Friday, January 03, 2014

Being depressed: a really boring non-epic saga about a really boring problem

As I've mentioned on this blog a couple of times, I suffer from depression.


Really, it is, though. It is fucking boring and annoying. I suppose one expects depression to be a little more dramatic than it is. But what I have is not even slightly dramatic. For example, I am able to be base-line functional most of the time. I am not suicidal. I suppose I have had thoughts about simply "not existing" occasionally, but that is a very passive thought and a long way from suicide. (I can understand how some people suddenly become suicidal when starting depression meds and passivity yields to activity, however.) Also, I don't do things like self-medicate with alcohol or illegal drugs, I don't have psychotic breaks (one time I had a weird and very brief dissociative episode, but that might be a PTSD thing), and I haven't yet become a hoarder.

Here are some things that my depression has caused:
  • anhedonia, oh god, so much shitty, shitty anhedonia
  • feeling like I'm thinking through a fog
  • headaches
  • hating nearly everything I have ever composed
  • hearing something I have composed that I do like, and being convinced that I have no idea how I did it and will never write like that again
  • sleeping/waking inertia i.e. sleeping for 15 hours sometimes because I can't be bothered waking up; staying awake until 5AM sometimes because I can't be bothered going to bed
  • not being able to read more than 10 pages of a book at a time without falling asleep
  • exhaustion after any kind of social interaction
  • not wanting to talk to anyone, even nice people
  • not wanting to answer any e-mails, even good ones
  • horrible anxiety when compelled to engage in unpleasant communication
  • horrible anxiety when compelled to make a decision, even about unimportant things
  • not wanting to leave the house
  • sitting in my underwear watching bad television for days on end
  • getting overly emotional about bad television while being unable to feel anything about my actual life
  • realizing that all my depressive symptoms are irrational and indicative of something being wrong with me, and loathing myself for being unable to think in a way that isn't irrational and wrong
Here are some things I have done in an attempt to get better:
  • Prozac (awful, nearly cost me my marriage)
  • therapy (helpful, I really like my therapist, though the depression persists)
  • meditation/yoga (not helpful; kept falling asleep)
  • Wellbutrin (speedy as hell and helpful at first, although it caused me to lose 10% of my body weight despite shoveling cheeseburgers and lard pastries into my mouth in between venti caramel macchiatos with whipped cream; then it kind of stopped working so well and the anhedonia came back)
  • vitamins (all the vitamins, but especially D and fish oil; no tangible effect at all)
  • gluten-free diet (no physical or mental effect, except I missed bread too much)
  • light therapy (fairly helpful)
  • Cymbalta (is it working? I honestly have no idea)
  • removed NuvaRing and went off any hormonal birth control for the first time in 16 years (may be helping, not 100% sure yet)
Recently I realized the "not wanting to leave the house" symptom has led to me becoming the most skinny-fat person in America, especially since I am ABD and internet-savvy and thus don't actually have to leave my house, ever. So I am thinking about taking up kung fu again. (I used to do it a long time ago in Harrisburg before I got overwhelmed and quit in a sort of cowardly way when my dad died. Probably a depression precursor or something.)

A few weeks ago, I messaged my friend who is going to a kung fu place near me. Writing a message = huge step. Today, I visited the kung fu place while Matt and I were in Chinatown for lunch. I know, crazy; I left the house. They weren't open, but I am pretty proud of myself for going up to the door and looking at the photos posted outside. What an achievement. My ultimate goal is to one day walk in while they are open and speak to the sifu about attending. I have a lot of anxiety about that. It's a depression thing. I guess. I hate myself.

Here's to 2014!

This is what I looked like when I did kung fu years ago.
Just looking at this makes me feel kind of hopeless.

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