I don’t just have depression of course. I have a delicate cocktail of undiagnosed mental disorders, tentatively identified as depression, anxiety, and c-PTSD (that’s complex PTSD which is a result of long-term traumatic situations [like sincerely believing for 20 years that God might strike you dead at any moment, as one example of many I could give], as well as probably some regular PTSD from a couple of assaults). And, oh boy, even as I write that, there goes something else in my brain telling me, “Don’t write that! People are going to think you’re exaggerating! You weren’t in a war zone – just go self-medicate okay?” That voice might be the anxiety.
Anyway, I was planning to write something today about how much Christopher Columbus sucks, and how we shouldn’t lionize the men who colonized the Americas, killing and enslaving everyone who was living here and stealing everything they could get their hands on. I’m still going to write it this week. I just can’t get the words together today.
The point of inactivity for me is not always about feeling incapable of doing things. If those things are experiencing a range of emotion, okay, I might not be able to do that. But right now, I’m hiding in bed because there’s this big black hole of anxiety/depression that’s opened up in my core, and if I stay very, very still, I might not get sucked into it (this, by the way, is a description I’ve used for about 12 years now). I have to sneak around the edges of it if I want to do anything simple. If I want to take my dishes out to the sink, for instance, I have to duck out from under the weight of this thing and run to the kitchen before it catches back up to me.
Motion would possibly keep me from being crushed but I get tired so easily, so it’s smarter just to stay at home and let the weight of gravity pin me down. Better that than it suddenly catch up to me on the street or on the subway.
It’s the very essence of the absurd. No life change I’ve ever made has appreciably affected it. I’ve certainly been able to change my attitude toward it. These days, I no longer spend my depressive episodes in an agony of guilt and doubt, thinking these bad feelings must be the result of some offense against God. I know now that this is just the result of some chemicals in my brain that aren’t right. But that still hasn’t fixed them. There are only two things I haven’t tried: proper treatment, and being independently wealthy. In America, you’ve practically got to be the latter to get the former. *pause for laughter*
But there it is. That’s why it’s self-indulgent for me to explain my lack of productivity like this. Because the fact is, I’m not getting help like I should. When I’m depressed and anxious, it feels too difficult. There are too many steps. I can only comprehend and carry out very simple tasks, one at a time, and no new tasks I’ve never done before. When I’m feeling well enough to be an adult and look for healthcare (assuming I had the money for it, which I absolutely do not, and which I’ve refused from family members because help like that comes with strings attached), I tell myself, but it’s really not that bad, I can still function so why bother going to all that trouble? Even though I clearly cannot function as a normal person, and possibly never will.
As arrogant as this sounds, I don’t want you to worry. I’ve been figuring out how to survive for over a decade now. I won’t say I’m good at it, but whatever I’m doing works in the utilitarian sense that I’m still here. I’ll live to write another day. This isn’t a cry for help, nor is it some kind of inspirational post attempting to tell you what to do if you’re depressed. Nah. It’s just words about how I’m feeling today, an existential description of an experience. These are not very important words in the long run, just temporarily true ones. Someday I’ll be better enough at life that I’ll be able to get treatment, or (PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE) we’ll finally get access to universal healthcare in this godforsaken country, and when that happens…
Well, to quote Michael Scott (which I never do, but Erek has been bingeing The Office), “You have no idea how high I can fly.”*
*yes, making dumb jokes out of pop culture references is one of my coping mechanisms. You will deal.