I was in a much darker place when I wrote this. I’m writing this preface months later, and choosing to put this out there knowing it doesn’t reflect who I am now. But I am not far removed from these problems. I still feel them, and for those problems that are gone, I still feel their effects. But, in reading over this, I felt it was too important to not put out there. If you want to know how I’m doing now, read To Help Yourself that I thought deeply about and put to writing days after writing this.
But so we’re clear: I feel passion for my work again. I am excited for my future. I am enjoying my hobbies. And I am fighting for myself. These feelings are fragile, and I don’t know what direction they are taking me. But I am better now for the effort I have put into myself.
I feel like I no longer have the energy to be on a daily basis.
I get up. Go for a walk. Do some sets of pullups. Eat breakfast most days. Shower. Get some hobby work done. Sure, that’s all fine, and it’s never upset me. Some of these are slower than I’d like, but nothing wrong so far.
When I get into work, I feel like I bang my head against problems that should be simple, or at least simpler, for me to solve. I feel like I’m wasting my hours on misunderstandings I shouldn’t have, problems that shouldn’t be hard to solve, documentation that should be easy to write. My work used to be satisfying to me. Challenging in a fair way. Productive in a meaningful way. Somehow I can’t find any of these anymore.
When I get into conversations, I find I repeat myself more than I used to. I can’t get out sentences properly a bit too often. I take longer to think about what I want to say, and still make all these mistakes. I forget conversations and happenings that were yesterday.
I’m describing the symptoms of depression. These are symptoms of depression.
I don’t think there is any time nor any place where I can speak about the problems I’ve been having with my mental health. Doing so at work is a non-starter, but nonetheless these issues negatively affects my work. I can’t talk about my issues when hanging out with friends either, because that’s supposed to be time for hanging out, for having a good time. I vent when I’m alone, but it doesn’t make any difference.
I don’t know how to be more proactive about helping myself, either.
I spend all the time I need taking care of myself. I get plenty of exercise. I’m eating better now than I have in the rest of my life. I’m losing weight, and building muscle. Physically, these changes feel fantastic. The progress I’ve made feels unreal. And of course, I’ve been conscious not to over-work myself physically. No trouble there.
I also spend the time I want to exploring my hobbies and interests, and otherwise treat my mind right. I’ve made time to play games, new ones and ones I already love. Spent time to relax. Made time and space to meditate. Developed new skills, and made time to improve at skills I already had. Written music. Written useful software, even if for myself.
And I’ve done a bit of these together! Hiking is a fantastic way to get your mind and body working toward the same goal.
I’ve tried a pretty wide variety of other management strategies too. Some of what I’ve already listed are quality distractions. I mentioned meditation already. I tried therapy for a time- I’m still looking for a different therapist, as my last set of sessions ended under the unfortunate circumstance of surprising me with extra expenses. Taking suggestions!
But every single one of these, and more that I haven’t listed, have a critical commonality: I’m doing them all alone. I am spending time on each of these alone.
Being alone is one thing. Being lonely is another. And brother, I feel brutally lonely. I want to stop coming home to my apartment and there be nothing but me there. I want to stop going out in public and struggling to find a person interested in talking, I’d like to talk to someone. I want to sit down with somebody interesting and hear every word they have to say on what excites and fascinates them. And I’d love to share everything that’s exciting to me with somebody who’ll listen.
Those aren’t changing. That could be my fault. I could be doing something wrong. And I wouldn’t have any way of knowing, would I? All I can do is hope that I’m not ruining everything for myself.
I feel that the best help would be to spend time with my friends. Have some hugs. Talk about some feelings, but in a good, healthy way. And you know what? There’s friends I’d love to sit and nerd out with. Explore some cool new places or ideas with.
But I’m in horrible mental shape. Spending time with my friends under that circumstance would put undue stress on my friends, who have to deal with the fact that I’m not at full mental strength or capacity, who would have to carry my emotional weight. Or I can try keep it to myself and not talk about it. Even in trying to do this, people notice that I’m not myself. And why wouldn’t they? I’m not upbeat. Not cheery. Not functioning like a human is supposed to. I can’t get out of my own head. I can’t stop having this miserable look on my face, and I hate when I’m noticed for that! I want to feel like I can be in a social situation without dragging others down, or needing to stop to have my mental issues tended to. I want to be able to be in a situation and be in it.
Am I sabotaging myself and not realizing it? Am I not doing enough to help myself? Is there some behavior I have that’s causing me to be unhappy when I have no good reason to be? Is there something I’m exposing myself to that’s causing me to be miserable?
Is it reasonable to feel this way?
Please stop noticing that something is wrong with me. I already know.