It’s me being depressed again

Yay.

I don’t know what else to say. There’s a lot I can’t talk about publicly. And I feel like the personal stuff will just be a rehash. Sheltering in place due to delta etc., terrified about climate change, horrified by cruelty, doing practically nothing all day, not seeing much of a point to anything.

I guess that covers it.

Good things

I seem to forget this site exists when things are going well.

Things have been pretty decent recently, at least in terms of my own life. The world is still terrible and horrifying, there’s still a virus raging everywhere and being willfully ignored by both regular people and government people, so many people are dying (and it’s not just the virus; people are killing each other too), it’s looking more and more like the postmaster general will be successful in sabotaging and closing the post office, billionaires are pretending they are cool instead of actually helping people, Biden is not the savior many people thought he was, etc. But at least in my personal life things are okay? haha.

There were a few weeks in there before the Delta variant locked me back down where it seemed like things were almost normal again. Connor stopped by on his way to his internship at the beginning of the summer. I went home to Kentucky and stayed with Mom as soon as everyone in the family was vaccinated. I went out to dinner a couple times. I went to the movies once. I went horseback riding. I started to think I could have people come visit me, and even that I might travel somewhere.

Even though that didn’t last, I think it was a needed break from over a year of staying mostly sequestered. Seeing people I love and doing fun things I enjoy again, even for such a brief time, has kind of tided me over, at least for now.

Being vaccinated has helped me a lot mentally as well. I still mask when I go out, but I don’t feel as afraid. I feel like with the vaccine and the mask, I am pretty safe, and I’m far less likely to pass the virus to anyone else. This is a much better feeling than before.

I’ve had a lot of nice things happen recently as well. I was promoted at work, and the work I’m doing is having a real, positive impact on my coworkers; I got figs from my friend Jessica again; Connor spent the night on his way home from his internship; I baked two types of cookie last week; and after months and months of banging our heads against the proverbial wall of overloaded online shopping carts, Sean and I were finally able to buy a PS5. I’ve only gone on one bike ride since I had the bike tuned up, but in my defense, it has been super hot outside. I’ve started walking on the treadmill here and there to at least get myself moving more, and that has made me feel good too.

So basically, things are pretty decent in my tiny corner of the world, and I figured that instead of continued radio silence I’d actually post about it.

Deep Thoughts

I had one of those moments where it feels like you’ve thought of something really profound, but it’s also something completely obvious. Here is the thing I thought of:

Everything in life is preparing for doing, doing, and cleaning up after doing. Doing is all we do.

This miraculous epiphany came to me as I was tidying up after baking cookies. I’d been thinking about how people spend a lot of time and effort preparing to do things like go kayaking and then doing those things and then putting everything away after, and how I used to spend a lot of time and effort this way for hiking and photography, and how after roughly a year and a half of rarely doing anything outside the home, going to all that effort just to do something outside can seem so pointless. Over the long weekend I put together a TV stand (with a fireplace in it!). I also made blueberry muffins from fresh blueberries I picked at a friend’s house, but I didn’t hear the timer for some reason and they got a little burnt. This is why the next day I made cookies. All of these things involved a lot of preparation, time for the actual doing, and cleanup. And I thought, this is all there is. This is life.

We do some things because we must in order to survive. We do some things to help others. And we do some things, like the kayaking and hiking and photography, because we enjoy them. We expend effort on them because they are worth it to us.

Depression is not wanting to do things because you don’t see the point. Or at least, it is for me. Depression is not finding that enjoyment in anything.

I have paid attention to my depression for long enough that I can tell when I am in danger of slipping into it, and that has been very useful for managing it. My depression is not caused by not doing things, but not doing things can exacerbate it.

Thinking that “all there is to life is doing” felt like a depressive thought yesterday, but pragmatically, it’s just a general description of activity. There are so many variations possible within those loose guardrails.

