April 22, 2014 § Leave a comment
Still no response from Kristi and Mark, so I told Kristi “nevermind” and said nothing to Mark. I can’t blame him at all for not wanting to be around all the baggage, drama, and depression that is me. He’s been there and done that and suffered for it. I shouldn’t have reached out to him in the first place — he deserves so much better. Kristi, though, I’m not too torn up over. I feel so much better when I’m around people who are positive, optimistic, and passionate. Kristi is none of those things. She complains about everything, from her job to her landlord to the way her pizza was made, but she never actually does anything to fix things for herself. Do I really want that kind of negativity in my life? It’ll just keep me tied to the old me, the me who complained all the time, was super judgmental, was overwhelmed by her depression.
I’m swallowing the embarrassment of my social failures and moving forward to find new friends, people who don’t know me well enough to know what a mess I am inside, people who won’t worry about me constantly, people who will inspire me to do more, embrace life, be inspired. And when I see them out in public (as I no doubt will because I’m getting involved with the museum again and Birmingham is just a tiny city in general), I’ll be able to hold my head up high knowing I at least tried, I reached out to them to try to mend our tattered bridges, and it’s their fault that things are awkward and uncomfortable because they didn’t want to try to work things out to an amicable state. They’ll have to deal with me being in their space because it’s my space too, dammit! And I’ll just ignore them because that’s what they seem to want.
I’ve found myself looking in surprising places for friends including people I’ve passed over before or judged too harshly in the past. I’m also pursuing new avenues for friendship by joining organizations, volunteering, and just putting myself out there in general.
To prepare myself for a new and better life, I’ve been working on my written meditation. It feels corny doing it, but if it’ll help me blossom out of my depressive mode into a person that people actually want to be around, then I’ll do it.
Here’s my working draft:
I will be an inspiring person. I will encourage others by supporting them and helping them, by learning about their lives, interests, talents, and passions. I will always give others the benefit of the doubt, giving them a chance to explain themselves and being compassionate towards them, validating their feelings while asserting my own. I will accept people as they are and will appreciate diversity for it is the spice of life. I will be curious about other people, not judgmental. I will try to brighten the day of everyone I meet, even if it just means holding a door open or giving someone a big smile. I will be patient and remember that not everyone thinks at my speed. I will not be competitive; instead, I will try to help others meet their goals as I pursue my own. I will try to do nice things for other people on a daily basis but especially on birthdays and holidays, or when they are having a tough time or a bad day. I will be patient with myself and accept that I will never be perfect. I will embrace my stage of life and find happiness in my daily activities. I will forgive myself for making mistakes, no matter how big or how stupid. I will seek to help others always.
I will love the body that I have and appreciate its unique qualities. I will love who I am because I know I am a good person.
I will live my life and love my life because I am alive for the first time, alive for the last time.
It’s a work in progress, but I feel good about it so far. I really hope it will change my mindset and approach to life. I’ll start copying it by hand three times a day tomorrow. For now, it’s med time/bedtime.
April 21, 2014 § Leave a comment
I know rational people would probably disagree, but I feel like I’ve been bumping along rock bottom for the last few months. I feel like I keep trying and trying and trying to climb out of it but no matter what I do, I fail.
Tried reaching out to Mark: FAILED
Tried reaching out to Kristi: FAILED
Tried to get a job x 40 (that’s about how many jobs I’ve applied to so far): FAILED
Tried to get healthy: FAILED
Tried to lose weight: FAILED (technically I did lose 5 lbs but then gained it all back)
Admittedly, I should have known I would fail with Mark and Kristi. They don’t want to talk to me. They don’t want me to be in their lives. And who can blame them? I’m a hot mess who brings down everyone around me. People don’t want to be around disasters like that.
