Tag Archives: being depressed

Lightning Crashes… Or Something

There is a world of difference between saying what needs to be said and saying what you want to say. Words get taken the wrong way and intentions are often lost in the mix.

Hi, I’m Steff. I’m a compulsive foot-in-mouthist, and thinking before speaking is a lifelong fantasy I’ve yet to make true.

And you know what? Honestly, I just hope I keep on failing.

It’s so goddamned much fun when I get to actually say what I think. I do curtail it day to day, but not as much as you might think. I’m not one of these secret-other-self type bloggers who has a total alter ego they only bring out to play on a CPU. I don’t have to hit the bong or scarf a tab or guzzle a 2-4 in order to tap into that inner self. I just have to bite my fucking tongue sometimes so I can yield to convention. But, trust me, most people I know have known me to say incredibly crass things sometimes, and I’ve no qualms about playing a fool.

If there’s anything I miss about my old job, it’s that they’d long ago labelled me as “flippant” and knew me to be an absolute yutz at times, and, in fact, they embraced those moments of utter irrelevance. I miss that, and I miss the fact that I’m not feeling as comfortable being myself as I once was. I chalk it up to the oddities of the recent past: the lack of sex drive, the in-orbit levels of estrogen, the sub-terranean depths of depression, and all that shit. But I feel it coming back to me now. I’m waiting, like a lover in the night, I’m waiting for my own arrival, naked yet comfortable.

And that’s the thing, man. Being yourself. It ain’t just about saying what you’re thinking, it’s about feeling comfortable in your own skin and knowing, without a doubt, that the things you’re doing and thinking are all about who you are. It’s far easier said than done, and far harder to actualize than any of those fucking self-help gurus would have you believe.

Why’s that? Well, ‘cos we live in a shrink-wrapped society that thinks image is everything. Hell, it’s apologies-on-demand in our day and age. (I wrote a little ranty thing about just that on the other bloggie-poo of mine earlier today.)

Y’know, there’s two ways I write best: One, with music driving the cadence of everything I tap out, and two, like I am now, seated in unnatural (to you) silence — my little hearing aids turned off, or not even inserted in my ears. I find that if, one way or the other, I drown out the world, that all that’s left is the rat-tatty-tat of my heart and my fingers on the keyboard. Gone is the judgment, the cynicism, the self-doubt, the angst, the bafflement, the groan’n’drone of the world beyond my far too thin windowpanes. I can give in to autolatry and isolation, and, for once, being myself is just a little easier.

I have the misfortune of working at a company with nice people, but with extreme political aspects to them. And with politics comes correctness, and with correctness comes a realization that I might not ever fit in as I’d like to. But, then, I haven’t been there long, and it took me more than a year to gain the unequivocal fondness of my last employers. (But I was in a bad, bad place when I started that job — borderline alcoholic and drug addict, really.) I suspect I’ll beat the living shit out of that time-lapse this time around, but OHMIGOD does it feel like forever.

And I’ve been thinking about this for a little bit today, how weird it all is when we lose touch with ourselves. It’s like trying to dial up a friend and stoke an old relationship. It ain’t gonna be all love’n’kisses as soon as that cup’o’joe settles on the table between you, you know. Takes a little massagin’ of egos and checking in and tuning up and all, don’t you find? Yet we think that because we’re all of a sudden aware of the distance between who we are and who we’re being that there’s some kinda mental Band-aid we can slap on that gaping psychic wound and suddenly be our uber-ally self all over again. Not gonna fuckin’ happen, sweetcheeks — try though you might.

So, that’s where I am. I know who I am but I know who I’m seeming to be, and who I’m seeming to be’s just gotten her eviction notice and I want her ass on outta here, but I know there’s a holding period before that’s gonna happen. Meanwhile, just call me Marcellus Wallace, ‘cos I’m about due to get medieval on that waste-ass tenant if she ain’ packin’ in a friggin’ hurry, baby.

