Tag Archives: honesty

Depression isn’t a CHOICE, People.

This post was in response to something that has now been removed from the web. The author of the original post, Mary Rose, in comments below has asked that this similarly get removed. While I understand why she thinks post is “hateful,” I respectfully disagree — this is an angry post, and anger was an understandable reaction to what was originally written, from my perspective.

I’m also of the belief that we NEED discussion about these things, and Mary Rose isn’t the first person to maybe be a little quick-worded in writing about something daunting like depression, and therefore I will not be removing this post.

This post should be seen as a snapshot of what someone’s mental process is after reacting to something they take the wrong way.

Anger isn’t hate. It’s a justifiable emotion, and, yeah, I was angry when I wrote this. It doesn’t mean I wish Mary Rose harm, or that I disrespect HER. I took issue with her words, and that’s clear here, I felt. The comments are where to disagree with me, of course.

Times like this are when we learn what kind of reach our language choices have — and LOTS of people are guilty of telling people to cheer up when depressed, whether they mean it as flippantly as it sounds, or not, and it’s to ALL OF THOSE PEOPLE this posting is directed. Thanks for reading.

***

So, I started my Saturday wanting to drop-kick someone for a post they wrote in which they asserted depression was a choice and one could just happily choose to move on.

Know how I know someone’s never experienced REAL depression?

When they tell you to move on, to “choose” a better attitude, to buck up and deal. C’mon, everybody! GET HAPPY! Let’s watch the Partridge Family and have a love-in!

Here’s an image for you. Tortured guy goes through life dealing with endless depression, finally decides being unhappy to his very core is literally too painful to endure anymore, and kills himself. Let’s say there is a St. Peter and some Pearly Gates. Suicided Dude shows up there, and St. Pete goes, “What the hell are you doing? You coulda just CHOSEN to stop being depressed. Wow. Waste of life there, selfish dick.”

And Suicided Dude’s jaw drops, and he goes, “WHAT? I coulda JUST STOPPED being depressed? Why the fuck didn’t anyone tell me it was like putting on pants? JUST DON’T DO IT? Who knew? Aw, man. Don’t I feel like a dumbass. The next 40 years mighta ROCKED.”

Right. Sounds pretty fucking dumb, doesn’t it?

That’s never gonna happen. Why?

BECAUSE DEPRESSION ISN’T A CHOICE.

Here’s what Hippy Guru Writer says about “leaving depression behind” in this blog post:

Depression is manifested anger and fear. An extension of the above. Take Usana multivitamins, Univera cell renewal, and exercise for fun. Do it alone if you feel like everyone thinks you’re a loser. Get out of your stale mindset. Enjoy the space inside of yourself and tell the demons inside that they are not welcome there anymore. Tell the part of you that doesn’t believe in you that while you appreciate its special, non verbal brand of tough love, you’re renting all the space inside of you out to new tenants. These new tenants are all the magnificent, hidden, scared, doubtful parts of you that have been beaten down by the giant called depression. Tell it to leave you now. You do not need it to sit on your face anymore.

MULTI-VITAMINS? Really? 30 push-ups? Insta-glee? “Yo, demons! Get outta my space! Hasta la sayonara, BADDY!” What the fuck?

I’d just tell her to fuck off but she’d tell me I’m manifesting my anger and fear. Which, actually, I kind of am.

Namaste. Hakuna matata. Awimbaway!

Image 'Depression' by David Baldinger. Source: http://www.dbaldinger.com/drawings/depression.html. Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 Generic

Here’s the deal. I’ve been down the depression road and back again. In my descents into darkness, there are a few things I’ve gleaned to be true.

(Reminder: I’m some chick sitting cross-legged on the floor in boxers as I write this, and not a trained professional who bled money for a degree to learn about psychotherapy. Mm-kay?)

Anyhoo. I’ve learned there seems to be both SITUATIONAL and BIOLOGICAL depressions. Now, situational is when it kinda makes sense that you’re down over a long period of time.

