Perpetual Affective Disorder

I have reached the exciting point in my depression when I can’t even be bothered to pretend that I’m a functional adult. Show up at the bus stop to drop off my kid in my pajamas? Sure! Spend an entire month working not just from home but from bed? Why not! Seriously, if it’s been MORE THAN A YEAR and I’ve had maybe THREE GOOD DAYS I figure the likelihood of convincing the world at large that I’m fine is pretty slim.

If I were keeping a chart (which I am not, thank god) I’d probably notice that I have one or two relatively OK days and then a string of OMG WHY WHY WHY days, punctuated by the occasional panic attack or major fit of body dysmorphia (don’t ask). So it hasn’t been boring, at least.

I’m lucky. I have a job that is doable from a reclining position and which does not require me to change out of my pajamas or interact with anyone else on a regular basis. I have a family who does not expect much from me and so isn’t particularly disappointed when “not much” is all I can manage (actually, I think they’re relieved, because at least when I’m not doing much I’m not actively fucking things up NO WAIT THAT’S THE DEPRESSION TALKING, PROBABLY). I’m not into any of the more grievous versions of self-harm (booze, drugs, cutting, whatever) and really, if the worst thing I do is loathe myself all the time and eat too much sugar, it’s probably not that big of a deal, except for the part where I’m FUCKING MISERABLE but whatever, you win some, you lose some, am I right?

It would be LOVELY if I could take a pill or a handful of pills to turn me into a normal person, but the pills just make me worse in some (or lots of) new and exciting ways, AND ALSO don’t fix what was wrong in the first place. It would be even lovelier if I could afford therapy, but, well, there’s a reason for the panic attacks and that reason is entirely comprised of money and the fact that we don’t have any. So.

Hey, you are saying to yourself. This post is not particularly funny, or clever, or uplifting. To which I respond WELCOME TO THE INSIDE OF MY HEAD. But! Lest you think that I have abandoned all sense of personal responsibility, I will share with you now the varied and multi-hued coping strategies I manage to employ for much of my depressive experience:

1) Find something to obsess over. Currently, that something is The Vampire Diaries, and the point of The Vampire Diaries is Ian Somerhalder. Next up: watching all the other things I can find that he is in, except Lost, which I have seen (and don’t get me started on the ending you guys, for serious, or the lack of cohesion in the plot lines, or HEY WAIT A SECOND I THOUGHT I WASN’T GOING TO GET STARTED), or Tell Me You Love Me, which I did watch, actually, except it made me feel creepy because UNEXPECTED SOFTCORE PORN IS UNEXPECTED.*

2) Write. As I am doing NaNoWriMo again this year, I choose to look at it as a form of self-medication. Let’s just hope we don’t have a repeat of ’08 (or was it ’09?) in which I failed to finish my novel AND quit taking Prozac all at the same time and had a complete psychotic break.

3) Avoid talking to people. This one is easy. Except that sometimes I think it’s acceptable to do things like go out for a drink with a friend and decide that I’m going to SHARE, and then, you know, AWKWARD. My depression is AWKWARD. Also I’m not nearly as funny as I think I am, and when I drink, I think I am REALLY FUNNY.**

4) Bathe regularly. This one is a work in progress. (See above re: working in bed without changing into pajamas. What’s the point of bathing, really?). I do tend to feel better when I am not wallowing in my own filth, so there is that.

5) …I don’t have a number 5. Sorry.

*Not that I have a problem with porn, softcore or otherwise, but give a girl some warning, is all I’m saying. It reminded me of when I watched Sex, Lies and Videotape with my high-school boyfriend and his MOM one time, and every time there was a sex scene or someone talked about masturbation (which is THE WHOLE MOVIE) I was so exquisitely uncomfortable I was sure I would actually lose the ability to speak and possibly I would also die. Except when I watched Tell Me You Love Me I was alone, so AT LEAST THERE IS THAT.

**And LOUD. Oh my god, I can barely even THINK about how loudly I talk without breaking out in metaphorical hives. I mean, my social skills are few on a GOOD DAY but WHY? WHY DO I HAVE TO TALK SO LOUDLY WHEN I DRINK? …I’m doing it again, aren’t I?