Depression

From Private Practice, Season 3 Episode 14 “Love Bites”:

Violet: Depression isn’t not understanding that you have something you should live for; it’s knowing that you should feel differently, but it’s so bad that all you want to do is curl up and die.

I feel like I don’t even need to elaborate on or explain this quote. To me, this so eloquently captures how I feel right now.

I know logically that I have plenty of things to live for – I have a family, I have friends, I have a job, I have cats etc. As someone who usually relies on logic and reason, it is beyond frustrating for me that I cannot reason my way out of this depressive funk. Like the quote says, I KNOW that I should feel different, but I don’t. This disconnect between how I feel and how I think I should feel only serves to worse my depression.

I hope this quote helps others recognize what depression feels like, and serves as a reminder that depression is not something that it is possible to reason your way out of.

TV Moments

16 TV Moments That Helped People Through Their Depression

Of Note:

  1. Kimmy Schmidt is number 1 – That show really has so many great lines, and I definitely use the 10 seconds at a time thing all the time.
  2. Parks and Recreation also has great lines, and I have blogged about several Grey’s Anatomy quotes.
  3. #15 – The West Wing! Best show EVER. I LOVE that scene too. Best episode of the best show ever. Speaking of The West Wing, check out my other blog: The West Wing in Real Life

Stop Being On Hold

ER Season 9, episode 15, “A Boy Falling Out of the Sky”:

Abby:  You know, my life is on hold…It will always and forever be on hold. You don’t wanna be on hold.

Carter: Don’t put it on hold.

Abby: I have no choice.

Carter: You do…Right. Your life sucks. There’s nothing you can do about it [sarcasm]…I want you to stop being so afraid.

I was watching this episode last night with some friends, and Abby’s claim that her life is on hold, with Carter’s challenge to her that there is nothing she can do about it, really stuck out to me.

At the risk of oversimplification, Abby claims her life is on hold and will forever be on hold because of the history of bipolar disease in her family. She is constantly waiting for bad news to come, and she also claims that she attracts misery wherever she goes.

Carter, however, challenges her assumption that she is a passive by stander with his comment about there being nothing she can do about it. He challenges her to stop being afraid of bad news, and to basically start living despite her fears.

I think the reason this quote really stuck out to me right now is because I struggle with feeling like my life is on hold because of the eating disorder and depression. There is a part of me that feels like things need to be going a whole lot better than they actually are in order for me to move forward. However, what I am learning from my wonderful therapist, as well as experience, is that waiting around doesn’t really work. Not to be too corny, but recovery is all about building a “life worth living”, and it’s hard to stay motivated with recovery or figure out what you want in life if you are just waiting for things to get better.

That’s not to say that you should rush into things or try to work full time while doing treatment or something. However, I think that when it comes to figuring out how to build a life, sitting down and making pros and cons lists falls way short of building experiences that help give you and idea of what you want. Right now I have some big decisions to make about my future, and I feel paralyzed. It’s really tempting to crawl back into the grips of the eating disorder, or lay under the covers in the grips of depression. These decisions I have to make will really push my life forward in a way that it has not been for the last few years. I will really be taking any hold button off with these decisions, and that’s scary. But, ultimately I know that it is for the best, and the best way to make these decisions is to keep pushing forward, rather than moving backwards. Just as Carter suggests, I do have the power to change things.

Don’t Give Up

House Season 5, Episode 23 “Under My Skin”:

House: Why don’t I feel scared?

Wilson: I’d say you’re unaware of what you’re feeling at this moment.

House: I feel like crap. My life if falling apart, but I don’t feel scared. Not of the rehab, anyway…It won’t work.

Wilson: You want it to work this time…House, it’s your only option.

House: What do I do if my only option won’t work?

Wilson: You don’t give up.

The above exchange occurs after House admits to Wilson that he is having hallucinations, and all causes other than his Vicodin addiction have been ruled out as the cause for the hallucinations. Thus, he agrees to go to rehab, and is packing when him and Wilson have the above conversation.

Lately, I have been in kind of a depressive funk, and it is making everything a lot harder in terms of ED recovery.Thankfully, my life is not falling apart. I am still managing to work despite the depression, and I have amazing friends and family. But, just like House, I feel more like crap than I do scared. I would say that unlike House, there is a part of me that is scared, but overwhelmingly, I just don’t feel well (physically and mentally). Perhaps what Wilson says about not being sure of what House is feeling holds true for me too. House is probably unaware of what he is feeling due to the drugs, but for me, it’s the depressive funk clouding my emotions.

