Dear Diary: I Think I’m Depressed, Now


I think i’m depressed now
There doesn’t seem to be any fun around
I think i’m alone now
The sighing of my heart is the only sound

Yes, a terrible riff on an 80s cover song by Tiffany. You’re welcome.

I keep looking behind me, to see if Mania is still casting her shadow. This last time i checked, she was gone. I quickly turned to look ahead, to see what might be on my horizon —
And i smacked face-first into a wall.
O hai Depression. Long time no see.

I’m in trouble but i’m not?
I have zero energy and my mood is low. Everything seems to take too much effort. I don’t want to clean, or cook, or talk, or write.
But i will. I will because these are the things that i’ve set in place for me to do at times like these. I do these things no matter what, but i do them differently, depending on what’s going on for me. When my mental and emotional health are relatively balanced, i just do them. Not much focus is required. They come naturally, freeing me up to focus on other things. I can work towards some bigger, more long term goals. I can go out and socialise with actual humans!

When i’m manic i put the breaks on – i try to slow myself down. I don’t take on anything new or more or bigger. I take my eye off the big goals and focus on the simple day-to-days like housework and hygiene. I write if i can handle it, but sometimes i put that down too, if it triggers racing mind. Speaking of which, i have to be very firm and disciplined with regards to my sleep regimen when i’m in a mania. Sleep is health. Sleep is the only mountain i’ll climb when i’m in one. Without as much sleep as i can get, i’ll lose control and start rolling downhill like a cheese wheel in the UK. And without a calm resolve toward getting as much sleep as i can, i’ll just lay there and become more frustrated and restless. Until eventually, racing thoughts run off with any hope of quiet management.

Depression, however, requires a shift in the opposite direction. What i need now is a near-constant push. It should be gentle and lacking in the harsh critique and self-judgment that leads to internal voices of doubt, recrimination, and condemnation. Still, a push is what i need. I’m scraping the bottom of the barrel at all times. I plod through chores, i force myself to do morning and evening toilette, and cooking does not bring me joy. I’m dragging my ass. And despite my current insomnia issues, i try to stay out of my bed, except at night. Naps can be great during regular times, and manic ones too, but depression is different. I want to hide in bed. I want to sprawl and flop around and sigh deeply and avoid the life outside my bedroom. So, even if all i can muster the energy to do is sit in my recliner and play a mindless Match-3 game, then that’s what i do.

And just to put a cherry on top of this crap sundae, my health issues are once again at the forefront. I haven’t slept properly in months, first due to mania, and then because i cannot get any relief from Restless Leg Syndrome… Or is it RLS? We’ve tried everything out there trying to arrest or just ease the problem, to no avail. Nothing has worked. I have it every night, even sometimes during the day, and it’s not only in my legs anymore. I’m getting it in my shoulders, my back, and the last 2 nights i’ve felt it in my hands. I see my doctor today to find out if it might be something else and not RLS at all. I’m also currently on massive doses of antibiotics, as i have a rather serious infection.

I’ll also be pursuing further testing to better define where i fall on the autism spectrum, and to what extent. This has affected me far more than i’d have imagined. I have a number of friends whose children are autistic, i have friends who’re themselves on the spectrum. I have a well-informed and modern opinion on autism. I don’t think of the neurodivergent as disabled, just atypical. I already see my multiplicity as placing me solidly in that camp. And yet… the diagnosis has sort of devastated me.

Finally, and probably most significantly – the blog i’ve begun on my other writing platform has completely fucked me up. It’s not like i didn’t know it would happen, it’s that, WOW, it has really REALLY happened. Because it deals with the darkest and most broken part of me, it’s spilling over into my marriage and affecting my physical health. The subject matter is very adult, and needs its own blog, so i won’t be going into it here. Let me know in the comments section if you’d like to check it out. The blog is in this same voice and style, but there is other writing there that’s a bit more formal than this.

Now that my physical health seems to be a bit better (my infection symptoms are not gone, but they are less intense), i’m hoping i’ll be able to get back to using this as a bit more of a diary than a blog – at least temporarily.

More in a couple of days.

P&L,
~H~

Beneath A Star

Look around you find the ground
Is not so far from where you are
But don’t be too wise
~ Nick Drake, Things Behind The Sun

Still very low. It feels like i have zero energy. Sometimes i’m okay with baby steps and sometimes it gets to me and i just want to scream, RESULTS NOW! Bigger, better, faster, stronger, moremoremore!
I keep stiff-upper-lipping, i am persevering, i’m moving slowly because i bloody well must, but good goddamnit, why must this take so long?

