Depressed for time

A friend was asking for experiences with depression, to see how theirs was comparing. I opted in, then figured if it could help anyone feel like they weren’t alone or were understood, I may as well post it here.

I don’t expect that you’re looking for easy or quick answers, which is great because I definitely don’t have any. Depression has been a common force in my life since my early teenage years, and I know that last year has held some of the lowest feelings I’ve experienced. I’ve lifted out of it to some extent, but I still often wish I could just blink out of existence and stop taking up space/resources.

I think isolation can be very helpful to a certain extent. I often pull away when I’m in deep bouts. I know intimately what you’re talking about when you say that you find it hard to reach out, despite being the first to offer help or assurance for others. I know that while I encourage everyone to ask for help, there’s a quiet but persistent voice that tells me that if I have to ask for help in something, I don’t deserve to have it. I’m sure we both know this is bullshit, but I feel like it’s probably a fairly common pattern for a lot of high functioning people.

I know that when I do isolate myself, I often get caught in obsessive and unhelpful thought spirals. I’ll dig right into the negative shit that makes me feel like scum and implore it to do its worst, because on some level I think I deserve to stay in that mindset. It’s stupid and isn’t doing anything for me. At times maybe I think it’s easier to stay resentful about myself than actually do things, and there’s a comfort in that.

I was very fortunate to have been given access to OHIP sponsored therapy. I got access through my GP. I think the waitlist was about ten months and I would encourage anyone and everyone here to see if this is an option. Honestly, I’m not even sure my OHIP therapist is particularly good for my contemplative style, but there’s something very empowering about venting to someone without having to be considerate of their feelings. I run into trouble trying to simultaneously emotionally take care of people who are trying to take care of me, and to some extent it hinders the process.

An outcome that has been very successful from therapy has been getting better at challenging the thoughts that I’m having. Calling bullshit on some of the catastrophising or projecting that I’m doing mentally. I get into trouble doing the “if this, then that” equation that leads me down paths that aren’t constructive. Often it comes from expectations that I have of how people will react, or outcomes that realistically will probably not happen. I really don’t know what the future holds, and causality is way too complex for me to really be able to predict the series of events that would lead there. People are often more resilient or emotionally capable than I give them credit for, which I don’t factor into my fears nearly enough. A lot of the time I’ll expect that I’m asking too much, then I’ll talk to the person and they’ll be like “yeah, that’s fine. NBD.”

I’m not “better” and I don’t truly think that’s a likely outcome, but being able to call bullshit on myself has been a big step.

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Eatin’tinnabulation is ringing a belly

I’m hungry.

Maybe it’s because I didn’t eat an irresponsible amount of rogue jalebi today. Sure, it’s the wiser, healthier choice. I may not feel unwell, but I do want to devour every foodstuff I make lock eyes with. I’ve eaten so little today. I had my breakfast porridge, a tin of tuna with crackers and an orange. I also snuck in a spoon of vegemite. It’s an insufficient quantity of food for eight hours of wakefulness, but I don’t know what to eat.

Why?

My girlfriend and I are going out for dinner tonight and I’m trying to save my appetite. For Christmas, my parents sent us money to have a nice meal. It’s finally time to cash in and we’ve reserved a table at a swell French spot. It’s been an age since I last dined out at a nice place. Sure, I love my almost weekly Korean pork bone stew, but it’s a cute neighbourhood spot. I’m throwing down sub $15 for my total dining experience. I’m sure tonight a glass of wine won’t be much less than that. It’s an experience we wouldn’t usually have access to, and I’m excited about it. I’ve never been one to consider fine dining a necessary common extravagance. It’s wonderful to treat ourselves once in while, but if we had it to often, the meaning and significance would be lost on us. It’s not that we can’t ever afford to have swanky meals, but I don’t know if either of us care to make it a mainstay of the relationship.

Don’t get me wrong, the meal is about four hours away and I will need to eat something in that time. Most likely, however, I’ll have something that fills the gap without just absorbing empty calories. I have no problem with empty calories or enjoying food for food’s sake, trust me. Still, I know that I’m on the precipice of a week where I’m gonna have a lot of it. I’ll probably eat some tasty stuff on my birthday (or more realistically, I’ll go to the gym then get pork bone stew from my local). Then I’m flying to Montreal (sky high, mofos!) with friends for a weekend of post New Years NYE style partying. Montreal has abundant delicious things and I will solely consume delicious things for the entirety of my time there. “Guilt” will not be a concept, just pleasure. I want to give these meals the respect they deserve. I want them all to be special, not to take them for granted.