Regardless, I will say that I can relate to the hopelessness House seems to feel. I feel like I am out of options. I’ve done inpatient and PHP a bunch of times, and although they have helped, I am often unable to sustain the gains I’ve made. I’ve also done IOP that is more focused on the mood stuff than the ED, and again, while it has helped me learn certain things intellectually, it hasn’t really translated into lasting behavior change. I currently have a wonderful outpatient therapist, but even she is frustrated with how I continue to get caught in the trap of the ED.

As corny as it sounds though, hearing Wilson say “you don’t give up” actually helped me feel a little better. I may feel as if I have no more options, but I have to keep reminding myself that giving up is also not an option. I may feel right now like nothing will work, but it will. So thanks Wilson, for giving me a little boost on this Friday morning 🙂

 

Happiness

“Maybe it’s this expectation though of wanting to be happy that just keeps us from ever getting there. Maybe the more we try to will ourselves to state’s of bliss, the more confused we get – to the point where we don’t recognize ourselves.”

~ Grey’s Anatomy, Season 6, episode “Shiny Happy People”:

Lately, I’ve been struggling a lot with depression.  I am trying to do what I know to be helpful – staying busy, making plans with friend – basically utilizing opposite action to get up and do things.  Despite this, I still do not feel great.  It’s not that I’m crying uncontrollably or am incredibly sad, I’m just not happy.

I read an article a few weeks ago in TIME magazine (sadly it is not available online to non-subscribers, otherwise I would post a link to it), about how Americans’ pursuit of happiness is misguided.  Rather than searching for happiness, we should be searching for meaning.  In turn, having more meaning and feeling more meaningful creates happiness.

To me, this makes perfect sense.  As the Grey’s quote says, focusing too much on happiness can create more problems. Having the expectation of happiness just makes me feel even worse about the fact that reality is not meeting my expectations.  It’s kind of like the saying “a watched pot never boils.”  I find that the more obsessed I become with being happy, the more I focus on just how unhappy I am.  My hope is that as I get more involved with work and friends and other aspects of life, the more I will feel like my life has meaning.  In turn, that meaning will make me feel happy, which is exactly what the TIME article said.

Grey’s Again

From this past week’s episode of Grey’s Anatomy.  It really hit home about “managing” things.  I usually feel like I am managing things fine, and then seemingly out of nowhere things start to crumble.  But as Owen points out, perhaps I am actually doing too good a job of managing things.  Rather than trying to manage things and keep everything under control, I need to allow myself to experience the ups and downs, the good days and bad days.  Maybe the more I try to keep up this appearance of managing, the more I’m actually setting myself up to relapse.  Oh, and spoiler alert – Derek is dead.

Amelia: I’ve got the dead-Derek thing completely managed…but I’m good. I got this. I am fine….except today, I yelled at Richard… Who was only trying to invite me for coffee, and then I went and scored oxy from this junkie doctor. 

Owen: But you haven’t taken any? 

Amelia: Not yet. But I might. That’s the thing. I really actually might. I have been sober for 1,321 days, Owen. I was fine. It was managed. But I might. 

Owen: All this stuff you’re… managing… You’re not supposed to be managing it. You’re supposed to be feeling it… grief, loss, pain. It is normal. 

Amelia: It’s not normal. 

Owen: It is. It is normal. It’s not normal to you ’cause you’ve never done it… instead of feeling it, feeling the grief and the pain, you’ve shoved it all down and you do drugs instead. Instead of moving through the pain, you run from it. Instead of dealing with being hurt and alone and afraid that this horrible, empty feeling is all there is, I run from it. I run off, and I sign up for another tour of active duty. We do these things. We run off, and we medicate. We do whatever it takes to cover it up and dull the sensation, but it’s not normal. We’re supposed to feel. We’re supposed to love and hate and hurt and grieve and break and be destroyed and rebuild ourselves to be destroyed again. That is human. That is humanity. That’s being alive. That’s the point. That’s the entire point. Don’t avoid it. Don’t extinguish it. Derek died. [Voice breaking] He died. 

Amelia: I don’t want to feel it. I don’t think I can. I don’t think I even want to…I can’t. I can’t. I can’t do this. I can’t. 

Owen: You have to. If you don’t… 

Amelia: No, I can’t. Shh, I can’t do this! 

Owen: You have to. If you don’t, that bag of oxy’s not gonna be your last. You’re gonna be okay. You’re gonna survive this, okay? Everybody does. It’s perfectly normal. It’s boring, even. It’s so normal.