Archive for the ‘Mental Illness’ Category

BLOG: (noun)
1. a website containing a writer’s or group of writers’ own experiences, observations, opinions, etc., and often having images and links to other websites.

2. a single entry or post on such a website:
She regularly contributes a blog to the magazine’s website.
http://www.dictionary.com/browse/blogging

JOURNAL:
The definition of journal is a diary you keep of daily events or of your thoughts or a publication dealing with a specific industry or field.
http://www.yourdictionary.com/journal#Siti5uupUCzDVOrm.99

My standard disclaimer applies: These are my own thoughts about things that work for me. They may or may not apply to you.

Blogging and journaling are two forms of therapy that work for me, with this difference: what I post on my blog are random thoughts and ideas I feel comfortable with sharing with others. My journal, on the other hand, are my deepest thoughts that I keep to myself. They’re not things I’m comfortable sharing with anyone else.

Both methods help me keep centered. From time to time, I may go back to my journal and discover something I am comfortable in sharing, and so I’ll post it on my blog.

For more information about the health benefits of journaling, I’d recommend “A new reason for keeping a diary,” or “Journaling for Mental Health.”

I’ll admit I’m biased in favor of the URMC article, because that’s where I’ve been going for my mental health help for the past 8 years, and because I know one of the reviewers of the article.

Regardless, take a look at both articles and see if they offer any insights for you.

When George Harrison wrote those words, he was writing a love song. I haven’t written any love songs lately; in fact, I haven’t written anything lately. No blogs, no journals, no texts, no emails.

It’s been a rough few months. December started with my mother’s birthday, which was followed a few days later by the anniversary of her death. I spent Christmas and New Year’s alone. Next week marks the first anniversary of my father’s death, and March will have been his birthday.

I spent most of January in the deepest, darkest depression I’ve ever lived through. I didn’t leave the house during the entire month, and I only left my room for meals. I was numb. I felt nothing.

Three days ago, I was finally able to feel something. I cried at the end of a silly movie on Netflix. Last night, I cried again. It felt as if I was finally waking from a nightmare. At last, I felt something.

Today I left the house and went shopping for groceries. I stopped at the bank and withdrew my rent money. I am a functioning human being again.

And finally I can write again. Baby steps for now, but it’s a start.

So What’s The Point?

The point, trivial as it may seem, is that things do get better. It may take time—in my case, three months—but I survived.

This is not to make light of other people’s suffering; on the contrary, each major depressive episode I experience leaves me with greater understanding of and compassion for the suffering of others. All I’m saying is try to hold on, seek professional help, and survive.

Well, to be honest, it wasn’t a sleepless night. It was a sleepless morning. No matter how I try, I can’t seem to sleep beyond 6 a.m. And that includes even if I go to bed at 3 a.m.

depression is

And THAT, dear friends, is what it’s like. Invisible. Insidious. I’ve moved beyond the suicide stage; tried that, didn’t work. Now I’ve arrived at the point where I wish I had never been born.

— To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,
To the last syllable of recorded time;
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more. It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury
Signifying nothing.
— Macbeth (Act 5, Scene 5, lines 19-28)

Futility rules my moods.

My own depression is compounded by the fact that I’m transgender.

not all its cracked up to be

It’s another reason I isolate and tend to stay indoors.

That’s it for now. Talk to you later.

 

Maybe it’s because Tuesday will mark the third anniversary of my father’s death. And by “anniversary,” I mean the third week, not year.

Or maybe it’s because one of the first posts I saw on Facebook this morning was a link to a story in the Missoulian newspaper, “Community mourns loss of 2 Missoula transgender people who struggled with depression.”

2016 certainly won’t go down in history as a banner year for the transgender community. We’re still being killed at an alarming rate, and now the GOP (Grand Old Perverts) want to check inside our underwear before we’re allowed to use bathrooms. This, despite the fact that Republican lawmakers have a higher arrest rate for sexual crimes committed in bathrooms than the entire worldwide trans* community combined.

But I think the main reason is that despite the fact that I am in therapy and on medications for my depression, there are still times when I ask myself, “Is it really worth it? Will I ever truly be free to be myself?”

And that only leads to the most deadly question of all: “Why bother?” Is it worth it, in the end, to continue to fight what all too often seems to be a losing battle? Or should I be a Hamlet, and

[T]ake arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them. To die- to sleep-
No more; and by a sleep to say we end
The heartache, and the thousand natural shocks 1755
That flesh is heir to. ‘Tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wish’d. To die- to sleep.
To sleep- perchance to dream: ay, there’s the rub!
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil, 1760
Must give us pause.

But no. I still don’t want to chance the dreams that may come, and so, again, like Hamlet, I say “Thus conscience does make cowards of us all.”

Yet, still, to be safe, I have various suicide hotlines on speed dial in my cell phone, as well as the local on-call mental health crisis team.

So yes, it’s hard. And yes, it’s exhausting. But ultimately, I still have fat too much work to do to quit now.

And if I weren’t an atheist, I’d say “Thank God!” But I am, and so I can’t. Besides, even if I did believe in a god, which one should I thank? Janus, after whom January is named? Hell, what calendar should I even use? It’s January only on the Gregorian calendar, but a quick googling (is that even a word?) of “January” reveals that there are over 10 other solar calendars currently in use around the world, plus a handful of lunar calendars as well.

It’s easier to explain why I’m glad the period between Thanksgiving and the new year is over. First, I spend Thanksgivings alone, thanks to being ostracized by both my own family and my in-laws. December marks my mother’s birthday and less than two weeks later, the anniversary of her death. This year it was especially difficult because it marks the first time she has been out of my life longer than she was in it. Finally, Christmas carries with it the same curse as Thanksgiving.

Except for this year’s anniversary, my mother’s death has become easier to bear with each passing year. Maybe easier isn’t the right word—maybe I should just say not as difficult. I don’t really think that any loved one’s death truly becomes easier to bear; maybe the scar fades a bit more, or the scab isn’t quite so thick. I still cry every December 12, just not as hard as I used to.

But here’s the important thing: Thanksgiving and Christmas no longer find me wishing I were dead, planning my suicide, or even checking myself into the psychiatric emergency department.

So that’s an improvement.