October 24, 2013

Hyperbole and a Half and depression

I like the blog Hyperbole and a Half.  It's funny.  It's creative.  It's brilliant.  The author of that blog, Allie Brosh, has a book coming out this month, and I'm looking forward to reading it.  Two of her posts really resonated with me.  They were more serious posts than usual.  The topic was depression.  The thing is, when you have depression (Suffer from depression?  Struggle with depression?  Those seem like clich├ęs.), sometimes it helps to know that someone else knows exactly what you are going though.  It's not that I want other people to feel like this, but seeing that you aren't alone in your suffering (okay, I said it) and seeing that they can keep going, that helps.  Depression is so isolating, even a "wow, I do that, too" moment, a connection with a complete stranger, is something.  It's important that talented, creative people with a voice, like Allie Brosh and Stephen Fry, speak out about depression.  I think it's hard for people who have never had it to understand what it's like- how it's more than feeling sad.  People have told me to "snap out of it."  If only it were that easy.  Anyway, these two posts do a great job of relaying what it's like.  They are worth a read:  Adventures in Depression and Depression Part Two.

Since this subject is such a departure from my usual blogging, I will punctuate this post with photos of the gentleman beagle.

He wrapped himself in my TARDIS blanket. I did not do this.
I think one of the reasons I admire Allie Brosh's posts about depression so much is that it's so hard to write about this.  Where does one begin?  It's something that's all-encompassing.  It's not always the same.  It's feeling black depths of sadness or feeling nothing- like being in a numb fog.  A character in a book I read years ago said how at least bi-polars got to experience the highs; the best we depressives get is approaching normal.  Alas, that line stuck with me, but the book's title did not.

The beagle wants belly rubs.
My depression has been with me so long, I can't say when it began.  It has certainly been all of my adult life.  There are times when it is worse than others.  There are times when I feel almost normal.  It has been particularly bad of late.  That's the kind of bad that sucks the joy out of things you normally enjoy, that makes you not want to get out of bed because there is no point.

He likes to eat stuff outside and pretend that he didn't.
It has been worse.  Thoughts of suicide often accompany the worst periods of depression, and I have not been immune to that.  When the pain and the self-loathing and the feelings of worthlessness are overwhelming, you get to thinking, well, I just want it to be over.  I just want peace.  I don't have a good answer as to why I haven't done it.  I never had the guts?  I couldn't be bothered because of the enormous apathy that accompanies my depression?  Because I'm an atheist, so I know this is the only shot I get at life?  Because my friends send me top ten lists of why I am awesome?  (Yes, that has happened.  I have some great friends.)  Those are all factors, but I think that the real reason is that because as hopeless as I feel sometimes, there is a nagging in the back of my brain- you can't do it because things might get better one day.  It's like that grain of sand at the end of The Neverending Story.  It's all that's left of Fantasia, but it's enough.

Find the beagle.  He is in there.
What else does depression make me do when it's at its worst?  I hibernate in my bedroom.  I turn down offers to do things with friends or family just so that I won't have to see people or go outside.  I curl up under the covers with my dog and want to be left alone.  I don't have the energy to do anything.  It's not always like this, mind you.  And sometimes even when it is, I force myself to go out and do things, and it makes me feel a little better.  Seeing my friends helps.  Traveling helps.  Taking photos helps.  Watching the Red Sox win helps.  Okay, I threw that last one in because they won game one of the World Series tonight.  GO SOX!

Again, he did this himself.  He likes my blankets.
Shall I end on an optimistic note?  That would be so unlike me, but I'll try.  I have been letting depression dominate my life lately, and that's going to stop.  I have a plan as to how I'm going to accomplish my goals.  Hell, I HAVE goals.  Now is the time for me to fangirl a little more over Hyperbole and a Half.  Here are two of my favorite posts.

The Year Kenny Loggins Ruined Christmas

The Alot is Better Than You at Everything

They're funny!  Read them!

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