My brain has a skill. When I am tired, stressed, or otherwise in a bad mood, it decides that I need to review a “Greatest Hits” style overview of all the embarrassing things I’ve ever done or said. One of the advantages of being an introvert prone do depression, I guess.
I call it “being in a funk,” and it’s not nearly as funky or fresh as the name would imply. In addition to killing my motivation, my brain tends to go deep into the Pit of Shame, dredging up the slimiest, most abhorrent things it can. Now I’m a relatively nice guy, so admittedly the horrors it summons are more along the lines of Hello Cthulhu than a gibbering shoggoth from beyond the stars. But remember: this is depression we’re talking about here. The last thing it is is logical.
I’ll think about all the times I said something to one of my friends that offended them, usually things they have long forgotten about. I’ll think about the mistakes I made as a kid, like (not so) subtly adding time to my video game timer, or filling a water bottle up so full you couldn’t hear anything sloshing, then saying it was empty. I’ll think about YouTube videos I’ve shone people, and worry if I offended them. I’ll think about all that I could be doing, all the potential that I’m wasting on computer games and internet surfing. I’ll think about all the effort I could have put in to school projects, how I could have done better, how I could be using my degree(s), how I could be looking for a better job…
You probably get the idea.
The funk is when all the darkest voices come out, seeking to paralyze you with self-loathing. Luckily, it’s happened often enough that, while I may not be able to stop the shame, I am able to better identify some of the triggers. One of the biggest, unsurprisingly, is lack of sleep.
Sleep seems to strengthen the mind’s defenses against funk, but at the same time the funk can swell in strength as I relax to fall asleep. Couple that with a tendency to over-think and brood on things, as well as an inability to turn off my brain, and you can see how the spiral can begin to get out of control.
I’m not writing this as a plea for pity, or even help. I guess I’m writing it in an attempt to get it out of my brain, and into a safer place where it can bother me less. I’m writing to remind myself that It Gets Better. And maybe I’m writing to try and let my friends and family know some of what goes on behind what is often a calm (or at least unfazed) exterior. I will apologize, however unnecessary it may be, if I have ever said or done anything that was
less than perfect offensive or bothersome. Know that it bothers me much more that it likely bothers you. You may not even remember. But I do.
And so does the Pit.