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?
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?
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.