State of the Eug

May 8, 2016

We’re going on week 6 of possibly the worst unprompted (no precipitating event) depressive valley I’ve ever experienced in the 20-odd years I’ve been fighting this disease. My depression is constantly there–unlike some others who have measurable episodes with beginnings and ends–but it does wax and wane, usually depending on what’s going on in my life at the time.

This time around, a lot of practical aspects of my life are better than they have been in past valleys. I’ve learned to maintain a large stockpile of easy food around, and between that and Internet grocery delivery I’ve been a lot better at keeping myself fed–though today was an exception to that. I’ve had a lot of social stuff going on–D&D, board games, movie nights, hiking, Magic nights, hookah lounge time, motorcycle stuff, etc.–though still not as much as I’d like. I’ve been able to play a lot of Rocket League online with Sean and Ryan, giving me a social activity even on some of the nights where I didn’t get anything planned. I have a TV show I like (Californication) that I’ve been able to pass some time with: short episodes make it easy for me to watch without triggering anxiety over time commitment, and it’s heavy enough to keep me interested. I’m going to run out of episodes soon though. But anyway, my life is objectively wonderful, from that perspective.

Also, I’ve learned some techniques to better cope. I’ve learned to better communicate how I feel and what I need–more specifics, less song lyrics and vaguebooking, though still not none–which helps my friends try to help me. Sometimes when I feel a long dark night coming, I just let myself go to bed early and skip it. I’ve even sometimes been able to convince myself that just jumping into action, however I feel about it, is better than not.

But none of it has been helping the way it has in the past, which is already a far cry from the way that I’d hope it would. I’ve still been spending a lot of hours trapped lying in bed because standing up doesn’t seem worth the effort, a lot of days doing absolutely nothing but sitting and staring because I can’t escape my own mind. I’ve still been coming home from a night out, or shutting the door behind my last guest, and watching the darkness instantly envelope me again. I’ve still been hating this worthless person I’ve become, or maybe always was. All my shiny coping techniques, all the glittering gifts in my life seem even more like nothing than ever before.

The worst part of depression and other mental illnesses, in my experience, is when they shut down your ability to do. There are so many fun and fulfilling things to do in life, and I can’t manage to do them. I’m always preparing for exciting hobbies and activities and skills to practice and things to make, researching and amassing gear, and all of that potential goes unrealized. I’m not even writing. I, whose primary purpose in life is to live and think and produce words, am not writing. If I’m honest with myself, I haven’t written seriously in years, and years before that. But this time around it’s a little scary, because I think I’ve even lost the skill. Words and thoughts come clumsily now. The poetry doesn’t show itself to me. I’m trying to get myself back into the trenches again–this post being part of that effort–but man, it’s difficult and disheartening. Everything is difficult and disheartening.

Anyway, that’s how things are at the moment. I haven’t been good about replying to some comments and messages; when my anxiety is high, replies that seem like they’ll require thought or effort are the first things to fall by the wayside. So I thought I’d check in like this.


2/4/2016 Gratitude Post

February 5, 2016

Not a good day, mentally/emotionally speaking. Depression meter was extremely high. I feel like I’m often teetering on the edge between “put renewed effort into life” and “give up entirely”. I’m trying not to look at things in terms of progress (and the implied opposite, regress), but it’s hard.

  • I had leftover pasta for lunch. Thanks, Past Eug!
  • I got to watch a new episode of Excellent Adventures, and one of EA Asia.
  • I did a little writing.
  • Tonight was book club, which is always fun.
  • Laura made me a mixtape! So nice of her!
  • We had some pretty good pizza for dinner. Two pizzas in two days, not bad! Plus I got to take home the leftovers!
  • I tossed gym stuff in the Miata on my way to carpool to book club. Afterwards I got myself to go to the gym before going home. Nice. Did an hour and change of incline walking on a treadmill. The past couple times I’ve been watching TV shows on Netflix while walking. I usually listen to music, but I find it doesn’t occupy my mind enough, and I end up continually looking at the clock on the treadmill and counting the seconds. This makes for a kind of torturous workout. Watching Netflix has been better, but I don’t think my phone’s data plan can support it as a long-term solution. I’m probably gonna try podcasts or audiobooks instead, but I’m not hopeful. Oh well… good job tonight, Eug.

