BATTLING DEPRESSION: HARDEST THING I'VE HAD TO DO

by - August 01, 2018

In the Myspace Memories Vol. 2 posting, I made mention of recently being diagnosed with mild depression. In Episode 46 of the Positive Cynicism Podcast, I talked about finally addressing what up until then I had just chalked up to normal behavior.  That episode was inspired by Gentleman Jervis Cottonbelly writing about his battle with depression. I read his post while I was in the middle of my own bouts of depression, or what I call, The Funk. It was then that I realized I needed to do something as the bouts were becoming more frequent and more intense.

In addition to being honest with myself, starting to see a therapist, seeing Jarvis' one man performance about his issues and opening up to friends, I felt like I was on a positive trip.  This all happened from May through the beginning of June. Since then, I have had one or two minor bouts of depression. Thankfully I recognized them coming on and addressed the issues quickly. I was doing so well that I started questioning if I actually had depression.

I had also started the #SummerOfPositivity campaign on Twitter. It was going good until about the second week of July. Around that time I stopped tweeting a daily positive affirmation. At first I chalked it up to just being lazy again and not wanting to tweet. Now I see it as the beginning of my latest Funk. A Funk that lasted longer than any previous spell that I can recall.

Once I realized I was in a Funk, I started trying to figure out why so I could try and curtail the feeling. What had happened recently that caused my mind to switch into overdrive? I had had a recent interaction with a twenty-something homeless kid. While I had helped him a little, I was stricken with guilt that I hadn't done enough.  After talking about it with my best friend, I was comfortable knowing that I had done all I could and more than what most people probably would have done.  Okay, if that was true then why was I still having to drag my body out of bed 60-90 minutes later than normal? Why wasn't I motivated to continue training for the upcoming half-marathon in October?  Why did I have no appetite at night? Something was still wrong.

Even though I wasn't running in the morning, I would still go to work early and do a 45 minute walk around the lot. During my walks, my mind kept going back to one topic. It was a topic, I thought I had processed positively.  Apparently I still had some unfinished business that needed addressing. I went for two weeks trying to talk my mind into some sort of compromise. It would stop with the endless thoughts and I would, well, there's really no making a deal with your brain. It runs the show. All I knew was I didn't like the conclusion my brain kept reaching.

When I'd finally accepted what my brain was telling me, I knew I had a few days before actually having to deal with the issue. For three days, I tried to keep myself busy. Any distraction was a welcomed diversion. Like sand through the hourglass, eventually time runs out and I had to either address the situation or risk a total breakdown. I'm not really sure if one option could be classified as the better option.

I gathered up all the courage I could muster. I laid out every thought I had had the past two weeks and I told my best friend I thought it necessary to not talk to them for the foreseeable future. My friend isn't a negative influence. In fact, they had noticed the warning signs of depression in me over a year ago. If it wasn't for my friend, I would most likely be a much bitter person than most people think I am. Right now there are simply some issues going on in our lives that don't mesh.  Not talking to this person was not, and is not, an ideal situation. Over the last four years, we've probably not talked about 15 days total. Going from talking at least an hour or two a day to nothing was not a decision to be made lightly.

For most people, eliminating one person from daily communication probably isn't that big of a deal. Either swap them out for someone else or talk to another friend more. In my case, I was eliminating the one person I shouldn't eliminate. I'm generally a very private person. I know I have a wall up to protect myself. Very few people get through. While I have several friends, the number of friends I would classify as Good friends who know more about than what's on the surface, I can count on one hand. The number of GREAT friends who fully know the real me and whom I open up to about anything, I can count on one finger. Here I am cutting that finger off. Not a decision I am happy about.

So what's the purpose? It's not like not talking to this friend is going to erase them from my mind. If anything it's going to make my mental situation worse in some regard. Knowing this person is "off limits" makes it harder when I want to discuss a crazy day at work or other aspects of my life. Someone might say, "why not call one of your good friends and talk to them?" It's not that simple. There is a vast difference between good and great. I don't mean to insult or discredit any of my good friends. I value their friendship but there's a reason for greatness.

I don't know if this will help anything. I don't even know how long I'll be able to go until I break down and reach out to my friend. I know I don't want this to be a permanent removal. At least not this way. It's one thing if life gets in the way and causes friendships to erode. It's more damaging when it's a conscious action.

You may be wondering why I'm posting this. Good question. While I don't know if anyone reading this is going through or has gone through a similar situation, in the event this resonates with anyone, I want them to know they're not alone. And I feel that if I'm going to move on from this Funk, I have to be more open and honest with myself and with others.  So much like my old Myspace blogs, occasionally Positive Cynicism is my own personal therapy.

In case my friend reads this, there are only two words that need to be said; Thank You.


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