4.5 – Beating a Dead Horse Named Depression

December 20, 2018

Dear Darkened Rose,

I have been trying to keep my head down lately, but coming here to write to you is really the antithesis of that, isn’t it? I can somewhat form this sense of linear progression here, and I really need that at times. My mind often views my life as a collection of a bunch of small bouts of hecticness. Fortunately, I am now currently at a lull with school having let out.

As it stands—

I still do not have a degree. I am still not married, much less engaged. I am still not a mother. I am having to work on everything step-by-step (class-by-class). Life is dull. Needless to say, at the age of 28.978 years old, I am not where I imagined myself being when I was young. That’s the cold hard truth that occasionally buries me. 

As I mentioned to you before, I recently have felt more at rest with having found a solution towards getting closer to being the person I have always aspired to be. I am aiming at reaching these milestones by my early 30s (which is a decade delayed per young-Oie standards)—which, also, isn’t too bad with all things considered.

For several years, I think I lost sight of improving myself. I felt pretty settled with the fact that my life would always amount to scrambling together insignificant things that I could attach to my identity so that I might be proud of myself. I’m hopeful that that era of my life is almost over.

There is a little less scrambling going on.

And I know, I know—I have heard it nearly a thousand times over—I probably shouldn’t pay attention to society’s unnecessary timelines; or that I should be grateful for not having had children in my 20s and have more free time to myself; or that there is an unknown purpose that I serve; or that there is an ultimate plan for me. …I get it.

Recently, I have read and skimmed several articles that have made me apprehensive about continuing to write to you with the intentions of expressing these persistent emotions relevant to my grief.

Potential problem #1: Writing pseudo-profound bullshit.

I just finished an amateur research project where I went over the idea of how complex terminology can influence people’s perception of who is or isn’t an authority on any given subject. This article goes over a study that I referenced in my paper that discusses how people can be fooled by “pseudo-profound bullshit.” I hope I can steer away from that when I write to you, but buzzwords and self-help seem to go hand-in-hand.

I have spent a lot of time trying to go back in and adjust the way I have worded these letters in the past. I think to spare myself too much effort, I’ll just blanket-ly apologize for all of the past times of pontificating and the overuse of superlatives. I will do my bestest to avoid that in the future.

Potential problem #2: Ruminating vs. Solving.

This past semester, we also discussed in one of my classes the classic idea of how anger begets more anger. Now the conversation has developed to questioning whether sadness begets more sadness and whether there is any real efficacy of the good lo’ catharsis theory. It has been suggested by some researchers that ruminating with negative emotions might ultimately be unproductive. I know that hindsight bias will tell us that that makes total sense, but does it always?

When analyzing my own behavior, I would say that that makes sense—sometimes (I know, Psychology is a funky science). Those studies go on to recognize that there is a distinction to be made between moments of relentlessly ruminating and moments of self-reflecting with purpose. It was boiled down to how much someone can pull themselves out and away from certain thoughts in order to analyze them. I think that a large degree of self-awareness is required to remove yourself from that state of being unproductive. I work to build this bank of self-awareness very regularly.

While I have spent time here discussing depression, I have also made my intentions clear of being hopeful and committed to certain goals in order to counteract all the sadness. I think reflecting in front of an audience forced me to behave in a more respectable light. Most people understand the power of accountability, and I think that it’s a large part of what sparked my motivation towards finding my own solutions to a better life. So thank you for quietly holding me accountable.

I think proper development has almost required me to keep my head down and to take a lot of time to talk to myself (which the drive to and from San Marcos has granted me quite a bit of). Like most people recovering from depression, that self-reflection often leads me to one question (that I can immediately become frantic about)—

Am I stuck in depression, again?

Image result for nope nope nope gif

So, when that exact question pops into my poorly-wired brain, I feel it almost becomes a fire under my ass. In attempts to answer with a solid “NOPE!” I try to get up and physically walk away from that thought. Our dog is almost always in need of a walk, and that’s about the time we leash up and head out. I will say, though, getting to that point in my adaptations took time.

I think my bigger efforts right now are to work on avoiding distractions, for better or worse. The more I am fixed on issues, addictions, and my depression, the more I am clearly not fixing the depression. Finding the right solutions for growth is obviously unique to everyone, although, some core components exists in most cases. My goal is to one day be able to help others work on finding their own resolutions—once I am truly healthy minded myself.

Speaking of goals—

While I often try to weigh my current situations for value, I try to do so against my younger self’s idea of the ideal life. I recognize that I wouldn’t have cared one way or the other if I made good grades.

Last week, I felt like I just needed to pick up the phone and call you. Only when reaching milestones does this feel like a necessary thing; I just crave knowing what your exact reaction would be. Driving home from my last day of class, I tried to process having received all of my final grades.

I cried a lot on that drive home. Something got me really caught up in a funk of emotions, and I spent that evening being emotionally unintelligent (confused, angry, embarrassed about being excited) for no real reason other than my brain was fried. I didn’t know what to do with myself and how to think of that odd drive home. I thought “Tears of pride in myself? What the hell are those?” The novelty of that feeling was a bit fresh.

So, in summary, I might not be where I want to be, but I’m committed to doing exactly what I have planned to do. I hope that the next time I write, I will be closer to making the young Oie proud.

I miss you. I love you.

-Oie

Enclosed are cool things.


The Song: Faith by Ghost

The Pictures: