State of the Eug

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.

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