Archive | January 2015

The monster in the mirror

“In a variety of Stockholm syndrome, we the self-imprisoned sometimes start to see our restrictions as freedom— saving us from the danger of chance and choice, shielding us from our fear of fucking up—from our gut-busting, brain-burning, apocalyptic terror of ourselves. We start to see our self-constructed prisons as acts of compassion, built for our own good. ”

I feel flat.

In an attempt to head off the growing feelings of hopelessness, the deepening of the depression I am always aware is lurking out there, I increased the dosage of my antidepressant. I was on a small maintenance dose anyway – kind of a safety net to catch me if I started to fall without being aware of it, which is often the case when chronic low-level depression (dysthymia) morphs into a monster so slowly, so comfortably, that you don’t notice it until it’s looming menacingly behind you in the bathroom mirror some Tuesday at 11:00 AM when you’ve finally gotten the energy to brush your teeth.

So feeling flat isn’t entirely a bad thing, considering the alternative. Which in my case is a weepy, hopeless lump of blah that will intermittently explode with anger at the slightest frustration or dissolve into messy, boogery tears of self-loathing.

I am my own jailer. I am so intimately connected to me that I know all of the most effective ways to sabotage my own feeble attempts to free myself. You’re not good at that. It’s too hard. It won’t work. You’re too old. No one respects you or takes you seriously. You had your chances and you blew them, one by one. What makes you think that’ll ever change? You don’t have what it takes. Everyone else does, but not you. How pathetic. Don’t you feel silly? Stay here and be safe. Here, have a brownie.

No fooling, that’s the bullshit your head tells you when you have depression. And even though you know your head is lying to you, you buy it. Every damn time. So I take some admittedly real challenges and I turn them into obstacles so insurmountable that it doesn’t make sense to even try. And if I don’t try I don’t fail. And not failing is good, right?

The circumstances of my life are such that I need to sink or swim and I am barely keeping my head above the surface. And drowning isn’t the dramatic, splashy spectacle you see in movies. It’s quiet and it’s lonely and you don’t have the energy to yell for help. But in drowning, other people can save you. In depression, in a jail made up of your own limitations, the only one who can help you is the one with the key.

And that’s you.