I’ve tried like hell to get a job. I’ve applied to so many jobs, but as Mark so succinctly pointed out: I’m still unemployed. My private school education doesn’t matter, my double major and grades don’t matter, no one cares about all my internships and extracurriculars and work experience. Everything I’ve done has added up to nothing. And it seems like no matter what I do, I can’t get past that, I can’t even earn the chance to build anything new.
I tried to go to yoga this morning. I got dressed and everything but just couldn’t get out the door. Baby steps, right? Hopefully today I can motivate to go to zumba though right now I really don’t feel like it. I’d rather keep crying into my pizza.
My brother recently left a comment, comparing me to my childhood hero: Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Buffy was always so strong in my eyes, so committed, responsible, persistent. She was so brave and resourceful, but still kind and thoughtful. And funny. She was so cute and funny. She’s everything I want to be, everything I’ve always wanted to be, but everything I’m not. I try so hard to be strong, to keep going, to keep trying to make my life better, but I just feel beaten down. I feel like an ultimate failure.
I know I should keep trying. But today, I think the only thing I’m capable of is curling up in bed and waiting until a new day.
April 20, 2014 § Leave a comment
I had to drive to Tuscaloosa today (about 2 hours round trip) to get out of being arrested for third degree theft (a mere class A misdemeanor) which gave me a lot of time to mull over my mild obsession/fascination with weddings and marriage. Also, since you’re probably wondering, I stole anti-choice signs. Sometimes doing the right thing means breaking the law.
Anyway, what I uncovered about myself on that drive in relation to weddings and marriage should have predicted, should have been perfectly clear from the start, yet it was still heartbreaking to realize. Weddings symbolize happiness and hope for me.
I see them as this one day where you can truly be happy and carefree, surrounded by all your family and friends as you all bathe in the sweet rays of hope. Hope that this marriage will work out, hope that your two families will be happy, hope that you’ll never be alone again. A marriage to me represents a constant, a surety, that you will always have someone with you, supporting you, holding you, inspiring you. As someone who has moved around her whole life, that kind of constant is incredibly attractive, a source of stability amidst the chaos of life. And here you are, surrounded by everyone important to you, as someone commits their life to you, signs on to be there for you til death do you part. I can’t imagine how much happiness and hope people breath in on their wedding days.
There really isn’t anything comparable to it in my mind. Graduations are pretty happy but you’re so over school and ready to move on with your life by the time you get to cross the stage when you’re name is called that it isn’t really that exciting. You’re just thinking “God, when can I eat…” not “This is the start of my life!”
Birthdays too, while they can be really fun, just don’t have the same glow about them that weddings do. My birthdays have been plagued by bad news (PhD rejection, job rejection, etc) and deaths. Kind of hard to celebrate living when life seems to suck. Plus they come around every year so it’s not like they’re really all that special.
I’m sure there are other holidays or life events or some such thing that most people get a great amount of happiness out of but I can’t think of what they are and in my mind, they just don’t possess the unique qualities that a wedding has that makes it so appealing.
The heartbreaking thing about this whole train of thought is that it reveals just how desperate I am to feel happy and hopeful about my life going forward. My dogs are a constant, but other than that, I’m my only source of daily stability. I cannot be the rock I stand on. I don’t have a solid, consistent, and present person to rely on. But I want one, desperately, especially as I realize how dramatically depression has effected my life and how much change I must go through to get healthy. My life, too, is incredibly directionless and unstable, heading in no particular direction and with seemingly no attainable goals, even one as meager as getting a job.
I want to know the happiness that accompanies that overwhelming feeling of love and comfort that comes with weddings. I want to know happiness period. I want to see my friends and family happy, laughing and smiling at me instead of giving me worried, stressed, and concerned glances whenever I’m around them. I want them to be happy for me and hopeful for me. And I want to be happy for me and hopeful for me too.
It’s not the wedding itself, it’s not the white dress and the flowers and the tuxes, it’s not the buffet and open bar or the disco ball over the dance floor. Weddings represent the two most unattainable things for me, my two deepest desires: Happiness and hope.
