Some days are good days. A good day isn’t necessarily defined by pleasant things happening [or a lack of unpleasant things!] but often by how difficult it is for me to get through that day while functioning with the outward appearance of a “normal” human being.
I am very, very good at hiding my issues from the outside world. I’m so good at it that I had myself fooled for a long time, too. I still keep more of what goes on internally to myself than I probably should – I think that Jha at Intersectionality Dreaming sums it up well:
I’ve mentioned it casually before that I suffer from depression. People who don’t know me well, who rarely speak to me, are always surprised: “but you’re so energetic!” / “You’re so cheerful!” / “You’re so positive!”
Well, I want to say to them, of course I am. Would you rather I not be?
Because I know the consequences of not being energetic and cheerful and positive: “Why are you so lazy?” “Why are you such a downer?” “How come you’re always so negative?”
Part of mentioning this is defensive – when the time comes for me to reserve my spoons, I want it out there so people know to expect it of me at some point, and I can restrain myself from taking on too many commitments. Sometimes I don’t mention it, and people notice my sudden slowness, and they ask me if something is wrong.
Nothing is “wrong”. I’m simply slowing down to let my body and mind deal with something that’s been with me for my whole life. Things that are pleasurable become a bit harder to do, but they are no less important to me. I just need a break.
I sometimes stay silent because I don’t want to burden people with the knowledge that they cannot help me at times, because there isn’t anything to be helped; it just is. I just am. Other times, I stay silent because I don’t want to look like I’m making excuses for myself. For the longest time, I’ve always seen depression as This Thing, It Bugs Me, But Is Not A Disability.
But she and I have both discovered: oh, it is a disability. We might fight against it affecting our lives to the extent that it could, but that doesn’t change the fact that it can and does use our spoons up.
It used to be that I could tackle a million tasks in a week – anyone who knows me from my time in Charlottesville will recognize that Xiane, the Girl Who Never Stopped. I was running off some severe mania, sleeping very little, and basically moving because if I stopped, I’d collapse and never get going again. Even I didn’t see the extent of the problem until I got to Shelby and ran face first into a wall of ennui.
What happened was this: my boundless manic energy had no outlet in Shelby, which is a sleepy Southern town of small hopes that have been put into stasis. For a while, I tried to maintain the same intensity, but with no way to focus it, I slowly sank into an immutable depression that insidiously wound its way into every fiber of my life. Countering this lethargy takes immense effort on my part, hence the use of many spoons to get anything done. Yes, this is even on the meds I take now – they help, but only so far. I still have low energy [not helped by minuscule to non-existent iron stores] and heavy, pained limbs. No one told me that this level of depression could be so weirdly painful, y’all.
However, when I *do* have a Good Day – like today, mostly – I take advantage of it to the best of my ability. Today I fought through a headache to get out of the house and get coffee and some food, which allowed me to get some sunshine-time, too. I have managed to pick up some things around the house, and as Therapist Kim and I have agreed, every item counts for something. I’ve been making small “play dates” with friends and people that I’d like to add as friends – aka internet pals that I haven’t met in person, or have met once or twice and would like to spend more time with. I’m trying to keep up with sending little updates to those closest to me, with varying success. [I could write a huge screed about how I feel that I’ve failed my close friends, but see Jha’s quote for how I feel that will go over, too. Better to just try than try to justify. Arg.]
I figure that as long as I keep trying, that I’m moving forward. I hope that’s forgivable to y’all. I have to forgive myself, because I live here in XianeLand, and I know how hard it can be to live here. Being angry with myself won’t fix my depression, so I’m loving myself as hard as I can.
[yes, I know, that sounds dirty. *phththtbbbb*]