I had my bike tuned up the other day. It’s a pain in the ass to get it up to street level from our apartment, and it’s a pain to get it out of the apartment complex too—I either have to half-carry it down a cliff, push it up a hill that is a struggle just to walk up, or shove it into the back of my car and take it somewhere else. But cycling is something I used to do all the time, regardless of the effort involved, because I loved it. Hopefully, I can recapture that feeling. Hopefully, I can start wanting to expend effort on doing things outside the home again.

Okay, I’m mostly over myself

The catastrophizing and black-and-white thinking are finally starting to subside. I am no longer interpreting a single mistake in a single relationship to mean that I have failed utterly in all relationships. It’s taken a full week, but I’m finally being rational: accepting that I have these feelings of hurt and loss and confusion, but not giving in to those feelings.

I think it was wise for me to pull back and focus on some of my closest friends during this time. It’s probably wise for me to focus on my closest friends all the time, honestly. But I think it will be okay in the future for me to also interact with other people.

I need to learn from this, and not in a self-deprecating or self-blaming way. I need to recognize that I am going to misinterpret things and that that is normal and okay. I need to remember that I did not respond to this situation by telling everyone that somebody hurt me, and I did not even tell anyone who my unhappy feelings were about. I started to try and write explanations for why I was on hiatus a few times, but each time I recognized that I was making myself sound like some kind of victim, and I deleted without posting. I think I did the right thing here. I should remember this.

I’m not perfect, but I’m not a horrible human being who doesn’t deserve to exist either.

It’s still going to be awkward existing in a space where I feel like I don’t quite fit, but I’m starting to think I will be able to handle it. I’m starting to think I can still interact and enjoy the good parts of fandom, so long as I temper my expectations about the relationships there.

I may take the approach of only logging in at certain times instead of leaving myself logged in, because being logged in makes it easy to check Twitter constantly throughout the day. If I turn it into a purposeful action, one that I have to take additional steps for, maybe that will help reinforce the boundary between that space and the space where real relationships exist.

Yet another theme

When I last updated WordPress, there was a new theme, Twenty Twenty One. So I installed it. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to do all the things I want on my blog and used to have. For example, it doesn’t come with a sidebar natively—I had to add a plugin for that—and it doesn’t display the number of comments per post on the home and archive pages. I haven’t found a fix for that second one.

I like the concept of blocks. Theoretically, they sound like they provide more options. But paired with limiting themes, I really don’t feel like my blog is very customizable at all.

In any case, here’s what my blog looks like now, for posterity:

Screenshot of a blog with a cherry blossom header and a sidebar on the right, with a light pink background

And here it is in dark mode, a new feature that I do appreciate:

Screenshot of a blog with a cherry blossom header and a sidebar on the right, with a dark background and light text

Still ruminating

I’m just so frustrated.

I have never been great with relationships of any kind, but I thought I had gotten better. I thought I could tell when people were just being polite and when they actually liked me. But apparently I was totally, utterly wrong.

I feel like I have wasted my life trying to get along with people and not actually forging true connections.

I want to be valued and respected, but how do I ask for those things if I don’t even know who is willing to give them to me?

I don’t know where to go from here.

It’s bad, y’all

Until today, I hadn’t updated since October. There just hasn’t seemed to be much to update about. Sure, I’ve done things, but they aren’t particularly exciting. I’ve posted a few photos on social media here and there when I’ve done things like redecorate the dining room. But posting on my blog seems more “official” than social media, like I need to craft something rather than just sharing. My previous post is probably a reaction to that.

It’s also a reaction to the fact that the pandemic is still happening.

This whole situation has been wearing on me so much. I’m just tired. I want to be able to do things again. I want to see my family. I want to spend time with friends.

I’ve been spending a lot of time on Twitter, tweeting with lots of people and having fun. It’s not the same as seeing people in person, but it at least felt like being with others. I have grown to really like and care about many people there. It turns out, though, that Twitter is not a substitute for real interpersonal relationships.

A new name for pseudotumor cerebri; plus, old statuses

I have a friend who is concerned they might have pseudotumor cerebri, except when they told me about it they called it “idiopathic intracranial hypertension,” and that’s how I learned it has a new name! I suffered from this in 2010 and 2011 (and it possibly actually started all the way back in 2007; it’s unclear due to heart medication side effects) and it’s the ultimate reason I got weight loss surgery.

