Off My Chest

So, as you can probably tell, this is not going to be like my usual posts. My brain has returned to its normal, insanely fast pace. I of course didn’t really do anything positive to help myself. I watched some of the saddest music videos I could find. Of course, you know that I believe music to be one of the most powerful things that humans have ever created. A single certain song can make or break your whole day. Today, the song that set my spiral was 1-800-273-8255 by Logic. You may or may not know that that’s actually the number to the National Suicide Hotline. And of course, it has a very sad music video, and very sad lyrics. I found myself sobbing at the end, and went on my usual depressive train…I am not proud of myself, because I worked so hard to become not depressed, and here I am, willingly slipping back into it. Granted, this is not my old clinical depression, this is simply situational depression. Yet, that doesn’t make it suck any less, and that doesn’t make it less terrifying to me.

What I have to get off my chest, is the two main reasons that I wanted to die while I was depressed. These may sound like small problems to you, but to me, they meant everything.

The first reason I wanted to die, is that I am a empath. See, sounds trivial, but let me explain. You see, when I see, or hear about people struggling, with anything, my depression deepens because I cannot help them. It really all stems from the phrase, “You can’t save everyone”. That single phrase kills me inside. There are things going on in peoples life that makes them suicidal. Or maybe you were/are like me, and you’re suicidal for no reason, all the time. You know, now that I think about it, I probably should have started with reason two, because they are rather intertwined. The second reason I wanted to die, is the world f*cking sucks. There are such injustices in the world, slavery, oppression, corporations pushing products down our throats. I like to think that I’m what the kids call “woke” in that I see everything wrong with the world. Yet, I’m only one person. I can’t fix the worlds problems. You see how the two problems are intertwined? It hurts me to my core that there are so many problems in the world, and I can’t fix any of them. I can’t save everyone, nor should I. But that’s where my empathy takes control of my mind. I so badly want people just to love each other, and love themselves. So, I started blogging to help with my own issues, and I really wanted to help as many people as I could reach. The internet is a wild thing, we are all connected now, literally. How can I focus on myself, when there are so many problems in this world. Now, I have to stop myself from thinking like this, because it will drive me deep back into depression, and I cant go back, I won’t.

For real though, like what the actual f*ck is hate? Why do some people hate other based on their skin color, gender, sexuality, whatever. It pisses me off. It pisses me off even more that I used to hate people based on things they couldn’t control. Yet, the wealthy and greedy all only care about money or power, or both. I mean, we could cure cancer, but do you know why we won’t? There is more money to be made treating the disease than curing it. That’s f*cked isn’t it?! Why the actual f*ck is there a market for child sex? Like WTF is wrong with people? Why do corporations continue to destroy the planet, and then blame our individual actions? Like me using a plastic straw is worse than dumping millions of gallons of trash into the ocean. This world is just full of such bullsh*t, and I couldn’t stand it. That’s why I wanted to die. The rich and powerful continue to trick the rest of us, making us think we can change things. But as soon as we affect their bottom line, it gets swept under the rug.

I am terrified to have kids, because I KNOW that I won’t be able to leave the world a better place for him/her/them. And I’m just supposed to live my best life, while turning a blind eye to all this? How the heck can I do that? I so desperately want to live a normal, not even happy, just like baseline, life. These thoughts though, it is a real struggle. Now don’t get me wrong, there is true beauty in the world. I want to be able to focus on the good in life, I think that’s the only way I’ll make it, but I don’t know if I can. I need hope. It’s as simple as that. ECT did treat, and probably, cure my med resistant depression. But without hope, I don’t see my life changing all that much. Please. Whatever you do, just love yourself, love others, let’s make this world a place suitable for our children, our children’s children. Let’s just live and love life. Please.

Mental Illness, Escapism, and Addiction

I have been on medication for my bipolar disorder – and depression before it – for a great number of years. The most recent cocktail of drugs has been the same since late 2015, when I nearly ended my own life, and it’s been keeping me pretty steady, as these things go. I’m not perfect, but the extremes of mood, the violent anger, and the crushing depressions are lessened, if not gone entirely.

