The signs I’ve slid into a depression should be obvious to me by now. After almost two decades I should at least have a check list by my door, or beside my bed.
Dressing in black for days on end is generally a dead giveaway, especially if it’s always the same shirt, socks, underwear and pants.
I’ve been sleeping for twelve hours at a shot, then never feeling fully awake for the next twelve. Over the past two weeks I’ve been outside for more than fifteen minutes in a day maybe four times… I’ve been outside every day, but only a quick walk to the store for supplies, then home again.
I’ve stopped eating. I’ve been drinking a lot of water, milk and diet pop, and only eating once a day. Mostly cereal. I just haven’t been able to put together and execute a plan that would get me to a grocery store.
Twice I’ve caught myself sleep walking and scooping peanut butter out of a year-old large jug from the back of my cupboard. It’s surprising how long that stuff lasts.
I’ve been going two days, sometimes three, without showering. Which, compared with the bad old days, isn’t bad, but I’ve been a shower-per-day guy for months now.
Time has almost lost it’s meaning, until a few seconds ago I thought it was still the first week of October. Things that occurred last week feel like they just happened yesterday, and whatever happened yesterday is either a faded memory or a complete blank.
I also have zero motivation.
Which might explain why it has taken four days (so far) to write this post.
It’s not hard to find reasons to be depressed, so I am a little surprised at myself for not recognizing the signs earlier.
Some of the symptoms were masked by random events, however. Like my fridge broke down last Friday (Oct. 1), and I went a week without eating a lot. So, my not eating became a symptom of the broken fridge, not the depression.
Not being able to find a replacement fridge, or call a repair person, was just me putting things off, and not me being too depressed to think through the “how do I fix this” puzzle.
My girlfriend is back to work full time, so I’ve been looking after our son while she does her 5am to 2pm shift at the store. So I’ve been blaming my exhaustion on my sleep periods are messed up, not because of the depression.
And dressing in black is just my most comfortable state of being. And, no, it’s not to express my inner-self to the outside world, it’s so I can make myself invisible to myself. But I don’t generally use the exact same clothes over and over again while, at the same time, going days without properly washing myself.
The main reason I’m depressed is because, instead of continuing on in some semblance of a conversation over my refusal to allow my abusive grandmother near my ten-month old child, my mother has decided to completely ignore the issue. I’ve been receiving emails from her that make it seem as though nothing happened, that any meetings we’ve had on the issue never took place.
I think this tactic has been more insulting to me, and more infuriating than the hour long ‘meeting’ we had where she and her husband yelled at me for an hour. At least during that hour I knew everything coming out of their mouths was bullshit, there’s a deep sense of moral victory in watching them contradict each other in every other statement.
But to be ignored, to be invited over to their home for pie and coffee, as though my mother never told me “I have concerns for your child’s safety while he’s in your apartment”, and my step-father hadn’t stupidly said “there are people in this family who won’t come over if they know you’ll be here”.
Why would I want to be around these people?
I was actually doing just fine, regardless of the events over the past eight months. My abusive grandmother verbally assaulted my girlfriend, myself and our baby, I told her to “go fuck yourself” and felt liberated for having said it. I also told her I’d never let her be around my baby again.
My mother said she’d back me up, and everything was great. Then my mother reneged on our agreement, and we had our confrontation. And I could kind of feel myself slowing down. Like I was moving from one baseline to a lower one, but it was the kind of shift you don’t notice if you’re not looking for it.
It’s like walking on a rail on a train track and you come to an area where it merges with another line. If you’re not paying attention you end up on the way to Toronto when you thought you were heading to Montreal.
First my grandmother attacks me, then my mother betrays my trust, then lashes out at me for disturbing the family dynamic.
At that point I still felt like I was walking on the same rail I was on before any of this started.
But then, the longer I thought about what my parents told me using their ‘big girl and boy outside voices’, the more I realized I had switched rails.
My mother told me she had concerns for my son’s safety, but she was lying. My step-father told me there were people in our family who didn’t like me, so why not tell me that before? Why not give me a chance to make things right? Why hide it from me?
They both told me repeatedly during our session together that I shouldn’t be so upset at my grandmother — who told me repeatedly during our session together, that we should have had my son aborted — because she had been saying much worse ever since we announced the pregnancy.
So… why couldn’t anybody tell me what she had been saying, before she said it all to me? This is what has been grinding me down into a deeper depression. Why would my family keep the ravings of my psychotic grandmother — who abused my mother for decades — a secret?
When my grandmother decided it was time to unleash her river of bullshit on me directly, why would no one warn me? Everyone knew what was going to happen when my grandmother asked to meet with me, but instead of taking me aside and warning me, they allowed her to have her surprise.
And then, three days later when I told my mother what had happened, she sat there and cried as if it was the first time she had heard what her mother had said to me… when, in fact, she had known for almost eight months.
I don’t know if it’s those thoughts, those questions, that are directly responsible for my depression. I actually get pretty… enraged is a good word, when I think about the lies. We ran into my parents at a restaurant a few days ago, and I couldn’t get the ‘anger look’ out of my eyes.
I think the depression is coming more from my not finding what I thought was there, after breaking up with my family. I thought I still had friends, that I still had options. But the length of my recovery has left me with very few of either.
Someone I was very close to has a very successful business near my village. Five years ago he made me a job offer I had to refuse. So a few weeks ago I made an offer to him, nothing major, only to receive a fairly cold response.
I knew it would happen. I’ve known for months whatever friendships I had eight, six and four years ago had evaporated.
The thing about surviving manic depression long enough to get through recovery, and I’ve written about this before, is there’s still that mountain of shit you let build up because when you were untreated you had none of the skills to deal with any of it.
But after months of being betrayed by my parents, and my grandmother — all of which is pretty fucking depressing as well, don’t get me wrong — I think I had started to expect there to be something remaining… but I had forgotten.
My girlfriend, our son, her four-year old and I had our first Thanksgiving dinner together yesterday. And we’ll have Christmas together. I still have a family, and it means more to me than friends who aren’t here, and family who can’t bring themselves to apologize, and I’m not taking it for granted…