ALSO I’ve been slack on keeping active this week. I blew off going to the gym after the dentist yesterday. The aforementioned jalebi did a number on me, plus I’d spent the weekend burning the candle at both ends. I was exhausted, which led to this exchange:

Dental Hygienist: Long time no see man, how’re you doing?
Me: Honestly, I burned the candle at both ends all weekend. I’m feeling kind of shattered.
DH: Oh, that’s rough. That’s happened to me before. What did you eat?
Me: What didn’t I eat? It was just non-stop for several days.
DH: And you went to work today? That’s pretty brave.
Me: I feel like if I’ve done it to myself, I don’t deserve to take a sick day, y’know?
DH: I don’t know. From both ends? You must’ve been pretty sick.

It became rapidly clear that we had very different ideas of what “burning the candle at both ends” meant. To compound matters, in a very on-brand outcome, I injured my right calf by goofing around trying to learn pole dancing tricks with friends. It’s not serious, but it is annoying and has acted as a successful deterrent for hitting the gym. I did half-learn some cool new moves, so overall it was worth it.

Maaaan, four hours feels very far away.

I’m a lean mean napping machine

It was a week. It’s been a big weekend. I’m not sure why I’m italicising.

Suffice to say, it’s made me realise that I’m nap years old now. I’ve had two long nights out, heavy on the booze, the caffeine has flowed freely. Sleep has not. I’m staring down the barrel of a fun night out to cap off the weekend, and I’m not certain I’d be putting my best foot forward at this level of fatigue. I don’t even know if the last sentence worked, that’s my level of mental fugue. I’ve been doing too many neat activities to “waste” time closing my eyes between sheets. My body, however, doesn’t agree with my brain on this. I’m all of course we can burn this candle at both ends. It worked for lightsabers, even if Darth Maul looked a little goofy. My body is like yeah, but that almost directly led to the dorky lightsaber hilt thing, so maybe slow your roll.

Case in point, like last night I have another nap scheduled for post posting this post.

I can’t remember being a baby, and I also can’t remember ever enjoying sleep. Sleep has been time I couldn’t get back, always. With under a week until I greet 32, I’m so much more aware of how my body runs. I can recognise the difference in greeting the world well-rested. My brain functions more smoothly. I don’t have to grasp for concepts, words, and how italics work as much. My limbs feel more attuned to my thoughts. I can navigate the world easier. Things just flow in a way they don’t when tacit understanding is beyond arm’s reach.

Which is a convoluted way of saying that I try to catch up like a goddamn tiny child. I took a capsule of magnesium citrate before writing this, and I think/hope it’ll calm my body down enough that mental peace comes easily. I want to get an extra hour of charge. I think it’ll make tonight more of a party. I’m well aware that people have been napping for centuries, but I’m often late to the game with trends. I just downloaded Snapchat today (so a friend could make shared Bitmojis with me). I gave up all kinds of rights and permissions so they could put together silly pictures. Does that sound like a solid idea from a well-rested brain? I DON’T KNOW.

But there’s now a cartoon version of us playing hacky sack. I don’t know that it’s worth losing sleep over.

That’s the thing, I have been losing sleep. I did think those italics worked, but I’m not sure about the ones I just typed. Coherence is hard enough to come by in this “crazy mixed up woild”. You know what’d bring it closer? Closing my eyes between sheets for an hour.

Wait. Are they called “italics” because Pisa is in Italy?

How’s Henry Winkler’s sleep schedule?

I’m old and I want a nap.

My dearest hope is that I can bust this out in half an hour without any fuss and get between one and forty winks. It’s almost 8pm and I’ve got a party tonight. I didn’t sleep enough last night, and while the party tonight is slumber party themed, I figured I’d commit to the theme insofar as wearing a onesie. Maybe I’ll bring a pillow or blanket. Snoozing all the way through it seems like more adherence than I want to give. I go out to social spaces to hang with friends, not to lie prone, snoring lightly in their presence. I’ve got vague hesitation about sleeping too long that FOMO comes into play, but maybe I’ll dream of the party to compensate. It’s basically like attending from the start, except my fellow guests may inexplicably have crab claws for hands.

I went to watch a bunch of student documentaries today. One of my friends has been working really hard in her course, and they screened their unit’s ten minute documentaries at Bloor Hot Docs. It was all kinds of neat to see all the work that’d gone into them, and the areas at which they excelled. I was super proud of my friend, ’cause I know the ludicrous amount of hours that went into bringing their story to life. The level of production quality of these pieces was amazing. For students, a lot of the work looked really professional. Of course there were some oversights or glitches. It happens. Still, the breadth and scope of these documentaries was astounding. There was one about competitive eating. Another focusing on a gay male model coming to terms with both his queerness and modelling. One documentary focused on a boy discovering he was adopted, and his 25 year journey towards discovering who his mother was.

