Afraid of the Good

jny published on
7 min, 1344 words

Several years ago, after I actually started taking steps to treat my depression, I slowly came to the realization that part of me was resisting the change. Yes, a part of it was the bravery required in trying new things during the process of recovery. And yes, a very large portion of it was hopelessness for the future. But as time went on and both of those things began to wane, I still felt some reluctance. Some fear of getting better. It’s taken me quite some time to try to make any sense of it at all because it quickly becomes a recursive loop of fear.

In a small way, it feels a bit like Stockholm syndrome, or at least vaguely resembles it. Depression and self-loathing almost killed me, but in a very strange way, they also saved me. Because of them, I left a situation that I found unbearable, but what made the situation unbearable was the depression and self-loathing that it created. In a strange sense, depression and self-loathing saved me from more intense depression and self-loathing. The result is this odd affection I have for depression (and self-loathing to a lesser extent) because it’s reliable and I know what to expect, even if what I expect is horrible. Leaving would mean new pains, new experiences that are unfamiliar and thus freshly terrifying.

But there was also something else. Something much more tangible that made me uncomfortable just to try to think of my life without depression. It was as though I actually felt that something of value would be lost.

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Talking about depression & anxiety

(and how I can take it badly)

jny published on
5 min, 948 words

It’s not as though depression or anxiety are things that I talk about often. They don’t generally make good small talk. But from the talks I’ve had, I’ve noticed a few trends. From people I sorta know to people I consider close, each have their own types of questions and venues of conversation. That even deeper “levels” of intimacy can have questions that come off as shallow or less helpful than intended.

All of these can come from a place of care, I want to make that clear. And in some cases they’re very acceptable questions that can help. It’s only in some of my own situations -whether it be the way it’s delivered or even just my current emotional stability at the time- I find that they can make me want to shut down rather than open up.

I’ve been thinking about them partly to try to understand the person asking, but also to try to understand myself in how I receive it. To figure out what I think the problem is with the way they’re asking, and how that thought -true or not- effects the way I interact with other people.

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Manual Walking

jny published on
2 min, 367 words

Every time I try to describe my lack of motivation to other people, it’s amazing how I always see the same look of a lack of understanding. They just have a hard time comprehending not having the drive to do critical things. And I can’t say I understand it fully either. All I know is that something just isn’t there. It’s not a case of not wanting to go to work on a Monday, it’s having no desire or drive to brush your teeth, or eat, or even take your daily meds, even though you understand that there will be consequences. It’s a bit like hunger, in that you don’t decide to be hungry, you check what your body is telling you. You don’t decide to have a base level of motivation, you just have it. Or you don’t.

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Earning the Labels

jny published on
3 min, 481 words

It’s crazy because if you asked me “What’s the one thing that defines your life up to this point?”, my answer -since I was about 16- would be “depression”. And yet I still, roughly 10 years later, have some feeling of doubt about actually saying that I have “depression”.

I think that part of it is that the words are used far more loosely than, say, physical illnesses. It’s not uncommon for people to say “I’m feeling depressed this week” or “I’ve been feeling anxious lately”. That’s fine because it’s just how language is, but I would definitely say there’s a difference between that and living with depression or anxiety.

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The Depression and CFS Cocktail

jny published on
2 min, 302 words

It’s only recently I’ve realized just how menacing the combination of Depression and Chronic Fatigue is for me.

Chronic Fatigue, I think, is always difficult. But I think that maybe people with a greater drive might be able to fight through it more. Much of the attempted remedies I’ve done require a ton of motivation with the biggest one being massive diet changes. Trying to go through the process of researching, then planning, then grocery shopping, then preparing food on a regular basis (likely every day) while having no energy and/or losing tons of time to sleep is just plain miserable. And simultaneously, you’re constantly looking for other possible remedies, going to doctors, taking new supplements, trying to exercise regularly, and pushing yourself physically to get all it done. Anybody’s endurance would be tested, I think.

But imagine throwing in depression, which has a primary symptom being “loss of interest/motivation”. It’s no wonder I’ve failed time and again when trying to follow the remedies. It goes from me having stints where I am not motivated enough to take my antidepressants (very dangerous) to now trying to take more medicine daily, sometimes several times a day. From sometimes skipping meals just because I don’t feel motivated enough to eat to trying to cook daily with new foreign ingredients.

I think the combination is nasty regardless of which came first, but for me, I had depression first, and while I felt limited in many ways, I at least felt like I had some mobility. It’s like I was a roommate with a complete slob, but I at least had a car. Then Chronic Fatigue came along and the car broke down, and now I’m stuck with the slob all the time, and I have absolutely no idea how to fix the car.

Two faces of depression

jny published on
2 min, 335 words

I like to describe depression as being forced to hang out with someone you hate, only that someone is yourself. The type of person that, when you see them, you tense up a sigh and whenever they talk, you inwardly cringe.

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What is this

jny published on
2 min, 207 words

A while ago I watched a special by comedian Mike Birbiglia where he talks about his blog “My Secret Public Journal” which his therapist told him to start to “put it on paper” for things in his life that bothered him. That’s basically what this blog is, though probably going to be way less funny.

Instead of stories about sleepwalking and whatnot, I’ll be talking more about depression, anxiety, and chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). That might not sound like the most attractive thing to read, but that’s why this is a Journey to the Center of Self. It’s more or less a voyage of self discovery, with my thoughts on what defines me (which, at the moment, is those three things more than anything else).

You can make of it what you will. I’m not writing to define how things are for everyone nor am I trying to tell people how to get better. I’ll be sharing various treatments like Somatic Experiencing and EMDR and other (attempted) remedies for CFS, but a month later I may make a post saying I was wrong. It’s a journey and I’ve always had a poor sense of direction.