High-Functioning Hopeless

I have often considered what the cause of this all encompassing sense of hopelessness that sometimes overtakes me is.  It doesn’t feel like a chemical imbalance.  Especially in the way that I am able to continue through my days.  At worst, it only threatens to cripple my motivation enough to interrupt my daily life, but it almost never does.  I am quite functional.  In fact, I would even go as far at to state that I am happy.  Or at least I should be.  The state of my life in all arenas (work, family, play, etc.) is very satisfactory. There is nothing I can point to as saying is wrong.  There are things that I am working on, relationships, but that’s normal.  Although I use it because it is the closest I can come to explaining my current condition, I have difficulty describing myself as “mildly depressed,” because even the term itself is a contradiction.

How can one be,

oh,

just slightly despondent?

It doesn’t really make sense.  But at the same time I know I should at least describe things as being wrong.  There is a very notable sense of melancholy that presents itself often enough to be a red flag. Call it high functioning depression, I suppose. 

A low volume siren that warns “Wee-oo, wee-oo.  Normal people don’t fantasize about their life ending.  Even if it’s mostly in a “whoops, that’s just the way it worked out, whoopee, kind of way.”

I’ve gotten better in the last few months.  There has been a notable lessening in the frequency of these thoughts, partially due to therapy sans meds.  But I can’t say I’ve fully shaken this pall over my existence.

I’ve been thinking.

I know, I know.  What’s knew?  But hear me out.

Part of my therapy sessions used to constitute accepting the causeless nature of such a dip in life motivation.  And I understand why she chose to sharpen that ability of mine.  It brings a certain measure of peace without closure, but at the same time, I haven’t fully accepted this approach.

Lately, it’s really been smacking me in the face how unequal our society is.  And when I say our society, I mean our global community in general.  Our approach to things is crazy stupid.  It’s stupid that millions of people are still in danger of starving and dying from unclean water.  It’s stupid that wars are still happening, because seriously for what?  Nothing is worth the atrocities that happen during wartime.  Why haven’t we woken up enough to not be so confounded selfish?  Even the few just wars that are being fought, I wish there wasn’t a need for them.  That whatever skirmish that happened between nations over land, money or religion would dissolve.  Can’t we all just shake hands and let bygones be bygones?  Compromise is not so hard if we would just learn to forgive and let go of desires that can’t (or shouldn’t) be met.  It’s also stupid that people don’t have enough access to or freedom from discrimination to get the mental health services they need in order to not feel like they have to go shoot up a school or bully someone else into committing suicide themselves.

There’s so many more things that are unbelievably stupid that we should’ve already gotten over.  The list goes on.  But what’s most frustrating is that it’s not like the solutions to them are rocket science. They could hypothetically be very successfully executed.  It’s simply the unwillingness of man to come together and compromise that keeps it from happening.  One person over there who wants to keep their power, a few over there who want to keep their money.  All it takes is a small group of people with enough power who want to keep others less than for the whole panacea to disintegrate. The hope of world peace falls apart every time,

because the sad reality is,

there will always be people who are too afraid of losing their positions of security to give selflessness a try,

so we will always be broken.

The world will always be broken.  We’re too busy tearing each other apart or pretending the carnage isn’t happening to reach any compromise.

It makes me feel sick, because it feels like no matter how hard I try to spread a little love and light through my life’s actions, it will never be enough.  I’m fighting a losing battle, at least in this life, and that is just a tad discouraging to face on the daily basis.

I’m thinking maybe that’s part of why I’ve been feeling the way I have. This sense of hopelessness has gripped me, that I’ll never get it right enough to really fix anything.  Sure, I can make a difference in the lives of my students, my family, and my friends.  But there will always be someone gasping for air across the planet, the country, or even my neighborhood that I will not be able to reach.  The constant cycle of losing people is depressing, in the most non-overused sense of the word.  Everyone is worth love and attention and being saved, but I have to face this reality that countless souls are being lost anyway. It’s enough to take a person out, to convince them to stop trying since they matter so little in the grand scheme of the universe anyway. Even though mentally I know that’s a stupid choice.

It’s better to do something than nothing at all.

It’s just hard to motivate yourself when you’re hardly a blip on the cosmic radar.  Maybe one day I’ll make peace with the fact that every breath I take is very-almost an exercise in futility.

The key word is “almost,” I guess.

 

~LDA

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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.