Useless Thoughts Running Through My Head

various musings of a generation x kad

Posts Tagged ‘depression’

Snow day blues

Posted by thoughtful1 on December 21, 2008

We had a snowstorm today.  The second one in three days.  I was supposed to go out to a Christmas party in the afternoon, but it was canceled due to the crappiness outside.  So I went back to bed.  And stayed there… for too long.

For whatever reason, I was depressed today.  It was difficult to get motivated.  I don’t remember what finally prompted me to get out of bed, but I did.  I showered, and then puttered about doing somewhat productive things, but mostly I ate.

Normally I would have enjoyed a day like this.  I would have stayed in my pajamas and sat in front of the TV.  I would have napped and daydreamed.  I would have been happy, or at least thought I was happy.  I don’t think I really was… Well, most of the time I don’t think I really was.  I think maybe I was just numb or unaware that I was depressed.  Or maybe I wasn’t depressed ;P

I was also somewhat overwhelmed today.  I had trouble deciding what to do.  There were a number of things that need to be done: tidy up the kitchen, wrap Christmas presents, start on the Christmas cookies, do laundry, vacuum, pay bills (shit!  I really need to do that… some of them are due soon!).  And, there were some things that would be nice to do: read, finish watching last season’s Doctor Who.  But, I was stuck – I couldn’t make up my mind.

Luckily, once I was up, I started to feel better.  Plus, I was exchanging e-mails with a friend, who eventually called me.  Interestingly, he picked up on my blue mood from one of my e-mails.  I’m not sure how – I don’t think I would have picked up on it – but he did.  So he gave me a call.  It helped.  It cheered me up a little, and we made plans to get together later this week.

I think one reason I was depressed today is that I’ve spent too much time alone the past few days.  I worked from home on Friday, and yesterday I was alone until the evening, when I had another party to go to.  And today I was… alone.  In the past, that wouldn’t have bothered me, but now that I’m going through a depressive phase, being alone for that long isn’t a good thing.  Maybe because it gives me time to think morose thoughts, or it makes me feel lonely, I’m not sure.  Or maybe it’s simply that I’m more depressed now than I used to be so now it’s more important that I get out and do stuff.

I don’t know….  But now I am going to make myself do some things so that tonight when I go to bed I’ll have done something.

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Because black is how I feel on the inside

Posted by thoughtful1 on December 15, 2008

I wear black on the outside
Because black is how I feel on the inside

from “Unloveable” by The Smiths

I like sad songs.  I’ve liked sad songs for a very long time, ever since I was a pre-teen, probably longer than that.  One of my favorite songs from when I was in grade school was “Send in the Clowns,” not a particularly cheerful song, but I liked it.  However, it wasn’t until recently that it hit me:

The vast majority of music I listen to is depressing.

Right now I’m listening to Failer by Kathleen Edwards.  The album evokes images of living a humdrum, worn down life in a New England town that’s seen better days.  Happy happy joy joy, I know.  But, it’s comforting me.  Sad, but true.

For several years I’ve had the sneaking suspicion I’ve been mildly depressed my entire life, but I just didn’t know it because I’ve always been that way.  I wouldn’t know any different.  But as I’ve been thinking things over, I’m coming to the conclusion that my suspicion is right.  I’ve been suffering from a low grade depression since I was a child.  And along with that I’ve been numb.  I still felt emotions, but I think they were dampened most of the time.  Or delayed.  Or something was off.

And I think I’ve liked sad songs because they expressed that sadness for me when I couldn’t.  I’m drawn to sad songs because they reasonate with something deep inside me.  I’m normally seen as cheerful and able to make others laugh, although those who know me well enough have also seen me cranky and irritable.  One time another Korean adoptee described me as being angst free.  Hah!  Even I knew she was wrong.

And now it’s coming out.  All the things that have made me depressed and numb – the adoption, the divorce, the family dynamics – it’s coming out.  I think I know why, but I’m not certain.  For the past year or so, I’ve been slowly coming to terms with how I’ve felt about things, and how I’ve been treated throughout my life.  I didn’t voice these thoughts until recently.  They were percolating under the surface, and it was too painful to say them out loud until I started to see myself through another person’s eyes.  I began to realize that I’m not that bad off, and I really, really do not need to be perfect for people to care for me.

