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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Stranger Possession

jny published on
3 min, 517 words

A while ago I wrote a post about what I call (‘the Stranger’)[/blog/2015/10/stranger-danger]. This constant nagging of “What would someone think if a random stranger walked in right now?”. That there’s this indefinable hypothetical person who is always ready to judge, who’s just off-stage ready to pounce.

Recently I’ve noticed that I think it extends far beyond that. I realized that, when I’m in a situation where I feel fear of what someone may think of me, it feels the same for every person (with a few exceptions). The feeling that I’m going to be judged as unpunctual from my dad feels the same as the feeling of being judged as unpunctual by a doctor’s secretary. I don’t feel “Oh no Lucy will think X of me”, it’s just “someone will feel X of me”.

What I think I’ve realized is that it feels the same because it is the same. It feels like all people are the same person. Like every person who can potentially judge me (i.e. everyone) is part of a hive mind. Like Agent Smith in The Matrix. Like I’m in a video game and everyone is an NPC, and it’s really the Game that I’m interacting with, who is judging me. Or like they’re all being possessed by the same entity.

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Categories: Mental Health

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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