In looking back on my posts on this subject, I discovered that there seem to be a lot of gaps. I didn’t write about the diagnosis at all, as far as I can tell. Blog posts for September, October, and November 2010, the months when I first noticed the problem and started seeing doctors about it, are extremely sparse. So I went back through my oldest Twitter account and my exported posts from my now-deleted Facebook account and pulled together some statuses about my eye. I figured I’d archive them here for my (and my biographers’) convenience. You can check out the pseudotumor cerebi tag for more context.

A vacation!

I took a few days off work and Sean and I went to a cabin in Ellijay, the north Georgia town that hosts the apple festival I go to every year. Not sure if I’ll make it this year, given, you know, coronavirus, so it’s nice to be up here now. The cabin is lovely, just the right size for two, well appointed and cozy. We honestly haven’t done much besides lounge around. Each day has had one “event”: the first day we got hibachi takeout for dinner, the second day we picked up groceries, the third day we took a bath in the big tub, and today I went on a walk around the (very hilly) neighborhood. We leave tomorrow; I wish I’d made this a longer vacation, because I’m finally starting to feel like doing things. I had thought I would at least do some writing, and possibly some photo editing. Oh well! Ultimately the point was to get a break from everything, and I think we’ve accomplished that, at least.

There are more photos at my SmugMug.

The back deck of our rental cabin in Ellijay, from which you can hear the soothing sound of the rushing river hidden beyond the trees

Shelter-in-Place: Day 157

I wish I had posted on Saturday, because I was in a decent mood then. I baked some fig thumbprint cookies using a bunch of figs I got from an online friend who has a huge fig tree in her yard, and they came out pretty well. But I just didn’t get around to posting, and then yesterday I woke up at 4:45 due to anxiety about the situation the US is currently in, and from there I plummeted into a deep depression. I hate to only write when I feel terrible. I need to think to do it more when I’m happy.

Anyway I spent the day watching stuff on Disney+: Treasure Planet, The Mighty Ducks (first film), and DuckTales (2017). I forgot to take my antidepressant at lunchtime, which may have been a factor in my feeling awful all day. However, I am attributing this particular low to stress and anxiety and fear, about basically everything.

I took today off because I’m in no state to accomplish anything.

Shelter-in-Place: Day 138

I was pretty much already awake when my alarm went off. I felt vaguely like staying in bed for a bit, but I also knew I was awake, so I went ahead and got up. I did my full morning routine and sat down at my computer at 7am, thinking I would get some writing done, but so far I’ve just been scrolling Twitter and feeling a little…off. Not sick, but just mentally distant. Like I’ve partially slipped into another dimension, but not completely, so I’m not here but I’m not there either.

This week has been mostly really good, starting with the weekend. I wrote all day Saturday and Sunday and got several stories to a new and fun place. Monday and Tuesday were of course work days, but work was interesting and I accomplished things, and I also did some writing in the mornings and at lunch. In the evenings I relaxed and enjoyed myself. Last night Sean and I watched the extended cut of Ghostbusters (2016) and wow, they should not have edited it down for the theatrical release. It was perfect at its original length. The cameos felt more natural, the story was more cohesive, and overall it was way funnier. I thought it was pretty funny before, but damn.

Yesterday there was some “drama” in my main fandom space, and it bothered me enough to say something. Usually I just try to ignore stuff like that, because it’s almost always driven by personal preferences that aren’t going to change anyway, but I was seeing a lot of piling-on that had nothing to do with the original topic and it was making me mad. I felt that an entire swath of people were being generalized and demonized because they use a certain fandom term. I wrote and deleted-without-posting a snarky comment, and then I wrote something a bit longer and more thoughtful and less douchey.

Whenever stuff like this happens I feel antsy, like I’m just waiting for something terrible, but I think maybe now that it’s the next day it has died down? Here’s hoping.

