So, I suffer from depression. Or bipolar disorder. Or possibly borderline personality disorder or schizoid personality disorder. A number of different possibilities have been raised, and the labels are just descriptions of the territory of problem, anyway. I wrote a blog about headaches, recently. I explained the experience:
There’s something about headaches that seem to make it difficult to think about anything other than how much my head hurts. I think it might be the pain. You know, in my head. Like, whenever I start to think something, there’s PAIN in the way.
That's what depression feels like, too -- I think that's how it differs from normal sadness. It just hurts.
In the past, though not here, I've described thinking as being like cutting one's way through the jungle of one's mind, creating new paths between points. The less you think about something, the more tangled and overgrown the way through is. The more you think about it, the clearer the path gets.
If I might just slightly overdraw that metaphor, depression is like a weed that takes over, and finds the most fertile ground within all the happy dirt. (Bear with me.)
The roads towards pleasant experiences and happy thoughts become tangled, cutting through them is exhausting. But all the paths to misery, depression and nihilistic self-reflection are as clear as they've ever been. Trying to run from any spot in my mind just leads to deeper and darker places.
It becomes paralyzing. I become afraid to think. I find myself sitting in my room, doing nothing, but searching for some way to engage my mind in a positive way. But nothing helps -- the comforting habit of shuffling a deck of cards leads only to focus on the pain in my fingertips and joints. The ritual of shaving just emphasizes the itch in my skin. Watching TV reminds me of unpleasant experiences of stage fright when I've been acting. It's difficult to focus on reading, which is terrifying in its own right, leading me down anxieties about losing my ability to comprehend.
I know there are ways out, because I've been here before, and I've gotten out before. Writing about it helps, I'm starting to realize. Trying to write poems about my depression made it evaporate this past summer, and writing this blog is the least painful thing I've done today -- and I mean least painful in comparison to things like watching TV and playing Tetris.
I expect that this won't last more than a few days, because I'll be back in school on Wednesday and that almost always helps. In the meantime, this blog might be about depression for a few days.