one of those weeks

Devil Dog

This is Felix, my friend Samara's pitbull/great dane/lab mix puppy. It was a "right place, right time" type of situation.

I am just not having a good week. Most of it is self-induced. My head is fuzzy and I'm totally lacking any ambition or getup-idness to finish the myriad tasks I have on my plate. I feel overwhelmed not in that stressed way, but in the way that I simply ignore everything and put myself in to an imaginary world where I don't have to think about my real responsibilities. Certain things happening around me are leaving me wishing that I could move forward with certain life events and future situations, but then I'm unable to make a clear workflow for getting to those points, further fueling the cycle.

This, along with other symptoms and situations now indicates to me that I'm in a down cycle, in which my functions are really affected by depression, as it presents in me. The older I've gotten, and the more time I've spent working on my cycles and trying to bridge the gaps between mania and depression, I have been able to eliminate a lot of the negative thinking patterns associated with depression, where things get really bad - rebellion, anger, suicide, and the general inability to understand how the person who is depressed is not the person who is normal. I have gained a very clear and powerful sense of self worth and importance (which must be separated from self confidence) that always helps me to see that life itself is very important, and I as a person am very important. I am proud of that. However, those things haven't eliminated the depression - just made it evolve, thus sometimes seeming foreign to me when it occurs.

I don't ever want to use manic depression as an excuse. In fact, despite overwhelming evidence and fact as well as a family history, I spent much of my life denying it - and still now, when things are bad, find a reason to blame my self-aware stupidity instead of an environmental and genetic disorder. Unfortunately, a major symptom. That's probably the main reason that I've had such a difficult few years, years of self-exploration and development in which I'm forced to face the really, REALLY ugly side of this condition. It's not an excuse, because I AM in charge, even when I'm depressed. I am in charge, even when I'm manic. There's no one who can make decisions for me, or be inside my head, or make it easier for me because this is life and we're all responsible for ourselves, even if it's a tougher assignment. And that's really the choice. I can stand up and figure shit out, or I can cry and live in an unhappy prison of my brain. Really, I feel this query is no different than the one everyone on the planet is faced with. Just slightly tilted.

I was listening to Philosophy Talk this morning, and interestingly enough they were discussing the topic "how important is self identification?" Such an ideal subject for my morning. The interesting antidote on the table was Alzheimer's patients, who often have a different take on how they see their future self being treated at 40, and how their 70-year old Alzheimer's mind sees that differently. They are the same person, one argued, but the disease has incapacitated the person beyond what they are, therefore, the person they were before Alzheimer's should be trusted. Not true, said another - do we trust what the infant or toddler versions of ourselves say when we're 25? Or the 25 year old at 40? No - these are evolutions in personality, and even though we are the same person, those evolutions also change our identity and should be taken into consideration, even if they a a far cry from the normalcy of the past person.

Herein lies the true painful realities and debated realities of mental disorders. Are these perceived illnesses simply personality, different than those of most? Are mania, depression, anxiety, etc. no different than generosity, selfishness or trustworthiness? Our identity?Are these horrible symptoms caused by our brains simply being wired in a certain way, one that can be re-wired without the aid of drugs? Can we just accept, take responsibility for what we are, how we are, and change what we want to change? Should we be held responsible for doing so? When are we just a lost cause?

I struggle with this. I remember my Grandma, who was sick, though I didn't realize the full implications of her disorders until she was living her final days. I loved her. She was loyal, loving, and generous with her time and money. However, she was unstable. One day she'd come to our house with bags of stuff - toys for me, household supplies for my mom, whatever she'd felt like we needed. Once, she brought me a Beta fish and tank with supplies, for no reason other than she knew I'd love it. Soon after, my Mom would be trading shifts with my Aunts on trying to get her out of the bathtub, where she'd stay for days in a crippling depression. I'd ask how she was feeling and she'd answer, "not good. I'm just feeling very bad, not good." My mom would spend hours on the phone, discussing medication with her doctor - the giant ziplock bag of pills she was prescribed often had adverse reactions to each other, and she'd go back and forth through different brands, trying to find the right cocktail. Unfortunately, she never did.

I have so much. I have a wonderful, wonderful husband who understands me, loves me for it, and gives me the support I need. I am creative, and talented at certain things. I think I'm fairly intelligent and focused on becoming moreso. I have some great friends in many places, a couple of loving family members and fantastic in-laws. I live somewhere culturally and creatively diverse where almost anything is possible. I have a home, a car, and a bed to sleep in.

I get so entirely frustrated during times like these, when the depression, the fuzziness, the carelessness that goes along with it compromises both the things I've worked for and the ability to see what I have. I am tired of fighting, tired of struggling and tired of explaining myself.

1 people's thoughts:

David October 26, 2009 at 10:39 AM  

I know you're more of a big picture kinda gal, but it's hard to be too upset in a world in which you have the power to capture an image like that completely at random...

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