Writing about Depression

I’ve always admired people who can write about depression, because for me, depression means not writing. Writing is my life, I love writing, my old Livejournal (which is private, if you’re a friend ask me personally for access) I used to average about Pi posts per day. I’d write fiction, hell, my standup comedy routine had me reading my own structured poetry (sonnets a particular speciality), and even writing one during the show using words chosen by the audience. I love writing. And depression as it is for me, that I love it means I haven’t been doing it. Anhedonia, thy name is Cait’s depression. Painting has also gone by the wayside. Only gaming has survived, so far.

And yet here, a perfectly cromulent place to write, where access is as easy as picking up my tablet, if I want (I don’t, I won’t be posting from it until i can get a bluetooth keyboard to use with it, it’s just too tiring and slow to try and type with a touchscreen one-handed)…I can’t seem to get a regular thing going.

This is all despite the fact that my new meds have seen me much more effective in many ways. I’ve been getting some housecleaning done, allowing for my body by doing it in small stages over time. I’ve designed an entire new game, and I’m over the hump of the boring stuff needed to make a prototype, now I just need Craig to help me physically make it and we can get playtesting. That’s kind of amazing, and given the history of the other games we’ve roughed out in notes over the years, which have always foundered on my inability to get that boring stuff done – to wade past pain and ADD and depression so I can push the boat out and get some damn fishing in so I don’t starve – I got over that hump this time.

I’ve (and this is hard to admit) been working on my hair, even. See, I’ve got long hair, and it’s Medusic. That is, it writhes and tangles like a live thing – the single way to make it not get too tangled is to braid it. Then only within the braid’s strands will be tangles. And over the last several months as my depression got worse through the winter, I’ve gotten rather badly sloppy about brushing it. In short, it’s matted in a few places, and I’ve been slowly, slowly, working on brushing it out. It’s painful and difficult, because it necessarily involves my arms up over my head, so I can only do it for ten minutes or so before needing an hour to recover.

If I didn’t have to perform femininity in order to have people not misgender me, I’d just cut it all off and start again. But I do. So I’m brushing, and washing, and brushing, and washing, and lathering conditioner in like you wouldn’t believe, but it’s all about the brushing. I wish there were a way to get help, but I don’t know of any such opportunity. :/

Wow…the shame on this runs deep. Since you’re reading this, I got over that enough to hit Publish, so yay me. But just thinking about mentioning it publicly feels so shameful that I’m weeping like a child writing this para. Can’t actually see. Stupid. But there it is. Intellectually, i know it’s not my fault. It’s depression, the big double D, depressive disorder and disthymic disorder both, and it’s the end of winter (and it fucking snowed yesterday…no…no more snow now, please?), but it’s very hard to get that fact to penetrate my feelings, in whatever weird brain chemistry is going on.

Sorry for the rambler, folks, sometimes it’s just what I need to get out. Trying to love writing again.

The Excitement Tariff

I’m using “tariff” rather than “tax” here, because taxes tend to do things, in my world, and thus I’m loath to hate on them.

What I’m talking about is a subtle part of my disability experience: that doing exciting things, even when sitting still, can be intensely wearying.

The last two nights (Saturday and Sunday), I’ve been at a friend’s place, sitting on very pretty dining room chairs that are more or less stools from the point of view of “is this a supportive chair?” Each time for about three hours and well-medicated, but at the end of each, I’ve been really sore – like, spasms hitting 8 out of 10 on the unhappy-face scale sore – and it’s carried over into the next day.

Tonight, my friends want to play Heists on GTA Online, which is something I find exciting. Mind, I’ll be sitting in my comfortable chair, well-supported, with a heating pad on my back as needed, and I can get up and move around if I need to. Ideal conditions, so it shouldn’t be too strenuous, you’d think. But you’d think incorrectly. Because it’s exciting. And excitement makes us tense our bodies.

Three hours of alternately tensing various parts of me for several minutes, and trying desperately to relax in the few moments’ downtime between missions? That’s hard on my body.

