Monday, March 8, 2010

I tried, over the weekend, to really explain to my mom what depression - or being bipolar, or whatever - feels like. And I explained that it's more an absence, a void, than something definitive. There is no future; there is no access to happy memories; really, one becomes (I shouldn't generalize, this is how it is for me) unable to conceive of what being happy is. You lose all inner resources. Maybe it's what some would call the absence of God. When I am in this state, it's not that I want to commit suicide, exactly, because expending that kind of energy, and even feeling that intensity of emotion, is inconceivable. Rather, I wish to disappear, to evaporate, to go to sleep and not exist any more.

When I get better, it is hard to access these thoughts and feelings, which is why I am making an effort to get it down now. Indeed, in normal circumstances all this is unthinkable. Intellectually, it is repugnant to me. But self-disgust, at such times, is hardly helpful.

There is a good book on the subject, You Are Not Alone. I find its existence very comforting.

Perhaps it seems funny that I can continue to work, but having a series of small, achievable tasks to do is ideal, for me at least. It is not easy, and my work slows down, and sometimes I have to stop, but I think it's good to continue. It's very important to remember you are accountable to people, be they employers or doctors or whoever. I forgot an appointment with my psychiatrist today, which is the worst thing to do, but it's a bit of a catch-22 that way, since the will to treat oneself grows inversely with the illness.

M is wonderful to me. He brought me a carrot cupcake. He took me on a walk to a neighborhood in Queens to see an old house he likes. He read to me from a Robert Irwin book. And he made dinner of chard and leftover quiche and tomato-avocado salad. I can only resolve, in my mind, to make it up to him when I am able.

What I think of, all the time, is going to some kind of Magic Mountain-style sanitorium - pure mandated nothingness and rest and a total freedom from obligation. Can you imagine it? My mother says that's just running away. Of course it is: that's the whole point of the novel, after all, even if such places did still exist.

I always debate entries such as this since they are dreary and repetitive. But it's good to get it out, to put words to paper, and to stop the reflexive isolation I'm prone to. Besides, I always find reading such accounts comforting.

7 comments:

Shelly said...

Sadie, I'm sorry you feel this way. I know it's just something you are faced with- but I'm sorry you have to go through it. I completely understand what you mean about having work...I think some of my mental low points would have been a lot worse without the necessity of working and providing for myself. I hope you feel better soon.

Holly Rock said...

Thank you for this post. It's exactly how I feel, the emptiness. My boyfriend asks me sometimes, "Will it get so bad you'll kill yourself?" And it's like, god no, that would take too much effort! I just want to lie here and wish for it to all go away.

I looked up You are not alone in my library's catalogue and got a bit of a chuckle out of the entry right below it:

7. You are not alone : words of experience and hope for the journey through depression / Thorne, Julia, 1944- 616.8527 T51y c1993.

8. You are not as good as you think you are Gudgeon, Christopher, 1959- 158.1 G92y c1997.

Gee thanks, Mr. Gudgeon!

Anonymous said...

Hm hm.. that's quiet interessting but frankly i have a hard time determining it... wonder how others think about this..

K. No said...

You articulated this perfectly. Bravo, m'lady.

PetiteXL said...

I think the post is fine and it has the benefit of letting people know there are others like them out there as well.

I recently discovered a form of therapy that combines elements of traditional cognitive behavioral therapy and the mindfulness concepts of Buddhism. It was originally conceived to help people with a certain type of disorder, but I found it helpful in dealing with my own depression and anxiety:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dialectical_behavior_therapy

Jen said...

Thank you, this just made me feel a lot better. Here I was just wishing my bedroom would detach itself from the rest of the building, and float away. Reading this helped a lot. You're the bomb Sadie.

Iris said...

I'm sorry you're depressed. It may get better as you get older; mine did.

I'm so glad to have found your blog! I'm sure that, to those who know you in the "real" world, you are the talented, funny friend that they can't even be jealous of because she's so wonderful.