The day my sister called me and I did not pick up

You know I have written a lot about detaching and choosing to be here [stateside] and how happy I am lately, having made new friends, working less – doing more/better stuff and all that…

Well, yes I was. But I am not anymore. So why the sudden 180? Am I schizophrenic? What is wrong with me? Why am I so fickle?

” No, I am not.” and “Lots of things” would be the answer to the first two questions. And the third one: I suffer from depression, so I am very sensitive to changes in seasons, social relations, and anything that affects my sense of “stability” and “control” I guess…..

So it may be that it is fall? It may be that my boss is a dick? It may be that the guy I saw a few times, the one I really liked, stopped calling me? Or maybe because it’s been a while since I had a chance to go and see my friends. The reasons are not that important once you accept and understand that those are the cycles you will go through over and over and over…. And it will never go away. It will never change. You are just “more sensitive” than most people….

So living with depression is a constant emotional roller-coaster that is draining you and everyone around you – if you let it!

To my friends:

“As exhausting as these constant and sudden changes of heart that “person x” does are for me, they are at least 3 times more exhausting for her/him… I am just sitting here watching this roller-coaster but she/he is riding the damn thing!”

It is hard on me and it is hard on everyone around me – all those constant mood swings and changes in direction take their toll on all of us – but if everyone realizes  and acknowledge that, it is a lot easier.

But the main “burden”, or responsibility to manage this, is of course on me. It is not up to my friends and family to “understand” and adjust – it is on me to manage my own illness to the point that I can recognize the cycles and symptoms and adjust for them. And even though I have done so much work, and learned so much about myself that I know what commonly triggers me and how to counter the triggers, sometimes I am just not fast enough… So they get me!

My rational brain cannot always catch up or convince my emotional/depressed brain to shut up and stay completely on track.

BUT the fact that I have learned all of this, and I am not afraid to admit it to myself or to you all, is in fact the secret sauce. It is my silver bullet and why I do not let the whole thing go off the rails and go spinning deeper and deeper into the dark…

Today was an excellent example…

Over the last couple of weeks I started sinking into listlessness and hopelessness again. BUT because I do not fall into the self-medication trap anymore, I never really went off the rails. Sure, I was blue and I had no energy or inspiration and I started going listless…. But I never got there because I recognised what was going on and I have learned what to do to break that pattern!

Yesterday I thought I should move up my appointment with my therapist from the 17th to the 10th… But then I realized that “she can’t fix me” and by the way “I already know exactly what I need to do when I get like this – so just bloody do it!”

And I did.

I called my Mum even though I did not want to talk to her. I don’t want to talk to her because I feel insufficient: I am not there for her and I am not doing enough for her.

I texted my sister, to tell her why I was ignoring her and to let her know that it is not her – it is me. At the stage I am right now, I am extremely limited in my ability to express emotions. It’s like this armour that comes on and is designed to keep everyone out – even the people who care the most about me. Or sometimes, I think I protect myself even more to them than anyone else… It is weird. But I know that she understands and that is why I love her above all. And why she is “my sister” though we aren’t even related.

Then I did a bunch of practical things that I have been feeling too (emotionally drained) to do – like e-mail back this guy who has offered me a great “out” and possibly very lucrative business opportunity, to let him know that I am interested. Like empty my mailbox for the first time in ten (10!!!) days. Like empty the dishwasher, fill it again. Run some laundry and sort some clean stuff… And it helped.

It is happening again but I will be damned if I am going to let it suck me in and pull me down – after all, it will always happen, so I just need to get as used to it as all of us are used to the four seasons – right?



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