Sea Monster Writes

I’m finally back to taking medication after a couple months’ break. I would like to say that it is going well and I can definitely see the light at the end of the tunnel, but in reality as I write this my eye liner is running down my face and I look like a sad type of sea monster. Not that I really care about what I look like at this point.

Don’t do drugs, kids.

I took a break from trying depression medications back in March when my psychiatrist more or less gave up on me. Psychiatry is probably one of the most frustrating and inexact of all sciences. Doctors give medications to their patients saying, “Here, take this with breakfast. If you aren’t an insane person drooling on the floor by next morning, we’ll up the dosage.” My psychiatrist said this exact thing to me for about four antidepressants and one mood stabilizer. I was getting a bit discouraged from the bad reactions and lack of improvement by the last one. Imagine how I felt when she basically accused me of not wanting to get better and that my real problems are my overprotective parents and lack of direction in life.

Thank you! Now I finally know that my debilitating disease is caused by something that is quite easy to fix! I’ll be moving out just as soon as I have the energy to drag myself out the front door!

For various reasons, I decided not to find a new psychiatrist, and I quit my meds cold turkey. (Yes, I know that the latter was incredibly stupid, but nothing too horrible happened.)

During my time being medication free, I had to drop my only class because I could no longer remember how to do school work, I cried myself to sleep most nights, and I spent most of my waking hours surfing the internet for any distractions it would give me. A lovely end to my senior year of high school. (Woohoo! Best years of my life, here I come!)

Anyway, I finally went to see a new psychiatrist who I like very much. She has prescribed a medication that completely knocks me out so that I can sleep about twenty of the twenty-four hours in a day, and it has made my mood swings worse than before, hence the current crying which I can attribute to absolutely nothing that has happened to me.

It has also made me feel happy more often than I feel sad. I now have more hope and plans for the future. And the exaggerated mood swings mean I can bounce back more quickly when I’m really down.

This may or may not be the right medication for me, but I plan on continuing to work with my current psychiatrist. Doing drugs isn’t fun, but who would think that, anyway? (Said the homeschooled girl staring up at you with big, innocent eyes.) Fun or not, it will all be worth it when this depression is behind me and I can go back to only crying when I have a reason to. Or even better, back to living the best life I can.

P.S. I just went back and reread this post, and some other medication side effects I noticed are increased sarcasm and exaggerated statements.

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Stormageddon

I have gone a couple of months now without medication. It’s been rough.

My therapist asked me a little while ago how I’ve kept going. She wanted to know what coping mechanisms I have and what things help. My response was that I tend to be angry.

I’m not angry quite like The Hulk. He has sudden, deathly rages.

While I would like to do this in my spare time, I don't

While I would like to do this in my spare time, I don’t

Instead, I am much more like She-Hulk. I have an almost constant anger simmering underneath the surface.

LudicrousI’m not angry at anything specifically. It’s a general anger at the whole world that keeps me buoyed up and from feelings of hopelessness. It’s not ideal, but it’s a lot better than wallowing in purposelessness. It’s not great for building relationships or having inner peace, but I wasn’t doing well on either of those things anyway.

But that’s only one coping mechanism I have. The second one is a lot better: having hope.

I know this sounds like a cat poster, but it's true

I know that sounds like a cat poster, but it’s true

I don’t know why, but talking about hope seems kind of dorky to me. But hope is a fascinating thing. If you believe that things will get better in the future, you live your current life accordingly.

When I’m being She-Hulk, my “hope” is really a set of wishes for what I want the future to be:

1) I want to laugh more than I cry.

2) I want to do karate every day.

3) That’s it. Now leave me alone.

It makes me even more angry that I would be happy if I could just do those things, but I am completely unable to.

When I’m not trying to make myself more angry than necessary, I instead think about who I was in the past. It’s hard to remember what I used to be like before depression. I have found that remembering good things from the past give me hope that good things will come in the future. I remember that I am still that person and someday I can be that person again. Everything else will fall in place after that.

I recently read through all of the notes I got from peers and parents when I was a part of a speech club for three years. It was remarkable. Apparently everyone thought I was going to do great things in the future. Apparently I was a good leader. Apparently I had a beautiful smile and a hilarious sense of humor. And the best of the apparentlys, my nickname was Stormageddon, Dark Lord of All. (I think it was supposed to be ironic, but that does not discount the fact that I possessed the greatest nickname of all time.)

