Underneath my yellow skin

Tag Archives: facade

Depression is a tricky bastard it is

I’ve been experiencing a medium-grade depression for roughly six months, and it’s time to admit it isn’t going away on its own. I gutted it out the first few months because I thought it was temporary, but now, I fear it’s not true. I want to mention that I always have a low-grade depression. Always. Some days, it’s very minimal. Some days, it pushes the line between low and medium, but it never goes completely away. There is an argument to be had whether it’s depression or anxiety or a combination of both, but whatever it is, I’ve come to accept it in my life.

I do not want to accept the medium-grade depression, though, because it’s actively hindering me. When I have a low-grade depression, I can still go about my life and do what needs to be done with little problem. With medium-grade depression, the intrusive thoughts are more intrusive, and it’s harder to ignore them or brush them away. In addition, the depression knows me and my weaknesses very well, and it uses the knowledge against me. Once I catch on to its manipulations and become immune to them, it changes its tactics.

For example. When I used to be severely depressed, an entity I called The Dictator would tell me that I was toxic, worthless, and no one would care if I died. It told me that the people I thought were my friends weren’t really, that they were just being nice. Why would anyone want to be my friend? I didn’t have any redeeming qualities. I was fat, loutish, uninteresting, and unattractive. I firmly believed this, and no one could tell me anything to the contrary.

Now, I don’t believe any of that. Well, I am fat, but that’s just a descriptor and not a pejorative. I also think I’m boring, but I’m willing to believe that’s just me being hard on myself. I no longer think The Dictator is a part of me, but I haven’t gotten rid of the depression. It’s changed its attack, however, because it’s a sly and sneaky bastard. Now, instead of telling me the above, it tells me that I’m worthless because I’m not doing anything with my life. I don’t have an office job. I’m not moving up in the world. I don’t have many friends. I’m not putting out content in a way that is meaningful, and no one gives a shit about my writing. I’m never going to be published unless it’s self-published. Maybe ten people will actually give a shit if i die, and I’m not counting online people in that number. Not because they’re not real and not because I don’t care about some of them (and they probably care about me in return), but because it’s simply not the same.

All of this is true. Well, most of it is true. Some of it is more a feeling thing than an actual thing, but it leans on the side of being true. It’s hard to argue with any of it, except for the content part. That’s on me. I haven’t done what needs to be done to even have a chance of being a known content producer.

Side Note: I hate that phrase, ‘content producer’, because it’s simultaneously pretentious and antiseptic. But, it’s become an accepted phrase, especially for YouTube/Twitch.

I don’t like the term ‘creative’, either, for someone who produces artistic content, but it’s better than content producer. I like artist, but I understand that it’s not very inclusive. In general, I just like to say I’m a writer.

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It’s all a veneer

where's my cuppa?
I’m not going anywhere.

From the outside, it looks as if there’s nothing wrong with my life. I have friends I love and who love me. I don’t have to worry about money on a daily basis, and I am writing every day–meeting the goals I’ve set for myself. I am devoted to my cat, Shadow, and he to me–he’s making biscuits on my legs (the comforter over it) as we speak. I have things I’m passionate about, and I get to set my own schedule. For some people, this life would be damn near idyllic. But, as with many things, it’s what’s not being said that matters more than what is stated. Even though I have friends I love and who love me, I feel lonely sometimes. In addition, I get too much in my own head and start telling myself things I know aren’t true.

It’s the ugly head of depression, and it’s rearing itself up more frequently and higher than before. If I had to guess why, I would say it’s because I’m sick. Physical and emotional health are linked, and the longer the physical bullshit continues, the worse my mental health gets. It’s partly because I feel it’s a weakness on my part that I’m sick for so long. Rationally, I know it’s not true, but that little voice in my head is like, “You’re weak. You’re terrible.” Or, conversely, “It’s all in your head.”

Which it most definitely is not.

Yesterday, I was so exhausted, I skipped taiji. My sleep is shitty in general as I’ve documented before, but it’s been really bad in the past few days. I’ve woken up feeling exhausted with the chills, and I would struggle through the day, going to bed feeling exhausted and having hot flashes. Rinse, lather, and repeat. Last night, I was feeling perkier, but then I started coughing so hard, my voice turned raspy. This is one of the stages of sickness I get when I do get sick–hacking cough. I still have it today, but I’m feeling MUCH better in general. More energy, and not as if I’m death warmed over. I’ll take that trade-off any day of the week.

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Feeling Like Dr. Jekyll and Ms. Hyde

hiding behind my mask.
The best of me and the worst of me.

I am periodically reminded that other people have a vastly different way of viewing me than how I see myself. They see me as charming, witty, fun to be around, attractive, lively, political, sympathetic, and a good listening ear. I know because I’ve heard all of these things from other people, and twenty years ago, I would nod my head but cringe inside because I thought they were completely wrong. Well, not completely, but mostly. They only thought that because they didn’t live with me or even worse, because they weren’t me. They didn’t understand that what I showed them was a facade, one I’ve perfected over the years. I felt as if I were a living doll, carefully created to give the perfect response to any given situation.

Charming? I couldn’t deny that, but I saw it in a negative life. My father is an extremely charming man, and I saw how people (mostly women) flocked to him as if moths to a bright light. He could make you feel as if you’re the only person in the world, and, yet, to him, it was just a way to boost his ego, and not because he actually cared about the other person. I knew I had that in me, that ability to make someone feel as if they’re oh-so-special. I have a fantastic memory for names and details, and it was almost automatic for me to use my arsenal of knowledge to impress and dazzle other people. Because of what I saw in my childhood, I didn’t trust the charm I could effortlessly pour in any given situation. In addition, I have a psychology background, so I know people’s weak points. I struggle to keep my temper under control because I could destroy someone with a barrage of well-pointed barbs if I so choose.

Sensitive, yes, I’ll give you that, and my mother often told me I was overly so. Personally, I think it was her way of deflecting responsibility when she was insensitive to me and my needs, but that’s another post for another day. I am what some people would call an empath, which means I feel other people’s emotions as if they’re my own. The worst part is that I feel the negative emotions more strongly, so when I walk into a crowded room, I’m overcome with anger, sadness, depression, jealousy, and pain, among other strong emotions. Twenty years ago, I had no ability to block out these emotions, so going anywhere was agony. I could just look at someone and know that she’s being beaten at home or that he has lost his job and feels utterly hopeless. I could feel the positive emotions, too, but they were more muted. I remember one time my mom talked me into going to the State Fair, which is something I abhor. She actually tells the story about how when I was a baby and my brother was three or four, she’d take us to the State Fair because my brother loved it (he still does), and she couldn’t get a babysitter for me. I’d scream my head off the whole time, which is still how I feel about it today. Anyway, that time my mother convinced me to go about twenty years ago, I lasted half an hour before I had to leave because I was overwhelmed by the flood of negative emotions swirling around me.
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