My friend’s was on vaginismus. It was superb and incredibly affecting. I’d been vaguely aware of the condition, but I had no idea that some cases could be so bad, that an insertion the size of a Q Tip could cause pain. Imagine feeling that level of betrayal from your own body, with something the majority of people take for granted. It was very intimate, with a ton of quite brave and vulnerable admissions. Also, one of my friends was in it, and hearing about how the condition has affected her was hard hitting. Like, I went to her wedding. I had no idea that her and her husband had been working through this. It wasn’t all doom and gloom, the issue was presented with such compassion, but also levity. I came away having felt like I learned a bunch and it wasn’t shoved down my throat. My friend made a comment that documentaries should elicit feelings of surprise and/or discovery, which clicked. The documentaries we watched that didn’t quite come together or stick the landing, they were missing those aspects. They weren’t teaching anything new, or showcasing an alternative viewpoint/narrative from the mainstream. They either didn’t have much of a voice, or straight up missed what the real story was.

Ugh, I’m all out of story. I’ve been borderline passing out writing this. I’m ready to Get Them Winks.

Liver let die

Blargh. That’s all I’ve got today.

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If I actually committed an entire half hour to typing periods and pressing enter, would that be commendable or madness? Or a little bit of both? For a change, I’m in a weird, grumpy and possibly justified mood. Instead of talking about any of that, I’m going to distract myself by deep diving into my normal nonsense. If such a thing exists.

I finished my book. I really treasured being able to get back into reading. The book (The Slap by Christos Tsiolkas) was compelling, easy to read and even easier to get sucked into. The narrative structure and style were different, interesting and really invited you inside the heads of its many characters. Vignette stuff. Tons of fun. Some really hard stuff to reckon with, especially when you’re thrust into the views of people you’d have trouble identifying with. Everyone was shades of grey. The book refused to give solid moral conviction and the plot extended far beyond the realms of its set up. I’d happily recommend it to others.

Finding a new book is hard, because it’s difficult to gauge what I want to read next. Conventional logic would dictate putting the question out to friends, but that’s a goddamn minefield. People Have A Bunch Of Feelings about books they read, and their manner of attachment is highly personal. If I were to put out a call for book recommendations on Facebook, I have no doubts (for a change) that I’d get at least 30+ titles tossed at me. Maybe from a single person. This would most definitely be a reflection of their tastes, and very unlikely hold a consideration of what I’d really want out of a narrative.

People love recommending stuff and I get it. It’s about sharing something that resonated with you, a desire for others to capture that magical sensation, and in doing so hopefully find more connection with the person they recommended the title to. I do it often. At the same time, I always try to take my audience into consideration. I’m very aware that people may not connect to media for the same reasons I do. For all I know people could be offering the same considerations back to me. It rarely seems that way. I don’t know what I’m straddling here, but while I do have deeply personal connections with what I consume, I don’t take it personally if others don’t find the same points of connection. I feel like the past five sentences have basically been the same few words recycled into different orders.

I’m not here to recommend this page to others. I most definitely would not take it personally if it wasn’t up anyone’s alley.

I’m kinda regretting all those periods up top, but y’know what? NO RAGRETS. Mice these days are usually equipped with a scroll wheel. When you’re visiting IHMD you’re gonna use that thing so much it may as well be called a SWOLE WHEEL. ‘Cause your fingers’ll get PUMPED THE FUCK UP. Why am I talking like I just shelved some truck nuts? All I know is that I’m gonna funnel so much vodka into my anus tonight they may as well call me the Moscow Mule.

Well that went somewhere.

I don’t think I’m planning on butt chugging tonight, but there’s a non zero chance I’ll imbibe enough alcohol that my inner organs forget how to function. Is this a healthy, smart or responsible coping mechanism? Of course it’s not. But my brain can’t stop trying to conceive of some kind of “top shelf” pun about butt chugging expensive liquor. That feels like a constructive use of whatever brain cells I have left.

If I’m wasting them already on this planet, it may as well be on something fun.

In one year and out another

I’m a week away from turning 32. That’s weird. I think by this point in my life I thought I’d have more to show for it than a personality and good friends. Still, a lot of people have a lot less. Years and years ago I had what at the time felt like a prophetic dream. In this dream, an abstract figure told me I’d die at 32. No explanation, just a bizarrely specific non-specific prophecy. No how or why, just a sentence. It’s dumb, but deep down I think I’ve always believed it on some level. Accepted it, y’know?

Unlike heroes of fiction, it’s never spurred me to greater heights. I haven’t warped my life around some quest for purpose on a limited time frame. I haven’t danced like nobody was watching on a mountaintop. I haven’t kissed in the rain just to feel the water form a conduit between my soul and another. I haven’t eaten, prayed, lived, laughed or loved my way across Europe. I got kicked out of the Church of Scientology once for being rude, but that was hardly a triumphant act of rebellion. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not lamenting a thing. I consider amassing a personality and good friends to be a life well lived.