What a sad, sad realization that is. I’m just sad.
April 19, 2014 § 1 Comment
I can’t even get a grasp of where my head’s been today. All over the place, across the universe and back. It’s been a mess. Certainly, waking up at 4am freaking out over money problems should have been an indication of how the day was going to go, but I really did do my best to try to turn things around. I walked the girls, mailed my interviewer a thank you card, got a large coffee from Dunkin, opened the windows at home… but my head is still zooming in and out of areas of thought with little regard for the present.
Last weekend, I joined my cousin and his girlfriend on a trip to the botanical gardens in Mobile. When we got off the interstate and began closing in on the gardens, we learned that it was actually a historic home with gardens, not a true “botanical garden.” No matter, I didn’t really care since I was just trying to get out of the house to enjoy some sunshine. It wasn’t until we had walked around half the gardens and made it to the fountains beside the house that I realized… I know this house. I know these gardens.
That was the location I’d picked for mine and Alec’s never-to-be wedding.
I think I was foolish for thinking I would get married around the same age my parents did. That’s not a reasonable expectation for myself, especially not for Alec and I. But I dreamed on anyway, just waiting and waiting for Alec to surprise me with a ring on my birthday, at christmas, etc.
I really need to forgive myself for not reaching my ridiculous, groundless, damn near absurd expectations. I was just a kid. Alec was just my first love. Those things don’t add up to Ever After.
So realizing that we were casually wandering around the place I picked for my wedding was really a punch in the stomach, or a twist of scar tissue, or something to that effect. I will say, however, that despite my emotional discomfort, I did appreciate my own excellent taste in locale: the place was *gorgeous.*
My dad thinks I’m setting myself up for failure, sabotaging my own happiness and success either because my depression is strong enough to demand that I be miserable forever or my mind knows that I need to slow down, focus on the present, in order to recover and get healthy.
I don’t really buy either of those theories. I’ve learned a lot from my failures. I’m a woman completely without a plan now. No five-year track. No realistic image of what my life is going to be like a year or ten years from now. I’m simply swirling, stuck in a kind of purgatory, constantly grappling with all the events (failures and successes) that have led me here and wondering what the hell I’m supposed to do with all of that information.
Add in some healthy/expected anxiety resulting from starting on my new Wellbutrin routine, and perhaps my messy head is more understandable or excusable. I don’t know where this post is going, but I’m feeling better writing things out, trying to sort through my thoughts and feeling in some kind of reflective way. Pretend this is a drunk post or something. That might help you wade through it, or perhaps you should simply stop reading here. Maybe you should have stopped reading at the title.
I do think it’s true that my depression has drastically affected many things in my life, most especially my relationships with people. My disinterest, my impatience, my insecurities, my judgements, my negativity. I think Dad’s right that people can pick up on the fact that something is off about me, they can sense that something is wrong. That’s the “nature” side of human beings — we can sense “otherness” and difference intuitively. Whether they realize it or not, people can feel that something is wrong with me and respond to it. And that has led to many conflicts that I doubt would have happened had I been healthy.
The way I deal with people is very reflective of a depressive as well. I’m damn near bipolar with the people I love, wanting to be around them every second but then, like flipping a switch, I’m suddenly desperate for alone time. I cherish every minute I have with them but the second they upset me, I bail. I don’t just do this with my romantic relationships, I do this with friends and family too. I hate that about myself and everyone else seems to hate it too. I’m hoping once we find a medication cocktail that works in the way it should, that will become less of an issue, less of a negative force in the way I relate to the people I love.