Some people thrive on this “drama”, but I absolutely hate it. It’s so pointless, creating in-groups based on nothing but personal preference. It’s just an excuse to be hateful to others. I want to explore a bunch of ideas; I don’t want to imply to anyone that there must be a consensus about any idea about entertainment. Yes, it feels very good when someone likes or agrees with your ideas. But that doesn’t mean you and that someone are “right” or that “defending” those ideas by deriding others is a good thing.

Anyway, that’s probably why I’m in this strange sort of fugue this morning. I’m sure my brain will function just fine for work—the fact that I was thinking about and looking forward to work tasks when I woke up is promising—but I hope it will get back to a creative writing state today too. I’ve been enjoying my streak!

Shelter-in-Place: Day 134

I had another low point recently. I was in the middle of it when I wrote my last update on Sunday, and then it got worse. I came out of it on Tuesday the 21st, and this week has actually been pretty good: I got a lot accomplished at work and ended the work week on a high note.

I was telling Sean last night that I’m still not sure if there’s something that kicks these lows off, or if they’re just something that happen to me. I don’t really know what to measure in order to look for a cause. There are so many potential variables: food, my period, how much physical activity I’ve had, stress from work, stress from the state of the world, etc. Just the thought of tracking the depressive periods themselves is daunting; I’ve never been good at maintaining a daily log of anything. (I’m a free spirit!)

This blog has a long archive of my depressive periods; I wondered about them back in 2016 when I hit what seemed to be a permanent low. Things have gotten better since then. I found medication that mostly works and I have a good therapist. But the lows do still come, even if they don’t last as long as they used to. It seems like all I can really do is try to wait them out.

Anyway, I’m feeling better now.

I finished Chihayafuru season 3 and oof. I didn’t realize it would be cliffhangery. It apparently took nearly 6 years for this season to come out, and it ran from last October to this March, so it will probably be some time before we get a resolution, if we get one at all. Maybe that’s for the best, though; I can pretend Chihaya and Taichi and Arata live happily ever after as a triad.

My uncle Steve went to the hospital recently and is now in a care center, working to get well enough to go home. (It’s not coronavirus.) He’s not dying necessarily but he could, so that’s been on my mind. Uncle Steve is Dad’s younger brother, though not the youngest. He and Mom are the same age (they’ll be 72 this year) and they get along really well. They have this cute kind of sibling relationship. So she has been checking in on him and watching over his care, which as a former nurse she is highly qualified to do. Uncle Jeff (the youngest Aubrey boy) is also checking in on him frequently. AJ has been visiting Uncle Steve regularly for a long time now and I’m sure he’ll keep that up. I worry about all this, what with coronavirus, but I also know that Uncle Steve needs people right now. It’s a hard time for him. So while I worry, I’m really glad he has everyone.

As a side note, I really admire how much AJ does for his loved ones. He does what he can to take care of everyone: visits, cooking, organizing parties/camping trips, mowing lawns, and building things (he has some serious carpentry skills). I’m so glad Mom has him to look after the house and yard. I’m also glad he’s such a good example for Connor and Logan and all their friends, and Krystal’s kids too. He’s just good with kids in general. He wasn’t always, but he is now and it’s great to see.

Anyway, aside from all the bad things happening generally and specifically…it was a pretty decent day. I had Shane’s for lunch and sushi for dinner. Can’t go wrong there. I also did a fair bit of writing, which was great, since I’ve been in a bit of a lull since before the depressive period hit. I hope to write more tomorrow, and I think I should probably also get outside some to get some fresh air and vitamin D and hopefully avoid getting down in the dumps. For now, though, bed!

Shelter-in-Place: Day 128

Days seem interminable now. Work is exhausting. Going on virtual walks and playing trivia with coworkers has helped break the tedium a bit. I wish I could have someone come stay with us for a while, just to have a different person around.

I’ve had several days recently where I just could not bring myself to cook dinner. Sean has been very sweet on those days. He is always very sweet, despite my extreme moodiness. I hope if he is feeling bad that he has an outlet. I try to be as sweet as possible to him too.

