Rejecting The Other

I really don’t know what to write about today.

For a while, I was doing pretty well. I had a couple days’ worth of buffer posts, and I was writing regularly, sometimes even adding to my buffer. But then last week, something shifted. I found myself more easily distracted than usual. I found my motivation draining as soon as I sat down in front of my keyboard. Hours passed, where I did nothing but refresh Facebook and Tumblr, while alternately throwing myself into reflex-intensive video games. Days when I didn’t have to work passed in a blur; I know I did something during the day, but I’d be really hard pressed to describe what that was.

But I didn’t feel overly depressed, just under-motivated. I didn’t feel like writing. I didn’t feel like reading. I didn’t feel like doing much of anything. Then, I realized that I was probably in a Funk. A shallow one, but a Funk nonetheless. The past few days of cloudy, gloomy weather certainly haven’t helped, nor has my lack of sleep over the past few nights.

Of course, knowing I’m in a Funk, while it does remind me to not take my thoughts too seriously, doesn’t seem to do much to get me out of it any quicker.

That’s been one of the tougher things for me to come to terms with: that depression doesn’t necessarily have any logical motivator or obvious trigger. There are times when it seems completely out of my control. Sure, I can try to avoid setting myself up for a Funk, but it’s kinda hard to get a good night’s sleep when you brain just won’t turn off even though it’s 10pm and your alarm is going to go off in six hours. It’s hard to get enough sun when the day is overcast and there’s several inches of wet spring snow on top of everything. Oh, and concentration? Guess what else is exacerbated by fatigue? Can you say ADD? I knew you could!

One thing that does help me remember that depression lies is thinking of depression as some Other, as something outside my control that deigns to envelop me in its inky black tendrils. And if it’s outside my control, I shouldn’t beat myself up when it takes hold. Whether it’s subconscious guilt bubbling to the surface or my very neurochemistry betraying me, that darkness that drags me down is not me. It is Other. And because it is Other, it can be fought.

Writing helps. A disturbing amount, actually. In fact, just this week I sat down to write when feeling especially directionless and unmotivated. But I wrote anyway, not even about how I was feeling, and I felt better. The very thing that depression was trying to keep me from doing helped banish it (at least for a little bit). In fact, you may even be able to see my mood lightening as this blog entry goes on. I’m sure there’s a lesson there, but let’s leave it as an exercise to the reader.

Depression is Other. It is not you. It lies. And even though it may knock you around, score a few points, you can fight it. With whatever tools at your disposal.

I know I’m building up my arsenal.