With all the news and reactions surrounding Robin Williams' unfortunate death yesterday, I had a couple of what I felt were poorly worded sentiments cross my Facebook feed. One person phrased it more like "so sad that he felt the need to take his life", the other expressed outright anger. The first one I can tilt my head and see the sentiment behind it, but the second one definitely makes me side-eye the person who said it. Of course a person is allowed to feel whatever they feel in reaction to bad news. That's about all I want to say about that, though.
Depression has been on my mind for months. I feel fine right now, but I want to keep remembering what the signs are (for me) and the narratives that play out in my head, hopefully so I can remember that they are not normal and they are not OK.
I'm still working on recognizing the onset, since I've only just realized this year that this a thing that will likely happen to me for the rest of my life. It seems to start with a period of mania, where I have tons of energy and want to do ALL the things! This year I made a pair if pocket hoops and then most of a chemise, both over the span of 2 days. Then I just... Stop. I come home from work and it's all I can do to get myself comfortable on the couch, and then I stay there for hours. It's too much effort to get up and do anything -- get a drink of water, make food, go to the bathroom. I don't go to bed mostly because I don't want to go to bed so early, yet I don't do anything that makes me feel like I "deserve" to have stayed up. That was the key element in recognizing it this year, that I stopped eating. I would eat at work because I would feel hungry, but when I got home it was just too much work, I'll eat in a bit... Next thing I know it's 10pm and I'm making popcorn, which is still a lot of effort to pull off the wrapper and put it in the microwave, because it will fill me up. And the only reason I'm even eating or finally convincing myself to get more water is so I don't end up with a migraine.
The Jerkbrain starts in a couple of days later.
JB: no one likes you, you know.
Me: wait, what?
JB: it's true. You're just the worst, can't even get a drink of water.
Me: I don't think that's true...
JB: well it is.
And this was the first year that I managed to hear it as a separate voice. It waits until I'm low to start yapping loud enough to hear, though I'm sure it's always hiding in its lair, muttering, waiting for a chance to come out.
I'm lucky in the sense that my depression is mostly manageable just by keeping a positive attitude. It's largely seasonal, setting in when the sun is low in the sky though getting stronger. It lasts about 2 weeks, and I don't remember a lot of March, in the aftermath. I'm starting to tell myself that it's OK to feel down for those two weeks. It's OK to just watch TV all night. I feel sad and apathetic now, but it will pass. Next year I want to have a stack of frozen meals in the freezer do I can at least eat something other than popcorn when I convince myself to eat.
That's my experience. I can only imagine what it's like for someone with more severe illness, who spends months and years fighting their Jerkbrain and how hopeless it feels to have your own head tear you down constantly. Maybe the only light at the end of the tunnel is your own bright spark going out.
I know how it feels to feel like no one cares. Even if we have never met before, and may never meet, you are smart, beautiful, and awesome, and I care about you.