Playing the long game takes so much time and so much consistency and i wonder if this is a mere blip or am i genuinely almost out of spoons? It’s usually a blip, but what if it isn’t this time?
I sit i stand i lie down with reality these days. In truth, in my body. In hope, in my face, looking directly into the sun. I’ll make new spoons from my dripping eyes as they melt in the brilliance of real life. I’ll be blind but i won’t be in pain… Right?
RIGHT?!

Has anyone noticed that i’m the quiet one now?
Has anyone marked the peace in me?
I’m okay with spinning along with the earth most days.
But today, oh today i want answers, please. I want to KNOW things. Today i want to read the last page. I want to know if all this work and all this investment and all the interminable waiting will be fucking worth it. JesusChristingGoddamn it, i clean up one mess only for another to be revealed.
And it’s taking so long that i’m running out of good years.

It’s my body, you see.
I’m getting my brain together only for my body to fall apart.
It’s my personality too, you know.
I’m getting a handle on my emotions and behaviours only for my relationships to peter out.
I’m becoming the person i’ve always wanted to be, but will anyone be left to enjoy me with me?
I’ve gotten myself mostly together just in time to see that everyone around me is still fairly messy.*

It seems as if i was liked better when i was more broken. It was easier when i blamed myself for everything. When i cracked a joke or acted the fool instead of crying out in pain or screaming out no. I could be dismissed when i was ranting about things i was mostly clueless about. Up on my soapbox, shouting about politics and religion. Snarking about science and sex and celebrities. Silly girl. Forgive her, she knows not whereof she speaks.
The less i’m seen, the more favourable my reviews.
Easier to consume in small doses.

Now, i’m not speaking unless i’ve done a whole lot of listening first.
Now, i’m not saying things to cozen or toady.
Now, i’m far less concerned with being liked than i am with being real and true.

Blech. I just read this over and it reeks of childishness.
A blip it is, then. This will pass. I’m at a low ebb because i’m in physical pain and i’m running low on energy and hope and determination. I’ll ride it out for now and spend some of my hope on tomorrow being better. Some days it’s harder to fight than others.
One day i would like not to have to fight. At least, not all the time.
How is anyone supposed to notice this brand new me in a pandemic, H?
I mean, how many folks have you actually shared space with in the last 15mos?
Who can/would/should track your progress besides you?

Some days i am so low i could almost wish for a thing to pray to. Almost.
I would like health in my body, peace in my mind, and solid ground in my relationships.
That might not be possible, but they are worthy goals.
And it is not for a thing to grant, but for me to attain.

Trudging on…

And open wide the hymns you hide
You’ll find renown while people frown
At things that you say
But say what you’ll say


*I’m discharging emotion for my mental health. I don’t think i’m better than the people around me. I am perhaps more invested in self-improvement (and probably more in need of it).

IMAGE: Sven Scheuermeier



Staying the Course


I’m trying to tell you something about my life
Maybe give me insight between black and white
~ Indigo Girls, Closer To Fine


Still feeling like Pig Pen from Peanuts. Depression is following me around like my own personal raincloud, and i’m kicking up moody dust wherever i go. My affect feels flat. Everything is either meh, or ugh. I don’t hate it, but i don’t love it. I’m working on a piece about anger, and it’s occurred to me a number of times while writing it that my creative juices aren’t flowing well. It’s getting done, but slowly.
And it’s struck me that nothing is riling me up, lately.
And i am easily riled.

I’m asking myself if this is a good sign or not, and i don’t know. It could be because as i mature and become more functional, i’m better at coping with the world and all that happens in it, and people and all the shit they get up to. WE get up to. (You know, cuz i can still get up to some shit. Heh.)
Or…
Is it because depression is settling in and dulling my senses and reactions. As i’m writing this i immediately thought No, because where is the characteristic frustration, irritation, and explosive anger? When i’m depressed i’m not so much sarcastic as caustic, and i’ll spit that acid at any and all comers. I’m churlish and cranky. I’m morose and i mope and think sad and dark thoughts.

I honestly don’t know. I don’t even have an intuition which one it is. In my life it’s usually both, but to what degree? Welp, since i don’t have enough evidence to draw my favour one way or the other, i shall just press on, as mindfully as i can. I’m still functional and accomplishing small goals. My routine is still in place and i’m pleased with its flow. I’m still on track with some longer term goals regarding weight loss, fitness, and relationships. I’m on track with planning for how i’d like my life to change once my area opens back up and i’m fully vaccinated.