2/3/2016 Gratitude Post

February 4, 2016
  • I found good snow pants online in short size!
  • I went out for a tasty pizza lunch at Blue Line with my brother, his wife, and our cousin!
  • I played some D3 on my own! I think I may be done with it for now. I’ve been having fun, and I’m happy with what I’ve accomplished in the game, not to mention that I’ve mostly been able to hold back my mental demons and play for the past few weeks since the season started. But now I think I want to try and channel that capability into a more meaningful game for a while.
  • I made a bunch of pasta! Nothing complicated, just ground beef and summer squash in jarred mushroom tomato sauce. Also I didn’t give the pasta enough water to boil in and didn’t notice until too late, but it turned out mostly okay. Plus at least three meals worth of leftovers! You’re welcome, Future Eug!
  • I had some nice chats with friends!
  • I did a little tiny bit of writing!

2/2/2016 Gratitude Post

February 3, 2016

Though it started out badly, I actually ended up having a really good day! Now I’m crashing again though. Yay brains~

  • I had a nice lunch of leftover chili mac.
  • I eventually got myself out (with help from a friend) and ran a whole bunch of errands! These included getting a car washed, shopping around for new snow pants, getting cat food, and buying 300 lbs. of salt for the water softener.
  • Then I went to Starbucks and had a coconut milk hot chocolate and the last cheese danish!
  • And I sat there and wrote for like an hour and a half!
  • I went home and loaded up that water softener. Go me!
  • Then I went to the gym and did some hill walking on the treadmill for almost an hour!
  • Then I got to have dinner at Chipotle with a bunch of friends!
  • After I came home, I practiced piano, and even recorded this: https://youtu.be/UNwQA4JsRLY

So yeah, quite a productive day in the end, though it wasn’t without its demons. And now those demons are striking hard. Maybe one day I’ll be able to enjoy all the good things I have in my life. Maybe I should just go to sleep.


2/1/2016 Gratitude Post

February 2, 2016
  • I had a great weekend in Tahoe with wonderful friends for one of their birthday. We walked around and played a bit in the snow, and played board games and video games and ate food. I got to play a couple of new games that I really liked. All in all, a wonderful time!
  • Today was not so good. Depression meter was through the roof. I had a list of things I wanted to do today, and none of them happened. I spent a fair chunk of it just sitting and staring, fighting myself and trying to act. I eventually gave up. But after that I was able to keep myself fed, and also play a bunch of D3 by myself!
  • Past Eug left me leftovers to eat, as well as fruit!
  • I made chili mac with peas for dinner!
  • I had a nice chat with Matt. Talking to him always gets me fired up to do various cool things, which is nice even if that motivation doesn’t stick around. I like being excited about things, and it doesn’t happen for me very often. Anyway, based on that chat I think I’m gonna give snowboarding another try sometime soon.
  • I made myself a mug of tea! This kind of thing doesn’t happen as often as it should. Those little self-care impulses almost always just get washed away in the storm that is my anxiety and ADHD, even if they manage to get past the depression. One of the things I’ve been thinking about lately is that I want to try and do things immediately upon thinking of them, to try and circumvent all the overthinking that sends everything into the toilet. Less planning, more impulse.

1/28/2016 Gratitude Post

January 29, 2016
  • I got to have a nice lunch with Ryan at Liang’s Village Cuisine, which I’d been craving for a week. I got my preserved egg with tofu, and beef noodle soup. I think next time I might just go with all appetizers: preserved egg with tofu, beef onion pancake, chili oil wontons… yum!
  • Ran an errand while I was out.
  • I played some D3 by myself. Kind of frustrating, as I’m currently bottlenecked by one stupid belt that just refuses to drop, but I managed to keep at it.
  • I cooked! Made some yellow curry with chicken and broccoli over brown rice. It was tasty, and I have leftovers for tomorrow!
  • I got to play some Rocket League and a little bit of SWTOR with Ryan.
  • I ate a tasty chocolate with toffee in it, from a chocolate assortment that a friend got me for Christmas.  :D

1/27/2016 Gratitude Post

January 28, 2016
  • I did not get up early. I got up quite late. My body seems to need so much sleep that I end up not being able to sleep the following night. I’ve thought about putting myself on a 36-hour day schedule or something like that, but it’s hard to keep in sync with the rest of the world like that. Anyway, I ate a frozen pizza for lunch. I’m grateful for frozen pizza.
  • I got to watch new Excellent Adventures episodes, hurray!
  • The afternoon was pretty dysfunctional. That’s not a positive thing, so I shouldn’t write it here…. Uh, let’s see. Oh, I pulled out one of the little tea light candles I have stashed away and lit it, on a whim. I’ve been thinking a lot in the past year or so about the little micro-experiences I like in life, things like being able to see the sky or watching a flame. I don’t light candles, generally… these ones I have are so old and have a lot of history in them. I got them in high school and have used them in romantic gestures for several girls over the years. Anyway, I’m grateful for candles, and I think I might make more of a habit of lighting candles now.
  • I got to spend the evening hanging out with good friends at the hookah lounge. We drank tea, ate a tasty dinner, and generally had a nice evening with good conversation. It was really nice!
  • I finally got myself to fold all that laundry that had been piling up for weeks! It took me (the last) two episodes of Master of None, an episode of Kimmy Schmidt (which I didn’t really like), and an Aziz Ansari stand-up special to fold it all. And then I even put it away right away! …well, okay, after fifteen minutes of Facebook on my phone.