My depression also drives a persistent disinterest in other people which makes my social life very flat and dissatisfying in addition to causing lots of conflict at work in particular. I unintentionally and unknowingly make many people feel irrelevant which is, perhaps unsurprisingly to you, apparently very upsetting. To be fair, depression dulls my intellectual and emotional senses, making me responsive only to the most intense stimuli. That’s why I can be so intense about my studies of art but so bored during most conversations with my fellow human beings. Even with people I love, sometimes they’re talking on about something and in my brain I think, “God, I just don’t care. I’d rather be alone than trying to maintain this boring conversation.” It’s also why I either *really* care about people or don’t care about them at all. I don’t have a lot of people that I consider friends and not best friends, and why I can’t actually casually date. If I don’t think I will be with you for the long-haul, you’re probably not going to get more than two dates with me.
I don’t want to make people feel insecure and unimportant. I don’t want people to feel like they have to prove their significance to me. I don’t want people to feel bad because my depression makes me think they’re boring. Everyone has a story, a unique perspective, a special talent. I should want to spend the time and emotional and intellectual energy to uncover all these little mysteries within the people around me. As a human being, a predominantly social animal, I need to develop social skills in order to really thrive (and at this point, just to survive).
My new psychiatrist says I need to suck it up and “fake it til I make it,” going through the motions of pretending to care, making people feel relevant to me, slapping a smile on my face and inviting the office to coffee. I’m not good at faking things. I don’t want to have to fake things in life, mainly because I so deeply value honesty. Plus won’t faking it be unsuccessful in the end anyway? People can sense that there’s something wrong with me. Forcing myself into some normal social mode isn’t going to fully overcome that. I suppose it’s all about timing, lining up my faking it until my meds have me at a place where I can genuinely “make it.”
I bought a book on Kindle called Dealing with People You Can’t Stand: How to Bring Out the Best of People at Their Worst. Before you roll your eyes, know that it’s an international best-seller and so far it doesn’t seem too hokey. I hope it will help me learn better interpersonal skills since my life education until now has had a serious gap in that crucial area.
My cousin also told me about a written meditation exercise that’s supposed to change your mindset through daily repetition of positive lines. You process the lines twice, in your reading of them and your copying of them, so your brain eventually commits them to memory over time, making them seem more natural as they come to the fore in your mind during daily interactions and activities. The lines that were suggested in the exercise are completely hokey to me, but as I percolated on the idea of written meditation, I can see more and more how it may be helpful for me. In college, I would take notes during class and after class, I would neatly recopy them into a new binder so I was reviewing the information while making test preparation easier by ensuring my handwriting was legible and my thoughts were complete. It was incredibly effective.
So I’m putting together my own written meditation lines that will hopefully inject some positivity into my subconscious about the world I live in, my present and future, and myself. I have so many issues with myself. I hope this will help. Every little bit, right? Every little bit.
I’m incredibly selfish when it comes to my fantasies of marriage and my response to others around me fulfilling that dream. I get jealous when other people find the loves of their lives while I still struggle just to love myself, much less to hold onto a lover. And when couples breakup, sometimes I feel relieved, like “Oh, false alarm. They’re single again.” My friend Tara who has had similar struggles with depression (though hers were much worse or at least more physically expressed) recently called off her engagement and my first thought was “Thank god. Tara and I are in this together.” because I feel so fucking behind, so hopeless, when people like me are getting married and I’m not. Will Tara and I ever find men who can handle us, dark sides and all? Can they love us despite our “dark and twisty” natures? Can they commit their lives to us, knowing how hard the path will be to share a life with a depressed person?
And good lord, girl. It’s the 21st Century! WHY THE HELL ARE YOU SO HUNG UP ON EVER AFTER?! Why do I want to be in a healthy relationship so badly? What does that stem from? How does depression fit into it? Is it simply a dream that depression keeps throwing at me just to keep me miserable, knowing that as long as I’m depressed I’m never going to be in a healthy, happy relationship? I feel insane sometimes. The question arises too of why marriage and not just a long life with someone without the politics and tax benefits? Why do I like the symbolism, commitment, and saccharine nature of marriage so much? Why is that a dream of mine?
