When I’m depressed.

When I’m depressed, I wear more layers. If I have to go out, I’m wearing comfy sweats or pajamas (paired with slippers if it’s cold outside), and a sweater over a thick hoodie. I need layers between my body and the world when I’m depressed. My depression pulls me deep under layers of sadness and darkness; the more layers between myself and the world, the more layers I put on my body to wear. I also burrow under blankets, wrapping them tight around me so I’m constrained. I probably should invest in a weighted blanket, because I light being warm and wrapped tight when I have a bad day.

When I’m depressed I don’t talk. Being around people and being forced into small talk or conversation causes me actual pain. If I can be alone, I don’t speak a word. I move quietly through my apartment accomplishing very small human tasks that don’t require a lot of energy (i.e. Microwaving a meal, doing a load of laundry, taking a shower, etc). I’ll sit for hours binge watching favorite tv shows that I’ve seen a million times because they remind me of comfort and safety (my favorites to rewatch are Gilmore Girls, The West Wing, Parks & Recreation, Friends, and Life in Pieces). I do this all in silence because I don’t have the energy to speak, much less listen to myself speak.

When I’m depressed my head is quiet, as negative thoughts come in whispers and doubts are hissed. So I listen to music loud to drown out the negativity and fill my head with peace. Music is the closest thing humans have to magic. It embraces the spirit and encourages emotion to be felt. The dark place in my head is a lot less lonely when there’s music to keep me company. My favorites to listen to are Taylor Swift, Kesha (listening to her new album Rainbow for the first time was a cathartic journey), Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald, Debussy, Florence + The Machine, Miles Davis, and Adele.

When I’m depressed I feel guilty about everything. Like I’ve done something horribly wrong and I am a terrible person that deserves to feel bad for it. I can’t explain what exactly it is that I’ve done wrong, I never have been able to describe it. Whenever I’ve been depressed, it’s always felt like this overwhelming feeling of having made a horrible mistake, and days afterwards I feel guilty for no real reason. In those periods I tend to apologize more quickly when I make a mistake, or even before someone has told me I’ve made a mistake. I’m always at the ready to be blamed and apologize. I always feel guilty and like I’ve done something wrong. So I try to be alone when I’m depressed so I don’t feel responsible for all the problems of the planet.

When I’m depressed I always wonder if I’m the only person who feels that way. I question my depression and it’s legitimacy, as though I’m lying to myself about my sadness and suddenly realize I’m happy. It’s shit like this that keeps me in therapy.

What do you do when you’re depressed?

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In Which the Bitch is a Witch

If I were forced at gun point by a wild madman insisting I give up the secrets behind enemy lines (because I find myself in those situations so often, am I right? Probably not…), I would confess that it’s being unpredictable that gives anxiety and depression their edge. You never can predict or know when and where either will strike at you.

If I’m lucky, I come prepared with weapons to combat: well curated music playlists, word searches, coloring books, supportive friends, favorite movies and TV shows, and more. But, like so many others, I’m not always fortunate enough to be prepared to go into battle with myself.

It’s scary for people who don’t regularly grapple depression and/or anxiety; your mind is playing tricks on you, your own self is betraying you. I’ve been calling my anxiety ‘bitch’ but my therapist edited that word into ‘witch’ with good reason, “These are illusions that your anxiety is projecting, it is your job to figure out the ingredients of their spell in order to determine whether it is an illusion or actual danger.”

My episode yesterday was unpredictable. I had been putting off art commissions and requests for ages, using my job as an excuse (as it does keep me insanely busy). However, now that I’ve been on summer break for over a week, I’ve run out of excuses to put things off.

It’s my own fault for agreeing to so many commitments at once, I’m always eager to please people and make them happy. In truth there isn’t a whole lot of complicated things I need to get done, but my anxiety cooked up a spell that made everything seem ten times more crucial and important. I suddenly became convinced that if I don’t execute everything perfectly that I would be a disappointment and failure to everyone around me. I tried to sit down and create some art pieces, but my vision was clouded by the anxious smoke that the witch had created, making it hard for me to focus and make anything beautiful.

I spent most of my day in bed afterwards. I laid curled around my favorite cuddle pillow (that’s a pillow that I use strictly for comfort in times of stress) in the fetal position staring blankly at my computer screen as I found TV shows to binge rather than get any productive work done. I felt frozen in my spot, only moving my left arm to occasionally click buttons to continue episodes or change movies.

As I laid in my dark bedroom, curtains closed with only my dragonfly string lights providing any illumination, I sifted through the dark thoughts and feelings. First I was angry that when I wanted to be productive, my mind got the better of me and left me nearly catatonic. I was furious at the unpredictability of my feelings and mind when I was trying to do something for both myself and others.

Once I got through the anger and frustration, I laid there pulling apart the spell the witch had cast over me. I’m an overly sensitive person, that paired with my anxiety makes it easy for me to see/sense things that aren’t really there occurring. I tried talking to a variety of people yesterday to pull me out of my smokey spell, but every time I opened my mouth or typed out a message I got the overwhelming feeling that I was a bother to every single person I came into contact with.

I realize that in all likelihood everyone was just busy with their own issues, that I was talking to a lot of people via Facebook messenger and text messages so I couldn’t actually tell if I was annoying them or not. I’m sure that if I looked back on all my conversations I had yesterday I’d see that everything was just fine, but the spell I was under had be questioning every single interaction I made with every person. At this point I’m fairly certain that the spell my anxiety put me under was all made by the illusion of trouble, rather than the actual existence of problems.

Aside from the unpredictability factor, that is the worst part of my anxiety and depression; that I can never tell if i’m in any actual danger or if it’s all an illusion. I see and sense things that aren’t there all the time, but my body and mind are convinced that the danger is real. I think that’s the part that really defeats me and leaves me lying in bed all day, not knowing if I am in any actual trouble or not. The smoke makes it impossible to see sometimes.

I am forever learning and changing around my anxiety and depression. Learning that they were casting spells over me has been both terrifying and liberating. I’m hoping from now forward that I will be able to deconstruct the spells and clear the smoke with more efficiency and care, but like all other humans suffering it’s going to be an uphill struggle.

I suppose in a manner of speaking, it’s time for me to bone up on my own magic spells… Expecto Patronum! That didn’t work…..