No Reason

From Chicago Med Season 1, Episode 12:

Dr. Charles: You’re one hell of a performer. I mean, a real trouper. Keeping it up for so long, selling this idea you think who you need to be all the time, carrying around the weight of that performance…isn’t it tiring? Aren’t you exhausted?

The patient: I have absolutely no excuse to be sad.

Dr. Charles: You don’t need a excuse, man. You’re a human being.

This quote really resonated with me. I have been pretty depressed lately, but keep beating myself up for feeling that way. I keep saying to my therapist that I don’t understand why I am so sad. Objectively everything in my life is going well – I am in graduate school, I have a job, I have a boyfriend, I have great friends, a great family etc. I look around and see people that are less fortunate than me, and feel guilty that I am still sad and hopeless despite everything that I have. Logically I know that when you have depression you don’t need a reason to be depressed, but I still often feel bad about my mood being so low. So, it was nice to hear the line about not needing an excuse to be sad.

In addition, I could really relate to the first part of the quote. I am exhausted all of the time, and find being around people particularly draining. I think it is because when I am around people I put on this act that everything is ok. I act happy and energetic, and then come home and collapse. Dr. Charles is right that putting on that performance is exhausting.

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Be Patient

House Season 6, Episode 3 – Epic Fail:

House: My leg’s killing me. Cooking helped for a while. I guess I got bored. My leg started hurting again, then I got worried, and that made the pain worse.

Dr. Nolan: What are you worried about?

House: That nothing’s gonna help. That I end up in the very dark place. I’m fine… Just not happy.

Dr. Nolan: I didn’t let you out because you were happy. I let you out, because I believe you had the skills to cope with that. You tried one thing. It didn’t work. So move on. Write. Play chess.

House: What if nothing works? What if nothing gives me more than a few days before my brain starts looking for the next fix, before my leg feels like someone’s shoving nails into it? What do I do then?

Dr. Nolan: If nothing in the world can hold your interest, uh, we’ll deal with that when we get to it. But you have to trust me, and you have to be patient.

I can relate a lot to how House feels here. Although the last several weeks I have been quite depressed, for most of this year I have been “fine…just not happy.” In fact, I have been pretty miserable. On the surface though, things are fine – I’m maintaining my weight, going to class, going to work etc. I have great friends and a family. But I’m not happy because my brain simply will not shut up.

Like House, I worry that nothing is going to work. In his case he is looking for a distraction from the pain in his leg, in my case I am looking for relief from the eating disorder, depression, and anxiety. I have a new treatment plan that seems to be working well, but it is very slow going and, well, I am not a patient person. Everyone keeps telling me that it is going to take time. After all, I have had an eating disorder for 18 years – it isn’t going to go away with a few months of recovery. I am trying to hang on and trust everyone, but it is definitely quite hard some days.

Giving

“The joy supposedly is in the giving, so when the joy is gone, when the giving starts to feel more like a burden, that’s when you stop. But if you’re like most people I know, you give till it hurts, and then you give some more.” ~ Meredith, Grey’s Anatomy Season 6 Episode 10: Holidaze

I know that personally, I love to give things to friends, to coworker, and to my family. I like to feel that I am being helpful. As Meredith says, you get joy out of giving. It makes me happy to think of a friend reading a card I sent, or seeing them open a present I gave them. Even just giving my time makes me happy – I wouldn’t hang out with my friends if it didn’t give me joy too!

But everyone has their limits, and I personally am very bad at saying “no”. I am definitely getting better, but I still have a ways to go. I was always the first to volunteer to provide extra time on a project, or go to dinner with a friend if they were having a bad day, or feel like it was my job to make everyone happy. If someone did something nice to me, I felt obligated to buy them a gift to show my appreciation, or spend extra time trying to show them how grateful I was. Rather then putting myself first, I put making others happy first. As a result, sometimes I would feel overwhelmed.

I am trying to be better about setting limits, but am still really struggling with feeling like I am not giving enough. I think I am particularly struggling because all of my friends have been giving ME so much as I try to recover. Many people regularly ask me how I am doing, and offer to help if they can. And what do I do? What have I been giving? Nothing. The meds I am on make me sleep like 10 hours a day, and I am generally tired during the day. I try to do as much as possible with work, but I always feel like I am falling short. I am lazy so I rarely call people. I have been trying to work with my therapist on lowering my expectations for myself and allowing myself to say no, but it is slow going.

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.