Even in optimum conditions, the excitement tariff cuts down on the amount of time I have to spend doing things I like. Now cycle back round to the depression, where getting myself interested in doing the things I like has been one of the main challenges, and you can begin to see another aspect of the ways in which my mental and physical disabilities interact so that each is made worse by the other. Not only is it a blow against dualism, but also against treating mental disabilities as “less than” physical disabilities. When someone makes a joke about how being sad making them eligible for disability, help us out by reminding them of the difference between “being sad” and “being in depression”.

Improving!

I don’t know if I can express what a feeling it is to have the sense that I’m coming out of the long, long night that has been this latest major depressive episode. It’s been two years at the minimum, probably longer. Last winter was the worst depression of my life, and winter is usually the very worst for me.

And yet…here I am, posting. Not regularly yet, but I’m writing stuff. And I’m making notes in my phone about more stuff to write about. And designing t-shirts for sale. And engaging in social activities.

In February. That’s like MAGIC.

New post today over at The Gaffer’s a Bird – don’t bother unless you’re a fan of the Football Manager games – and if I’m able to, I should be back to posting rewatch episodes here soon. I’m watching a few this afternoon. 🙂

I think my meds should be slightly raised in dosage, the one that’s made the difference that is, and when it is (I’ve an appointment next Thursday), it feels like fucking OZ is opening up before me, with colours and rainbows and shit.

If you’ve never been depressed, you can’t know how amazing this feeling is. I just hope it’s a real dawn coming down the tunnel, and not a TGV, and fuck mixed metaphors anyway.

You’ve been holding out on me, Internets

How in the frakking Nine Circles of D&D Hell can it be that not one of my friends ever told me about Adam WarRock?

I’m DISAPPOINTED! I came across a link to this amazing artist (he does geek-related hiphop, for those who didn’t open the tab or don’t already know), and after downloading half a dozen of his free EPs, spent yesterday listening to them on a loop. He’s got me painting again, and I haven’t picked up a brush in…oh, crap, it must be two or three years? I started sketching up some ideas for a couple of fan-art paintings I’ve been wanting to do, one of Alphonse Elric in his various ages protected by his big armour body, and another of Lan Fan at the end of the episode where she’s just taken down Gluttony in the dark, returning too soon with her brand-new automail. When I’m happy with the sketches, I may even post them, if anyone’s interested.

But, back to Adam Warrock. OMFIPU, dude has brought a happy into my life. I started being interested in hiphop/rap while playing GTA III San Andreas a few years back, but although I can appreciate them musically, the gangsta form doesn’t appeal to me lyrically. And I prefer my music without getting sticky kyriarchal fingers all over it (cf. homophobia, misogyny, transphobia, ableism, narrow and toxic definitions of masculinity, et c., et c.).

AND I’ve been thinking about finally writing some of the fan songs in my head and seeing if I can induce a couple of friends to do some recording with me, so this is also timely. Might be a few months, as my favourite fiddler is currently incubating a new fiddler, but it feels really good to be inspired towards artisticness again.

To bring it back around to a focus of this blog, in this case depression, one of the biggest symptoms for me of the disorder is the anhedonia, or “inability to feel pleasure”, particularly in the area of “things I used to always love doing”. Such as painting, poeming, writing, filking, all my creative loves. I’ve done very little of any of them in the last few years, as my depression has grown worse.

I think the recent dosage increase in my current AD meds is helping a lot; I also think that now I have a drug plan which can afford all my meds, I’m going to be asking my doctor for the rest of the meds I should be having which would make my life more livable. The sheer cost of them, and the overwhelmingness when depressed of dealing with the bureaucracy to get on the government health care drug plan for low-income people, has kept me from having about half the meds I should be taking.

So this is beginning to look like it will have been a very good month for me. I started a new blog (so I’m writing, huzzah!), I’m sketching, I’m poeming, and I’ve had three really good game design ideas in the last two weeks. One of them, a way to get more out of the Arkham Horror game, is good enough my game-design-partner and I are going to buff it up and polish it to present to Fantasy Flight and see if they’re interested in publishing it after we playtest it.

And I want to return briefly, before I finish and get on with some creating, to the top of the post, where I said how awesome (素晴らしい!!) Adam WarRock is. Seriously, go. Buy some of his music. Even people who don’t like hiphop, like him. And if you do, then yeah, 素晴らしい. 😀