I also drink. Not a lot – not every day – but when I drink, I usually drink too much. It’s contraindicated with my medications, but that doesn’t really mean much to me. I drink anyway. I drink, very specifically, to get drunk. I drink beer, I drink wine, I drink rum and scotch, and I drink quite deliberately, pacing myself over minutes and hours until I fall into a stupor in bed and sleep it off through the night.

I think, deep down, I’m somewhat of a hedonist. I don’t know if this comes from the depression or some other innate personality trait, but I am, for lack of a better phrase, a pleasure-seeker. I very much enjoy physical pleasure, and the sensation of drunkenness falls into this category for me. It’s a form of escapism that requires very little concentration or effort, and when it hits, I can just lie back and let it wash over me.

With medications keeping me level, why do I need escapism, you might ask. Why do I need a vehicle for altering my state of mind, when the whole point of the ‘official’ drugs is to keep my mind from entering that altered state in the first place?

I think a part of it is that I have conditioned myself over decades to avoid misery. I have been so miserable for so long that I instinctively gravitate to anything that feels good, happy or pleasurable. I have very little self-control in this regard; I don’t set rules for myself, like ‘you can have a drink after you do the dishes’; I just drink, and fuck the dishes.

Another part is, almost certainly, a dangerous level of chemical dependency. As I mentioned above, I don’t drink every day – but I do go through phases where I might drink daily for several weeks straight. I usually drink until I’m out of alcohol. It rapidly becomes habit. The same is true of other vices; I recently acquired a small amount of pot from a friend, and against my original intention of maybe once a weekend, I’ve been smoking three or four times a week.

This all leads me to question my behaviors, and the more fundamental motivations behind them. Do I smoke and drink because I’m miserable, because I’m addicted, or because I really kind of just … like it? Like all behavior affected by mental illness, it’s a difficult question to answer, because the very nature of mental illness is changed behaviors … but there comes a point where illness ends and addiction takes over.

I’m not an alcoholic; I know people who are, and I don’t ‘need’ booze to function. I’m not a drug addict; I don’t blow hundreds on weed, and I don’t smoke before, during and after work (for example). But I am dangerously close to this level of functional need, and I recognize it when the thing I look forward to at the end of the day is getting high and watching Family Guy reruns.

That’s usually when I stop – when I see the signs of tipping into the abyss, and take steps to right myself. So far I’ve always been able to come back from the brink, but I worry about one day …

Yet I continue anyway. I refuse to stop permanently. I refuse to relinquish the physical pleasures of drink and drugs. I don’t ‘need’ them, but I want them. Like, a lot.

And sometimes, I wonder if it’s really so bad. I’m aware of the long-term physical and mental changes and harm caused by alcohol and drug use, but I still can’t help believing that the immediate reward is worth it. Intellectually I know that liver damage, lung cancer and mental deterioration are some of the absolute worst ways to die, but emotionally … I kind of just don’t care. I’ve had people tell me that my health is all I have; I’ve heard the arguments before. But when your mental health fails you, you couldn’t care less about your physical health. And whilst the two are most definitely related, it’s difficult to have the second without the first.

That’s when I wonder if the escapism of physical pleasure isn’t worth it after all. The mental toll each day takes, whilst variable, is still a harsh one, and the ability to use a substance – of one kind or another – to forget it is dreadfully tempting. And I recognize this as a controversial perspective – why, you ask, don’t I deal with my problems instead of avoiding them – but I truly believe life is for living, and should be enjoyed daily, if at all possible.

What do you do, when your brain refuses to let you do just that? What do you do, when your own mind is a battleground of misery and despair? What happens when you wake up and simply can’t get out of bed? What is there to look forward to?

And in those trying times, is self-medication justifiable? Is it even self-medication at all – or just an excuse to escape from reality?

And is such escapism really so wrong?