I’m trying to remember when in the hell it all shifted for me. When was it I lost touch with all the little bitty bits o’ Steff that make me grin when I’m alone? At some point during my recently RIP’d relationship, to be sure, and no, I’m not about to blame the ex for causing me to go AWOL. Sure as shit weren’t his fault, not one iota. He liked the chick I am, not the chick I became, and that’s fact that I don’t doubt. The problem was never him, the problem was that I, like most chicks have a tendency to do, managed to fall into that trap of being what I thought was the right thing to be in a relationship, and somehow, that coupled with the estrogen depression and the prevalence of strife and upheaval in my oh-so-tumultuous little dramatic life somehow sent this kick-ass, fun to be with, always witty, always snappy chick somewhere way the hell out into the stratosphere.

And, dude, it sucked!

There’s nothing (NOTHING!!!) worse than waking up with the side of you that you just don’t like. There’s nothing (NOTHING!!!) cooler than waking up with a grin on your face ‘cos nothing turns you on better than liking who you are at 6:53 am, all right?

And you don’t get to be that person if all you’re ever doing is kow-towing to convention and appeasing all the little perfect (read: no fun, dry, unenviable) people around you. You get to be that person when you say things that catch yourself and others off-guard and you bring a grin to their face. You get to be that person when that gleam in your eye sparkles and you find yourself walking down the street with an unwarranted grin.

Ah, well, I don’t know why I’m writing this, and I don’t give a fuck about it, either. I just felt like it. That’s reason enough, no? I wish like nothing else I had Live’s Lightning Crashes somewhere on this harddrive, but no. I do not. If you read this in the next couple of hours, (say, before 2am PST) perhaps you could email me the song and I can rock-the-fuck-out before work in the morning. Not that I’m condoning piracy. Okay, fuck it. I’m condoning piracy. Sign me up, matey, and watch me rock and roll on the pitch of those waves.

The Middle-Earth Blues

I’m at that point of my depression that I’m realizing I have become the worst version of myself.

Of that, I am absolutely certain.

I’m self-involved. I’m angry. I’m negative. I’m not being thoughtful of others. And the thing that really, really hurts is, I know it, and no matter how much I know it or fight it, I continue reverting back to this Steff I’m not too glad to be around.

And that’s the kicker, because I usually really dig being who I am. No matter how fucked life gets, I can usually make myself laugh pretty hard a couple times a day — in private, even. These days, no. This isn’t recent. I’ve been sort of moving in this direction for three weeks now, and I fear I’m hitting bottom with it. Well, I don’t fear that; I’m aware of it, and grateful. I want this to change. Wanting it is a good start. The ability to do so is probably not far off.

I have emailed a woman I once received counselling from. I haven’t heard back, but hopefully she’ll drop me a line, and if not, then I’ll call tomorrow. I figure four or five counselling sessions would be good. Any time I’ve had troubles in the last seven years, when life just got to be too much, I’d visit her a couple times, and she just created this ability in me to find the reserves I needed to fight a little harder, a little longer. She’s this really down-to-earth woman with a strong but inoffensive personality, warm eyes, and a brassy laugh. It’ll be nice to see her again.

I don’t know where this anger’s coming from, but there are a lot of things that have been said and done to me in the last six or eight weeks, and a lot of adversity and drama and craziness, and I just kinda need to lay it all down for someone who’s objective. Counsellors can provide a lot of guidance. Like, you tell ’em what’s stressing you, and they’ll generally take you through it so you at least begin to understand why. Anger and depression, to me, are like mysteries I’ll simply never understand nor solve. If I can at least have a concept of where it’s coming from and maybe even why, it gives me the ability to find a way to shift things so that the invading negative mental state can be better managed until it’s eventually simply overcome or ousted.

