Tag Archives: moods

Pondering the Pineapple Express

The “Pineapple Express” isn’t just a stoner movie that’ll have you hitting the Cheetos, it’s a weather phenomenon that instills dread in the hearts of West Coasters.

It’s days of unseasonal warm weather coupled with dreary heavy clouds, battering rains, and sometimes winds. It’s not like monsoons in the tropics, it’s just medium-to-heavy rain that seems endless, for days. With the humidity between 90-100%, it feels like you’re walking around in a wet paperbag for three to six days straight.

There’s some localized weather phenomena that affects where I am, Victoria, BC, where “the shadow of Mount Rainier” is said to save us from about 50% of the rain that falls in Vancouver. We might be just across the strait, less than 100km from Vancouver, BC, but they’re a rainforest, and downtown Victoria ain’t. Half the rain, baby.

Between the rain, back in 2013 on Victoria's Clover Point.

Between the rain, back in 2013 on Victoria’s Clover Point.

But you wouldn’t know it on days like these. Not because of all the rain, but because all the clouds sock us in and that moisture’s still THERE, it’s just holding out to put out for Vancouver. I guess Victoria doesn’t drive a flash enough car to woo the likes of this rain.

Still, like a school boy on a hot date, those clouds are fit to explode, and I feel the pressure as it slowly rolls overtop this island, starting its dump further up the coast as it lays into Vancouver.

It pounds behind my eyes and the back of my head. I can even feel the little shifts. Clouds clear in a patch above me momentarily, and so will my head. Rain resumes, so does the foggy brain. It’s baffling.

They call these “low-pressure fronts.” It’s evident even in the people. We trudge and grumble. There’s a “rainy-day hunch,” too. We don’t even know we’re doing it — it just happens when walking down the street in heavy rain. It’s a forward slouch with a hunching of the shoulders, and it effectively ensures more like a 60-40 rain-split, where your back gets most of the wetting action.

‘Cept those days where you’re walking into a headwind and then you’re just screwed, bro. Done. Those are the days you get rain-soaked straight up to mid-thigh. God help you if you’re not wearing water-resistant clothing, or better yet, Goretex. I’m not the only former Vancouverite who’s had 2-3 layers of clothes all get soaked under a “rainproof” jacket on the very bad, no good, wrong rain day.

One of THOSE days. I dared to shoot photos in the wind and rain. Luckily *my* gear worked. But 95km winds will give you THIS face.

One of THOSE days. I dared to shoot photos in the wind and rain. Luckily *my* gear worked. But 95km winds will give you THIS face.

We grumble and whine and moan, but this rain becomes a part of us. Day after day it grows prohibitive and inconvenient, not to mention mind-numbing and depressing, but the odd heavy rain becomes something we almost cannot live without.

I loved to the Yukon in 1994 and spent the year living in Whitehorse. When you think “Yukon,” you think endless snow, so naturally it must get quite a bit of moisture, right? But you’d be wrong. It’s incredibly dry. It snows in October, then pretty much just stays dry and sunny and cold until April, when it rains a couple times and the snow finally melts.

I’d moved there in October, after Vancouver’d had a three-month dry spell. By the time I saw and smelled rain again, it was the following April and I hadn’t seen rain in 10 months. I cried, I was so happy to see it.

So today as the rain pounds and batters the streets, and I sit with all my windows open while enjoying the unseasonal warmth, I’m loathing the dreariness despite enjoying its idle, and dreaming of when I will live in a place with more sun than rain in winter, and wondering if I might miss these Pineapple Expresses one day.

After all, there’s a catharsis that comes with rain. Like if it rains any harder it’ll even wash away my sins. It’s soul-soothing and permissive. My inner-Catholic is a big fan of rain and all its symbolic cleanliness.

I feel I’ll be betraying all my lineage by escaping this climate. From the Barra Islands Camerons in the Outer Hebrides to my Viking MacNeills, Irish Monks, and my Breton line, they’re all foul-weathered people. They overcame the challenges of the land, sea, and skies, and thrived in it.

I have the luxury of failing them all and wimping out. City-folk. Pah!

As a result, I’ll be letting the rain dictate my weekend. Food, cleaning, writing, sloth, Netflix, drinking, reclusion. All fine and glorious things. All behind the rain-streaked windows, wearing comfy jammies and sporting bedhead.

