I guess it's getting cool to blog about depression now, thanx to the big emo and vampire 'me' generation coming through, but now it's even cooler because it's not just for the kids and 20 somethings any more since The Bloggess came out with Let's Pretend This Never Happened and is getting tv interviews. It's rare for a new author to bulldoze their way into my top ten faves reading list, so she gets a gold star on her forehead.
I'm a blog watcher, but I don't hang with the typical cool crowd. No, I watched Wil Wheaton struggle through his whole angsty thing, watched Chris Hardwick reconstruct himself into the Nerdist. Years and years ago I watched Leonard Nimoy deal with his I Am Not Spock and then his I Am Spock phases. I'm not one for biographies, but I do love a good angst with survival tips wrapping up the morals. I started my life on Aesop's fables, a method in thought experiment which I think is a dying art in today's world.
Ok, ok, here are book links, stop interrupting before this turns into a whole reading list.
Just a Geek: Unflinchingly honest tales of the search for life, love, and fulfillment beyond the Starship Enterprise -Wil Wheaton
The Nerdist Way -Chris Hardwick
I Am Not Spock -Leonard Nimoy
I Am Spock -Leonard Nimoy
My depression goes back 4 generations that I can trace through living people. It's definitely genetic, and it's more a lifestyle than anything. The problem with surviving depression (as with Asperger's, essentially, as with all neuro challenges) is that we usually don't get guide books that actually help. Yes, anyone can get counseling and go on pills and write a book, but are they really *surviving*? Have they found a way to successfully live with their depression?
Ok, stop, I know, everyone wants to chime in with their own definition of depression. Instead of turning this blog post into a medical dictionary, I'll just urban slang it into these somewhat standard flags.
1. It's easier and way more fun to curl up in a little closet in your head than it is to smile at people and put a mask on.
2. It's easier and way more fun to lose time with virtual simulations in your head than doing something real.
3. It's easier and way more fun to have brain sex on the computer or in a book or watching tv than it is to have a real life.
4. You wake up one day and another ten years has gone by and you're fatter and uglier (or skinnier and uglier) and any effort to change that involves making lists, crying jags, making all kinds of new rules about your health and personality and looks, and then collapsing back into your hole after a week.
And all these steps are easily rationalized away with being busy, having an injury of some kind, accepting who you really are, and somewhat bitterly gritting your teeth and marching forward into a grim future of getting older. Some people drink or pop pills, some people obsess with collections, some people grow roots in tiny little social cliques, but some people suddenly emerge with cool awesome books about how they actually figured it all out.
Wil Wheaton says he laid around for two years fretting with depression, so I feel pretty normal now. Chris Hardwick's anxiety attacks were apparently way worse than mine have been, so I feel pretty normal now. Jenny Lawson blurts stupid things to strangers and hides in public bathrooms, so I feel pretty normal now.
I have literally had to pull out of traffic and get out of my car, many times. I take a stuffed monkey into MRIs with me because my claustrophobia is so bad. I have literally had to leave stores and restaurants before I'm done shopping or eating. I have literally driven 10 miles to town just to sit in a parking lot so I won't be alone if I die (I live out of town). I have spent months at a time being too sick to get up and do laundry, too messed up to make a phone call to straighten out a billing problem, too freaked out to buy myself a pair of shoes.
On the outside I seem really normal. People like me and think I'm cool, because I'm so dang good at faking it. They even mimic me and follow me around. On the inside, I'm an alien named mRpl. I'm lost and don't fit in and can't seem to do anything right and sometimes I'm afraid none of this is real. I know I'm not crazy, I had myself tested. My psychologist seems to think I'm doing pretty good. But I have developed such an elaborate way of coping with depression since my tiny childhood that I can't even imagine living without depression.
I made a comment on someone's very excellent blog post about depression a month ago, and a person commented after me something about the mental illness of being so self obsessed (I checked him out, one of those bloggers that simply repeats the news, like we need another broadcaster...), so I had a good think about that. Yeah, I might *look* a little self obsessed with the way I blog now, but this guy doesn't know I was mRpl for a few years because I absolutely couldn't blog about my own life. It took me years to post a real picture of myself, and even longer to admit I lived in the United States and what state I was born in. If anything, I was so obsessed with distraction and avoidance that no one had a clue who I was, dare I say least of all *moi*. My social anxiety is so far off the wall that I still can't locate myself on a facebook map without spending hours cringing and feeling sick. I actually have a reason for that, but I can't share it yet.
The problem with coming out about depression and survival tactics is that someone else feels the need to hit you over the head with a hammer and tell you how dumb or ugly you are. But the dumb and ugly one is the person with the hammer. And you know what? That's not really my head, that's your keyboard, and if you're the one having to write that mean comment then YOU are the one with the issues. If I'm awesome enough to elicit a negative Freudian response, then I am a light to this world. That person needs *help*, and thank goodness I came along just in the nick of time for them to hit with a hammer, because that person is more lost and alone than I am.
Brave people blog real stuff. They get brutally honest about how they fall on their faces and have to pick themselves back up and the crap they take the whole time doing it. Real people who know life sux and keep going on anyway while other people in masks and plastic personalities throw rocks are the coolest people on the planet in my eyes. Anyone can throw a rock. Not just anyone can keep going along with all those rocks flying at them.
Well, thanx to Chris Hardwick, Wil Wheaton, and Jenny Lawson writing their books, and to @ ThatKevinSmith friending me on my new myspace when it was only 11 hours old (maybe he hits up all the noobs, but it still felt good), I know I'm cool, too. And I took Chris Hardwick's good advice and bought a bunch of cool spirals and stickers and made charts and lists and got a personal trainer, and this nerd is going in a real direction now.
My depression is still a sucky thing I'm having to live with, but it's a lifestyle I'm getting a grip on. I might still be weird and a little freaked out, but I'm not afraid of an unseen future any more, because the future is me and it is mine. For the record, I don't do head pills, and I don't drink. I'm winging it in real time with real brain chemicals and a real psychologist, and there is no way I'm apologizing to anyone for being who I am. Anyone who gives me crap can suck it and admire the cover art on my book when it comes out.