Sunday, October 31, 2010

Pulling the Trigger...figuratively.

Just so you know, this is my third edit of this post. I've had a couple of friends call and talk to me about some of the harsher language that I used initially. I am probably a bit too blunt for my own good at times, especially when venting in the middle of bout of depression. But I also do feel that there are more than a few out there who can relate to all of this.

Still, I am VERY sorry if this post caused anyone to be fearful or worried. This was NOT my intent. This post was merely to shed a light on people who struggle with "Depression" from time to time, such as I do. I hope that no one was too worried. Because I am O.K. I just need this avenue as a way to ride this this kind of thing out.

SO, on with the post after that disclaimer...after 2 days...

I am hoping that anyone who struggles with depression and reads this post will leave a comment. I am curious as to how you deal with it when it hits you? (Non-medication answers only)

I am also curious as to how it feels when it's on you; what things run through your mind, what images pop into your head, and what type of music plays in your brain?

Finally, I am very curious if you can tell when depression is about to hit you? What are the initial first moments like for you?

I'm about to describe what it's like for me, so enjoy.

There is a certain irony that I should be dealing with a bout of the darkness on today of all days. It's October 31st. This is the anniversary of Martin Luther nailing his 95 Theses to the Wittenberg door back in 1517, and thus starting the Protestant Reformation. When Luther was still a monk, he would go through periods where he would actually whip himself with a lash over the sins that he had committed. He and I share some common practices apparently. He used a physical lash to beat himself up. I just use my mind...or maybe my mind uses me.

I am always curious as to what finally triggers this to go off in me. If I could narrow it down to one or two things, I might be able to keep it at bay. But it appears that there are a variety of triggers that make me finally pop. I suppose that I should have seen it coming in some respects. It's almost a year ago exactly that I had another bout. (I seem to get around 3 a year, for some reason.)

I know for a fact that I have had quit a bit of stress pilling up over these past few weeks. I have a bad tendency to over-think and dwell on stuff much more than most folks do. (Seems to me, anyway.) Of course, now the weather is getting colder & darker. That never seems to do me much good. But I think the final trigger or triggers was my own mouth, and the words that came out of them the past few days.

See, I am the king of putting my foot in my mouth. Seriously, I am the heavy weight champion when it comes to that. I manage to stick both size 11's down my throat at least twice a year. My finest moment was many years ago when I mistook a large & beefy man...with the most beautiful & flowery long hair I had seen in ages, for a woman! And I proclaimed my mistake loudly at a wedding party...while sitting next to that man's wife! (Seriously though, if your husband gets mistaken for a woman by a guy who is sober, you might want to sit him down and have a chat.)

I've never been good at handling personal mistakes, especially ones like that. I don't know if it is the Scandinavian in me, or the Baptist. Who knows? But I just don't handle that well. You can talk to me until you are blue in the face about why that is silly, but it changes nothing. It's what I do.

Here's a weird fact about me: Most people look at me as being friendly and outgoing...and I do strive for that. I like to make other people smile & laugh. However, for as long as I can remember, there have always been these dark thoughts just below my surface. Even on my best days, I go through life feeling like a fraud and a phony. I really do. I AM nobody. I am just waiting for everyone to finally realize that.

So let's say that I say or do something inappropriate, embarrassing or dumb...especially in public. Well, guess what I just confirmed about myself?

See, then what begins to it did last night...and then really began to ramp up this morning, is that I begin to recall and relive every single other mistake that I have made. They feed on each other. But their feeding only makes them hungrier, so they have to look for more memories to eat. Honestly, picture the vortex of water when you flush your toilet. You know how the water begins to spin? That is EXACTLY what it looks like in my mind. However, instead of it all going down the drain, it just gets bigger & bigger. Pretty soon I am recalling mistakes that I made back in elementary school.

All of this only proves the point that I am no good. No good to myself or anyone else. I am a fraud. I have no class. I am a big mouthed idiot. I am nothing but a buffoon. And I will never, ever be able to stop making a fool out of myself every chance I get, because that is what I am best at. I live to blow it! That is my purpose in life.

I can lay in bed, sit at my desk, or stand in the shower. That vortex will just keep spinning bigger & bigger, and I'm the only one who goes down the drain to all of the other pieces of crap in the sewer.

(That's interesting! While writing all of this, I just realized what the final trigger was that got me spinning. For all sorts of reasons, I shall keep it to myself.)

If you think I am joking about the darkness below the surface, here is a true story: A long time ago I worked with a gal who became a very close & trusted friend. She noticed that every once in a while I would make noises for no reason. (No! It is not Turret's Syndrome.) I would hum or whistle for just a moment...maybe quack like a duck. What she figured out, and called me on, was that I was making that noise to try and flush a negative memory out of my head.

Sure enough, I would be sitting up in the office working on something. The room would be quiet. Then all of a sudden, "Wah, wah, wah," or something like that comes out of me. Then I would hear, "You're thinking dark thought again, aren't you?" She was a smart cookie.

The fact of the matter is that when this stuff hits me, I feel very distant from God. From time to time, I get very angry at God. I'm sorry if that sounds blasphemous, but that's a fact of life for me. It would be much easier for me if I could just call him up and we could go get coffee, but it rarely seems to be that easy.

I've been asking him to talk to me again. Send me a dream or something. Anything to let me know that he gives a crap. So far, no such luck. Faith is not an easy thing.

You know, you can play pretend all you want. You can put on your "Happy Face" mask and tell me that life in general, and following Jesus in particular, is just one big joyous pick-nick. (I know more than a few B.S. preachers who sell that garbage.)

I write about this stuff in the hopes that I will find some answers. I started this blog to help me process stuff. If, by being open & honest about this issue and these struggles, someone else is helped along the way, then I am satisfied. Maybe I am not as big a fraud as I think...maybe just a slightly smaller fraud.

You might not like any of what I have just written, but I promised myself that I would never lie in any of my posts. And honestly, I feel a lot better now that I have written this. (I told you that blogging was a good way to process this stuff. It sure beats doing something really dangerous and listening to Rush Limbaugh.)


P.S. Sometimes I wish I could just wander off into the woods and never come back. If I ever do, I will change my name to Xebeche.

"It is preferable not to travel with a dead man."
Henri Michaux

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