Fake It Till You Make It

It’s a curiously well-known fact that the act of making yourself smile will cause your body to release endorphins and serotonin, even if you aren’t feeling happy at that moment. Because of this, it’s been speculated that if you smile when you feel stressed you can minimize the toll that stress takes on your body. The official jury is still out on how strong this reaction is and if it’s effected by whether you’re forcing a smile or genuinely smiling (called a Duchenne smile, which involves muscles from around the eyes), but nonetheless studies show that it seems to have an impact.

Shrinks will tell you think of thing, too. If you’re depressed and nothing makes you happy anymore, make yourself do things that used to make you happy until they make you happy again. Pretend you’re still happy. Make yourself do things happy you did. Eventually you’ll feel better again, they say.

It sounds so easy, like when I mine information and develop new interests in things when I meet new people… but it’s not that easy. I sit down to draw and can’t think of anything to draw, or worse, I think of something to draw and ruin it. I try to play a video game, and I can’t even get the game basics right. I go out to a show and end up sipping vodka in the back of the room alone instead of talking to anyone, and end up leaving feeling worse than when I dragged myself out.

Recently, D2 had a friend who was really tail spinning. Long story short, a girl fell for her best friend. He didn’t feel the same. So she was devastated, and he was angry. Her behavior spiraled out to the point she cut herself and contemplated suicide. So D2 went to her house and held her, called her parents, and I guess she’s doing better now. He also planted in her head that she might be bipolar, like he is.

Here’s why that all bothers me.

A, not everyone is a fucking bipolar. D2 is diagnosed. I am diagnosed. It does not mean that everyone who tries to kill themselves is bipolar. It means a lot of people can’t deal with life. For a number of reasons.

2, I, personally, wouldn’t have time for this bullshit… Spiraling out in to overwhelming depression because someone doesn’t love you back romantically is a dumbass reason to be suicidal. It’s mellow dramatic. It’s attention-seeking. It’s stupid. Being angry at someone for having feelings for you is a dumbass reaction. It just invalidates that person and leaves them open to some dumbass emotional response that will distance both you, and turn into some superfluous bullshit.

D, D2 tells me all of this, about people I barely know, who have pretty much replaced me and my function in his life… and meanwhile I’m at home looking at hoarded bottles of Xanax, Temazapam, and antipsychotics wondering if I have to put me to asleep forever.

D2 thinks he knows what suicide looks like. He’s been there, tried that, and recovered. He knows what a spiral looks like. It’s big, it’s in your face, it’s trying to get people to hurt you, and getting blackout drunk, and causing a scene at work. It’s crying in public, and looking distraught, and not being able to keep it together. It’s cutting yourself, and screaming at your friends, and suddenly cancelling all your plans with people, and putting yourself in dangerous situations. Anyone can spot a spiral. Those are the people that end up getting help. Those are the people whose parents worry about them, and whose friends ask if they’re okay, and who end up in a shrink’s office on a script of Prozac. What D2 doesn’t know is what giving up looks like.

Giving up is a process. It’s quiet and gradual. It’s always cancelling plans last minute because you feel “sick,” but promising that you guys will do something together soon. It’s giving up your hobbies because you’re too tired after work, but promising yourself that you’ll get back to them. It’s not taking a shower for a week, because you wake up late every single day and don’t have time. It’s staring at a bottle of vodka in your freezer, and being too depressed to even drink your sorrows away. It’s coming home to people and pets that are super excited to see you, but being too tired to deal with their energy, so you yell at them or close yourself off in your room. It’s buying things you don’t need just because you think it might fill the hole in your life where your friends used to be. It’s eating too much. It’s not eating enough. It’s sitting in your car for an hour after you get home because you know that when you walk through the door your spouse/kids/pets will want attention, and you really should mop and vacuum and clean the bathroom and put your laundry away… and all you’re going to be able to do is sit down and waste the evening until it’s late enough to go to bed… and it all starts over in the morning. It’s the fakers, who still get up, and go to work, and smile when you see them who give up.