No shame, man. No shame.

A Different Day: Forty Floors is a Different View

And this is why I’ve been telling myself fitness would be the key to changing mindsets, etc.

Hello, there.

Yesterday’s post is h-e-a-v-y, because “depression” always is. Asshats leaving comments about “crying a river” don’t help others admit they’re depressed.

There’s a big difference between the depression I’ve been in lately and ones that cripple other people so much that suicide seems like a solution. I’m not even close to that.

So I can say, yeah, I’m depressed, but at least I’m able to motivate myself to try to effect change in my life.

Luckily, I sort of agreed with the inconsiderately-worded-but-kinda-well-meaning comments that said stuff like “stop whining”, “shut up,” and “just do it.”

And I have been doing that. When I work out, my attitude is always that I can totally do what I’ve set out to do. I don’t stop early or unperform. I totally commit.

I also know it takes 5 days a week, and now I’m meeting that, too. My attitude has been, “One of these days, this shit’s gonna click.”

But there comes a point when you just get frustrated. I’d been trying to work out a back problem before I got sick, then there’s the long break-in period, so I guess I just hit the “FUCK, CAN WE MOVE ON NOW?” breaking point this week.

Writing that post yesterday kinda felt like my darkest-before-dawn, hit-bottom-so-the-bounce-is-better moments.

Going there can be invaluable, man. And this time, it was.

I published that heavy shit, took a deep breath, got my workout gear on, went to a highrise in the area, and, doing sets of up-down-up-down in its 15 floors, did the 40-floor stairclimbing exercise I’ve been wanting to be strong enough to do for a long time, and I did it faster than I used to do 25 (total: 19 minutes!).

Today? I’m stiff and stuff, but I don’t “hurt.”

Big difference between stiff, tense, inflamed, and actual pain. I LIKE the day-after “ooh, I feel that one!” feeling. I don’t like pain. The day-after normal-stiffness is actually awesome, because I always eat better, since I’m conscious of the work I did to get that feeling, and I need that added consciousness so I can have success. Being an emotional eater, though, if it’s PAIN, I don’t react the same way, diet-wise. It’s weird, but there you go.

So, this is the first time I have that — the combination of pride and no heavy price getting paid the day after.

And maybe it’s a little more sucky tomorrow, since day two often is, but my day-afters have been kinda pretty shitty before now.

This is pretty awesome. It’s not home-free, but it’s better, and those stairs were a THREE-YEAR GOAL. Couldn’t do it with my back injury, not for the longest time, and I always hated doing them but knew they were effective.

So. Yes.

Yay.

I hated writing yesterday’s post, hate having it up there, but I think I’m gonna leave it. Sometimes ‘fessing up about the steaming pile of shit you feel like you’re in is the best way of climbing the hell out of it, too.

40 floors, motherfuckers.

Methinks I might finally be turning the page on the oh-so-painful break-in phase. That’s exciting. I do want to have the ass-kicking experience that comes from intense exercise. Once you get capable of doing it, it’s a real adrenaline surge to get into it. That’s what I’ve been longing for, not this fucking “ugh, this sucks but I know I can do it once I get past this, so let’s do it right” mind-over-matter crap I’ve been having to dial up.

So, to the unpublished commenter: Bite me. Yeah, I “train”. I complain because I *try* to leave it on the floor every time. I don’t phone this shit in. Most of my problems come from overtraining.

Mostly because I’ve done it before and I know I have it in me.

I want this, and I want it badly. This was that moment of “ah, finally”. And I know I’ll feel worse tomorrow — but I’ll be doing everything I can to avoid that today, by being smart.

This was the start I’ve been waiting for. It won’t be all smooth sailing here on out, but it’s still gonna be sailing. Sitting at the dock sucks, man!

Yep. I’ve had this moment before. This feeling I have now came once at the start of a very awesome and empowering journey. Yes, I bitch, but I keep plodding through all the crap, whatever it takes to get it done, and when I do cardio, I give it 100%, and endure the stupid pain that comes after.

Because when you finally have THAT moment, that “oh, I’m gonna be able to do this!” moment, it’s a really great thing.

And I think I’ve had that moment. I’m glad I gave into the dark side, plodded through how I was REALLY feeling about things, and decided to achieve one of my really long-held goals.

