Friday, February 14, 2014

Heavy Lungs

I had grand ambitions of writing more this year, I truly did. I even managed to put out a few posts, and if I had a dollar for every time I included specific blog posts/topics on a to-do list, I'd probably elevate myself into the next tax bracket.

But I'm struggling. For starters, I'm not sleeping great, which should probably get an entire post of its own, but I've been waiting for some sort of resolution that hasn't come yet, and since my follow-up anymore is shoddy, I don't want to write a Part I that will never see its Part II. But suffice it to say that it's affecting my health and mostly my mood and I'm tired a lot and really sort of apathetic a lot. I don't have the energy to write. I barely have the motivation to jot thoughts down and so a lot of good ones are getting a way. 

I want to blame the winter. It seems like an easy target. It's been bad this year. Bad everywhere. I don't think it's necessarily that, though I don't think that it's been helping. I've been taking Vitamin D on someone's suggestion, and that doesn't seem to be making a bit of difference. It's not even gray and dreary, a lot of times it's bright and white and snowy and sunny and that's different than the last few winters have been. It's been cold, too. Sooo very cold. But I don't really think it has anything to do with anything. Probably. Maybe. I don't know.

I feel very mechanical, getting up each day and going through the motions and there are bright parts of most days and there are lots of times when I just want to cry for no reason and I think that's probably normal but I'm the last person that is qualified to speak on normal. I've been sluggish and I know that "blah" isn't a very good descriptive word, especially from someone who likes to fancy herself a writer, but it's pretty apt. 

I've mentioned before, probably, that I have struggled with depression and anxiety for years. It always feels weird to just outright say. I always cringe a little bit, like I'm outing myself as someone who is mentally unstable. Truth is, I'm a pretty textbook case, a common statistic. I don't want to use "mental illness" but I don't want to make up pretty euphemisms, either, and I wish this wasn't so ridiculously difficult to talk about. At any rate, the chemical brain imbalances that cause a state of mental unwellness runs pretty rampant through my maternal gene pool. According to my mother, we can trace it back at least four generations, so who knows how far it goes. It's kind of reassuring, in a way. It's not my fault, I just got a raw deal in that particular genetics lottery. 

The thing is, it doesn't feel like my depression, not the way I'm used to it, not the way I've categorized or experienced it in the past. Normally I feel like I'm drowning, like I'm crawling out of my skin, that it's hard to breathe and it's hard to want to breathe. What I'm feeling now is a really dull listlessness, a sort of quiet indifference. I ricochet between feeling lonely and wanting to be entirely left alone. Looking at it objectively, I think this is the depression segment of the Crappy Fun Times Show, while all of that immediate, desperate emotion that I was calling depression actually plays more into the anxiety part. I always lumped them together as being intertwined and possibly the same, and I think they finally decided to differentiate themselves for me, in a way that is unavoidably obvious. 

I'm doing my best to keep my head above water. I wish I could say that I was trying really hard, but I don't really feel like I am. "Keeping up" seems like an ambitious goal some days; my main objective is to just get through the day and make it to the next one. I'm keeping a running mental tally of all the things that I'm getting behind on, and I'm slowly working my way through them when I can. I suppose that's a positive thing; on some level, my brain is registering that this is a temporary patch of bleakness, and eventually things will be all right again, and when they are, we'll want to make sure that everything doesn't get too fucked while we're trying to keep afloat.

There's this quote that's been floating around the Internet and I don't even know who to credit it to, and I've always kept it in my back pocket for the days when my depression gets bad. To use as validation when I struggle, that, hey, I did it, I made it through the day. It's okay if the only thing you did today was breathe.

I don't know who to credit this to.
I've seen it so many places the source is nearly impossible to trace.

Anyway. I'm still here, sitting in my corner, breathing in and out, every day. I think I might try acupuncture on the recommendation of a friend who also has crap sleep. It won't fix my particular sleep disorder issues, but it might give me some of my energy back. Maybe it will even help with the depression and malaise. I don't know, I've never done it. Which is precisely why I might: it's an avenue I've never tried. I don't think my insurance will cover it but I almost don't care. If it can help, it would be worth every penny. The worst case scenario is that it doesn't do a damn thing, and I will be no worse off than I am if I hadn't tried. Have any of you tried it? Thoughts?


Kelly L said...

I'd never get acupuncture. It's total quackery if you ask me. But, despite everything, the placebo effect is an undeniably true and measurable thing, and it has even been shown to exist when people know that they're taking a placebo. So it very well could work for you.

Also, here's that thing i said i read about what insomnia is like (ctrl+F for "insomnia"). Sounds so awful. I can only give you my virtual { hugs }.

Kelly L said...

I can totally relate to this and I'm inclined to blame winter. I keep holding out hope that when spring comes, I will find my magic motivation to photograph and write things again. I am a big fan of acupuncture even if I'm not always convinced it actually helps anything other than right in that moment when you're feeling the kind touch of a stranger. There's something about the warm hands of the acupuncture lady (practitioner?) rubbing lavender oil on my temples that makes me forget, even just for an hour, that things outside of that warm little room are cold and depressing. Lastly, I love that quote image. I've not seen it anywhere but I'm definitely going to have to save it and remember it!

Kelly L said...

I should probably add, in case you're wondering what random weird person is on your blog, I'm doing the Year of Writing class :-)