Things are okay. They’re not great, but they don’t have to be. Life is like this for me at the moment, and that’s okay. It’s not ideal, i wish it were different, but i can work with it. I’m aware and conscious and intentional and committed. If and when more information becomes available to me i might add or subtract to my daily routine, but unless or until, i am staying the course. I am still moving forward, and while it’s slower than i’d like, it’s still positive and enriching and good.

There’s more than one answer to these questions
Pointing me in a crooked line
And the less i seek my source for some definitive
Closer I am to fine


Love and Peace, Everyone,
~H~



IMAGE: Alex Siale

Ouchies and Old Shoes

My body is rebelling against my return to walking. I have a number of health issues that i’ve dealt with for decades, the return of old ones, a relatively new one, and one or 2 that might be on the horizon. Yeah, i’m not just crazy, the old bod has been falling apart for years. Heh.
Still, i fully intend to get into as good of shape as i can.

This is going to be a rough week. I’ve been back at it for a few now, and this is the part where fibro flareup hits. I must also walk the line between accomplishing my goals but not triggering a mania. The reappearance of sciatica some months ago, as well as Plantar Fasciitis saying Hi, remember me? this last week, have made things more difficult. I can still do what i want to do, it just keeps me religious about stretching. Oh, and i had to get arch supports. I’m flatfooted, which doesn’t usually trouble me at all. The problem is, my running shoes need replacing, but i can’t go into any stores until i’m fully vaxxed. It’s too much of a risk considering my health issues, and buying online is just not an option for me with shoes. My feet are too weird, manufacturers are always changing their construction, and with me usually trying on a dozen or so pairs before i find something wearable, good exchange policies don’t matter much.

I’m waking 3 or 4X every night, too. And i’m so hungry, which is odd. I take THC drops sublingually to help me sleep (it’s legal in my country and i’m a lifelong insomniac), and i’ve found that eating something helps potentiate the effects, and more quickly, too. I have to be careful, because i’m eating at a calorie deficit for weight loss. I’m telling you though, i wake up at 1 and 3am and i’m not just hungry – i’m ravenous. My stomach is growling and i’m slightly nauseated. I eat a piece of bread with peanut butter or half a banana, but then i have to adjust my calorie intake during the day…

My concern is this: My mind is a very powerful thing. I can get a headache by just thinking about having a headache. Nausea, back pain, simple ailments like those. I can also sometimes think my way out of these issues. Which is cool. I bring this up because i can get physical hunger pains when i’m not actually hungry. There could be something else going on and my brain wants to handle it with food. I could be dissociating from a relationship or situation that requires my attention. What i’m saying is, i have some concern that this intense nighttime hunger might be a red flag.

I’ll handle it by writing down a list of things that are currently annoying/bothering/irritating me. I save that tool for times like this because, while it can work well, it can also rile me up pretty good, y’know? I don’t think that it’s gonna bring up anything, but i am next level magic at disappearing shit that i don’t wanna deal with, so i need to look under some rocks to make sure. If that reveals something, i’ll handle it, but i have a feeling that ain’t it.
I think i genuinely need to bump up my calorie intake.

Today i am walking longer distances, but at a lower speed. It’s easier on my body, but i can still achieve some distance goals that will feed my self esteem and keep some momentum happening. My mood is very heavy, and it’s like pulling teeth to get anything done. I’ve had to prioritise, and since my house isn’t messy, i’m not doing any extra housework today, and i’m focusing on the things that are most important to me right now, which is exercise and writing. I might even try doing a ZOOM thingy later, which i have never done. I won’t hesitate to nope out of it if my anxiety gets too big. My online friends know me and won’t take it personally. In fact, most of us deal with anxiety and depression, so there’s lots of empathy and no judgment.

When i’m low on spoons i have to prioritise what’s most important, and get realistic on what i can achieve. If i try to do too much, i’ll fall into a pattern of being too tired in the morning to do anything, so then i nap, and then i feel guilty for not doing anything and i do too much, and then i’m too tired the next morning to do anything, so i nap…

My aim is 10,000 steps, down from my preferred 10k, but still good.
I am blogging, GREAT. But it’s an easy one; not too long or emotional.
It’s hot, so i’m staying in and out of the sun. If i get dirty and sweaty when my mood is low, it pulls me down lower.
Setting up ZOOM and gonna talk with my friends for at least 20mins. If i can do longer and it feels right to do it – i will. If i would be pushing to stay longer, then i’ll bow out and feel good about taking good care of me.
Supper will be simple and vegan. Meat and dairy can be hard for me to feel good about eating when i’m low. Something light and full of crunchy veg will make me feel virtuous.
Nighttime toilette and 10:30pm bedtime are essential. If i can’t sleep i’ll read. This sets me up for a better tomorrow.
Staying mostly off of social media, and sticking to candy floss and bubble gum in my viewing choices.

