Jan. 11th, 2014

fishpatrol: (FOAMING~~)
...except I'd totally intended to write this post last month. Better late than never?

Things That Happened in 2013 That I Remember (I've realized that if I don't write things down, I won't remember them. Sorry to everyone who's had to have repeated conversations with me because my brain is a sieve. ^___^;;)

not really a year in review )


*(continued from the September point)--This is significant for me because while I've probably always been plagued with some level of depression, I haven't had the...courage(?) to seek professional help and then stick with it (I sort of tried twice in the past, but quit both times -- once with SSRIs and once after the initial consultation). Now, three months later, I don't really feel any improvement in my emotional state or in my cognitive state; I do feel more aware of my...situation(?) and that there's obviously something wrong, something impeding my day-to-day functioning. Also, at some point between September and November (I don't remember the exact date and I don't care to look it up), I had my first full-blown panic attack. A week later, I had my second one. I've had minor anxiety attacks in the past (especially in 2012), but nothing full-blown like these, and it was really scary (tbh, I'm kind of shaking and crying now, just remembering what it was like).

It seems so obvious to me now that there is Something Wrong. It's like a shadow, dogging my every step; some days it's small and not so very noticeable (but still there), some days it stretches and it's so much bigger than I am. I wonder if the reason I don't feel that therapy is helping much is because I've only really talked about the context that has highlighted this..."shadow", the context that makes the "shadow" grow. But maybe what I need is to figure out the root of the shadow? Or to at least address some underlying causes that make my chest seize up every time I even let the thoughts reach the surface of my consciousness? There are some issues that I think I need to talk to my psychologist about, but I panic at the thought of even explaining them, much less discussing them.

It's taken me a long time to consciously recognize and accept that there is a problem and that I need to tackle it and not let it continue to fester. It boiled down to the belief that I couldn't possibly be depressed because there wasn't anything horribly wrong in my life (I blame the fact that I never took the abnormal psychology course back in undergrad; I didn't immediately pick up on the fact that depression isn't necessarily the result of anything in your external environment; but rather, it's a combination of your internal state plus the environment which holds all sorts of potentially nasty landmines/triggers. Duh.). I was kind of struggling with this whole idea of "are my feelings valid or not" when I came across a Tumblr post (OF ALL THINGS. A TUMBLR POST.) that said something along the lines of, "You would never tell someone that they can't possibly be happy when there's always someone else out there who's richer or more successful (etc) than them. So why would you tell yourself that you can't possibly be sad when there's always someone else out there who's poorer or less successful (etc) than you?" And that is how I got a wake-up call from Tumblr.

Both the depression and anxiety have worsened in the past few years, and I can easily think of situations in the near future that can trigger attacks. On the days when the "shadow" is small, I can encourage myself to do things that will help me cope -- and maybe even take some preventative measures. As far as preventative measures go, I'm going to try to learn (and regularly practice) mindfulness meditation. My psychologist talked about a few CBT techniques for coping, but I feel that I can only engage in them when I have a certain amount of mental resources available, and this isn't always going to be the case, especially when things get bad. What I want to encourage myself to do is to use this platform to do some sort of writing exercise because writing out my thoughts often helps 1) clarify them and 2) provide a slightly different perspective.


If (WHEN) I do post such entries, I'll always post under a spoiler-tag. Most of me wants to bury and hide these entries under f-lock and filters, but part of me wants to post publicly. Some ridiculously large number of people are afflicted with depression -- but I can't even bring myself to tell anyone I know in real life about my situation (it sounds so wrong to me when I even think the statement "I am depressed"). Maybe posting publicly in a semi-anonymous space will habituate me to the idea that, hey, what I'm experiencing is real and valid; I don't have to hide it.

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