The following post is mostly about personal matters, and save where those matters affect my progress as a wannabe programmer, probably won’t talk about that subject much. So if you don’t want to listen to the rantings of a frustrated and depressed individual venting his frustration with life under mental illness, you need not bother clicking past the more link for this one. Sorry.
My name is John Berry, and I am depressed.
I fucking hate that word.
Really, genuinely, truly hate it. With every fiber of my fucking being.
It is the most inherently fucking trivializing bullshit there is, that word. It’s trivializing because you can always, always tack "just" on the front of it, and people believe it. Even people who are depressed, like me, get in the habit of that. It doesn’t even really truly express with any genuine emphasis what living with it is actually like. The word itself feeds the disease by anointing it with a term that most people use for a mere temporary and justifiable down moment in life, even when what’s actually meant is the relentless oppressive influence of a part of your own brain unceasingly pursuing a course of deliberate misery and self-sabotage.
I’m not "depressed".
I’m fucking angry. I’m angry because I was put on this earth with a reasonably creative and intelligent mind that nonetheless has to be dragged kicking and screaming into actually fucking doing anything with it. I am angry because I watch the world go by me at a dizzying pace while I struggle just to keep from getting trampled. I’m angry because I see what "normal" people do every day and I’m doing less than half that and I feel like I’ve barely enough time and energy to manage that.
I am sick to fucking death of feeling sick to fucking death. I’m sick of spending half my day just trying to stay awake and the other half just trying to force myself to actually do anything other than fall back to the usual useless and unproductive defaults. I’m sick of freak panic attacks, sudden headaches, sudden weakness, sudden numbness, loss of appetite, loss of energy, loss of sleep, too much sleep, wild mood swings, emotional vomiting, of some days suddenly being overcome with the desire to just curl up and weep in a corner until I pass out, and of feeling like my whole useless body is simply slowly dying off bit by bit.
I am afraid. Afraid all the time about everything and anything. Afraid I’m going to die. Afraid I’m not afraid enough of that idea. Afraid of what I’d do if I got any worse than this. Afraid of what my body does to me every day. Afraid I’ve lost the ability to tell what’s real and what’s not, either in my own symptoms or my own thoughts.
I am out of my goddamn mind. I know it. I don’t always know where the line is between rational self-talk and just pure festering evil, but damned if I don’t know full well I shouldn’t be like this. That feeling sick from some new medication that doesn’t work is not an excuse to then go into full fucking internal hysterics. That see-sawing wildly from crushingly depressed, uncontrollably angry, and completely bloody numb.
Because some days?
I just am.
I exist. I am alive. And sometimes that feels like the best I can muster, and I don’t even know why other than I’m terrified of not being so. I don’t know what I’m doing, I don’t know why I’m doing it, how I got here, where I’m going, anything. I’m just waiting out the day until the next one; rinse and repeat. Only now I feel like I’m thrust into a situation where I can’t even do that right anymore.
Every day I get up in the dark and I watch the time already slipping away from me before I’ve scarcely even felt awake, before dragging myself to a class I desperately want to be better at, but find myself struggling just to keep up with that kind of concentration and focus requirement. Then I come home and argue with myself until I manage to win and feed myself, and now I get to spend the next few hours feeling guilty and lost about where or what I’m even doing programming, until it’s time to make dinner and another window of opportunity closes.
I desperately want to finish this Finnish course, because I’m tired of being lost and confused in this country whenever anyone tries to speak to me, but I’m struggling like hell just to get there in the mornings. I know I’m learning, but I honestly don’t even know how at this point. I’m on fucking auto-pilot. The captain just gets up and goes to the loo sometimes, or chats up a stewardess, in the middle of conversation sometimes. And of course, when something comes up that’s unfamiliar, or sometimes just because the captain’s out of the cockpit, I crash into a damn mountain.
And even once it’s done, I don’t know what the hell I’m going to do with the rest of my life. I’ll just be a reasonably fluent Finnish-speaking jobless, careerless drifter. Roleplaying was never going to pay the bills on my energy level. There are guys who do it, but they write at paces that would make most professional novelists blanch, making up for low pay with insane work hours that I just can’t keep up with. And I don’t even know where to start finding some other writing focus, and it’s not like there’s a lot of work in English writing here.
So I got into programming, because I had the free time, and I did get properly sucked in by the Codecademy approach. Taking that Python course woke me up at last to the realization that I actually did enjoy doing it, I just didn’t always know what I was doing as a kid, because I only had my own clueless fumblings and a handful of manuals to work with. But since then, I’m fumbling the carry, and I know it. It’s right back to how it was every time in the last 10 or 15 years I’ve tried to pick it up again: just a lot of blind fumbling, toying with various books and tools and languages until I get bored or frustrated or lost and just give up and get depressed about it. I feel like I’ve got so much more progress to make, and I’m making none of it, and I do still dread spending all this time finding the love of programming only to wind up working in some awful code factory of Vogonic doom.
And on top of all of this, or perhaps because of it, my brain just seems to keep getting worse. I am really, honestly fucking losing it lately. Ready to just breakdown on a hair trigger and I don’t know how I’ve coped. I don’t even talk to anyone about it because where do I start? And how do I explain that sometimes there isn’t really a "why" or an easy fix or fault to be corrected. The reality is that this, all of this huge fucking storm in my head, is just a bad spell of what I’ve been dealing with on some level for most of my adult life. The end result of too much stress, not enough sleep, and not enough grip on where I’m going and what I’m doing, to be able to put up as much of a fight as I might otherwise be able to.
Even speaking to the doctor about just part of my symptoms felt like trying to explain the Iliad to a tortoise. They just fixate on one thing and ignore the rest, and prescribe shit at random in the hopes that something will make it go away. Sometimes it helps, and then sometimes, like today, I get to go home early because the fucking melatonin that the doctor gave someone who has energy issues turns out to not be a good fucking idea because of course it bloody isn’t.
Still here I am, getting older all the time.