Maybe you’ve lost a job, got dumped, shattered your leg when skiing, have creditors chasing you down and no prospects, or maybe you had your mother die. Whatever. Being depressed then not only makes sense, it’s part of being human, and it’s a necessary journey for our growth. It’s not a DEFECT to be ignored and leap-frogged over, it’s a natural situational depression that means our soul’s hurting a little. It may be treated with chemicals, diet, and/or exercise, and that can take the edge off and make fighting one’s way back easier. It still takes a long time to do right.

Biological depressional, however, is a total beast and the reason why it can lead to suicide is because your chemistry overtakes logic, emotion, and everything else. It’s being under a black cloth and not knowing how to find your way out. At its darkest, it is a living hell that isolates you from your dreams, family, friends, and every aspect of your life. Your anger and hopelessness catastrophically cut you off from everything and everyone.

The most insidious part of depression is how it can take over and you’re so incredibly in the dark you don’t even realize it’s an illness. It’s been nearly 6 years since a chemical depression brought me to the brink of suicide, thanks to bad-ass birth control pills I was on that caused an imbalance in me.

The idea of that EVER happening again is terrifying because I had absolutely no control over this darkness that was consuming me for the first 4 months. It was a horrifying descent to the brink of madness for me, and I thank my lucky stars I got past it.

But then assholes like this Hippy Guru Writer come along, who think they’re being helpful for depressed people by going, “Come on, Skippy! You can do it! Just a little hill, and we’ll have climbed right on outta Unhappyville, boys and girls! YAY, HAPPY-CHOICE TIME!”

And do you know what that does to someone who’s actually clinically, biologically depressed? It increases the self-loathing, hopelessness, and frustration, because they remember the 287 times they have gone to bed at night telling themselves it would be better in the morning, promising that they would get up, “do everything right” and have a great day. Then, they get up, a trigger happens, and they’re fighting tears and hyperventilating, just because work beckons in 45 minutes and they need to “pretend” again.

So, on behalf of everyone who’s currently being crushed by depression, I’d like to tell you to fuck right off if you think you’re a part of the solution by telling someone to “get a grip” and move on. They don’t have the objectivity to do it for themselves, thanks to people like you and whatever chemistry’s at fault.

Luckily, I’ve fought depression on both the chemical and situational fronts, and I can tell you it’s as different as summer and winter. In my situational depressions, occasionally things transpire that I find fun and enjoyable, I might even have a whole day or week that’s good, and those are the natural highs/lows of a system that’s functioning properly despite suffering a recent blow the mind needs to heal from.

In my one chemical-based depression based in imbalance, it got darker and darker so that no light entered my life at all. I tried to think my way out of it, do things to cheer myself up, but it often backfired and became worse because it meant I really TRIED, only to FAIL AGAIN, so it perpetuated the feelings of worthlessness and hopelessness that define true depression.

Of course, being unable to “cheer” myself up then had nothing to do with failure at all — that was the nature of the illness. It took two years to undo, but I did it — with the help of medication, exercise, diet, and great friends around me. There was no one cure. There usually isn’t.

The last year and a bit, I’ve been in a mild situational depression because I knew I was unhappy, and I couldn’t figure out what part of my life was the problem. But that’s not actually a situational depression — it’s just being plain old unhappy, indicating change is needed.

I can’t tell you how many times I tried to “think” myself out of my situational grumpiness, either. There are times when thinking one’s self out of a mood works, but when there are actual causes and those causes haven’t been mitigated, choosing “happy” isn’t usually enough. Sometimes, you actually need to change a lot in your life, and that’s not always an option — especially not in this economy, which has given a lot of people reason to be depressed and scared.

You may think you’re giving depressed people a pep talk, but in actuality, you’re likely part of the problem.

Here’s an idea. Be quiet. Listen. Ask them if they need to talk, and just listen. Sometimes, there are no solutions. Sometimes, it just takes a while of hangin’ on, holdin’ out, and hoping. And most of us do those things in different ways, whether you approve or not.

But if all it took was a decision, they would’ve fucking solved life a while ago. Mm-kay?

Don’t just get off your high horse, shoot it. Please.

We Interrupt The Regularly Scheduled Broadcast…

…to inform you that there’ll be no regularly scheduled broadcast.