So I’m waiting for my dresses: bright colors and happiness. I’m working on perfecting that Duchenne smile: how to smile with your eyes. I stopped buying books so I can read what I have. I’m monitoring what I eat and when, trying to stick to lean meats, veg, and some chocolate. I’m trying not to look into mirrors too long, so I can’t see the cracks in the facade. I’m distracting myself with educational youtube channels and staring at blank paper until I decide I can try again the next day when it’s finally time to go to bed.

I’m faking it… and I don’t know that I feel better at all, but it’s pretty evident that no one is the wiser to what’s going on beneath the surface. No one’s come knocking on my door to check on me. No one blinks an eye when I cancel plans at the last second, no matter how many times in a row it happens. No one thinks twice about my overuse of the 😛 emoji, or how they haven’t seen me in real life in a while.

Sometimes, when I feel real low, I wonder what people would think if I were to kill myself. I mean, all the signs are there. It’s not like I’ve put real effort into hiding it. Just put on that fake smile and talk when you’re supposed to, and everything else can be ignored. Everyone always says they never see it coming when people kill themselves… but it’s because no one is looking, and even if they are, it’s easier to convince themselves that it’s not their business.

It’ lucky, or unlucky depending on how you look at it, that I have so many pets… I’m sad, yes. I think about killing myself a lot, yes. I am overwhelmingly responsible, though. I would never leave my pets, or my mom like that. Especially since my mother would just kill HERself, and we’d both be dead, and ten animals would end up in a shelter without us. It’s just a series of events that wouldn’t help anyone.

Still, sometimes I wish someone would ask if I’m okay and demand to just be there. What a hypocritical statement… it’s not like I bother checking on anyone… but they say suicide is selfish, so maybe that comes with the territory.

Update: I reached out to check on Bird. She’s been sad, and I wish someone would check on me, so I checked on her. And told her a cool Zelda hack about chickens. So… at least I did that.

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A Double Post Kinda Day – Still Blue

What am I doing?!

I don’t know, but I keep texting him anyways. It’s not like I’m in love, or even lust, but I keep texting him. I guess I’m lonely. It’s not as though I have anyone to generally talk to about being sad. A stranger can chat without prying. I can talk to a stranger without thinking about anything important. It’s a nice escape from everything, I guess.

I suppose some people talk to their friends, but even with the small group of friends I keep I can’t imagine bothering them with my emotional turmoil. I mean, what do they care?

Most don’t: that’s the short answer. Having been removed from my immediate life for long enough, I have tried reaching out to my friend in California, but unsurprisingly he’s not really interested in it. I’m not sure why it’s surprising, as I’ve always felt him a touch self-absorbed anyway, but it hurts nonetheless. I tried telling a friend in Maine, because she’s another person I needn’t look in the eye when I spout my emotionally fucked bullshit, but while she’s concerned she isn’t really sure how to handle it. She just tries to reassure me, which is about as effective as it sounds reassuring a crazy person would be. Ha.

I have not tried to talk to my local friends, or my best friend in Oregon, about my meds or how I’m feeling. At my lowest I made it known to Bird that I was struggling, but I can’t imagine actually trying to explain a bipolar thought pattern to her. I considered trying to tell my bipolar friend, but he’s also very self-absorbed. He doesn’t even really do a good job at pretending to care about others; he’s just hellbent on trying to feel like a person again. I can’t really blame him for that… it’s hard the first time you lose yourself.

I could never REALLY talk to the Mothership about my bipolar. She understands depression, but only to the point she’s managed to build her own little barricade of coping mechanisms. So if I’m too depressed to get out of bed, that’s beyond her realm of understanding… so I, too, get out of bed and trudge on into the day, knowing that as soon as I walk through my front door I’m allowed to hit the floor and not move again until the next morning if I have to… and I have. No, my darling mother has major depression, not bipolar, so she doesn’t get mania. She doesn’t have highs that come in waves of feeling powerful, vengeful, or even happy. She doesn’t know what it feels like to think yourself invincible. She just knows the blue… the malaise… the ongoing sea of endless nothing. At least she sort of gets half of it, I guess. When I want to cry but have no reasons, she gets that… and she worries about all those depression-y things that crop up from time to time.