I don’t know. Honestly. Desperate fear of being alone? Too many Disney movies growing up? Persistence of the history of Western civilization’s insistence that women’s lives should be spent focused on marriage, wifehood, and motherhood? I don’t know. Sometimes I nauseate myself. But you can’t say I’m not career-focused and independent either, so at least I’m doing something right in the feminist viewpoint.
Trust is such a difficult thing for me. It takes a while to earn my trust and then the second you break it, it takes me forever to forgive and move on. I don’t know the source of that either, but it’s definitely impacted my romantic, friendly, and family relationships.
I toyed today with reaching out to Kristi, trying to mend that bridge. I feel like she should be the one reaching out to me, since she’s the one who fucked up so royally, but I know I can be a hard person to approach. I don’t know if she wants to make up either, since she has her own life and plenty of other friends. She doesn’t really need the Alexa Ice Queen back on the scene. And I’m not sure I’m ready to forgive her either, or ready to put up with her constant whining about her life. I know I whine about my life a lot, but I try like hell to fix it, to change things, to do something new. She just complains and does nothing; it’s almost like she likes feeling miserable or maybe just likes having something to blame her misery on so she doesn’t have to deal with the real issues. Am I judging? Probably. I don’t have Mark’s solid moral compass to keep me on track anymore.
Mark says we’re too different to work. I guess he’s right, but more and more I reflect on how beneficial our differences were. He’s my opposite in many ways but especially socially. He is interested in people, he knows how to talk to strangers without seeming awkward or threatening. People adore him and he hardly does anything beyond simply being himself. He’s incredibly kind and accepting (though he wasn’t always accepting of me or my flaws, casting judgments that truly hurt me). I think most of our conflict came out of me being so different, being the shadow to his sunshine, being a black hole of negativity to his star of positivity. I know I made him feel unimportant, but again, it wasn’t my intention. My depression is severe and affects the way I interact with the world in so many ways, many of which I’m probably unaware of. I really shouldn’t be going back down this serpentine road of regret and confusion, dissecting the ways our relationship succeeded and failed, and what I feel I should have (though likely could not have) done differently. We are very different but for me, that was a big plus because I could learn these foreign skills, these necessary interpersonal and social skills, just by watching him, listening to him, talking to him.
I think my brain is so constantly preoccupied with a hundred thoughts going hundred different directions at a hundred miles an hour that it’s really hard for me to seem anything but disinterested. How can I take on the responsibility of holding a conversation, of maintaining interest, in another human being when a hurricane has been beating my brain since my birth with never a moment’s rest, not even when I sleep. My brain is always On, always demanding most if not all of my attention, so it’s exhausting to me to try to engage with another person, to try to spare some brain waves to shoot Interest and Sincerity in their direction.
Am I making excuses? Can I really scribble “DEPRESSION” over my every flaw and failure? Is depression really to blame?
I’m trying to keep hope alive that treatment will eventually begin to work properly but my biggest fear is that these things aren’t a result of depression, they’re who I am and they’re something that I simply cannot change.
I fear I am an awful person. Difficult, demanding, dismissive. I don’t want to be those things. I’ve never wanted to be those things. Those things don’t add up to a happy life. Those things don’t add up to a life of love and laughter.
Those things add up to being alone.
Alone with the person I dislike the most:
April 19, 2014 § 1 Comment
Why yes, I did just wake up at 4am pouring sweat having a panic attack about my financial situation, despite the anti-anxiety and sleep meds I’m on. That is my current situation.
Bills are piling up, my credit card has $40 left on it, my new credit card hasn’t come in the mail yet, Asha needs to go to the vet (ear infection, heartworm test, rabies booster, flea/heartworm treatment), I have to drive to Tuscaloosa to return some anti-abortion signs I swiped so I won’t get arrested (no really, those douchebags are going to press charges over three cardboard signs), rent is due soon along with all the other bills I have to pay on the first of the month on top of the bills from this month that I haven’t paid yet… things are a disaster as far as money is concerned.
My interview could not have gone better yesterday. I really think I hit it out of the park, plus I was there for two hours, so I think she really liked me.
