Christian A. Young's Dimlight Archive
6Feb/18Off

Depression looks like…

Three missed days in my BulletJournal.

Spent making/writing/drawing almost nothing, or doing procrastination busy-work tasks that take very little brain work (e.g. sorting beads). Spent not leaving the house. Spent playing Stardew Valley while podcasts blare.

I hate it.

Today I'm making a stab at being a whole person. It's hard, because I'm broke enough everything is fraught and hard, but tonight I'm going home with some potatoes and canned veg and some freshly-filled prescriptions and half a tank of gas because someone bought a pair of earrings, and because some folks supported my Patreon.

Not dead. Stressed and hungry and a little crazy, but not dead.

1Feb/18Off

Getting the Fear

So the last couple of weeks have brought with them the first mental health disruption of 2018. And it's scary, because I've been running pretty well since mid-December, but around 3-4 of the last seven days have seen my ability to Do Things(TM) legitimately compromised.

Naps are great, but not when they eat the whole day. And not when being awake is an exercise in emotional distress in the panic and/or despair category.

Still, I made some stuff. I gently promoted that stuff. I've written a little. And this week I get the confidence boost of sending things out to my patrons. What I am resisting, though, is bullshit victory narratives.

A friend posted the video for Andrew W.K.'s "Ever Again" on their blog earlier this week. And I clicked it, and spent the whole time experiencing a kind of weird, creeping horror.

Now, I have never done stimulants harder than the stuff you can buy in a gas station, but I was briefly on Valium, and let me tell you a thing: crashing from a belief that you have Figured It Out(TM) because The World Is Not Like That(TM) is worse than that crash. Not just in terms of the intensity of the experience, but because it breaks my ability to hope. There's so much appeal to that idea that things will never be wrong again after figuring something out. That I can learn or do a thing and everything will be fine. But after years of trying to spin bad things into good things, to force things to work out like that, I realized how toxic that attitude was for me.

No win is permanent. No process is foolproof. And after a while, when every magic trick and process has failed to solve things for good, how am I supposed to trust any solution?

Which brings me back to this first stumble of the year: It's happened/happening. I will do what I can within my ability to manage it. And when it is gone, however long that takes, I can be proud of managing it. But I can't make the mistake of believing that somewhere in there I did a magical thing that makes Everything Okay Forever(TM). Not just because that's not how my brain works, but because that's not how LIFE works.

And man, that lacks allure in every possible way, but it's way less toxic than trying to shoehorn recurrent major depression into a toxic positivity narrative. Real hope comes from knowing I can handle a thing, not from lying to myself about bad things being gone forever.