Knowing kinda half the story isn’t enough to understand, though. I can’t explain to her why mania is a problem or the complicated dance the two weave across the dance floor of my personality. I can’t explain why I do some things, or what it’s REALLY like to hear a voice you’re aware is all in your head. I can’t explain to her everything I’ve done under the influence of one episode or another. I can’t explain why there’s so shame behind my eyes and why certain innocuous things seem to hurt me. No, it’s not enough to know the half-truth of a disease and what ways it can eat at a heart.

So I keep texting him, even though I’ve already told him we shouldn’t see each other romantically. I hold my breath each time the phone buzzes, hoping it’s the nice young man that barely knows me. We don’t talk about my bipolar, or depression, or mania, or the voices, or how sometimes I think I’d rather die than have to get out of bed. I don’t feel the urge to tell him I’m struggling, or that going home at the end of a long work day is awful because there are little living things there relying on me to care for them. I don’t feel like I have to confess. It’s just small talk… How was your day? Did you see that film? What time are you free for a drink on Saturday? It’s nothing important. It’s nothing that hurts.

I don’t love him or lust for him… I don’t ache for him, and I definitely don’t want to be in his bed or his arms… but it’s just nice to fill the time with bullshit, I guess. When real life is so hard, the meaningless becomes quite pleasant.

I’m Back To Blue

I cancelled my shrink appointment in October, so I’m definitely on my own for mood management again. I hate the med trials, and the very nonchalant way shrinks are just like,

“You have to try shit till it works… that’s all we can do.”

Why is that all they can do? If I have a lung infection they don’t give me random meds until something works. They isolated the likely cause of of lung infections and prescribe antibiotics accordingly. So if I’m having symptoms, why can’t they take those symptoms and give me the BEST option for the most likely culprit of my symptoms?

I’m sad.
You’re bipolar.

Maybe, but I’m only worried about the sad?

We’re gonna treat the mania.

I don’t care about the mania.
Nah, we’re gonna treat the mania.

Will that help the sad?

In theory it might. If not, we’ll add more meds later.

I don’t want more meds. Can we just treat the sad?

No, we’re going to treat the mania and later we can treat the sad.

BUT I’M NOT WORRIED ABOUT THE MANIA!!! I JUST DON’T WANT TO BE SAD ANYMORE GOD DAMN IT! WHY WON’T YOU LISTEN TO ME?!

This is why we have to treat the mania… you’re irritable.

Literally my experience with the psychiatric community.

I sometimes worry about my future, as the only thing I can predict about it is that I’ll think about suicide. I already do that a lot, so it’s not a far fetched idea to think that will persist. I worry about reaching a place where I’m in between pets, mom has died, and I feel alone… cuz that’s when it could definitely happen. I don’t have a resilient force of will with suicide, it’s just always been inconvenient. If it were suddenly less inconvenient, I’m not sure what I’d do. I only tried the once as a teenager, and that was a complete failure I never tried to repeat again.

I dunno. I just feel hopeless about everything. I wanna move us to Oregon for a change of scenery, but I have no reason to think that will improve my depression. I’ll just be depressed around a lot of trees instead of in the ‘burbs of Denver. It’s worth a shot, I guess. It’s got Mothership motivated to try and get shit done, at least. A light at the end of the tunnel… just hope it’s not a train.

Aside from being really tired and crying in the bathroom at work, I seem pretty normal, though. I’m even supposed to go see that guy again on Saturday to get my bangles back from him. He’s really nice. I’m still sad that isn’t gonna work out. I don’t really think that subjecting a normal human being to my bipolar sociopathic ass is really good for either of us, though. People like me are what Lifetime movies are trying to warn you about.

Randomly, I keep thinking about my ex… the one I’d like to drag into the street an beat to death before setting his body on fire… I’m not sure why. It’s been almost 8 years since the breakup, and I’ve ever dated since then, but I can’t let it go. I still wanna hurt him. I guess that’s from the lack of meds. All the emotions that swirl underneath my calm demeanor are bubbling over cuz they can. It’s just a random thing to feel so angry about this much time later. Some hurts never go away, I guess….

Anyways, I’m depressed…. but I think it’s okay right now.

I’m gonna try to start hitting the gym… I hate the gym, but I do sleep better if I can get all the rage out… and I’d like to lose some weight if that’s possible (like a whole person worth of weight, tbh).

