Oct. 2nd, 2012 07:15 pm
zfreelance: (<lj site="livejournal.com"  user="timepunching">) (pic#3811978)
I have had nothing to say for a while now.

Part of this is that I am working through my final year of undergrad. But a big part is that I have been struggling through an increasingly devastating bout of depression that has stuck me absolutely dumb.

The funniest part was, I didn't know I was depressed. I just thought I was in a bad mood. All the time. Never mind that I stopped writing, reading, drawing, and sometimes even going outside. Never mind that I haven't actually been excited or enthusiastic about something in what seems like an eternity. Never mind that I stopped sleeping or started to resent eating. The list of blatant signs and symptoms goes on and on, but I was blind to it.

I buried a lot of my issues under my cosplay projects, working week after week on something that I had once thought meaningful. And then the day of the convention dawned and I found myself wandering around, snapping at people that I had not seen in months and genuinely missed, irritable and strangely sad during what was normally the most exciting and invigorating weekend of my entire year. I came back even more of a mess.

I have realized that a great deal of my symptoms stem from detoxing from my usual medication. I made the mistake of thinking that, after years of regular use, I could just take or leave it with no ill effects. Well, I've experienced the ill effects for months and am now taking my usual regimen again.

I am now facing down a lot of pressures about how I was living, before my downward spiral. My mother does not like the fact that I take medication, and spent a lot of my younger years fighting against getting me tested for any disorders. I can see her side, but when she started railing against my alcohol consumption (which I now know I was using as a coping mechanism), I realized that being "all-natural" was a great ideal, but unobtainable for me.

I also was greatly affected by the series of essays written by lazulisong and sami, called The Things You Say. In these essays, the author speaks out against fandom and the media and their usage of ADHD as a vehicle for spastic and quirky characters; specifically Stiles Stilinski in Teen Wolf. They are very soul-baring and powerful, but also very limited in their scope. One of the essays is the confession of a woman who suffers from ADHD hyperactive disorder, and how using the drug Adderall has affected her life. But she seems to think that her reaction to the drug is the reaction. If you believe you suffer from ADHD, but Adderall does not affect you in the manner she describes? Then you're wrong.

This clearly is not the spirit of the essays, which are great resources for writers who have little to no experience or contact with Stiles' specific disorder. But what I read is that because I have a different kind of ADHD (inattentive, not hyperactive), I should never have been prescribed with the medication that has changed my life. In my normal state, such an opinion would mean little to me. But in my altered state, this felt like a condemnation. I was a fraud and did not deserve the treatment that I was receiving.

And then I began to question myself. What if I was really just undisciplined? What if I imagined my symptoms and struggles, magnifying them with the lens of retrospection? What if I just had to make myself become the person I wanted to be? When you hate yourself, it is nearly impossible to argue with your own brutal logic.

So, I stopped filling my prescriptions. I ignored calls from my psychiatrist and brushed off appointments. It didn't seem to matter. I'd snap out of my funk; I just had to want it enough.

But, it didn't work. Months slipped by and I was still bitter, unhappy, and restless. The only time I felt like my old self was when I was drinking, so I started doing that a lot.

Then, I had to do a stupid class assignment that involved art therapy. I did not want to do it. I had abandoned art years ago. What good would this do?

But it was for a grade, so I did it. The assignment was to draw something. Anything. Resigned, I clicked around the internet to see if there was even the slightest spark of inspiration left in me. I found an image that was interesting and not to difficult to reproduce. So I started to draw.

And then something weird happened. I kind of enjoyed myself.

Please understand, this wasn't an emotion that I had felt for a long, long time. It was almost alien, enjoying something so simple, something that I had once spurned as tedious and pretentious. But that assignment stripped away all of the trappings that come with creativity, removing the pressure to create "art". It was just a doodle- something to turn in at the end of the day. And I had fun doing it.

In the end, I taped the picture up on the wall of my office, so everyone could see it. It wasn't great. It wasn't art. But I smiled every time I looked at it.

That brief levity ultimately led me to casually Google searching the symptoms of Adderall detox, so sure that I had dodged that bullet with my less-than-recommended dosage regimen and cold-turkey abstinence. And there I found everything that I had been experiencing for months on end, from the irritability to the vicious stomach cramps. Finally, things were starting to make sense.

I'm still in the process of getting back to the person I used to be. I may need even more "undeserved" medication to help combat any relapses, and I certainly need to call my shrink back... But I finally understand what Jenny Lawson of The Bloggess meant when she said that depression lies. It is a vicious, deplorable cycle that makes every bad thing you think and feel all. your. fault. And it so is not.

So, here I am, rambling about my feelings on an internet journal, again, which is as good a way to start as any.


zfreelance: (<lj site="livejournal.com"  user="timepunching">) (Default)

October 2012

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