On the State of the Steff

It’s official. I’m depressed. Next Thursday, I’m seeing the doc to go back on meds for the first time in a few years.

I started the birth control pill again last October, and it has been fucking with my equilibrium since. (I’ve changed several brands, but the first one sent me spiralling into a deep depression I had to claw out of, but never really emerged from.) I was beginning to get a grasp on it the old-fashioned “I’m too tough for depression to beat me!” trouper kind of way, but then life reared up and got ugly, and I’m losing my grasp.

Depression’s a terribly stigmatic thing to admit to suffering. Just admitting it makes you look like an incapable pussy who’s running from a scary monster. There’s too much ignorance about depression as a disease, and there’s too much misunderstanding of what it can (and does) do to its sufferers.

Me, I hate admitting I can’t cope. I hate admitting that, right now, I’m weak and having a real, real hard time just fighting the good fight. The realization hit me yesterday that, if something else were to befall me in the “happenstance” category these days, I just don’t think I could wage that war. I’m too burnt out. The energy levels, gone.

So, then, what do I do? Pretend? Put on a smilie face and hope it all looks better than it feels? Oh, that’ll work. Or do I give into the agoraphobia and lock the door? Yeah, that’ll work. Maybe I try to find balance? Hey, there’s an idea, but what is balance anyhow? Who says, “Yep, that’s balanced!” Is there a dinging bell I’ll hear when I finally have it right?

And that’s the thing. There’s no tried and true method for beating depression. It still confuses medicine and practitioners. It’s not like the weight loss secret of, “Eat a little less, exercise a little more.” Its roots come from a dark place that’s physically impossible to shine a light on.

Depression is perceived as a systematic sign of weakness and this society has little, if any, patience for it.

It doesn’t matter that I could make you laugh within five minutes of meeting you, or make you feel like you’ve known me for years. It doesn’t matter that I’ll understand most problems you bring to me and be able to give you worthy advice on it. It doesn’t matter that I’ve been through more in my 32 years than most have. It doesn’t matter that I’m about as resourceful as any person you’ll ever meet.

I’m still suffering from depression. I’ve been fighting, and I was winning, and now the tide has turned.

So, I’m swallowing my pride, telling you where I stand, and promising to keep a light ongoing record (I’m toying with a depress-o-meter passage at the end of postings after I get back on the meds, to kind of keep a record of the small but steady changes in mood, primarily for those who are having a hard time deciding if they need help out of their own private hells or not).

I’m not the kind of person you think about when you think “depressive,” but the truth is, I’ve dealt with that demon off and on since my late teens. Most of the time, I’m pretty good. I know what to look for and know how to fight it — me time, indulging myself, exercise, healthy outlets, punk rock music, heh — and so forth, so this is why I’ve suddenly decided to change strategies in my fight, and why you may hear more of it.

Anyhow, great concert last night, but I fear I’m too tired for my party tonight, so I’ll be taking a “me” night in. Since I’ll soon be on meds and won’t be able to enjoy a bottle of wine solo anymore (shouldn’t really drink on meds), I plan to instead cook a mighty meal fit for a king and drink incredibly good wine to celebrate my lowering of my defenses and accepting my humanity. My fight has changed this week in that I’m kicking my ass physically with cycling and working on a healthier diet. I just know I won’t get the results I want soon enough, and who really wants to live in the dark any longer than necessary, huh?

Happy Friday, kids. My week’s looking up.