Can I Just Sleep Until I Die?

I’m trying really hard not to let this whole thing get to me… but it does. You see, the problem with hope and happiness, is that both can be crushed beneath any stray boot. It’s better not to have them at all, than to have them just long enough to make losing them painful.

Until this past weekend, it had been a year since I was intimate with someone. More than that, it’s been three or four years since I was even interested in someone. I’d reached a point where I was okay with that. I’d pushed friends away, and avoided romantic situations, and aside from bad drunken sex I avoided human intimacy. Everything was fine; that’s just who I was now, and it was totally fine. Yeah, there’s always a hint of crippling loneliness. I get tired of going out alone all the time. I get sick of seeing couples in the street. Even romance in movies and TV made me feel uncomfortable and gross. It’s all so unrealistic, and yet it always looks so nice.

Of course you don’t know in three days if someone is worth your time, but apparently that’s all you need to want more human contact in your life. Sunday was such a lovely day, and it seemed so wonderful to have someone that I wasn’t trying to push away. I was just being me, and letting him see that. It was freeing and lovely and I wanted more, so much more. I’d rather I’d never felt that. Now, that feeling is gone and has been replaced by regret and loneliness. There’s a hole in the center of my body that I had learned to ignore for so long, and now it throbs.

Feeling badly, as I do, I thought I’d treat myself to a cheat day. I’ve been dieting, and the night before last I clock a total of 460 calories for the day, so I didn’t think it would be a big thing to hit 1700 yesterday. Today I’m back to dieting… and food no longer fills me with joy. I ate exactly what I wanted last night and it didn’t do anything. So, not only am I wallowing in my own misery, but the one thing that used to bring me joy no longer does anything. I just felt sick after cramming that much Chipotle into my face. Whatever is missing from my life apparently can no longer be placated with a burrito.

And maybe that’s good. I have a friend I text perpetually and always, and I realized how depressed I sound when I talk about this whole three day business, so I doubled back with the affirmation: “Well, if it doesn’t make shit better, then I don’t need to binge eat ever again! Silver lining!” Maybe that’s true. It doesn’t feel important though. Life just feels so meaningless that I don’t even want to be awake for it anymore.

My best friend lives 1091 miles away…. my secondary best friend just moved 1281 miles away…. my back up best friend wants to join the Navy and leave, not that I ever see her anyway. My mother is miserable. My job is currently being turned on its head and shaken. It’s going to be winter soon, and I’ll have to contend with snow. The only bright spots in my life are my pets, and unfortunately you can’t take them to dinner and a movie, or to a concert, or discuss movies with them. I feel lonely, and I hate everything right now… but mostly me… I hate me so much right now, for getting all tangled up in false hopes and fragile happiness, and for being genuinely surprised when it all fell apart. What am I? New? No. I know better.

I think I’ve mentioned this before, but I was supposed to kill myself this year. When I was fourteen I made a plan. I was going to do my life better than my mom. I was going to be married at 24, and start having kids at 26. I wanted two kids, and to live somewhere with a beach. We’d both work so that we had enough money to have nice family vacations, and by the time the kids were done with college we’d have enough money to travel around a bit before we retired.
The backup plan to that was that if I wasn’t married and had no kids by 26, I was going to kill myself.

I didn’t. I’m still here, obviously. Life hadn’t been good up till then, but I thought that this year I might figure it out. I thought this would be the year I committed to weight loss, and got my house in order, and I’d make some new friends and just enjoy being me. None of that happened. I’m still fat. Down 13 lbs as of this morning and I have 127 left before I’m remotely happy. I actually have LESS friends now than this time last year. I finally got some work done on my house, but everyday I just debate getting rid of everything I own and living in my house with nothing. Still might.

Nothing got better. Nothing panned out.
I don’t think I’m going to kill myself… because I have to take care of the pets. I just… don’t wanna be awake for this part of my life anymore. Everything is meaningless, and all I want is to feel close to someone again… and I know it won’t be for a very long time.

Damn me for trying.
Damn me for not knowing better.
Damn me for getting so lost that I let myself hurt me.

I’m having a bad life.