I’m tired of bras. I am not comfortable going completely bra-less outside the home, but I would love there to be some sort of compromise. Something in the middle that’s supportive enough but not as painful. Like…a half bra. I don’t know. In desperation I bought some of those sticky things that are supposed to hold your boobs up without a bra, but I don’t like them at all. My breasts don’t look right with them on and it hurts to take them off.

Just Shoot Me has gotten kind of obnoxious, with most of the characters being selfish jerks. Usually there needs to be something redeemable about a character for me to care about them. Sean is tired of it too.

I watched the first two Back to the Future movies last weekend and Part III Friday night. I love III, but I was feeling terrible, so really it just sort of averaged out to “meh”.

I’m trying to nip some writing insecurity in the bud by simply…not thinking about it too much, but as I haven’t really had the brainpower to write at all this week, thoughts keep coming back about how I don’t compare to others. There, that’s the thought acknowledged. Now I’m going to let it pass through me and begone.

Playing Wii Sports Resort has been nice. I have totally lost my ability to play Frisbee Dog, which sucks, but my bowling and table tennis games are getting better. Someday I’ll reach my old high scores in all of them…it’ll just take awhile.

I’ve also been playing Zuma again, but I started where I left off years ago, which means I was at a pretty high difficulty level. Yesterday I was in the 9s and I kept losing a certain round over and over again until I was finally out of lives. Sigh. At least I can start from the beginning and work my way back up, I guess.

The third game I’ve been playing a lot is Words with Friends with my mom. I decline all other challengers and I wish I could turn off all the other challenges and whatnot. I just want to play with Mom and that’s it.

For a while there I was playing a game called The Arcana, which is more like a Choose Your Own Adventure book than a game really. It’s lovely and has great music and the story is intriguing, but it’s also very expensive, and so I stopped playing it even though I haven’t seen all the possible storylines. I really can’t justify regularly paying $40 for in-game coins. (You can technically play without using coins at all, but you won’t get to see some of the story paths, and you also won’t be able to collect all the nice picture cards.)

I still haven’t put the LED strips in the china cabinet, but I did frame those three art prints I ordered custom mats for. They look great. I think I will hang them in the office; for now I just have them lying on the guest bed below the wall where they will probably go.

Shelter-in-Place: Day 120

I’ve decided that daily updates aren’t tenable, and trying to hold myself to that standard won’t help anything. Going forward, I’m not going to attempt to post every day, but I am going to try to post regularly, especially when something new happens or I have something in particular to say.

I went through yet another depressive period recently, as you may have seen. I won’t link to it from this post because it’s really not worth looking at. I don’t know if it was related to readjusting to my meds, or if I am just going to keep plummeting into despair every now and then until coronavirus is over…

My tendinitis has backed off, which is great, and I had another lovely walk with coworkers the other day, and yesterday I ate a Double Stuf Oreo for the first time in months. So some nice things have been happening. I also started playing Wii Sports Resort again. It’s been something like eight years? Maybe not that long, but who knows. Anyway, it’s still fun :)

I have two projects to do. First, my custom-cut mat boards came in, so I can hang my Art Nouveau-style Padmé, Leia, and Rey prints. Second, I still haven’t put the LED light strips into the china cabinet. Maybe I’ll get to one or both of these things this weekend.

Lately we have had something of an infestation of fruit flies. Today I realized the middle window in the sunroom has been sitting open a crack (like a few millimeters), and I closed it. Hopefully that was how they were getting in and we won’t see any more of them.

I mentioned before that we needed to get to watching Picard. Well, we did. We binged the whole thing in a couple days. The fifth episode was pretty terrible, and I was starting to get upset, but the ending was fantastic, so on the whole I would say it was a good series. And it’s getting a second season, and Guinan’s going to be in it, so that’s cool.

There’s probably more to say, but I don’t feel like working on this post any longer, so I’ll wrap it up here. The benefits of a personal blog: no need to write formally in any way.