When You Disconnect
Note: This is a repost from my former blog, original post date 1/16/17
A year ended.
A new year began.
And everywhere I looked, I saw productivity. Goals. Resolutions. Drive and purpose. But by that point--the new year--I was already shutting down.
I rarely suffer major depressive episodes anymore, and if I do, they're brief. Dark blips on my radar. Often coordinated with monthly hormones or something equally unpleasant. Occasionally spurred by outside forces beyond my control. The last episode I had that hurt was in May, and I went back on medication as a result. I've had a few shorter depressions since then, but at twenty-five, I'm a master at my own depression. My main mode of survival is faking it until I make it and telling myself it will pass. Because it always passes. But there's the occasional depression that is larger than life. It sucks the air from my lungs. It leadens my limbs. It turns up the volume and turns down the color.
By the first week of 2017, I was slipping into something dark. I waited for it to pass within a few days; it didn't. The depression lingered, wrapped me up tight like poison ivy. Every day it got a little bit worse. I stopped faking it, faking my a-o-kay-ness. I didn't bother asking for help. I embraced my newfound, all-consuming sadness, welcoming it as my long-lost friend.
Screw writing, I was barely functioning.
The weird thing was, I felt very ashamed over my lack of productivity. My lack of resolutions and goals. My shame and guilt made things exponentially worse. It has been years since I've endured a depressive episode lasting longer than two weeks. But considering I spent 2006-2015 heavilyoverlyinsanely medicated, this shouldn't come as a huge surprise. Over the past three days I began to breathe again. My heartbeat returned. I actually remembered things, like buying Sofi her special prescription cat food. I even cleaned the house.
So. Why the depression? Why the sudden lack of life?
I'd love to say that since November, my last post, that I've had my fingers glued to my laptop, pounding out thousands of words daily. But I've never been one for lying. I wrote and outlined and plotted my new WIP around mid-December. Then the holidays flurried around me, along with the flu/plague that everyone has contracted. I developed laryngitis a week before Christmas (boy, that was fun) and wrapped gifts in not-so-stoic silence. By the time Christmas arrived, I was healthy (ish) if not exhausted easily. Other than the sad fact my sister couldn't make it (she too got the plague and couldn't travel from LA) I had a great Christmas. Such generous gifts, wonderful family members, and overall cheer.
New Year's Eve was much more low-key than the week before. My boyfriend had bought us each a box of the newest Magic the Gathering release, plus my sister and sister-in-law got us one to split. On NYE, we opened 54 packs of MtG cards. Each. That's roughly 650 cards total. I think it took us over three hours? We then played video games, watched some television, and stayed up until midnight. No complaints. Super lovely evening. Basically, I thought 2017 was off to a great start.
On the second or third of this month, I got sick. Again. Then I got an infection. When my physical health is low, it has a tendency to drag down my mental health as well. So, I was in the pits. I played a lot of video games, and began to feel the depression ebb closer and closer. Then: darkness. But two weeks is very long to be consistently and seriously depressed. No one but my boyfriend and my mom (through sheer-Mom-power skills of observation) knew how poorly I felt. How I hadn't written a creative word in a month. After my illnesses and infections cleared, I just couldn't write. Not writer's block, just... a lack of desire. Social media and all the #2017WritingGoals I saw only made me feel worse. The depression was a black fog swirling up my insides. And it's on me for not asking for help. For not explaining my situation to anyone. I retreated into my darkest corners. Surprise, surprise, the depression passed. But holy fuck, why did it take so long?
I hate depression. How it comes out of nowhere. Because, honestly, nothing awful was happening in my life to cause such a deep depression. This time around, it was extremely difficult to tell myself it would pass because it seemed never ending. I'm very thankful it's over. Very thankful for my boyfriend for being so impossibly optimistic, so helpful. Making sure I ate every day and functioned on the most basic of levels. Putting on episodes of The Office so I might laugh. Giving me the space to shut down and be sad, but never leaving.
Today I wrote 1,400 words. Not a lot in the grand scheme of things, but when it's been creative radio silence for over four weeks, those words are voluminous.
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