Every now and then I’ve been making mention of not feeling well. Truth be told, this has been ongoing for a long time — months. This weekend, everything changes. I’m making some radical lifestyle changes because I’m tired of feeling like I’m drifting through life. As a result, I’m probably about to enter some pretty heady spaces, and postings might be interesting over the next week or so. Most of the lifestyle changes are dietary. No sugar, no dairy, blah, blah. For a foodie like me, you might as well just instruct me to climb on up and nail myself to a fucking cross, ‘cos that’s about how it feels like. Still, I’m excited.

Motivation is hard to come by when it comes to making drastic changes. I used to always joke that, “Well, I’d love to quit smoking dope but I just can’t seem to find the motivation.” Hardy-har-har. Same thing with diet. I’m the kind of person that’d rather haul my fat ass 30k on a bike than give up the brick of 5-year-old cheddar taking up space in the fridge.

[SFX: SCREAMING]: “Not the cheese! Anything but the cheese!”

“Oh, my God, Harry. I never thought I’d see this. Is this what I think I’m seeing? Death by cheese slicer? Shit, man. Hey, can you pass me a cracker?”

But, I’m pulling a Marcellus Wallace and I’m about to get medieval on mah ass, baby. What does this mean to you? A disconnected Steff for a couple days, but ultimately, a new, improved, better Steff! Now comes in cherry flavour, too!

My mind’s been in a fog. Back when I was smoking dope chronically, I could blame the dope. When you quit being chronic, though, and you’re still in a fog months later, you need to ask questions. Me, I’m a crystal-clear kinda gal. I’m used to being razor sharp, able to argue anyone on anything, always ready to go. THIS feels weird. I feel like one of those people you see underwater, trying to talk. Bubbles come out but sound’s a murky mess, just tonal variations, and nothing with any semblance to clarity.

Ever notice that; that how you feel drastically affects all your relationships in your life? You’re less able (less wanting) to communicate how you feel? Less able to put a finger on it? More muddled in your speech? More easily confused? Check, check, check, and check.

I know what’s good about my writing, I think — or at least I know what it is that I like, and it’s my tendency to be open, introspective, and astute. I don’t feel like I’m able to be those things these days, so how I’m feeling is literally changing who I am. And the funny thing is, I’m not falling over sick or anything. I’m not debilitated, I’m not chained to a bed, or taking tons of drugs. I’m just “off.” It’s time to flip the switch.

I guess that one of the hardest things we can do in our lives is admit that we’re not happy with who we are. I’m more or less content with who I am, but these days I’m not happy about it. It’s not a negative thing, this feeling I have now. This is really freeing, actually. Realizing where your problems or lack of satisfaction stem from can be a means of unlocking yourself and promoting change. I feel like I’m on the verge of exciting times. I feel like all this grief I’ve been going through has been solely to remind myself that there’s something better around the corner, but I need to motivate myself to bridge that distance. Like I say, finding that motivation is always a challenge, but when it hits… whoomp, there it is.

And it doesn’t matter what you’re hiding from — maybe you drink too much, maybe you smoke too much, maybe you’re dishonest with friends — who cares. Deep down inside, you know you’re fucking up. You KNOW you’re the source of your own problems, but admitting it’s like stabbing a fork in your eye; you could do it, but why the fuck would you?

Of course, I’m not advising you stab a fork in your eye, but a little honesty with the self’s not a bad way to start a day, you know. What do you least like about yourself? Why? And is it so hard to change that? What’s the obstacle? Is there a way to change the difficulty factor in that?

I like me. I’m a good time to be around when I’m on my game. These days, I’ve been flat and listless and I just feel a world away from the gal I know I am. It’s a diet thing. Tomorrow, a hardcore detox begins for a few days. This means, I’m gonna be unpleasant. Expect rants. Expect grumpiness. And then, I’ll be back in black, back to cool, all that I wanna be, and more. I’ll be like a fucking Army ad, man.

Know what I love most about self-analysis, though? I save myself $120 an hour. Fuck shrinks. I own a mirror. Have an awesome weekend. I’ll be sitting over here, jealous, drinking lemon juice and wishing it was a beer.