Often times I feel like giving up on finding a cure to this depression. Out of anger and disagreeableness I keep on going. But a better motivator is the hope that I can save and bring back that person who used to be here.

That marvelous person named Stormageddon.stormageddon__dark_lord_of_all_by_teawiththeginger-d4bajdb

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Depression Dragons

I realized that I have never heard of a fantasy novel in which a character has the symptoms of depression and anxiety. Wouldn’t that be fascinating? How would depression manifest itself alongside dragons and high adventure?

I started writing that book this week. I wouldn’t say I’m much of a novelist, but when an idea strikes, someone has to do something about it.

I quickly figured out why a book like that hasn’t been written: depression is boring.

It’s boring because it makes you too tired to do and think about things. Most of the time, depression isn’t tragic, heartbroken melancholy; it’s continuous, bland negativity. Even sudden and unexpected changes in symptoms are by no means exciting. They’re just frustrating.

I think this misunderstanding is why there are “wannabe depressed” people out there. I recently read an article from The Atlantic website that stated that Tumblr perpetuates a romantic notion of suffering and depression that makes those things almost appealing to someone who is not clinically depressed.

I can sort of understand where this idea of “beautiful suffering” came from. No one wants to be a victim, so instead they give their suffering a beautiful or dramatic twist. But the reality is suicide and depression are nothing like Ophelia’s tragic demise.

What a beautiful corpse

What a beautiful corpse

Death isn’t pretty. Neither is self-harm. And depression and anxiety aren’t either. Maybe even worst than not being pretty, all of those things aren’t interesting or exciting.

They’re fairly dull when you deal with them day after day.

I don’t know why suffering is so appealing to the human race, but I do know that there have been paintings and photographs and various images of it for most of history. Perhaps it is simply a coping mechanism. A beautiful painting of a drowned madwoman gives people hope that even though this awful thing has happened, at least it is magnificent in some strange way.

I have no idea if I am going to finish my novel. (Considering my past record for fiction, it is highly unlikely.) But I’ve quickly figured out that it is not the depression and anxiety that is going to make this book interesting.

That’s the dragons’ job.

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Starfish

I’ve been meaning to write a new a blog post for a while now, but I was waiting for something new to write about. Namely, something that is not depression related. Looks like that’s not going to happen.

I used to write and think about a variety of things. Now I don’t think very much, because of depression.

I used to take classes and do fun stuff and talk to strangers. I don’t do that much either, because of depression.

Because of depression I don’t often do things I used to enjoy. I don’t really act like myself at all. In fact I probably have more in common with a starfish than I do with my past self.

Only starfish live at the beach, and I don't

Only starfish live at the beach, and I don’t

I have often been reminded that I need to not make my identity around depression. I am not my depression; I happen to have it. But I am beginning to feel like I don’t really a choice anymore. My whole life is colored with depression. The things I am able to do and enjoy are things that depression has allowed me to. I never know how I’m going to be at any point. Things could be going great, and then suddenly, without warning, I’m back to being a Depressed Person.

I want to be done with this. I want to be done talking about and thinking about depression. At the moment my only other options for thought seem to be tv shows and music. (Which I guess aren’t terrible options, but I would like a little freedom.)

While I would like to say that I will be going back to writing about books and things like that, that won’t be happening anytime soon. My life is depression right now. And it looks like it’s going to be that way for a while. I’m done waiting for something to happen. I’m just going to be honest and write what is happening now.

I hope you don’t mind reading about it.

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Certain of What I Do Not See

The good new is, I’m not numb anymore, and I can cry.

The bad new is, I can barely stop crying.

If nothing else, I’ve learned that sunglasses are good for far more than just shading my eyes from the sun.┬áBut I think I am also learning about what faith really is.

I used to be so sure. Sure that God existed and that he was good. I was sure that everything the Bible had to say was true. Now suddenly I don’t. For no particular reason. I don’t know. Maybe feeling like everything in the world has no point does this sort of thing to you. Part of it is I can’t remember things. I can hardly remember what my name is, how can I be expected to remember whether God loves me?

Faith is an odd Christian-y word that is often thought to mean “believing in something blindly and without any evidence.” In reality it means something closer to “trust.” The Bible says, “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see” (Hebrews 11:1). It has nothing to do with how you “feel.”

So I have facts and evidence for the existence of God even though I haven’t actually seen him. That is faith: believing without seeing the actually thing, instead seeing only the evidence.

