Monday, May 28, 2012

I wish I could be more specific.

One of the things I don't typically talk about regarding my experience of depression is one of the scariest aspects of it. I have no trouble talking about the feelings of emptiness, apathy, irritation, exhaustion, sadness, and anhedonia (where I don't enjoy things I typically do--like spending time with friends and family).

The most nerve-wracking things I experience, though, is a sort of self-destructive tendency. I'm not typically a person who does any physical self-harm. My primary target is more mental and emotional--I'm after my self-worth. I'm after my life. I get these urges to do things that will certainly ruin me, my interests, and/or my relationships. This is the most difficult thing for me to deal with because not only am I during one of these spirals not interested in the things I am usually interested in, but there gets to be a point where I very strongly want to do or say something that will actively destroy the sanctity of it. My thinking gets pretty malicious in these circumstances, and it scares me. If I acted on these impulses, they really could have a serious and negative impact on my life. And sometimes instead of taking an action that will lead to disaster, I want to neglect to take an action, which again would lead to disaster. It's hard to give examples, because it's always something a little different. But mostly because the shame I feel for thinking the way I do during these phases is crippling.

It's one thing when I throw my typical smartass-ery and cynical thinking at things/people/situations I don't like or am irritated by. Usually I am able to balance that stuff out internally, by reminding myself to find the positives, and externally, by keeping my damn mouth shut. But during the depths of depression, it's a lot harder to find balance. The thing is, I still know that whatever it is I'm thinking about is wrong and dangerous and destructive to my health, my sanity, everything. It's just a lot harder for me to work the thoughts and feelings out of my system than it is on a typical non-spirally day, possibly taking weeks instead of a few seconds.

A grand total of ONE time I took this destructive tendency and talked through it with a close, nonjudgmental friend. She was totally supportive and understanding, and just having that outside perspective that wasn't experiencing the distorted thinking I was helped me tremendously. This is one of the primary reasons I think counseling could be very helpful for me. The majority of times I have had a typical, everyday problem, the anxiety over the problem disappeared and my idea of a solution appeared as soon as the issue was bounced off of someone else. The one time I shared with someone my thoughts/impulses while in a destructive-mode, it cleared itself up within a couple of days. All it ever takes is for someone from an outside perspective to see or hear what I'm heading towards, and it's over. It knocks it out of my system. It's like once I say it out loud I can hear how ridiculous or destructive the impulse is, and my head clears. Unfortunately, I don't typically feel safe talking about these things, because either I worry that they wouldn't seem like as big of a deal to whomever I'm talking it out with or that it would be viewed as devastating, catastrophic, and would ruin their opinion of me. There is no in-between. And I worry that I wouldn't be able to get across how much I fully understand how horrible and destructive this impulse could be. But with a neutral other party (such as a counselor), there is no feeling of judgment.

Gee, I wish this was an option for me at this point. Instead, I've been dealing with the emotional strain of being in the middle of one of these self-destructive phases by myself. Again. Luckily, I'm coming out the other side of it now. All it took was a little reminder of the person I actually am, versus the person depression makes me feel like I am.

Please look out for your friends and loved ones when they're on the verge of doing something stupid, or seem like they're out of sorts. Even if they don't tell you exactly what's going on, sometimes just that reminder that they're not acting like themselves at that moment could be exactly what they need to move out of it.

1 comment :

  1. I love you and am here. Any time, always.