Saturday, January 18, 2014

How to wallow in self-pity: a short guide to anxiety/depression cocktails

The thing about being depressed is that you essentially don't need anyone to criticize your work or give you feedback on anything you do because you won't listen to them anyway. To put it simply, a severely depressed person focuses all of their attention on themselves and no matter what they do, in their own eyes it will never be good enough. You are always too fat or too skinny, to pale or too dark, your hair is never quite right and even if you were awarded an Olympic gold medal, a Nobel Prize and an honorary title of "president of space" you would still feel like you are worth jack shit. 
In essence, a depressed individual is the exact opposite of a narcissist. The only thing the two have in common is not being based on reality. A self-absorbed narcissist will focus most of their attention on other individuals in order to show them just how much better he or she is and how worthless they are in his or her magnificent presence (especially if they are not). A depressed individual will notice no one but themselves, focusing all of their attention on either trying to prove to themselves they are not as worthless as they appear or, in more severe cases, reaffirming the fact that, no matter what the world around them says or does, they are in fact useless collections of atoms that would serve their greatest purpose in life by pushing daisies. My place in this whole conundrum is hopping somewhere between the proving to myself and the world that I matter on the one side, and becoming fertilizer on the other. Depending on the day, I might be anywhere on that spectrum with the occasional outburst of i-am-actually-normal-and-the-world-is-good mood. On the particular day I wrote the following paragraphs my brain was rooting for the daisies.

I could feel a panic-attack coming. It wasn't the first and it sure as hell wouldn't be the last, but it was bad. I have to remind myself to breathe (in through the nose, out through the mouth) and I'm shaky. Not the kind of shaky you get when you forget to eat, more like a fight-or-flight instinct that can't make up its mind; to tackle the invisible enemy with a blunt ax or run like hell down a dead-end street? Tough decisions. I feel and over-think each of my breaths. I feel the adrenalin rushing and I can't help but give in to it. It is a pointless waste of time and energy, a panic-attack, and I am still giving in to it. To hell with all of it, all the soothing, calming picture-your-happy-place bullshit. I'm gonna panic now, calm myself down later, when my brain decides it is time and when I get some natural and slightly less natural chemical help with the calming. Breathe, damn it! My heart is racing. You'll give yourself a heart-attack. Dad was at the doctors today, the doctor doesn't like the look of his arteries. Fuck, not that again. Dad wont die! But Anna's dad had a heart attack and he was in better shape than your dad AND younger too. Shut up! What would happen if mom got sick, like stay in the hospital sick and dad panicked like you are panicking now? AAAARGH!!!! Stop it!!! What of you and the brat? And you are supposed to take care of your boyfriend now, since he's unemployed. Stop it, stop it, stopit stopit stopitstopitstopitstopit!!!! Fine, I'll shut up now. I'm sure you've got other things to do, like school stuff, right? Oh, God!!! I need a cigarette! And a drink! AND I DON'T CARE IF THAT MAKES ME AN ALCOHOLIC!!!

This whole conversation is, naturally, all in my head. I am sitting alone at the kitchen table, my brother in his room playing video-games, my parents watching TV in the living room, all of them completely oblivious to the fact that I am silently falling apart over a cup of coffee. And now you know why my brain sometimes comes to the conclusion that I am just not worth the trouble I cause. I don't , in general, bother other people with my deficiencies, but I give myself a helluva mental workout.

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