecting me so much?

Those questions are not easy to explain to people that do not have MDD. The answer, though, is the same as why Robin Williams death affected me so much. This person seemed to have everything. He was young, very attractive, accomplished in his education, well traveled in the world, and more. And yet, he still felt hopeless enough and low enough to take his own life. If someone with so much fell to lies that Depression tells, what hope do I have in the long-term?

This is one of my very few triggers. Between 16 and 26, I tried to take my life several times. I am glad that I am completely incompetent at that. I damaged my liver and was sick for days, but I survived and I thrived. Eventually. I have a great life. I love my husband. I love my job and career path. I love my friends and those close to me. And yet, in the dark recesses of my brain, the thoughts of suicide are always lurking. Always waiting for me to let my guard down. Fighting Depression is a lifelong war. Losing to Depression is a single moment in time. It only takes a moment.

We don’t talk about suicide in polite societies. Only druggies, drunks, and weak people take their own lives. Right? Right?

anxiety, depression

Burnt

The past week was awful. MaDD (My name for MDD) just about did me in. MaDD attacked my brain like it was double overtime and the plates were loaded. Or some sports metaphor.

I knew instinctively that I would make it through the week, but there were days that my heart gave up and days that my mind gave up. I was tired but I couldn’t sleep. I was stressed. But mostly, MaDD was yelling louder than usual.

That can only mean one thing. I need to consider changing my medications again. That is never a fun process. I never know who I will be once the meds kick in. Each time I get set on a course of meds, my personality changes with it. Why, this one time, let’s just say that I lost a few friends.

And now I’m wondering if MaDD is good name for my MDD. That’s what my brain does when scary thoughts come up, line changing my meds. I get distracted by details.

This last week was darker than I have been through in quite a while. I almost think the old, pre-pandemic me is fighting with the new me and I’m stuck here in the middle.

anxiety, depression, emotions

AllApologies

As I am sure you know by now, I suffer from MDD. One of the many fun tricks of this is that I have a warped sense of the effects of my actions and interactions with other people. Whether this means I think a close friend hates me because of something I said or did, or I think the bartender wants to jump me in the alley, it causes an alternate universe in my mind.

When these things happen, I have an over-inflated idea of how this affects the other person. But to start, lets be honest. These things happen to me multiple times a day. Maybe I forgot your name. Maybe I asked you about something. Maybe I was rude. Maybe I was too nice. There are so many maybes here.

What I am trying to get at is that I am often feeling like I need to apologize. This need to apologize is most likely just in my head. In most cases, the other person does not remember the incident or has completely forgotten that. If you are dear to me, I may apologize weeks, months, or even years later. When that happens, please take the apology and forgive me if this isn’t an issue for you. If I’m apologizing, it’s obviously an issue for me and may have haunted my brain for months or longer.

I wish I was like you
Easily amused
Find my nest of salt
Everything is my fault
I’ll take all the blame
Aqua sea foam shame

I don’t like many people. If I like you enough to apologize for something that means absolutely nothing to you, take that as a compliment instead of making it into a mountain.

anxiety, emotions

Health

When I get news about my health, I keep it to myself. When I am having tests run, I keep it to myself. I have so many actual, definitive health issues that I don’t want to burden people with the idea of another health issue or the stress of waiting for a test.

I suffer from MDD. On my best days I can laugh while being out and social. I’m still sore and tired. I’m still frustrated and my brain is going haywire, but I’m social and visible.

When I get a cold, my brain tells me I’m dying of ebola or some crazy thing. I mostly keep those brain weasels in check, but I do that by not acknowledging what they say. That means I can’t discuss what tests we are running or what I may have developed. Until there is a confirmation, it stays locked up in my head or comes out disguised as something else.

For the record, my last two health scares have come back negative so I feel validated by this thought process.

anxiety, depression, emotions

Functional

I am functional in many ways. I have been most of my life. I’m a functional alcoholic. For most of my life I had functional depression. I was great in school and at the top of my class. I was going to be a nuclear engineer. When that didn’t work out, I went into retail. I worked my way up the ladder over the years and was very successful in my stores.

Nobody really knew what was happening in my head. I was moody or sad. I was emotional or distant. I was shy or unfriendly. But in reality, I was suffering from depression. People couldn’t tell because I was so good at masking it and I was successful.

That all changed a few years ago. My walls starting crumbling faster than I could rebuild them. My success was starting to falter. My skills were becoming dull. My bed and my bottle were becoming my sanctuaries. All of the tricks that I learned in my life to mask and deal with my depression were failing me. I was failing. My career was failing. This was a new dimension that I had never dealt with.

I now know that my depression worsened. I was no longer suffering from functional depression. I was becoming less functional in everything. I was suffering from MDD (major depressive disorder). I was trapped in the walls of my mind that my depression built. Instead of my containing it, it was now the key master. I was the one being contained. My cage was a fiery pit while my body continued on throughout the day. People noticed that something was different, but my depression was able to fool even the best ones.

I ended up in therapy because the idea of being on medication for my whole life was too much to fathom. I was young. I didn’t want to be involved with anything until death. Well, except my husband of course. So I did therapy. It helped. I became functioning again, but not for long. After a couple of years, my walls keeping me prisoner were thicker, taller, and stronger than ever. I needed help and I couldn’t talk my way out of it this time. I couldn’t snark or schmooze my way past this gatekeeper.

Drugs have helped, of course, but I don’t know if I will ever get back to being fully functional again. I think the MDD is here to stay this time. I think I have a new companion for life, but at least I have my husband as well. I guess you could say that we are in a thruple, for better or worse.

Hopefully for better.

depression

Belief

Belief is a big part of our lives. We can choose to believe or not believe, but does it actually change what is? If I don’t believe the sky is blue, does that make it not? Let’s be honest. You want to argue that point, but the reality is that the sky is not blue. It is perceived as blue because other wavelengths are stronger and pass through the atmosphere. So, is the sky blue?

When someone tells me they have cancer, I can’t imagine what that must be like. Does it hurt everywhere? All of the time? Can they sleep? Are they supposed to avoid certain foods or activities? I don’t know, so I ask questions so that I can know. The same is true for diabetes, broken bones, and many other ailments.

I have MDD (major depressive disorder). I often refer to it as depression. Just like people don’t list the medical name of their cancer, I don’t say I have MDD. For me, it’s easier and it sounds less scary to say depression. The down side, though, is that people think they know what it’s like. They know that eating better will help me. That smiling will make it better. Faking it until you make it. They don’t ask questions, but they think they know, so their belief in MDD is not there. Their sky really is blue.