Revisiting: "You Can Make Me Come, But…"

I’ve not been in my right mind this week, literally. So, I’m about to do something I don’t often do, which is to qualify and revisit an opinion piece; the one I posted in response to an anonymous question yesterday.

I’m human and flawed at the best of times, but this week I’ve been plagued with migraines, sleeplessness, and a few other symptoms as a result of an acute sinus infection. I’m beginning to get well, thank god, but it’s made me irritable, angry, unpleasant, and really, really bleak for the last few days, and I think it’s been showing a little too readily in some of my writing, and in this piece in particular.

First off, I’m not doing a 180 here, okay? The reader asked if I thought she was a hypocrite for doing everything but sex. No, not for that reason. I think honesty’s the most important facet of any relationship – be it with a parent, lover, friend…honesty’s EVERYTHING.

If you’re not sleeping with someone because you’re nervous, because you think you want to wait, or whatever your flavour is, then be honest. Say that sex is a really, really huge step for you, and you make no promises, and you may even wait until marriage, but that you really don’t know what your sexual future holds for now, and they can’t have any expectations of it, no matter how much you might be enjoying playing with them as you head down the road together. And if it’s confusing for them, tell them it’s far more confusing for you, because you know that’s the truth.

Don’t take the easy way out, don’t choose some simple pat answer like, “I’m waiting until marriage,” when you know deep down inside that’s not what it’s about.

Besides, you’re selling a lot of guys short. No, they may well not wait until marriage, because marriage is a huge, huge thing, but they might wait one hell of a long time for you, and you’re not giving them that opportunity to honestly consider what it is they would or wouldn’t do for you.

It’s such a hard topic, that of when sex is the right move to make. I have no qualms with abstinence until marriage, but whatever the reasons you’re choosing not to have sex, you need to be honest about them. You need to be honest about every aspect of your life, and I truly believe that.

Honesty shouldn’t be some lost virtue, or something we pull out when it’s convenient to us. It’s hard to be honest about our fears and our emotions, and sometimes being honest about them leads to hard places and difficult roads to travel because it can be so damned confusing to admit what lies behind our poker faces, but the cliché of it being the best policy is true for a reason.

It’s only through that honesty with each other that we can face challenges and adversities. If you’re being dishonest, even about something that’s “kind of” true, like waiting for the right person, you’re setting the groundwork for yourself to tell little white lies when it makes things a little easier for you to process.

I disagree with that to the very core of who I am.

Did I handle the question well? No. I’ve been in a really dark place this week and I’ve not been comfortable facing it. I’ve been dealing with things somewhat passive-aggressively, it turns out, and while I have reasoning for it, it doesn’t really excuse it.

And while you have reasoning for stretching the truth, it never excuses it, either. These are the simple truisms behind living a good life, and you are trying to choose how you want to live. Don’t commit one transgression to stave off another. Clearly, by asking the question as you did, you’re already somewhat uncomfortable with how you’re handling the situation, so maybe it’s time to reconsider.

As for abstinence – feeling guilty about it, questioning it… Abstinence is a hard, hard road to choose. You’ll have weak moments. You’ll feel pressured. You’ll feel like you’re alone in a big, sexy world. And if abstinence is really important to you, then you need to be strong and hold your position. Don’t compromise just because of all those pressures out there in that big, scary world. Do it when it’s right for you, because it’s not something you’ll ever get a chance to revisit.

Personally, I thought I waited for the right guy. In the end, we stayed together too long because I didn’t want to admit he wasn’t the right one after all. You need to be aware that waiting for rightness doesn’t necessarily mean you’ve made the right choice, and it may still go wrong, and you may eventually realize you made a mistake, and if/when that should happen, you can’t hold it against yourself. The majority of our relationships are bound to end, and many of those will end badly, and that’s why they say that all is fair in love and war; because sometimes love is war. Sometimes it’s wrong. So, if you’re holding out, be realistic, and know that your intentions are what counts, not the end result of your actions… if that makes any sense.

