Most of my posts are from 3+ years ago and are about what it is like to be depressed. This post is what it is like to not be depressed.
Also I use capital letters now. It's a gift to my brother, who cares about things like capitalizing letters.
Anyways, I had deleted (read: made private) almost everything I have written because it all felt a bit performative, y'know? I don't really know why, but it was important for me to be quiet for a bit. I think it helped. But then I posted it again, for no real reason except having some sort of accessible history of my life seemed kinda... nice.
I've probably learned a lot, but there are a lot of things about life that I need to master. Lifelong learning and all that. But writing is still an important outlet for me: I have to be careful with it (which is not really something anyone tells you when they pat you on the back for being open), but sometimes it really can help. Not because I'm being brave or vulnerable or anything (maybe I am, but I've never really felt that way) - if anything, writing before now exacerbated a lot of my insecurities. But it is a good record to have. It's good to write these things mostly because I can then read these things and look for patterns, and look for places where I haven't really been myself.
I think the best things I write are my poems, not because they are good but because I think they are good and it doesn't really matter to me if anyone else thinks that. That sounds untrue but it actually is true. I like writing poems that I fall in love with, and other people usually don't like those ones, and that's pretty okay.
Anyways. I feel so much better now. Clinically, medically, socially, academically, everythingly.
So much so that there are things I don't even remember. Like these.
- I do not remember what it feels like to be depressed.
People say sometimes I will be a good clinical psychologist because I know how it feels. I don't really. The only think I know is just how much I don't know? For one thing, depression/mental illness is a pretty substantially different experience for everyone. There are different, sometimes opposite, symptoms - some people can't sleep and some people can't stop sleeping. Not to mention every symptom is this strange living relationship between you and your body and also the world (?) that everyone handles and manages differently.
I imagine there are things that I know that other people might not. But those are not secrets, really? They are just tiny facts that bring enormous relief when they are articulated. But really, I don't remember the feeling? I can read about it in my dark little poems, but I don't remember why I felt like that, or how heavy it felt - it is something I can't reach because it's so far away. I am very grateful for this. It might bring hope to the people who think having refractory (treatment resistant) depression means they will never be okay. It also might not. If I was depressed, I probably wouldn't be reading blogs about people who aren't depressed. etc.
- I do not remember how to cry when a toothpick breaks or I can't find my hairbrush.
This is... also probably a good thing?
- I do not remember how to think about suicide.
Thinking about death used to come pretty automatically to me. I would get little flashes of suicidal ideas, even for years after I started to feel better. Every visit to a subway station would have a brief flicker of darkness, no matter how happy I was feeling? That was strange. It can happen with automatic thoughts too - things like 'ugh I hate myself' or 'fuckkkkkk' every time I remember a time when I was a terrible embarrassment. These still happen sometimes, when I'm not doing well - they kind of ding and dong like steely alarm bells that jerk me into realizing I gotta step up my self-care game.
(This is one of those things where therapy really helps. I had to retrain my brain. I had to do a mindfulness exercise every time this happened. After a few months it went away. I still find that hard to believe.)
I do remember the friends.
Look at that smile! Look how happy I am capable of being!
I remember the friends. Holy hell I have good friends. My 23rd year of life is entirely thanks to Liz, who lived with me in Ottawa and is the only reason I got a job, started getting out of bed, and got my life together. Melissa was my entire social life in Toronto. Lauren had the unique capacity to make me laugh even when I was depressed. Shauna was/is always there. Erin was/is always there. Evan was/is always there. Kevin has my back. Rebstu is a go girl. Al Stenty is a go girl. Mitchell is the reason I have confidence. Rachael was critical to Corner Brook survival. Aria is a go girl. My brother and sister mean so much to me. Andrew would rescue me in Toronto. David will always call and always check in. Also... Nessie.
Really, my friends are just a bunch of people who care, and that is very much the reason I am alive a
nd able to leave my bed and live a normal life. That is something I very much remember.
Anyways, I don't know anything and will continue to not know anything and still write about it, if that's okay.