She’s interviewing like ten people, so I don’t have a clue where I rank within the group and because she’s interviewing so many people, she said I probably wouldn’t hear anything from her for a couple weeks. I’m hoping I was so great in my interview and that all my references will come through (please god) that she’ll want to hire me sooner than May, but hoping hasn’t gotten me anywhere this last year.
I’ll follow-up with my employment agency recruiter person on Monday to see what the status is on getting my resume out to companies looking to hire, but she told me it’s kind of a long process (sending out resume, waiting to see if they want to interview me, interviewing, waiting to see if they want to hire me) so that doesn’t really do me any good in the short term.
I will be returning to work at the leasing office on Monday but I don’t expect to make much money because so far I haven’t made any despite working my ass off.
I applied to a restaurant as a hostess which would put money in my pocket the fastest, but if they see my resume, they’ll see that I’m not going to be around long and I’ll have to fib about wanting the job for a year to get them to hire me. Ick. I also messaged one of the new breweries to see if they were hiring bartenders, but I don’t want to get hired and work for a month before quitting because then I couldn’t go back to the brewery… Bah.
A temp agency would really be the solution to all of my problems, but alas, none of the ones in Birmingham will call me back. So now I’m frantically searching for temp agencies in town and applying to all of them… on Easter weekend… at 4:30am.
Frantic is a good word to describe how I feel right now. Seriously frantic. I *hate* worrying about money more than I hate any other source of anxiety in my life. One day, I seriously hope I won’t have to worry about money. One day, I hope things will be better.
April 17, 2014 § Leave a comment
- Got rejected from Teach for America
- Interviewed with an employment agency
- Spoke with a local gallery/art center about future volunteer opportunities, which I’m excited about
- Met my new shrink who added Wellbutrin to my growing list of antidepressants and medications; three antidepressants will be enough, right?
- Bought a book on Kindle called Dealing with People You Can’t Stand: How to Bring Out the Best in People at Their Worst (an international bestseller!) to try to develop my interpersonal skills
- Googled interview advice and the woman interviewing me in preparation for my interview tomorrow. reallllllly hoping I don’t fuck this one up. realllllly hope SOMEONE PLEASE GOD HIRE ME SERIOUSLY THIS IS GETTING SCARY/RIDICULOUS/HILARIOUS
- Tried on pretty much everything in my closet trying to figure out what to wear to the interview
- The trip to Peru is completely planned but we’re waiting to put deposits down until my job status is more defined (we might never go to Peru…)
- Missed Mark more, because that’s helpful and productive [sarcasm]. why, as a depressive, do I so constantly focus on the negative yet when it comes to Mark, I can only see the positives of us being together, all the happy memories? stupid brain. stupid heart. stupid mess.
- Chipped my freshly-painted nails moving furniture around my apartment, still dissatisfied with the arrangement
- Beyond thrilled that my dad fixed my car door so now I can actually use the driver’s side door
- Went grocery shopping at Aldi because that’s how sad my budget for life has gotten
- Loved my dogs
- Loved my family
- Loved Birmingham
April 12, 2014 § Leave a comment
- Interview with a museum next Friday (hope I don’t blow it this time! ::fingers crossed:: just lie, kiddo. lielielie. say only happy things.)
- Completed the detailed budget for 15 day Peru trip and distributed it to fellow travelers
- Wrote half of the detailed itinerary for Peru trip (and already 6 pages long!)
- Went parasailing with my parents, had a blast, enjoyed perfect weather, and witnessed the curvature of the earth. Did not take a camera up. Naturally.
- Bought a new (50% off) iPhone case as my belated birthday present to myself
- I’ve got a pretty good tan, you know, for me
- Can’t wait to reunite with my queen-size bed and 4 inch gel memory foam mattress pad
- Looking forward to living life; happy to report not a single self-mutilating thought in 48 hours
Progress is progress.