In Blackest Night – Mirtazapine – Day 4
Today has been a rough day. I felt the on-set of at least three panic (anxiety) attacks today. I’m not sure if it’s down to the Mirtazapine or not as I only seem to be having them since changing medication. The ones today were worse than yesterday: the shortness of breath was worse and,I think the more I focused on breathing the worse it became. I could feel my pulse in my neck jack-hammering away and I became very light-headed. Over the past few weeks I’ve been smoking more than usual – I think it’s because it’s the only thing that feels ‘normal’ to me but, rather than having five minutes or so to myself I felt…odd. My hands and legs shook uncontrollably – not massive noticeable shakes as such but enough for me to notice and I couldn’t stop myself.
I slept until around 10 am and haven’t slept since – it’s now 20:01, so I guess that’s something. Although I feel like the shakes and other physical differences may be due to the fact I haven’t dozed off at all.
My mood has been the worst it’s been in a while. Despite keeping myself busy – yesterday and today I decided to start cooking, not as a means of finding a new distraction or outlet, so I was busy prepping vegetables and washing up as I went. I usually hate cooking but whilst sorting out both meals, I found them oddly therapeutic whereas I normally get extremely stressed. Today seemed like it would be a good day. I was listening to my backlog of Nerdist podcasts, most notably the Quentin Tarantino one (episode 774), and felt pretty good that I was keeping busy and that my culinary skills may be expanding – generally I cook stir-fry or lasagne (dishes that don’t really require much effort). I don’t plan to use cooking as a coping mechanism, mainly due to the fact that as soon as I label something it fizzles out and leaves a void.
The kids refused to listen to me and, while I had been busy working in the kitchen, I had asked them to tidy up their toys downstairs as well as upstairs to be met with nothing but attitude. This set my head spinning and soon turned my mood and demeanour sour. Upon reflection, I have been truly vile to be around and, no doubt, my reactions fuelled the bad behaviour which then just became a vicious circle. This got me back to the thoughts of just ending it.
I’ve said, but I don’t think I’ve really blogged about this, that over the last few months I’ve contemplated suicide frequently. But not just that; I’ve assessed the probability of success vs survival/injury in a very calculating way. I liken the process to that of the Matrix or the scenes in the LEGO Movie where code pops out and the sequence of adding x, y and z gives the result. I also think of the opening panels of The Dark Knight Returns, by Frank Miller, where Bruce Wayne thinks to himself how “this would be a good death…but not good enough” [I’ve inserted the pic at the start of this post]. The only difference for me is I don’t consider any death not to be good enough, I assess it on the basis of how likely will I survive it and suffer the consequences.
Over the years, depression has made headlines – famous people like Robin Williams, Wentworth Miller, Lady Gaga, Brad Pitt and Carrie Fisher to name but a few have spoken out about it. I know there has always been and will probably always be a stigma about it. Perhaps that’s the reason why I went so long in denying it. Perhaps that’s why I am as bad as I am now. One thing I can never get over is the way non-sufferers seem to minimise it – as if it’s some sort of competition on who has it worst. I, and I’m pretty sure most if not all sufferers, do not think of it in quantitative terms. The truth is, when ours is at its worst, we don’t view it in such broad terms because we can barely cope with what’s on our plate let alone others’.
This leads on to the whole “there’s always someone worse off than you” thing. I’m going to write about that separately but, for now, I want to address it by saying that “yes, we know” and “there’s always someone worse off than that one that was initially worse off than us”. However, I am not living the life of him/her nor am I living the lives of those that are worse off than him/her. I’m living my life [read: existing]. There are those out there that, through some amazing genetic coding or maybe just pure luck, can adopt that mentality and use it to help those folks in need. Not all of us were gifted in that way and just because we aren’t it doesn’t mean that we wallow in self-pity.
To break that phrase down, wallow means (in this context): to indulge oneself; luxuriate; revel: to wallow in luxury; to wallow in sentimentality. This, by its very definition means that we intend to offer ourselves the luxury. I certainly wouldn’t say it’s an intention nor a luxury. Don’t get me wrong, there are people out there who do fit the bill but that’s more along the same lines of a hypochondriac.
Now let’s think about self-pity: excessive, self-absorbed unhappiness over one’s own troubles. I suppose one could be forgiven for tripping up on this as it may seem the same but again, if you really think about it, depression is not being unhappy over your troubles. A lot, like myself, have no idea why we are depressed. There is no obvious answer as to what our “troubles” are. There may be deep-seated psychological problem that causes it or it could be a chemical imbalance in the brain. If there were a definitive answer, people wouldn’t be depressed. Not to belittle the condition but depression is perhaps more akin to the common cold. There is no cure. You will never just have it once and that’s it. There are treatments/remedies but they don’t really work at eliminating the issue. But the biggest similarity is the myth. How many times would you be told as a kid “Put your coat on or else you’ll catch a cold”?
Depression is not wallowing in self-pity, it’s not feeling sorry for yourself and I’m not saying depression is contagious, that’s definitely not among the similarities, but the fact that so many people suffer with it with no real known cause/cure may allow people to, at least, get a grasp on how widespread and misunderstood it really is. If depression was to be categorised, I would say it’s more of a daily battle with oneself to the point that all manner of existence is brought into question and in doing so, the individual struggles with the magnitude and the mind basically shuts down. That’s the closest to a description I can get – maybe others can fare better but it’s such a vast thing that it cannot be pigeon-holed which goes against our very ways – humankind has to label and categorise things: it’s an innate part of us.
I also have a conspiracy theory on the common cold but that’s for a different post (maybe). But perhaps there’s some sort of conspiracy with depression? I’ve never given it much thought but, just in that split second, I’ve come up with at least three conspiracy theories.
I have digressed quite a bit from just doing a daily update, but while the inspiration is there to write I have to do it – thanks for making it this far!
I was going to mention, what I think is, the impact depression has had on my speech of late but there’s not really a space for that within this post without it looking out of place so I will save that for another (tomorrows?) post.
In the meantime, as always, any thoughts/comments etc. pop a comment below. Thanks for reading.