The first time I ever did that staircase?

I quit at 10 floors (220 steps). Stopped for breath on floors 3 and 7. I hurt for FOUR DAYS. I couldn’t get out of bed the next day without whimpering. Had to see the Rolling Stones in their last Vancouver gig here, and walking all the stairs at the stadium (nosebleeds!) nearly KILLED me. I was 270 pounds then.

So, you know. Yeah. Today, THIS feels good. This is how exercise should feel.

I wasn’t just jumping into the stairs, either — I’ve done them a few times lately, but only 20 floors. I figured the gruelling lunges that Nik Yamanaka’s had me doing lately had broken my thighs in and it might be the best time to try it.

Moral of the story is, I think it’s fine to give in to the “fuck, this sucks, it’s so hard” feeling as long as I take the time to remember why it was so important to start the process, and keep trying for success.

I was wrong about why I wanted to get fit.

I forgot why I wanted to get fit. Why did I? Because I was scared of returning to a life of pain, because my back injury had been recurring. I was scared of the depression that came with.

In the end, I guess confronting that fear in my writing yesterday sort of brought me full-circle on my journey, and being the GENIUS THAT I AM and doing the stairclimbing immediately AFTER that journey?

Yeah, I get the Nobel Prize for Awesome on that decision.

“Go there, go to the dark place, but get the fuck out,” that should be every writer’s mantra.

Anyhow.

Couldn’t leave yesterday’s words hanging without opening the door on a new and better chapter.

So: [squeak]

There. Door’s opened. It’s a long hallway, though.

Funny how breaking points are so often turning points. What one does next determines which it is.

Of Fitness and Depression: My World at Present

I should edit this more. It’s over 2,000 words. But it’s about depression, and I’m too depressed to care about editing it down. Chuckle, chuckle. Besides, I’d rather go work out than stay stuck here, thinking about this shit for another hour. Please ignore errors and redundancies. Thanks.

___

Depression can be like a refrigerator’s hum, so quietly ever-present you forget it’s there.

I have been battling it off and on for years. It’ll probably be a lifelong thing. I’m not medicated, and I’m steadfastly wanting to avoid going to Pill-Taking-Land.

This week, I’m slowly accepting that I’ve been back in the throes of depression for quite some time now. Some of it situational, the existential equivalent of “duh, OBVIOUSLY,” but some just… there.

Part of my desperation in this return to fitness and health is that I’m hoping it solves the depression.

Ironically, depression makes you want to do less. It’s an interesting challenge. You know, in case I thought my life needed any more challenges.

Bernd Nies' 1999 eclipse is a fantastic image of what depression's like; there's light but it's controlled by the dark.

I want a “healthy life” to be my solution, but it’s probably a bit of a pipe dream. Still, I don’t want to medicate until I know I’ve done what I needed to do.

I took down yesterday’s posting because I realize it’s more depressed in tone than it is of “I’m achieving!”

Part of the problem comes from feeling forced (through my own actions, naturally) to make the journey public. You know what? Some struggles need to be private.

Some people’s struggles feel harder and take more to get past than the same struggles might for others.

When it comes to getting fit, that’s my reality.

I was under the mistaken impression that, because I’ve achieved so much athletically, and rehabbed so many injuries, that this “return” would be a lot easier.

I’ve been going through weeks of pain. The irony is, I’m trying to undo years of pain through creating more pain. It’s frustrating. And when you’re depressed, frustration isn’t really a great thing to throw into pot.

Some alchemy has results no one wants to be around for.

Fortunately, I’m not morbidly depressed. Just ever-presently so, in a mild and intrusive way, but not anywhere near debilitating.

I’m not that worried about the depression yet… just, well, depressed about being depressed. It makes me feel like a failure. I hate feeling this way, feeling like nothing’s ever really right or fun enough or good enough. I hate snapping at friends or being anti-social. I hate, hate, hate this feeling, and hating it just makes me more depressed.

But those things aren’t Horrible. It’s not like I’ve got a collection of wrist-cutting razors nearby or anything. I’m not even remotely on the likely-to-self-harm scale. No need to fear such things, kiddies.

The worst this depression is doing to me is the eating-too-much thing, and making me way too fond of wine and gives me a penchant for wanting to hear songs like Swag’s “I’ll Get By” and Gloria Gaynor’s “I’ll Survive”.