And maybe that realization is why I’m now able to deal openly with everything that’s gone on.  I can deal with this now, and I won’t collapse.

But, I’m also angry.  I’m angry it took this long, and I’m angry at all those years wasted walking around half dead, spending too many mornings in bed, and too many nights on the couch, being dragged down.  I wonder what I could have done if I hadn’t been weighed down by this.  Would I have done better in college?  Actually done well in math and gotten my physics degree instead of messing up and switching to an easier major?  Would I have been more involved in the extracurriculars and kept up with my writing?  Would I have been brave enough to switch careers sooner, more often, figured out what I really want to do?

I don’t know, and it could be pointless self-abuse to play “What if?”  But I can’t help but wonder what my life would have been like if I hadn’t been carrying this melancholy around.

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Getting rid of the monsters

Posted by thoughtful1 on November 22, 2008

As I mentioned in an earlier post, a friend helped clear out a mess of boxes from the living room.  That has helped me re-start my efforts to declutter and tidy up.  But this time it’s different – this time around I’m starting to see that I am worth it to have a clean house.  I know it sounds strange, and maybe I’ve worded it wrong, or I don’t have it quite right, but I look around and I begin to see how things could be instead of how they are.  I don’t feel as overwhelmed as I did.  Or, at least, I don’t give in to those feelings like I used to.

I still have moments where I just can’t deal, but instead of putting something off for weeks, months, years, I eventually get around to a task within a few days.  Like tonight.  I started in on the pile of papers in the office area.  It still looks like a mess, but now I have two paper bags of paper for recycling.  In the past I would have thought, “Recycling was this week.  I shouldn’t bother until two weeks from now when it’s recycling week again.”  Now I am better about letting bags of paper sit around for two weeks before I can recycle them.  It’s because I know that it’s progress, whereas before I’d look at the bags and think only of failure – that I didn’t get around to it sooner.

One factor that has helped motivate me is the realization that I just have to toughen up and Do It.  I’ve known for a few years that my clutter is a symptom of something deeper going on.  Normal people don’t freeze or feel anxious when confronted with a box full of stuff.  Regular people don’t allow years worth of junk mail to pile up, or leave grocery receipts from last year on the kitchen counter.  But there’s something going on the keeps me taking care of things.  I feel overwhelmed.  Or I want to do something else.  I think it could be a sign of some sort of depression.  I’m not certain, but that’s my guess.  And it’s most likely related to adoption – some strange attachment thing.  But, the same friend who helped me move the boxes also told me that I just need to work through it by cleaning up.  That somehow the act of forcing myself to clean things up will make things better for me on the inside.  He’s probably right, though I don’t know how exactly.  I only took Psych 101…

Another thing that helped was me finally getting that my friends, my real friends, don’t give a shit if my place is messy.  I’m not being judged.  Before, I viewed the situation as “I trust them to see my place and still like me,” which is slightly different from “They like me enough that they don’t care.”

Finally, it’s helped that I realized that by the time you get this old, you’ve got issues.  Everyone has something going on, and everyone has some sort of dysfunction.  It gives deeper meaning to the phrase “nobody’s perfect.”  And, if no one else is perfect, then I don’t have to be.  Or pretend to be.  It’s a huge burden to feel like you have to be perfect.  Feeling like I have to be perfect means that whenever I came across a piece of junkmail that’s over a year old I’d think, “My God, that’s still around?  You are such a LOSER!”

It’s slow going, but I think I am finally climbing out of this hole.  Things won’t change overnight, and I still feel overwhelmed at times, but I’m beginning to feel better about this.

And, I saw this cartoon in the New Yorker this week.  Maybe I should purchase a print of it sometime…  (Like when the economy is better and I’m not worried about getting laid off :P)

Posted in adoption, clutter, depression, happiness, issues | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »