Building Walls

I’ve been battling with mild depression for a while. Mild, because I’m still functional and able to hide it. I find one of the toughest parts is making sure I keep a balanced life. Little things like getting up early, vitamin supplements, exercise and staying on top of work & hobbies become paramount to my ability to keep it together. A declaration that if I am able to manage the little things in my life that add up to big things, then I can certainly handle the huge demons lurking in the back (and sometimes the front) of my psyche, that in the end really add up to little things.

Depression, or at least my experience with it (after all, everyone’s mental health journey is as different as our fingerprints), can blow things massively out of proportion. There are many times I’m left grappling with this giant weight that becomes so suffocating I feel I might be better off offed. It becomes such a burden to even deal with the mental/emotional/spiritual turmoil that often stems from nowhere in particular, that I’d rather not deal with myself.

But of course,

I have to deal with myself.

I’m the only one who can take up the task to do so.

I can not escape myself.

Or at least not without going to some very dark places.

And this is the part where I start to feel guilty because it’s against my code of ethics to travel to such dark places. I hold the belief that I do not fully belong to myself. That the only life worth living is one where you live your life in service of others. (Which is completely different, mind you, than living your life for others, as in trying to be a people-pleaser.) You will never find true happiness wrapped up in the pursuit of yourself. Loving others, even those you don’t know, by showing that you care, is the root of fulfillment. Of course, if I’m all stuck in my head traveling to dark places or entertaining the thought of really going to even darker ones, then I can’t live the life I was meant to live.

When you feel like I have lately, you get in the habit of building walls to block out the noise of your chaotic brain. The static can get to be too much so it’s important to hone this coping mechanism in order to keep from losing it completely. The ability to quiet the unproductive negative hum that threatens to drown out all desire to accomplish anything in life is vital, but I find that the most damaging thing I end up doing is blocking out the important along with the static. Things like family, friends, hobbies, and passionate pursuits. This of course only digs you into a deeper hole. You have to be careful, otherwise if you ever even crawl out of The Pits, there will be no one left to come back to and you’ll end up having to do a lot of damage control.

Honestly, the most difficult part of dealing with depression is trying to keep myself from the counterproductive construction of walls that separate me from the people around me. The actual temptation of silencing all static once and for all is not painful. It can actually bring forth a sort of catharsis that is very dangerous when fully fleshed. The static has a way of turning into seductive melodies that enchant and cajole when left unchecked. While it’s difficult to climb out of that hole, there’s a sick part of me that enjoys the darkness, and maybe that’s why it’s so hard to fully remove myself from the slump I’m in . Some selfish part of me doesn’t really want to succeed and have to continue fighting my way through life. It wants to let myself be taken down this road of destruction. The key to not actually hitting the self destruct button is keeping an eye on all the walls I’m building, and that’s the difficult part.

It’s easy to alienate people when you don’t even want to keep yourself company, never mind other people. It can start to feel like it’s some big production to be around people since if you acted how you truly felt, they’d either be concerned or walk away because it’s not fun to have you around anymore. Sulking and simmering in solitude starts to wax real attractive.

“Why deal with people anyway? I hate people,” is a common excuse I mumble to myself.

But the truth is I don’t really hate people. I hate the shady, shallow things they often do which make me want to give up on the human race sometimes. But I don’t really hate people, at least not when I’m examining and interacting with them on an individual basis. I can see the sad and stupid reasons for why they do the things they do and empathize with them most days.

The trouble is when you have no empathy left for yourself and the unreasonably gloomy way you’re feeling, that means no empathy left for anyone else either. The thing is, if you surround yourself with the right people, none of this should matter. You shouldn’t feel like you have to hide your dark side from people who truly care about you. They will understand that you are not at your best and give you the support you need in the meantime. It’s important not to weed everyone out as an unsympathetic other. The walls we build must be to deflect static and toxic people only.

Otherwise, when the coast is finally clear to knock most of those walls down, and your face muscles remember how to execute an upward turn at long last, there will be no one left standing on the other side of them to smile at.

~LDA

If you or someone you love is dealing with thoughts of suicide please don’t hesitate to reach out to resources such as:

U.S. National Suicide Hotline: 1-800-273-8255

United Kingdom Hotline: 08457909090

Canada: 5147234000

Australia: 131114

South Africa: 0514445691

International Online Help: http://www.suicidestop.com/suicide_prevention_chat_online.html

Even if you feel like you already pushed away all the close people in your life (or that they’ve pushed you away), there is always someone willing to help pull you out of that pit you might be in. There’s always hope of reconnection with people, as long as you give yourself a chance to have a future.

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Too Cowardly to Love

There’s this really insane part of us that longs to love so deeply that we don’t care whether or not we receive love in return.  It’s a part of us we try to bury for fear of ourselves.  The day we are born our instinct is self preservation so this illogical part of us that is so willing to be vulnerable in exchange for nothing is terrifying. We tuck it away in a file cabinet of our brain labeled “Do not open at all costs.”

 

But it’s there.

 

And every now and then we remember that we were born selfish but programmed selfless. 

 

 

Whether it be a pang of loneliness in the night or a relationship gone awry, we are reminded that a part of us wants to trust and give affection so much that we are willing to take the risk of complete rejection. 

 

There are some of us who in a rush of panic or a wave of unconditional love peek into that file cabinet and glance into the forbidden file.  Some of us survive, and walk into a healthy relationship.  But others of us are destroyed.  Having taken the risk on the wrong person, we are pulled into a cycle of pain and betrayal during which we hope against hope that things will change for the better despite being torn down again and again in exchange for our love and compassion.

 

Those of us who get stuck in that bitter cycle tend to be looked down upon by society, by both the happy couples and those of us who lack the courage to peek.

 

“How pitiful,” we scoff.  “Can’t they see it’s so obviously hopeless?  Only a person who lacks self respect would continue to put themselves in that situation.”

 

Suddenly we’ve forgotten that love is blind and keeps no record of wrongs.  Or worse, we never knew.

 

The people who get stuck in abusive relationships are most often those of us who have gotten in touch with the side of us who seeks to give affection so much that we don’t care whether the subject of our affection is worthy of it or not.  That beautiful and twisted side that only sees human beings as creatures worthy of love despite our nasty underbellies.  That callused and forgotten side that was simply created to love.  Having been disappointed again and again, surely the persistence of this side is not an attempt to receive love, but to give it. 

 

Those broken people should not be spit down upon, but looked up to, for the courage it took to wind their inner workings back to start. 

 

What if all we broken people did the same?  We could put away our shame and function in all our wonderful capacity.

 

Only guilty people scoff at the innocent in hopes the world will forget the shame of their cowardice.  They are the ones who were to afraid to brave a glance into the file cabinet.  Only guilty people have to run away from themselves in order to avoid running into the arms of another. 

 

All it would take is a little bit of faith on each person’s part to heal the world, but there will always be that one who in fear of betrayal lashes out and continues the horrific cycle of hurting and being hurt.  And so, we will always be full of mistrust.  Our souls forever lost to the fear of abandonment, even though love is just around the file tab.

 

 

 

~LDA

 

Undivided Attention

I’m the kind of douche bag who decides what kind of douche they’re going to be when they wake up.

Am I going to be a sunglasses wearing even though it’s cloudy outside kind of douche, or the doesn’t reply to the cashier when they ask “How are you?” kind of douche?

I feel that life is becoming increasingly more like a chore that no one has the energy to fake interest in anymore.  We’re all stuck to our devices busy ignoring life.  The ultimate measure of a decent life has become how well we can ignore it.  

I mean, look at the amount of apps there are out there!  All made in the name of efficiency when in reality it’s a contest of who can distract the most people the most effectively.  Efficiency is now just another name for convenience.

The truth is we have become masters at inefficiency.

No longer are we able to focus on doing one thing to the best of our ability.  We’ve been conned into thinking that doing the most things at the same time is what counts.  I remember a couple years ago when the psychology community was arguing with the public about the value of multitasking and whether it is truly a thing.

After various studies they concluded that the brain cannot effectively do what the mainstream has come to call multitasking, and that the human brain can actually only focus on doing one cognitively complex task at a time.

I mean truly focus.

That even though we can train our bodies to rely on muscle memory and a limited version of human autopilot, in order to truly perform any task to the best of our ability it is necessary to give it our undivided attention.  

 

Whatever happened to those findings, huh?

Doesn’t it strike anyone as strange that this verity was swept under the rug in the rush of amplified consumerism?  Technology has allowed us to become masters at distraction at a rate the world has never seen before.  Of course the powers that be didn’t want their eyeball-less sheep to reach the conclusion that came with this psychological epiphany.

God forbid they realize they don’t need any more stuff!

It seems that people have been duped into thinking that because the things they seek are less tangible and more metaphysical (in the sense that they can be downloaded onto their handhelds), that they have broken the bonds of consumerism and have bloomed into a much more evolved creature.  The self-help book that they downloaded onto their kindle about how to accomplish more and feel unhappy less, is not a desperate cry for help to the gods of consumerism, but a postmodern side-effect of advanced life that simply has to be dealt with.

Or so they tell themselves.

People have tried to mitigate this side-effect with things such as minimalist movements, but to no avail.  The people attempting to dive back into their primitive, more driven roots, inevitably come back more jaded and material hungry than they were before.

Back into the ocean of stuff they plunge.  The decision to give themselves over to a deluge of voices whispering, “Join us, join us.  You lost the battle because there is no war to be won,” lulls them into an apathetic slumber.

They cannot seem to wrench themselves from the grip of caressing hands murmuring,”There, there.  No need to fuss.  It’ll all be over soon.  Just pretend until it is.”
Do you know what’s so hard about fighting against the post modern wave of feigned sensitivity?  It’s the fact that we hold no ideology anymore.

How do you fight against a collective consciousness that has staked no claim in anything?

Can you fight against a wave that isn’t moving in any direction?

Can you argue with a generation who hasn’t bothered to say a thing?  

-LDA