Off the cuff ramblings (or “off the curr,” whichever appeals more).
I should’ve realized I was depressed when I drew a chart on the whiteboard to keep help me keep track of my medication. I’ve been struggling to take the pills consistently. That’s kind of adorable: it’s three pills a day I take with meals. It doesn’t require mental Olympics.
It’s surprising how much of a struggle meds can become. In the early days of dosing, I’m committed to my pills. They’re my Obi-Wan, my last and only hope. If I’m lucky, they work.
I’ve been lucky with the Trintellix. It keeps me in the realm of normal most of the time. Sadly, as time passes, taking my meds gets more haphazard. Worse, I start to let the missed doses go. One or two a week gets left unswallowed. It makes me feel like a rebel.
I’ve been wondering lately if I’m depressed. Clinically, not emotionally. There’s a significant difference though one can be both. “Both” is extra buckets of fun.
But I digress.
As it turns out, by the time you draw the chart, it’s too late. You’re no longer avoiding the depression. You’ve hit mitigation.
I’d probably be depressed even if I didn’t suffer from depression. I’ve taken quite a few blows over the last bit, and a person can only take so many before the brain tags out. Or, so I tell myself. I’m ignoring the existence of people who don’t ever give up. They’re not me.
I’ve been hideously inert lately. It’s like I’m buried in a vat of petroleum jelly that’s also been shoveled into my brain. The shock of my mother’s lung cancer diagnosis has yet to wear off, and it seems it was kind of a straw. That’s unfortunate: I can’t afford a broken back right now, herniated discs notwithstanding.
The apathy that dogs my days and makes almost everything seem impossibly insurmountable (my depression loves a good adverb) has poor timing. It doesn’t care that I’ve stuff to do.
Doing the same thing for the past ten days or so while expecting a different result hasn’t worked. I’m shocked. I really thought that this would be the time a failing philosophy would pay off.
What about returning to first principles? That thought popped into my head as I was trying to write an emotionally-connected journal entry that wasn’t as stilted as a dollar store greeting card (orders from my counsellor). The current operating system isn’t getting things done.
First Principles is one of those things I know well enough to understand but not well enough to explain. This means I don’t know it, but we’ll pretend that’s not true.
The theory behind first principles is this: you reverse engineer a problem down to the smallest possible units until you’re left with a singular truth that can stand alone. Then you take that truth and try to build a problem-free solution from the ground up. It may or may not comply with dogma.
I am. A basic truth that gets lost in the morass of life events and mental illness. I exist, and there’s value in that, an idea my neurons are designed to disregard. Unfortunately, the cumulative effect of letting the smaller tasks go is a collapse of the system.
Short-term gain for long-term pain.
Thus, we are back to planning and lists. I am. A first principle for me is that I’m not “off the cuff.” I don’t work well without structure. Oddly, when I inexplicably convince myself to fly freeform, I fail to track negative changes or build in safeguards. Assured destruction.
Perhaps I have feeble survival instincts? Or, and I like this option better, a homicidal life-partner in my depression?
There I go anthropomorphizing again (that’s a viciously hard word to type).
“Am” requires certain things in return for one’s existence. Including facing the uncomfortable parts of life that seem to be attacking from all sides. “Meet your challenges” appears to be a global truth.
Because things are complicated and chaotic right now, I don’t blame myself for reverting to my familiar coping mechanisms. Much. If my world was currently calm, cool, and collected, I might even stay for a bit, relishing the lack of effort the pit requires.
We don’t always want immediate rescue.
But I’ve things to do, and miles to go before I sleep.* First on the agenda after a shower is getting a haircut. It seems easier to pull oneself back from “let it all go” with a new ‘do. Even depression responds to marketing.
“Reasoning by first principles is useful when you are (1) doing something for the first time, (2) dealing with complexity, and (3) trying to understand a situation that you’re having problems with.”