Depression

Sep. 5th, 2008 10:04 am
scottahill: (Default)
I have little doubt that I suffer from the low-grade chronic variety of depression called dysthymia: it doesn't prevent me from feeling happy or enjoying things, but it is a little dark cloud that shows up in quiet moments, and it doesn't go away (major depression on the other hand tends to dissipate).

As I mentioned in the comments of my last post, the problem with depression is that it is so damn BORING and repetitive. It's all about rumination, chewing the same cud of complaints over and over again, and it tends to feel like there's no progress because one sees the negative thread which binds everything together. When I feel boring, I avoid talking about my feelings to people for fear of boring them, and because the feelings are such a big part of my day, I avoid talking to people in general, and then I feel more isolated and depressed. Downward cycle.

My family, while kind and loving, do tend towards that Old-School "If you'd stop whining and work, you'd feel better" drill-sargeant mentality. WHINING is the word that sums it all up. Am I whining? Where does one draw the line? A lot of my problem might be described as laziness, and certainly there are productive people who want to plop down in front of the TV or stay in bed, but is a depressed person lazy when they can't get out of bed? If not, where do you draw the line? How hard does it have to be to get up and work? We can't even MEASURE that-- there's no way to compare the mental difficulties of two different people with any accuracy.

Maybe I'm asking the wrong question because like a good Catholic I am too focused on the idea of sin. I want to know where the borderline is between sloth and disability. Or maybe it's not a question of sin so much, as how people will judge you that counts. Does it elicit sympathy from people, does it get on their nerves? But that relies on the vagaries of other people: Miriam gets on my nerves sometimes, but that is due to my own lack of patience, not to intransigence on her part.

One thing I do know is that guilt is bad for me: it never motivates me to do good because it comes too late, and it beats me down into self-pity. One needs to take responsibility for one's actions, and resolve not to repeat things that have bad results, but how can one do that without guilt? A different form of discipline, perhaps? Maybe there's a secret lying somewhere in modern parenting techniques, where one disciplines the child without beating them or lashing into them. Can that be adapted to serve as an internal mechanism? Dunno.

ramble off

EDIT:
Another tangent: depression makes one pessimistic, and that makes one a little paranoid about one's friends. I am always looking for signs that I am an annoyance, and a single lukewarm response can start a whole train of self-doubt: "Maybe I've been wrong, and this person isn't really my friend, we only sang together in a group after all, it's not like we spent a lot of individual time together, maybe I'm just part of the whole college package, etc etc, and now here I show up and it's awkward for them and I'm a pest and should stop bugging them and being so needy."

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scottahill

September 2010

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