And it is really hard. I don’t remember what that evidence was. I do remember that less than two weeks ago I was very sure that God was real, and I was even more sure that he was good. Now my faith in God is more like faith in my past self. I’m trusting that I was right in the past for believing that God was good.

It’s weird. For a long time, the idea that God loved me and had a plan for my life sustained me through really bad times of depression. And now what I have is trying not to give up on God all together. I have to remember that things will get better. I have to remember all of the times I was sure that God loved me and has told me things. I have to remember that there can be love without feeling love. And I have to remember that there is always hope.

Because God loves me.

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Letting It Get To You

At the moment, I don’t feel human. It’s a very odd feeling.

I would like to say that I feel like a Time Lord. Or at the very least somebody’s Ganger. But no. I feel like some sort of nondescript undead.

Yesterday I had the same problem. I woke up feeling mild annoyance that I was awake. (I’m not really sure what I was expecting.) I went through the motions of being alive. I don’t think my face changed expressions the entire morning. Eventually, when I was at the library, I picked up the book This Star Won’t Go Out by Esther Earl. It is a biography about a girl dying of cancer told through her journal entries and blog posts. I read the introduction and cried. I felt human again.

Crying is generally one of my least favorite past times. It makes everything more difficult. Talking and crying is often almost impossible, eating and crying is gross, and reading and crying ruins more books than any other way I know. The worst part is if you are crying, everyone around you feels obligated to help. They want to show pity and fix things and they start feeling bad. This translates as more guilt for me. So instead of feeling guilty and miserable and making everyone else miserable as well, I hide out somewhere and feel lonely and miserable.

The point I’m trying to make is: crying sucks.

Yesterday I didn’t feel as hostile towards tears. It felt good to have emotions and reactions. I was getting worried that I would make a good assassin because of how little I cared or felt for anything.

So what makes us human? Because that is a philosophical question and there are gazillions of humans with different views on the world, there is no answer. But I think that emotions make us human a lot more than I would normally think. Human beings are the only things on earth who cry and laugh.

Normally, I do whatever it takes to not feel sad. I get very angry at books and authors that make me cry; it feels like some sort of betrayal. But what is stronger than my want to not cry and feel happy is my need to be human. I want to be a part of this grand, weird, and messy race and right now I can’t be. And I don’t think laughing is going to do much for me at this point.

I guess it’s about time I re-watched David Tennant’s Doctor. No one else knows how to be so sad.

Sad Doctor

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So Very Far From Fine

I feel like a deer caught in the headlights every time someone asks me, “How are you doing?”

The expected response is, “Fine,” so that’s usually what I give. But then there are people that I feel wrong lying to.

I mean, I could say:

Well, two weeks ago I had my best couple of days since before Christmas. I pretty much forgot that I had depression. During that time, I got a job at the community college newspaper and started doing karate again and made all sorts of goals and plans for the future. Then the next week I started feeling a little overwhelmed by all of this and got kind of depressed again. I’ve gotten progressively worst and then today I was so emotionless I probably could have murdered someone and felt no remorse. How have you been?

I face a dilemma every time I want to say something like this. I try really hard not to dwell on my problems and not let myself become my depression, but I still have a need to talk things out with other people and not feel alone in all of this. How do I strike the balance between not being a downer and being honest?

Enter Twenty One Pilots.

Twenty One Pilots is my most favorite band of all time. They are quirky and interesting and unique and different with every song. And all of their lyrics are about anxiety and depression. When I first heard their music, I didn’t think I was going to like them. The music was so energetic and upbeat, and the lyrics were so odd and kind of dark. It was sort of disarming. As they started to grow on me, I discovered something: this is how you remain honest but hopeful.

The feel of the music mixed with the message of the lyrics reminds me of conversations I’ve had with friends who share some of my problems. We will exchange stories of awful days when depression kept us from wanting to live life or anxiety made us do, seemingly, ridiculous things. And we will laugh the entire story.

It is a paradox. Or an oxymoron; I’m not sure.

The truth is we are all silly people living painful lives but striving for happiness. Horrible things are always happening everywhere we turn, but the human being is created to laugh. It’s what makes us human.

So instead of being embarrassed or angered by shortcomings or bad days, I try to embrace them with irony. Humor doesn’t necessarily discount horribleness, but it makes it a little more bearable, and, sometimes, a little more worth it.

So next time someone asks me how I’m doing, I know my answer.

…It’s complicated.

l-/

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