Climbing out of depression is like trying to climb the spiral staircase up the Statue of Liberty or St. Paul’s Cathedral, and you’re half-way up, gasping, out of breath, and you look down and think, “Fuck, I’ve come a long way!” and then you look up, your heart falls, and you silently groan. “Fuck.” Just gettin’ this baby started, honey.

Yeah, well, I’m gasping, groaning, and my heart’s all shrunk down. I’m a little worse for wear primarily because PMS has hit with a vengeance. I’m being logical about it all, though. Intellectualizing my angst and trying to find a way to make blame symmetrical so I can at least remain objective about what it is I’m angry about, and not just start finding Evil Bastards to lay all the blame on. That is the kind of action that merely results in leaving me feel like a victim. Heh, this course thingie I went to last summer was talking about self-victimization and just said, “What would you rather be? A victim or a warrior?”

Call me Conan.

I’ll tell you the worst thing about depression. Are you ready? The worst thing is that you’re a fucking hero, the way you’re fighting this mysterious fucking beast of a thing. I mean, truly, it’s so damned hard. If you’re up and out in the world, you’re winning. Any day you’re breathing and not lying in bed is a good, good day. That’s all it takes to beat depression: Do not let it win. Just keep going out, tell people, be real about it, you know? But the bitch of it, this clinical illness, the bitch of it is that no matter HOW WELL you are doing, you will always, always feel like a loser. It’s so fucking Catch-22 it hurts.

So I was conscious today, all day, of just how much my self-esteem is suffering right now. Holy SHIT, batman. It’s just subterranean, it’s so low. I got the subterranean blues, I do. And believe me, I know what I offer, I know my talents, and this is not how I should be feeling about myself. I should have a little mojo, man.

But I am doing everything I can to keep it going. I am reducing my hours of work — working more was a big mistake. There’s no sense making more than what’s paying the bills if it’s just taking me to the edge of a breakdown, now, is there? I didn’t realize how exhausting depression is until I began to challenge it. Now I know there’s a limit to what I can do, and I’m working within it. I’m optimistic I’ll be at a more even keel in a week or so. Plus, my social life is going all right. I have more plans. I have a major tech-geek weekend at the end of the month, going to this… oh, I dunno, indie sub-culture tech-conference type weekend dealie-thang. Should be interesting. I’ll network for connections. I’m at the stage now with this blog’s readership that there has to be something I can do to make money off it. It’s just ridiculous to be in the top 8K on Technorati and not have a dime off it, you know? Maybe I’m just totally clueless (and I suspect that is indeed the case) but I’m hoping to learn a little.

So, I’m going to be social, but only, say, a couple nights a week. I need to keep a limit on my social activities and try to focus on the things I need to do for myself, for this place and the podcast and all the things that make ME feel accomplished. I got shit to prove to myself, you know? It’s time.

Once I get my grasp back on all this shitstorm whirling around me, and I suspect that’s in the next four to six weeks, actually, I believe I’ll be in one hell of a different place. I hope this to be the case, and I’m doing all I can to make it happen. I don’t know if my output on here will be all that great during this time, but we’ll see. But when it’s done, I’ll be in one of the best headspaces in my life. I know there’ll be a change coming. I just do, I know it like I know my social insurance number. Etched.

Anyhow, I have wanted to be more open about my depression, but there are days lately when it’s winning. And they’re hard. Hard fucking days, man. But, like I say, I’m fighting. It’s just painful realizing I’m acting in ways I don’t particularly like, feeling ways that I absolutely hate, and wishing like hell time could pass a little faster. It’s difficult KNOWING just how fucked up my perception of the world is right now. The logical, intelligent, articulate part of me tells me I’m getting it all wrong, and this is the way it oughta be, but this nutbag alter-ego of mine, she’s a persistent little bitch, you know? God. Frustrating to KNOW this much about depression and to be able to understand every bit of it, but to have it be so damned dominant nonetheless.

It’s times like this that one could really get to doubting the old adage “Knowing is half the battle,” you know?