The trouble with depression, though, is that moods are so easily influenced by other factors around us, and a mild depression can plummet quickly. That’s ScaryTime, baby.

So, I worry about that, the ever impending “what-if” possible-doom scenario. And, naturally, that doesn’t help much.

“Don’t worry,” then, you say.

Well, that’s a pretty skookum idea. Why didn’t I think of that?

Oh, because I did. Depression isn’t a do/don’t scenario. You don’t decide to “do” something and then just have it work. If you could, depression probably wouldn’t be one of the more pervasive problems society faces or the largest medical expense faced by corporate America today.

I’ve been trying to do the standard things to fight depression. Sometimes I get ’em done. Sometimes I don’t. Resolve isn’t really the depressed person’s best friend. Neither are dark Canadian winters. You need a whole lot of faith and confidence to fight serious depressions, and some days those just can’t be mustered.

Fortunately, I’ve been to this dance. I know one just gets up and does their thing and one day it improves or it doesn’t. Then there are pills, if that improvement day doesn’t come.

But that’s why this return-to-fitness thing has been so hard for me.

And why it’s so important to me that I overcome it. I hate pills. Pills brought me close to suicide, so as much as they can solve problems, they can be destruction in capsule form, too.

This getting-fit desire been crushing me because I want so much from it. I’ve so much hope pinned to it. And when I’m willing to put in the work but the only payment I receive is more pain, well, how does one really just swallow that and put on a happy face?

They don’t.

I don’t. I can’t. I hurt. I’m not “sore.” I’m not “stiff.” I hurt.

I hurt on the outside, and I hurt inside, and sometimes it’s really hard when you just can’t find a happy place in between all that.

So, yesterday, when I posted a long “what it’s been like” thing about my start in this return-to-fitness quest, and it mostly focused on how hard it’s been, a lot of that turned out to be me writing for myself — explaining, “Well, yeah, it SHOULD hurt, look what you’ve been through.”

Then someone left a comment that essentially said “Shut up and stop whining,” and that was a pretty intense breaking point for me yesterday morning, and left me really emotionally fucked-up for the rest of the day, while I tried to process two very different truths:

1) The reason I blog AT ALL is so that I can talk about what I’m enduring and what my life experience is — not so I can write what other people want to hear, solve their life, shed universal truths, or do the whole rah-rah self-actualization type posts. Enough people do that kinda blogging. If I wanted to appease others and write for everyone’s happy-point, I’d be being more commercial and would mack this shit up with affiliate ads and everything else that has money attached.

2) They’re right: Shutting up and doing it works, and often. But when you’re depressed and the return to fitness is your attempt to right what’s wrong in your life, and you’re daily going through pains that really make it seem pointless, but you know you need to battle through it — writing about how hard it is, but why you keep fighting that hardship because you know you NEED the results, well… that’s pretty much my only tether to sanity during a time that I’m finding really fucking hard.

I don’t WANT to share my depression with anyone. I don’t want this blog to be an active record of this thing I feel or these times I’m enduring. I want it to be snapshots at best.

Why I write about how fucking HARD the experience is, is because I think others go through this, but they quit — just like I stopped halfway through my journey.

I don’t want others to go off their roads and have the same struggles I’m having while I’m trying to return to mine.

And I don’t think I should apologise for not being Miss Sunshine about it, either.

I need to get fit. I don’t need to be happy about it. I don’t need to appease anyone. I just need to survive this, then thrive, and then not look back. Getting fit will probably improve my body chemistry, it will likely help me better deal with these moods.

I’m doing exactly what I need to be doing. If I’m not textbook about it, and don’t have the “Go, Team” attitude about it, then I think it’s even more fuckin’ awesome that I’m still trying to make it happen.

The commenter, which I haven’t “approved” since I took the posting down, also chastised me for dwelling in the past of late.

But, I’m not.

My past is DEFINING my present to the extent that the daily pains I feel are kind of this confrontation between what I’m trying to make my present into but its parameters are still being controlled by aspects from the past. Like, back issues, etc.

The injury happened in the past. It took me a YEAR to get past. REMEBERING THAT YEAR makes these six weeks a lot easier to swallow.

That’s MY mental process. That HELPS me.

