…life on the synaptic firing range

Location: Los Angeles, United States

Bent but unbroken Southern California native seeks understanding, companionship, and resonance along and off the beaten path. Teresa plays well with others and makes every effort to perform to her potential. Usually. *processed in a facility that processes nuts and nut products

Monday, March 27, 2006

no woman's land

I’ve kept my office door closed all morning because I don’t want to engage with anyone. My supervisor will knock if she needs me—she knows I’m here—but I want to discourage unnecessary social contact. In truth, coworkers seldom come around here, so shutting my door will likely make no difference in my level of social interaction today. But isolationist tendencies are preemptive by nature, and the closed door makes me feel more secure from within, even if it piques interest from without. It’s like hiring a bouncer to work the rope at a club no one has ever cared to enter.

This weekend I acknowledged that the fog of sadness I’ve wandered through for the past couple of weeks isn’t lifting. That doesn’t mean that I’ve embraced the depression; I’m simply acknowledging its influential presence. It’s the worst kind of uninvited guest, an unlovable, overbearing relative who regularly comes to visit, monopolizes my time, and refuses to go away. He sleeps in my bed—sometimes atop me such that I can hardly breathe—he eats my food, he won’t clean up after himself, and he taunts me for being too weak to make him leave. He’s a lot like my brother.

It’s difficult to write from the state of depression, and even more difficult to write about depression. It clouds the mind such that every nondepressive thought emerges only in half measures, and the bleak thoughts that dominate come on so strong that any attempt to express them seems excessively dramatic. Still, whatever I manage to express here, it feels worse than it sounds.

I think self-hatred is more responsible for depression than any native sadness. I see a Venn diagram wherein one circle contains sadness and one contains self-hatred; where the two overlap they create a pocket of depression. I see arrows shooting across the depressive subset from the respective circles of sadness and self-hatred—they feed and perpetuate each other while reinforcing the no man’s land they create. The depressive center bulges beyond its previous confines to dominate the picture.

It's pretty simple stuff when I visualize it, and my theory goes that if I can just tolerate the sadness I feel, whether circumstantial or chemical, while imposing an embargo on its accelerant, self-hatred, I can shrink that center circle, diminishing my depressive episodes both in strength and longevity. I know emotions are seldom so neatly subtracted and divided, but I'm all about trying to make the illogical logical, so my '06 resolution is to banish self-loathing from my life in an effort to manage my depression. This is the first opportunity I’ve had to test my theory since the turn of the New Year. I know I'll just hate myself if my theory doesn't work. (Get it? *heh heh*)

My first three months (nearly) of 2006 were filled with astoundingly good feeling, almost an entire fiscal quarter of rapid growth and boundless prosperity. To those who have never experienced clinical depression, I would describe not being depressed as akin to waking up every day with the eagerness of a child bound for Disneyland. It’s heroin-good, pure bliss—the nasty side effect being all those days of despair spent jonesing for it.

Knowing what not being depressed feels like is precisely what makes it so difficult to keep from hating myself now. From the other side it seems easy enough to say, “Hey, I know, I’ll just refuse to feel that way ever again, because feeling this way is so much better.” Mind over matter, or maybe matter or mind. But when I’m feeling fine I can’t touch this level of sadness, and when I’m depressed I can’t imagine how I’ll ever feel grand again. The respective states seem impenetrable, their borders closed. It seems all I can do is sit here in depressionland, taking pleasure in what I can—my partner’s love, friends, coffee—and wait for the corrupt border guard to take pity on my soul and wave me back over. Where I belong.


Blogger sporksforall said...

See, if I could find thast border guard, I'd beat his sorry ass to a pulp. He needs to keep you out of depresso-land and in the better non depresso-land. Asshole.

Doors are very good for when you're feeling bad. Shutting them=empowering.

6:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi cyclist. hopskipjump here from the dbsa boards. just want to say I'm sorry to hear the beast is at the door again. Don't worry, it'll go away. OK, now go away you tongue scraping!

Give it one of your blogs and it'll be too engrossed to remember why it's there.

9:59 PM  
Anonymous ani said...

Huh. I do believe you'd discovered the reason for the common belief that depression can be willed away! ;)

10:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, that's what I was told. "Why don't you just go out and get the stink off?" "What you need is a good kick in the ass." "You look like you've seen a ghost." "You could have been a great (pick a vocation); what a shame." "Have you taken your vitamin C?" "You know, I don't think you're neurotic, I think you're psychotic." Etc. Don't worry, I'm laughing.

I was just trying to construct a reality whereby the depression is seen as a separate entity, apart from the self. Because, hey, it really ISN'T the real you.

I know, I'm being too serious.

Hey, I can't access the DBSA boards. Are they down or is it just me? Come to think of it we're ALL down, I guess, heh heh.

I sound sick. Well, that's what you get when a depressed person attempts humor...

I just noticed below, where you can "choose an identity." Wow. Let's try THAT!

Thnks for letting me vist your blog, cyclist. I appreciate it.

7:18 AM  
Anonymous jkt said...

i'm sorry to hear that you're under the unmerciful care of the border guard once more. i'm with sporksforall, let's kick his ass. and his whole family's asses too, just in case it's a job passed down the line. keep up the good fight. i'll be at the fence trying to slip you secret weapons, and coffee drinks, and bars of dark chocolate. hang in there. i'm thinking of you.

4:01 PM  
Blogger Slangred said...

I'm with sporksforall and jtk, too. That border guard is a loser, and I've got lots of barfight experience, so let me at 'im!!!

I think my version of Depressionland would be its neighbor, Anxietyland. All the rides would be things like milennium wheels that stop with my cage at the top, or skyway trams that stop, my car swinging in the 3000-ft elevation silence, or mandatory trips up into the St Louis Gateway arch where I have to stand there at the top, pressed against the wall, sweating and shaking, trying hard not to scream.

In any case, it sounds like a bad place to be waiting for permission to cross the border, and if I can bring some provisions, let me know.

5:16 PM  

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