I think I’ve deleted the first paragraph or so of what I was trying to write here about 10 times now, and it’s just not coming together the way I want it to. It’s so frustrating for me because I really do try to articulate my emotions on a regular basis, so to be sitting here lost for words on a topic I pride myself on my intimate knowledge of makes me just incredibly irritated. Irritated to the point that now after each sentence I write, I erase it and write something new. Irritated to the point that I’m now using a confrontational perspective. Irritated to the point that now I have lost my logical self to my emotional self and now my mind is running completely blank. Then I started typing this line, erased it, and wrote this instead. I’m considering erasing the whole paragraph, but I liked where it was going when I first stopped typing a few minutes before I wrote this sentence.
Well… I thought I was going somewhere, but I’m back to erasing sentences. And isn’t that just so typical of me? Not that the reader would know. Not that the reader would care!
I’m kidding mostly. I’m sure the reader would be a great person to have a drink with. They say humor is a common way for depressed people to deflect their true emotions from people. So, consider this whole thing a deep metaphorical statement.
I paint, in my spare time. I have a lot of spare time. My biggest hope for my paintings is that I can translate the emotions that I feel, the ones I can’t fully articulate verbally, as truthfully and authentically as they can be represented, and nothing more. I want to be as vague as possible while simultaneously facilitating a distinct emotional response. Many before me have taken upon this endeavor. My favorite Humanities professor hated Jackson Pollock. “It’s all just a big mess, pretty I guess.” People tell me my art reminds them of Jackson Pollock. My humanities professor has a PhD in appreciating art.
What makes me more depressed than somebody else? I ask myself this question a lot. Why does my situation get a label, while everyone else has to settle for being sad? Is the answer in the scars running parallel down my thigh? Is it in my broken and scarred over hands? Was it proved by my Baker Act hospitalization? Does the reader think so? I feel like the reader thinks I am being facetious. I’m not, I promise I’m being as genuine as I can. Someone told me I was in denial about it. That person was wrong. I just feel compelled to think the opposite of what makes logical sense. I’m fully self-aware of my illogical attitude about this. So, I can’t be in denial. So there!
I pride myself on my logical consistency.
I think I knew things were different for me when I was a sophomore in high school. Those feelings would later be described to me, and I find it fitting, as “chronic feelings of emptiness.” I felt, and still feel, a strong sense of evanescence, like my mind was literally pulling itself away from my body. My dominant, rational self would fade into the background and give rise to something more dark, sinister, and dramatic. I think it’s a kind of release of frustration in a way, but I’ve always had problems managing a wide spectrum of emotions, love is another one that immediately pops into my mind. Evanescence works as a term because I feel like it encapsulates the “otherness” of that side of me but conceptualizes it within one total human being. It was scary, and it wasn’t that easy to find the words to describe it, they’re still not perfect. It wasn’t easy to figure out ways to cope with it, I’m still not perfect.
Pain worked. Punching allowed an emotional release, it would ground my feelings back to where I could manage them. I wrote ‘thoughts’ in that previous statement originally, and I replaced it with ‘feelings.’
Punching eventually didn’t work right away, then I found that cutting did.
Cutting too deep is scary. No one is there to help figure it out and it just won’t stop bleeding. It wasn’t like I was going to go to the hospital and then have to explain myself. The worst cut I ever gave myself bled for days. I remember all the pairs of boxers I had to throw away over the next few days, and those two pairs of shorts. I remember my mother asking me why I had taken two full boxes of bandages from her medicine cabinet. Pouring hydrogen peroxide on cuts that deep doesn’t hurt as bad as one might think, it’s a duller pain that is felt in a much larger surface area than the cut itself but lasts much longer than pouring it on a more superficial cut.. One time a pretty deep cut I gave myself on my shin started bleeding through the Band-aid while I was in public and began dripping down my leg. An old girlfriend called the deepest ones my tiger scratches, she said it was because I look like I got mauled by a tiger. I now call them my tiger stripes.
I wasn’t hospitalized until my junior year of college. The coping mechanisms got better but the mental states got worse. They classified me as having “suicidal ideation.” By that time I was so accustomed to thoughts of suicide in my life that I argued it wasn’t even an issue.I would say that I had no plans of killing myself at that time. I didn’t. Life was going to end in suicide though, that was a certainty. When I turned 21 I was going to be able to buy a gun, then it would just be a war of attrition between life and I. Suicide was such a pervasive thought too, it was just an inevitable part of the day. I think that’s the most unnerving thing about my suicidal ideation, is just how subtly it enters into the mind. I couldn’t begin to remember the first suicidal thought I ever had, eventually it was just the answer to all my self-loathing.They told me I had Major Depressive Disorder. I told them that sounded a bit too serious.
Obsessive thinking is probably the most difficult thing for me to deal with that I have experienced. I have pages upon pages of poetry that express the exact same sentiment, and it’s hard for me to really talk about because the sentiment I’m expressing is that I keep expressing the exact the same sentiment. A lot of things can trigger that kind of thinking in me. The general form of this thinking is something like this: first the thought occurs, then I think, “I’ve had this thought before,” “I’ve had this thought about thinking this thought before,” “I’ve thought about thinking about this thought too”, etc for far longer than it makes any rational sense to consider. Then it just bothers me that my mind is in a loop, that I’ll never grow as a person, my brain is decaying and I am mentally regressing, and all those kinds of thoughts happen concurrently with the thought about thinking thoughts that have been thought before. Anyway, thinking too much about it starts getting me back into that emotional state that comes with that type of thinking. I feel helpless, mentally stagnant, alone, insane, I just feel broken. I felt broken. Felt. I’m past this now. I have to be past this. The best way I’ve found to combat my obsessive thinking is to stop considering it critically until it is completely disassociated with myself, to sort of isolate it from the rest of my mind. If I treat those thoughts as an outlier in the wider, more coherent web of my logical self then it just seems to be a cruel absurdity that doesn’t deserve my attention. This works really well for me as long as it knows its place, I have worked very hard to be sure that it does.
I had a breakdown the day before I was sent to the hospital. I remember sitting on cement, scraping my knuckles against the ground until they were raw. My therapist at the university told me I was in crisis. The Baker Act is totally against the will of the person being hospitalized. Cops come in, handcuffs go on. They wouldn’t let me keep my hoodie when I was committed because of the string on it that allowed me to tighten the hood. I let them keep the string.
I took a medical withdrawal from college. The fact that I was granted one should probably give me a sense of my depression as being beyond general sadness. It doesn’t. Does being self-aware of my illogical mindset excuse me from holding illogical ideas? I understand why I want to be in denial about it, so I choose to be instead of coming to terms with it and facing it head on. Is that so hard to understand? I’m so obstinate I’ve become plated in my convoluted ivory! I imagined a maniacal laugh after that. It wasn’t mine I imagined though, my maniacal laugh just isn’t manic enough. That was a high brow depression joke. I was getting too deep back there, I had to pull out. That was a low brow joke. See how hard I’m trying to get out of this situation? I’ll show the reader how hard I’m trying.
They say humor is a common way for depressed people to deflect their true emotions from people. So, consider this whole thing a deep metaphorical statement.