||[May. 26th, 2007|02:01 pm]
I know that I suffer from depression, to the point that I consider it a chronic disability. It's something I have to take into account every day of my life. I keep hoping that there will be a time when I realize that, no, I shouldn't do that any more, but the fact of the matter is, I've done more harm to myself by denying this than I can do by accepting it. |
Well, recently, I've had cause to question that as the basis of my problem.
When I'm having a bad day, I don't really feel any pleasure. I've learned over many years that an orgasm can be more a matter of intense sensation than real pleasure. I have a hard time anticipating pleasure, but that's one of those "which came first, the chicken or the egg?" I have feelings of hopelessness and despair, but, if I'm too tired or too unfocused to accomplish something, aren't hopelessness and despair kind-of normal?
I want to sleep a lot, and when I'm awake, I just want to pass the time. I want to fend off the horrible boredom that seems just on the fringes, if I can keep moving. But I don't quite ever find enjoyment with what I'm doing, unless I happen to get surprised by it.
I tend to be very, very reactive.
I know a few depressed people have this dream of dying heroically, and I think it kind-of ties into this. Often times, I can react quickly and appropriately to a surprise situation, and an adrenaline rush can be centering.
What I suffer from is often called "atypical depression" but I wonder if a better description of it might be (for me, and some other folks) dissociation.
You see, the biggest symptom that ties all these things together is that I'm not really there; I'm not fully present in my body, or my brain. Pleasure is muted, and so is pain. I've often described depression as "maybe a kind of protection mechanism gone wrong", where your brain mutes all emotions, so you don't collapse under pain, but you also lose your ability to feel pleasure. But, hey, it ges you through the crisis. The trouble is, it doesn't end when it should, and that's what makes it a disease.
But I think it better describes a pulling back, to the point that you're not able to push forward again, at least, not by simply willing it so.
Today, although I'm a bit tired, I think I'm in my body. I can anticipate doing happy things, and imagine them being happy; I can imagine accomplishing something, without thinking "no, it's too big, there's not enough time". I can imagine doing a little work studying PHP and, although it will be boring (A for-next loop! What amazing and exciting tools PHP provides!), I can imagine being satisfied at having worked a little coding skill into my brain and my fingers.
I think meditation helps pull me back to my body, but when I'm dissociated (or, "when I am what I'm assuming, for the moment, is 'dissociated'") I tend to drop into napping mode very easily... my mind just goes blank, and I come out of it after a while, but there's no continuity, no sense that I went from second to second, minute to minute, until it was done. If I focus hard enough to meditate again after that happens, I think it helps pull me back further, and closer, but it's also hard, because I tend to feel pleasantly tired and ready to rest.
I'm trying to figure out where to go with this. I think it's possible to notice when I'm disconnecting... maybe I can stop it from happening. And, if I do disconnect, I have to figure out how to reconnect if I can.
I think/hope that maybe looking at this as the problem might help. Trying to pull out of depression is like trying not to feel tired and icky. Trying to pull back to my body, well, that's got nothing to do with feelings. If I feel tired and icky, but I'm *really* feeling tired and icky (and not just vaguely aware of it), well, I'm not dissociated any more.