This is how i navigate a day.
Today, to be precise.
Have a nice evening, if you can.
Love and Peace,
~H~

IMAGE: Gia Oris

Grumpasaurus Maniacus*

Woke up in a foul mood. Everything is irritating and i hate people. I want to throw things around and smash stuff up. I’m catching myself muttering under my breath. I am at YIKES level grumpy. This is mania. More than that though, i think this is mania under control and parts of me don’t like it much.

I can hear some of them bitching about everything up in my head. Mania makes sliding and switching easier and more frequent. Mania makes it more likely i’ll use drugs/alcohol, go out partying, and spend a lot of money. I’m not doing any of those things, and some of my Bits N’ Pieces are pretty worked up about it. They see handling mania as THEIR job, and an opportunity to get out and get some fresh air. Some parts like being in the face and in control, and they aren’t getting many chances to do that anymore. I think i’m feeling some resentment coming from up there. Pouting. There’s some serious pouting going on. Heh.

Yes, they’re me, but they’re parts of me that have been dissociated/disconnected for so long that i experience them as somewhat separate from me. I don’t know if that’s what others with this diagnosis experience. I don’t know if they’d relate to me much at all. It took so long and was so hard for me to accept this diagnosis, in part because, for whatever reason, i can’t tolerate being around other multiples. It triggers ALL of my childhood programming at once, i.e. i shut down and run. I was taught to denydenydeny from the start. I was indoctrinated to have an instantaneous and visceral hatred for any references to MPD (what it was called at the time), plus a deep distrust and need to get away from anyone who spoke of it.

That being said, one of the best friends i ever had was also diagnosed multiple. We met at a halfway house for women in crisis. I’d already been through the program, but came back regularly for visits with the ladies who ran the place. She mentioned DID when i was first getting to know her. I remember internally rolling my eyes, but liking her so much that i became friends with her anyway. I only remember her mentioning it once after that, and we still weren’t close. If she talked about it after we’d become besties (and she was without a doubt the closest girlfriend i ever had), i must have been in an altered state. (“Altered.” Okay, that’s funny to me.)

Back to my main point, which is my crappy mood and why that might be. Most of the “people” floating around in my brain are very flat characters: they’re an emotion, a moment in the past, or they’ve been created to handle or accomplish a specific task, e.g. talk to people in authority, take a shower, absorb a loved one’s anger, take care of children. However, there are a couple who are very well developed, and it is from them i think i’m getting the stomping around and grumbling. I can still feel and hear my various parts (a few have gone completely silent since i began therapy for DID), but they’ve become quieter, and carry less mental “weight,” over the last year or 2. If my brain is a ship, i am now truly the captain. I chart the course now – we’re no longer being tossed about on the waves, at the mercy of the weather.

This is an adjustment for me. When i finally acknowledged my multiplicity i was in the grips of a powerful mania, and i couldn’t control my dissociations. Later, when my mania had faded and i was deep in therapy and more depressed than i’d ever been, i didn’t bother even trying. I’d seen how my past had been spent in resistance to many truths, and i made the decision to just let things happen and see what was what. Once i had an accurate picture of myself and my past, i thought i could figure it all out from there. I was right, and that’s exactly what i’ve been doing. This is the most capable i’ve ever been during a mania, and i’m coming up against some internal resistance.

Today, i have a conscious and mindful experience of what it means to be a highly dissociative individual. The boundaries between me and my system are blurring more still, becoming nebulous and losing meaning. Today they are more me than not me. They always were all me all the time, i know that, but my clever and imaginative brain had created a house with many hidden rooms. It was to help me survive. It worked very well until the danger was over, at which time my house needed to be gutted and rebuilt, lest the foundation crack and the building be condemned. I’m a fixer-upper, but i’ve got great bones. So says i.

I don’t know if there’s anything i can do to improve my mood, but i’ll try. I have the ability to weather these thoughts and feelings if i can’t change them. Hopefully tomorrow will be better, but whatever it is, i’ll handle that, too.

Y’all Take Care,
Love and Peace,
~H~
*The Latin name for my current affliction.

IMAGE: Wonderlane