What it’s like to be a crazy person

It may seem like a typical morning for a semi-lazy, not-completely-useless adult human being in America. I slept in until 10:30, washed my hair, gave our 40 lb Border Collie, Argos, a shower because he has bad dandruff this winter, and worked on estimating my taxes. (Working on my taxes? Does that knock me out of the lazy category all together?)

But despite the semi-productive things I accomplished, if you look at my habits lately (waking up late, playing video games, only performing the most necessary of responsible tasks) compared to over the summer (waking up early, being very active, proactive, creative, etc,) you would notice a drop in motivation. You might throw me a bone, “Well, it’s cold, people tend to be less active in the winter.” But here in Alabama we have been enjoying clear skies and mid-day highs in the upper 60’s. So that’s no excuse, unfortunately.

Why am I concerned with the new behavior? Well, it tends to be a sign of other underlying problems. Let’s just say that when I went to Massage school in 2013, there was a question on the orientation form asking about my mental and emotional stability. I hovered over that check box. I have never been diagnosed with any psychological disorders, but that may only be due to my never having been to a psychiatrist. Since barely graduating high school, after a brief recovery period, I have ascended to the status of being functional in society. This is how I gauge my stability and wellness. Last summer I went through one of the worst depressions of my life, and I still managed to function, show up to work, keep up with my house and responsibilities, etc.

However, sometimes chemical imbalances and old childhood baggage pops up to halt your progress just when you thought you had it all worked out. When I notice the signs, I go, “Ok, where is this coming from?” I feel like this latest phase has been one of over-indulgence. It’s like I just want to check out (not in the drugs way; I have never done drugs) and be cognizant as little as possible. Hence: sleeping in late, playing video games for hours and hours, and taking ridiculously long hot showers. These might not seem like major problems, but they are all ways I can gauge my escapism. I usually despise waking up late, and enjoy an active morning where I read, play games or brain-storm. Long hot showers have been a classic way for me to escape things I don’t want to deal with. And, there’s nothing wrong with playing video games. When I am at my healthiest I usually enjoy an hour here or there. But when I play for 5 hours straight, and go about my day wondering when I will get a chance to get behind the controller again… um… I’m having an escapism issue.

There is a quote, I don’t know from where, that goes something like, “If you’re rich, you’re eccentric. If you’re poor, you’re crazy.” Wage-wise, I probably fall right above the poverty line, but I have more than enough crap and I certainly feel wealthy, so maybe I fall somewhere in between the two. I certainly have some eccentric behaviors. Being un-diagnosed and un-medicated, I find interesting methods to shake myself out of a hitch.

This is why, at 1:30pm today, being fed up with my lazy behavior, I was pacing the house, repeating aloud a phrase from one of my favorite childhood Jim Carrey movies: “Everything you do matters, and everything you don’t do.”

Say it out loud with me, people. We so often feel that we are insignificant, but each and every one of us matters.

“Everything you do matters, and everything you don’t do.”

That last part is important. It’s not just that what you do isn’t harmful, it’s whether you take action on things you believe in. It’s whether you fall silent when others are being mistreated, or when certain people or groups are causing harm in the world. No, we can’t dawn a red cape and go take out all the bad guys, but we can explore every option and take every possible action to create a safer, fairer world. We can speak up. We can vote. We can, at the very least, be conscious consumers and vote with our dollars.

Now, the speaker from Liar, Liar was referring to a father showing up to his kid’s birthday party, but I think this phrase has grander applications–like to life, and everything. So I feel pumped now. I am actually shivering. I’m not sure if it’s chilly, or if it’s the coffee, or because I have stirred up a new fervor, but I’m shakin! It’s time to get out of this rut.

So here is to the importance of our actions and decisions every day.

Here is to finding new motivation, not just to take care of necessary remedial duties, but to go above and beyond in being the best human beings we can be.

Cheers! *Raises coffee*


My Morning With Depression

You could say I woke up on the wrong side of the bed today. Or the wrong side of my brain.

For a disclaimer, let me say that I have been mostly happy lately. The last several years have consisted of long, consistently positive times, punctuated by a few dreary occasions when my depression crept up. This morning was unexpectedly sad. The plan was to get up early and do yoga. But as I rolled out of bed after laying in for an extra hour, I found I didn’t feel like doing anything except sitting on the couch. I snapped at my boyfriend a couple times, which is very unlike me.

My good friend texted me.

One thing every person suffering from depression needs is a friend who understands depression.

When she asked how my morning was going, I answered honestly. “Shitty.”

“What’s wrong?” I used to hate this question. I didn’t want to face my problems or my feelings when I was younger, but now I appreciate it as an opportunity to put my issues into words and hopefully find solutions.

I explained that I felt like I had no direction in life (which is usually what my anxiety attacks break down to.) There are two compents to depression in my experience. One is the whole chemical imbalance thing: feeling sad for no good reason. But, while the emotions can fluxuate and quickly become escalated, I don’t feel like they are completely groundless. In my case, at least, I found deep-seated fears and anxieties that were at the base of my mood swings.

Before my friend kindly consoled me, I went out onto the porch. It was a beautiful day. I love the sun reflecting on the leaves on the trees towering over my neighborhood, the soft whisper of the wind passing through. It’s been chilly, but today was warmer, and before noon the temperature was perfect. I felt instantly calmer. I thought of a couple things I might accomplish today. By the time I went back inside, I felt better.

An hour later I went on a walk with my neighbors–some really wonderful friends of mine as well as friends of theirs whom I don’t know, and their kids. I got into a long conversation with one of the women.

While trying to explain my situation to this new friend, I found myself putting my whole situation into words in a way that it made more sense to me, which resolved my anxieties and questions from earlier.

And the rest of my day was pretty great.

I had some new insights, read an interesting article, thought about life, and printed out some more Passion Planner pages, which always makes me feel better about life! I think it is amazing that I can wake up absolutely hating life, and then go on to have a really great day.