I might survive the next year, but I might not. Whether prophecy, self-fulfilling prophecy or dumb luck, it’s mostly out of my hands. We can’t predict the future beyond best guesses, and every time I watch a murder mystery I guess the wrong killer, so I have pretty low portent-ial. I could be sealing my own fate here, but maybe I’ll survive to be boring at a ripe old age. I think we all deserve the right to grow into our own irrelevance. What then? What if I roll the dice and overcome my own expectations? Do I have a game plan for survival? What would I want out of a life? What would I do with all those years? It seems like a ton of time to fill. I’m making it sound like a chore. I’m sure at times it would be, but it wouldn’t have to be. Not always. Let’s do a thought experiment. I say “let’s”, but really this is a one sided conversation. If I were to transcend the age of 32, what kind of stuff would I want to have done before my final curtain call?

Like a low-rent The Matrix, it’s Bullet(point) Time, Baby!

  • I want to eat everything. More accurately, I want to challenge my palate and discover exciting flavours I’d not have discovered otherwise. This means all manner of spices, food with unusual viscosity, game meats of all varieties, potentially illegal or problematic foods, breakfast for dinner, dessert for lunch and fondue for breakfast.
  • I want to travel, see sights, talk with strangers and discover walks of life far flung from my own. I want to stop travelling almost exclusively to North America, Montreal, London (England) and down under. I want to see Europe, Asia, South America and places that aren’t immediately coming to my geographically challenged brain. Just because I don’t know them, doesn’t mean I wouldn’t love them.
  • I want to find a passion. I don’t yet know what that means. I’ve never had a true passion. I’ve had things I’ve enjoyed, but never something that’s come along and gripped me with hitherto unknown fervour. Life’s worth a lot more than what suffices. Once I know what that is, I’ll report back with gusto.
  • I want to get married, have kids, develop that peculiar fascination that men of a certain age have with World War 2. Just because I don’t necessarily value having a nuclear family right now, doesn’t mean I don’t want those things at some point. When I know, I’ll know. Or I’ll never feel ready, everyone will leave me and I’ll wish I died at 32.

I’m sure I want to do more, but these days I mostly just want to play Magic. Is this adulthood?

Wait, how did I not realise “phone it in” was a pun?

Ready for me to phone it in again?

I feel like shit and I’m coming home from work. So this is gonna be written in the time between work and collapsing my bones once I walk through the door. What’s my damage? My brain’s been foggy all day. I just thought it was insufficient sleep, but it’s been harder than normal to concentrate. Even post coffee. I’m achy all over. This could usually be explained by onset muscle soreness from the gym. Thing is, the left of my face is weirdly sore and I don’t know why. There’s a dull ache to the left of my eye and nose. The back of my skull on the left is gently throbbing. I’ve got a mild headache. Could it just be excessive nasal congestion wreaking havoc in my head? My stomach has been volatile all day. My dearest hope is that I’m not coming down with whatever has plagued my girlfriend for nigh on the past week. Sure, it’s great to not be in the office. But I wanted to go out to the movies tonight, goddammit. The Favourite is still in theatres and I wanna catch it while it’s on the big screen.

Speaking of screens, I was just wondering what to do when I get home, and if there’s anything that doesn’t involve a screen. I’m not sure if there is any more. All of my leisure activities are screen based. The Internet is obviously screen based. Playing Magic is now screen based. Watching anything clearly relies on a screen. I could read, but the only thing I’m reading right now is, you guessed it, from a screen. Good fucking luck doing anything but lying idly with my thoughts.

It is nice to read again though, really. It’s horrifying how rarely I do these days. Maybe one to two books per year? I used to be a voracious reader. I’d devour a couple books a month, or at least be reading 1000+ page fantasy epics. I just don’t find the time anymore. I find it hard to push myself away from those dang screens and into a narrative that plays out in my brain. I think it’s important, to challenge your imagination. I don’t know how many times I’ve read something and had to update my mental pictures with new information. Maybe I viewed a character in a certain way because of unspecified features, then the author was like “oh by the way, her freckles were her most recognisable feature. Did I not mention that?” They probably did. I was likely just skim reading. As someone who loves expanding their vocabulary at any change, not reading feels like a massive personal disservice. Getting the Overdrive app has been amazing. I can link it up with the Toronto Public Library and virtually visit from the palm of my hand. Once I’ve downloaded the book it stays on my phone for three weeks. I don’t need internet access to read it, the app automatically saves my place. It gives me something to do in transit again.

Well, aside from hastily phoning in my writing, that is. And with that, I’m home.