1/26/2016 Gratitude Post

January 27, 2016
  • I got up early(ish)! So I took myself out to Holder’s Country Inn and treated myself to breakfast.
  • Did some errands while I was out.
  • I reactivated an online dating site account (Coffee Meets Bagel). I dunno if that’s really such a positive things to put on this list…? I mean I guess it is, since my being in a place/mood to try again is positive, right? Though even the act of getting it set up again made me feel more depressed. Oh well, we’ll see what happens and try not to think too much about it.
  • I took a nap. I’ve been waking up early–which is not the same as GETTING up early, mind you–and I guess it’s been taking its toll. Naps are not really a good thing for me… these days I don’t let myself take them unless the alternative is zombification (which it was today), since afterwards I feel really crappy (but more functional). But I’m grateful that I have the freedom to take naps if I need them.
  • Buuut I did feel crappy afterwards, worse in some ways than I did before. My Depression meter has been really high the past few days, with Anxiety and ADHD not too far behind. I’m grateful that today I had some friends to chat with to mellow things out slightly.
  • I went up to SF for NGoT Night, despite being anxious about the trip. Going up to SF during traffic hours and trying to find parking and then coming back late, usually on a motorcycle to try and mitigate those first two points, has been stressing me out more and more in recent months. I think it’s in contrast to how much easier it was from Emeryville. But anyway, I did it, and got to see my friends and eat tasty stroganoff and watch TV shows with them. And the ride up and down is still fun, even if it’s stressful and cold. Brr.

1/25/2016 Gratitude Post

January 26, 2016

Got a slow start today, as Depression meter was extremely high from the moment I woke up. It took me some hours just to get out of bed. But I got through it and made a pretty okay day.

  • Finished off tasty leftovers. Thanks, Past Eug!
  • Watched a couple of fun episodes of Master of None while eating.
  • Did a couple of paperwork things, including paying a bill. I didn’t even wait until the deadline! Also, looking at budget, this past month was a fairly frugal one. Yay! Also did an errand at the bank!
  • I got myself out of the house to Starbucks, where I had a nice chocolate croissant and hot chocolate.
  • I did some good writing! Put together a poem that I’m fairly happy with, as well as some other miscellaneous stuff.
  • Pizza Hut dinner with the D&D group!
  • Fun D&D session. Zangief wrecked things. RNGesus was with me tonight.
  • Watched a few episodes of One Punch Man with Ryan and Alex. Funny show!

And I didn’t go to the gym, but I PREPARED to go to the gym. Which means I’m theoretically prepared to go to the gym tomorrow. Or I could go hiking instead depending on time and weather. Funny how my preparations to go hiking and to go walk on a treadmill at the gym do not overlap at all.


1/24/2016 Gratitude Post

January 25, 2016

I had a bit of a meltdown last night–Depression and Anxiety meters high, Isolation meter through the roof–so I didn’t do my gratitude post. I’ll include yesterday’s stuff here, since it was actually not a bad day on the functionality front until evening. Today I spent the day with good friends, but now I’m home and alone and the crash is coming and my heart is going nuts, as it often does. I don’t really know how to describe it; my heart rate is only slightly elevated, but the beats feel very… strong/hard. And occasionally I realize that I’m forgetting to breathe. Anyway, let’s do this.

Yesterday:

  • I went out and got a bagel omelette sandwich from the bagel shop I like at the bottom of the hill. Also Orangina. I <3 Orangina.
  • I managed to play D3 by myself, and briefly with Sean. Still waiting on that belt and hat for my Sweeping Wind/Wave of Light build.
  • I did some more chores, including programming the new garage remote I got. That was more involved than I expected, and included some ladder time.
  • I cooked up some bell peppers and onions to supplement leftovers for dinner.
  • I’ve been watching Master of None on Netflix, and it’s pretty funny.

Today:

  • I got to spend the day with Kyle and Kari and Baby Cyrus!
  • I petted their cat Callie a lot and rubbed her belly.
  • We got sushi for lunch.
  • We spent the day playing Disgaea 5.
  • They made me a nice dinner, as well as cookies!