If YOU think it’s whining or “dwelling,” then that’s your worldview. Not my problem.

So, my anger about how I feel when workouts come with backlash is more easily mitigated when I remind myself of how long and hard the back injury was, that this residual stuff makes sense, that all these pains and injuries I’ve been through have LARGELY been rehabilitated, and this is the last of what I need to endure — the legacy of those times, if you will.

While I’m doing this fitness-battle thing, I often pretend like I’m in hand-to-hand combat with my past. Sure, it’s still making my life a struggle on a daily basis right now by way of “injury legacy,” but ignoring that never helped me any.

Yes, I need to do the work. Yes, “shutting up” is useful.

Right now, I just can’t be positive, sell the Kool-aid, or get anyone else on board. I just can’t.

I thought I could. But I can’t.

Again, that feeling of failure just exacerbates the accepting of such limitations. That’s depression for you.

I do need to just get through this. And I’m not so depressed that I don’t think I can get through it, either — thank god. I expect I will succeed. I don’t have a lot of faith it’ll be soon, and that’s probably where I’m going wrong. It’ll likely be sooner than I think.

Either way, it needs dedication.

All I can do right now, the only battle I feel equipped to fight, is that of ending these legacy pains and creating the fitness I desire.

But don’t kid yourself if you think I can stop writing about it, and don’t delude yourself into thinking I can be Miss Sunshine-and-Rainbows when I do.

I write about my experience, my worldview. I leave a lot out that I don’t want to give to you. I don’t want to put my innermost fears, angers, losses, etc, into your hands. I don’t want those words here.

That’s not for you.

So, I try to write about it in a skating-the-surface kind of way. Allusions and hints, a biographical writer’s best friends.

When I do that, sometimes it sounds erudite and poetic in its subtle references to things I’m experiencing or perceptions I have, and sometimes it sounds bleak as fuck because you don’t see the subtleties that I’ve convinced myself are there, tempering the content.

Ideas are always whole in my head yet filled with holes on the page.

Shit happens. What can I tell you?

My writing isn’t always good. It doesn’t always capture my thoughts.

And, fact? I usually write with the assumption that people who’re reading me might be here for the first time, andI’ll rehash details because I’m too lazy to find a blog link that explains that same crap, so it seems like I’m “dwelling” in my past, but, actually, I’m just lazy.

I don’t know what to really say to wrap this up. I’ve been slowly coming to terms with the reality that I’m depressed. At least now I know that I am.

And all I need to try to feel today?

Proud.

Because, despite how badly I’m left feeling most days, how hard I find this journey, I find moments of victory, snippets of accomplishments, and even when it gets bad enough that I take a day off, I get back to it the next day.

For the most part, I keep improving. Some things are holding me back, but, like an elastic band, if I keep pulling away, I think those bonds will eventually snap.

I’ll get past this.

But I won’t pretend I’m enjoying the experience. That’s the least of where my energies need to be.

I know today, now, here, this THING I’m experiencing — everything from trying to find a new career, solving my depression, dealing with financial struggles, watching my family’s strife, trying to lose 50 pounds, the added stress of Christmas — is probably going to be the period I look back on in 30 years, when I say “That Defined Who I Became For The REST of My Life.”

And that is why I get the fuck up and I do my thing.

If I whine a little?

My fuckin’ prerogative. Especially when, every week, I’m accomplishing more than I did the week before.

I’l write about whatever I want. And slowly I’ll get what I need to get done, done. Sometimes I’ll tell you about it, sometimes I won’t.

MFP, baby. My fuckin’ prerogative.

If that’s what the depressed lady can take to the bank, then so be it. Cash that fucker.

Lost My Funny: Reward If Found

Moods often come and go.

Sometimes, though, they stay around for a while.

Overcoming your mental state generally means you have to change what’s going on around you, and some of us are excellent at doing that. I’ve proven my skills at overcoming adversity — to myself.

I think they're looking for the Funny. From picturephoto113.blogspot.com

But sometimes life can’t be changed, and it’s that immobility of circumstance that forces the mood to not just stick around but fester.

These days, I’m sort of keeping a lid on things, but I’m not myself.

I’ve been pretty much trapped at home for a month, due to sickness and the resulting finances that come with. I’m doing the watching-TV crap, I’m freaking out internally about certain things I don’t want to share with you, and there’s a lot going through my mind — but I’m too tired to get them done, and pushing could render me stuck in illness for a longer period.