Anyhow. I wanted to edit that piece as soon as I posted it, but my mindset had gone to a darker place and I couldn’t conjure the genuine sentiment I needed to do the job right. I hope I have now. For whatever it’s worth, sorry it was harsh. I still agree with some of what I said, but I wish I’d said it better.

Q & A: “You Can Make Me Come, But We Can’t Fuck”

I was sent the following question in a comment this morning, and yes, they were right, it is an interesting topic to write about. Time’s not on my side today, so this is a quick take on the question… a question that could unleash some interesting discussion, and I hope it does.

I decided that I want to wait until marriage to have sex, but I’m still a chronic masturbator and ok with doing stuff with guys that doesn’t involve penis-in-vagina sex. I guess I just don’t really trust anyone enough to go “all the way” with them. Do you think I’m a hypocrite?

You want the short answer? Yep, I do think you’re a hypocrite, more or less. Thanks for putting words in my mouth.

There is nothing that makes me snicker more than religious types (which I don’t know if you are one or not) who tell me they’re abstaining from sex until marriage, but that they’ve done nearly everything except things involving penetration.

It’s the same reason why Bill Clinton was lambasted for claiming he “did not have sexual relations with that woman!” I mean, come on. You’ll get them off, they’ll get you off, but when it comes to insertion, you’re gonna play the morality card? What the fuck is that?

Oral sex, manually-induced orgasms, it’s all intimacy, and it’s all banned off primetime TV, all right? It ain’t for the kiddies and the after-school special, y’know?

If you’re not comfortable having sex for one reason or another, fine, but be honest about why you’re not. Don’t claim you’re some sanctimonious person waiting for the right person or whatever. Admit that you’re scared. Admit you have trust issues (which you have done here).

It’s all right be to scared, but don’t cover it up with some vow of chastity. Don’t run from the situation just because you haven’t got the sack to ante up and face it. I think it’s dishonest to be chronically masturbating, allowing men to get you off, trading favours, but then claiming you’re “abstaining” from sex. Why? What’s the point? You’re already doing all the intimate things a person can do. You’re already investing in carnal pleasures. You’re already sinning in the eyes of most religions.

It’s the sexual equivalent of someone being issued a restraining order for not going within 100 metres of X person/place, and instead of just staying the fuck away, they stand day in and day out at a distance of 101 metres, toying with the allowed limits. How is that possibly honouring the spirit of the situation? It’s not. It’s a crock, is what it is.

I could be all nice and say, “Oh, I understand the ambivalence of not having sex,” and all that, but honestly, you’re already feeling guilty and like you’re breaking some code, or else YOU wouldn’t have asked if you’re being a hypocrite. If you have to ask, then you are. Pretty simple.

If you were abstaining from sex and not letting men finger you, not masturbating, not exploring oral, then you would not be a hypocrite.

But, you, honey, are a hypocrite, any way you slice it. I’m sorry if the truth hurts, but it is what it is.

You’re scared of intimacy, you’re hoping like hell you’re being Just Good Enough to be virtuous, and you know, deep down inside, that you wish you could be fucked silly, but you don’t have the courage or the backbone to go there, because you’re scared that once you give them what they’re really wanting, that they’ll walk right on out on you.

And maybe, just maybe, they will. And maybe, just maybe, those fears are valid.

When it comes to morality, religion doesn’t tend to offer shades of grey. Things are sins, or they are not, and you don’t get to have the decoder ring to decide just how much of one particular action equates a sin. It doesn’t work that way. So, if you’re toying with it anyhow, why not just fucking buy the full-meal deal and get on with it? You’ve not started to go up in flames with the fires of Hell licking all around you yet, so what are you so scared of?

Again, I don’t know if religion plays a part in your decision, so the “you” in regards to anything religious is rhetorical, not specifically YOU.

I just wish people were more honest about their actions, and this duplicitous “well, you can get me off, but you can’t come inside of me” behaviour is symptomatic of all the hypocrisy that surrounds us. I grow tired of it, that’s all.

(Feeling that I may have sounded a little harsh in this post, I decided to revisit it, as I know there are some “virgins” out there who are trepidatious about their sexuality, and I don’t want to add too much fuel to that fire. Check out my second take here.)