Outside vs In – You Can’t See Depression

 Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about.

I’ve had a rough few days, but you might not know that. The quote in the image above is something I’ve thought a lot about lately. The sentiment isn’t new to me, but I hadn’t seen it put that way until this year’s Bell Let’s Talk Day, when someone tweeted it. There were scores of wonderful tweets about mental health, but that’s the one that legitimately brought tears to my eyes.

Over the last couple days, I’ve gotten a lot done. I’ve been productive, active, and involved with those around me. I applied for jobs. I recorded podcasts. I exercised. I cooked and cleaned. I also spent some interesting time looking at myself from the outside (as much as that’s possible), and I realized I mostly looked like a happy-go-lucky contributing member of society.

And I was.

On the outside. Continue reading

Listing Towards OCD

I’ve talked before about some of my coping mechanisms for dealing with mental health issues: how I remind myself depression lies, how I use jigsaw puzzles to calm my anxious mind, how I focus on the good stuff. One other thing I do is try to harness my mental weirdness and use it for good when I can. I have more than a touch of obsessive-compulsiveness. Happily, it’s not enough to interfere much with my daily life. In fact, I’ve found a way to trick my compulsive brain into working for me instead of against me.

The key is randomness.

No. There are two keys: randomness and dice.

Continue reading

Puzzling out Anxiety

6000 pc puzzle

My life is awesome. Really, truly, amazingly fantastic. And if you could hear me saying these words, you’d hear they’re not words of gratitude (though I am SO grateful). Right now, they’re words ringing with defiance. Because at the moment, nothing feels very awesome or fantastic. I know that it is. And that knowledge is a big part of what keeps me going at times like this.

If you know me well or have been following me online long, you’re probably aware I struggle with mental health from time to time. I’ve already talked about depression a bit on this blog, but I also deal with anxiety. In fact, as of late, anxiety has wrestled its way to the top of the heap when it comes to trying to trick me into thinking everything sucks.

Everything does not suck.

At this very moment, I may be scared of pretty much everything. I might be convinced it’s never going to get any better. I’m in an emotional equivalent of a cavern where there’s light outside, but none of it is shining on me.

But you know what? Continue reading

Depression Lies (but I’m Not Falling for its Nonsense)

“Depression lies.” I’d never thought about depression in those terms until I started reading Wil Wheaton’s blog,* but it’s so true. It’s not just that the feelings (or lack thereof) that accompany a bout of depression (often with a healthy side-helping of anxiety) are temporary, it’s that they’re not true.

The awful patina of dread that accompanies pretty much every action when I’m depressed is real, yes. But it’s not true. There’s a subtle, yet important, difference. There’s no question the feeling is real. It exists. I can’t get around that. I’m stuck smack dab in the middle of it. And yet somewhere, deep inside where I can’t find it anymore, I really am happy about all the amazing stuff in my life.

I have the best, most supportive partner I can imagine, a family I love and can rely on, a group of friends who are second to none, a job I enjoy and am good at, and several podcasts I am incredibly proud of. I couldn’t be happier! Except that when depression comes calling, I’m not. Or at least, I can’t remember that I am. It’s crazy how knowing something and feeling it are two completely separate things.

So when I do hit a rough patch, Continue reading