It’s the original Damned If You Do, Damned If You Don’t scenario.

In the long-term, I think this illness will have brought great and lasting change by way of goals and lifestyle choices I’ve adopted after great isolation and reflection for several weeks. In the short term, however, it’s a really fucking hard place to be.

I’m tired. I’m tired ALL the time. And now I’m getting angry about being so tired. What, knocking me on my ass for a month hasn’t been enough? Aren’t we DONE yet?

See, unlike most people who get angry about getting sick, I’m that rare person who really DID succeed in making major life changes, lost 70 pounds, was on track for losing weight again, etc. I did all that so I could STOP being sick.

Instead, I’m not just sick, but I’ve got this stupid fucking pneumonia, something that knocks the stuffing out of people for weeks and months. I’m sicker than I’ve been in nearly a decade — a decade that was filled with chronic injury — and it’s PISSING ME OFF.

And I’m scared.

I hate being scared.

But I’m scared. I thank god I’m at least in Canada when things go sideways like this.

And while life goes sideways, there’s still the digital world around us. Facebook, Twitter, blah, blah, blah. There are friends and there are followers, but few of them will be there when shit lands and lands hard.

The rest? I’m a dancing puppet, at best, is how it feels sometimes.

There are those who get all depressed when they lose friends during adversity. Me, I woke up to that reality a long time ago. I’ve been left and I’ve left others. It’s what we do.

We CAN’T be there for everyone. We pick those we can give of ourselves to, those we feel compassion and kindness toward. We have to pick our battles — and who we’ll go to battle on behalf of. It can’t be everyone. That’s just simple truth.

When it comes to Twitter, etc, I’ll unfollow people because they’re too depressive or needy or I’m-a-victim. I can’t read that every day. They might take it personally, but, you know what? We gotta do what WE got to do to get through life. I understand that.

So, if you’re some follower from Twitter who’s all disappointed because my Funny decided to take leave of me weeks ago, then fine. Be disappointed.

But don’t fucking tell ME you’re disappointed. Don’t think YOU’RE entitled to Happy-Happy Joy-Joy from me when I can’t even dig it up for myself. Who the hell are you that you think it’s about you?

Hey, I miss my Funny. I’d like to offer a reward if it’s found and returned to me, okay? It doesn’t WORK like that. I can’t go, “Here, Funny-Funny-Funny, c’mon, Funny-Funny!” and expect it to pounce out of the shadows like a dog being beckoned by its owner with a bone in-hand.

But tomorrow I won’t be jumping off a cliff or sticking my head in an oven. I’m not that far gone. I’m barely far gone at all. Instead, I’m methodical and just holding on as I hope to come back to myself, and I figure out where I’m at and how to get past it. I’m not concerned about entertaining YOU or making anyone laugh. You’re the least of my concerns.

I never unfollow the folks on my list who are going through tough times like chemo or other things that really beat you down over the long, long, long term. I admire them for at least keeping an even keel. They may talk of their disease and how tough it gets, but I can relate, and it’s a constant reminder of just how hard life can be sometimes.

I’ve been there in the past — month after month after month of illness or injury, where life just kicks the shit out of you and merely being able to drag your ass through it is an accomplishment.

I know I’m not there now. I’m just in an arduous place and it’ll pass soon.

On the upside, I’ve improved my diet, lost 10 pounds, met a weight goal, made my minimum bill payments, and have enough food in the fridge for a week.

If that’s all I can manage right now, fucking awesome. GO, ME. SERIOUSLY: Go, me! YEAH. Soon, I’ll feel like myself again. For now, getting by is good enough.

And if you want your fuckin’ Funny, turn on a sitcom.

I’m more than just a joke, so don’t treat me like one.

Embracing the Angst

I’m in a bitter mood. I’m sure people would do well to enact a 10-foot radius around me today. Stay back, or be armed. Those are kind of your options for dealing with The Steff today.

It’ll probably die down in a couple hours. But I don’t give a shit. I don’t get bitter very often, and I’m not about to run around panicking because it’s happpened now. We get bitter. Emotions are a wild ride. Fight it at your peril.

Or be like me, and take it lying down. Continue reading

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?