Despite my queue being filled with half formed ideas and reviews, I haven’t been able to publish anything new over the past few months. A feeling of melancholy has devoured my life, making even the most mundane task difficult to accomplish. There have been days when I could barely shuffle out of bed, let alone make myself presentable. I’ve alienated a lot of my friends, stressed out my family, and irritated the crap out of a lot of my co-workers. I haven’t been able to accomplish anything more than the minimum required of me, because I’ve consumed by the idea that my personal life had been irreparably torn apart.
People often talk about admission as being the first step in recovery, but in acknowledging my problems I have often inadvertantly given myself permission to ignore my relationships under the guise of self-care. This isn’t exactly a conscious thing – I’ve never said to myself “I’m depressed, therefore I am no longer responsible for x,y,z.” But, there have been times where the label of “depressed person” has enabled me to ignore social pressures that obligation would otherwise convince me to at least halfass attending to.
What I didn’t realize until very recently was that my indulgent behavior was enabling my depression and anxiety. I didn’t have a clear plan to deal with the lows, so every time I managed to climb out of a bad place, I had these huge obstacles to clean up that had been caused by my inability to keep up with daily responsibilities. I had to apologize to my friends and family for being an asshole and I had to work extra hard to catch up on obligations that I had missed. It was easy to become overwhelmed, and it seemed like everything was just constantly spiraling out of control. If I couldn’t handle one days worth of shit, how could I deal with the additional ten days worth that I’d been ignoring? And back to depression we go. We can try again tomorrow. Or next week. Or next month.
It has taken me awhile to really understand and recognize how this cycle manifests in my life, and I certainly don’t want to imply that my behavior is somehow representative of every single depressed person ever. In my case it was difficult to understand the difference between self-care and self-indulgence. And now I am at a point where I can put into practice a prevention plan. Some of this is reactionary to my most recent bout of depression, but I’m hoping that in the long run I’ll be able to simplify my life in a way that allows me to exist in a calm and happy place more often than not.
One of the main goals that I’ve set is to declutter my life. I started down this path by turning my focus to my home, and changing it into a space that encourages creativity and joy. I couldn’t remember the last time I was home and felt inspiration or excitement instead of dread. It was time to clear out the bad memories and all of the trinkets they clung to. It has been slow going, but I’ve found the experience to be freeing, as though my mental clutter had been linked to all the possessions that surrounded me.
Letting go of physical things has also made it easier to discard projects that no longer bring me joy, and relationships that have soured. Eliminating stale engagements that had a disproportionate ratio of obligation to enjoyment has left me more time to think about my personal life and to critically analyze recent interactions. Who am I excited to see and who do I feel uncomfortable around? Who has been available when I’ve needed help, and who can’t be bothered to send a text or call? What about people who disrespect the boundaries I’ve set? In situations like these, why do I allow them to make me feel like I’m crazy or unreasonable in my expectations? Are these relationships even salvageable? Is the desire to change the negative dynamic mutual, or is it nostalgically one-sided? I want to become more selective about the relationships I value and cherish, and I hope that finding answers to these questions will help me along that path
What does all of this mean in terms of this blog? Well, for one, I’m feeling well enough to start writing again. Hopefully, I’ll be able to better stick to a schedule and publish all of those half-finished posts and reviews. If not that, then I’m sure new things will spark my interest, and I’ll find other things to write about. I hope you’re doing well!