Saturday Morning Musing

For a long time this year, I wasn’t writing or updating this blog very much. I’ll admit part of that was by choice (at least for the blog since I felt like I didn’t have anything to say) and part of that was because I just couldn’t make myself string the words together unless I was super moved by an idea. I was pretty busy most days and that meant I didn’t have much energy for working on my books, much less my blog. A lot of my time was filled with trying to manage my depression and a related self project: trying to avoid making myself depressed or anxious for no reason at all.

Honestly, that was probably the most successful “project” I worked on up until National Novel Writing Month and this daily update thing. It worked pretty well for the most part and only didn’t work when I had fairly legitimate reasons to feel depressed or anxious about something. During those times, my pinpoint focus on not making things worse for myself helped me avoid spiraling into a fugue or going back to my bad habits of closing off and hiding away from everything but my minimum work requirements and meals.

It was exhausting, though, because I needed to be constantly aware of what I’m thinking and focused on jerking my mind away from depressing thought spirals and needless anxieties. My OCD neither helped nor hindered, thankfully. My tendency to obsess over depressing subjects was effectively cancelled by my tendency to sort of automate small mental activities, like emptying my mind or tracking patterns in the world around me–which are only “small” activities because I’ve been working at doing those things for over a decade now. Making a habit of forcibly jerking your mind away from its habit of obsessing over negative thoughts and ideas is basically a wash.

I’ve been doing it for long enough at this point that its become a solid habit, even outside of my OCD. I catch myself more frequently than I used to, even though the spirals are a bit stronger than before. There’s nothing like a new relationship to lend strength of some negative thought spirals. At the same time, one of my major sources of stress is gone and I’ve got a significant source of positive emotion. No longer living with my frustrating roommate and having a girlfriend have definitely had a positive overall impact on my life even if I still occasionally have moments of intense anxiety. I don’t know if I’ll ever be entirely rid of those thought spirals or, as I refer to them in my head, thought tornadoes (because only the incredibly powerful ones are a problem and there’s no reasoning with them because they just carry you along with them), but I can definitely appreciate the fact that they’re the only major problem I’ve got right now.

I really wanted to write a post about how awful my roommate was, as a form of catharsis for myself and in order to start a conversation about how painful it can be to try to live with someone who doesn’t respect you despite the fact that you get along great as friends. I wound up sitting on the idea for a couple of months, which was probably wise, because I feel like I’m in a better place to actually think about it and respond rather than simply vent about it. Which is to say that I think the thing that stressed me out wasn’t so much his behavior, but his refusal to actually take steps to work on it despite constantly acknowledging it. So many times, I would sit down to discuss something with him and he’d cut me off by proving he already knew what I was going to bring up. It felt awful to be living with someone who knew what they were doing was wrong but continued to do it anyway because they didn’t care enough to change.

I worry that he’s going to see this, or that one of our mutual friends is going to see this and then share it with him, but that might be for the best. He obviously didn’t hear what I was saying to him during the 21 months we lived together, but maybe reading it will help it click. It’s worked before, with my original blog. Maybe it’ll work here as well.

I’m not going to hold my breath, though. After successfully reducing the amount of self-inflicted pain and stress I encounter on a weekly basis and spending an entire month writing up a storm, I think I’m ready to return my attention to what is most important to me. That, and the most common issue I face when I’m working on my creative projects. I will take breaks to rest up and recharge, but I never seem to be able to get the recharging part working properly. I can rest, feel ready to push again, but I haven’t managed to recharged myself past the low-levels I’ve been feeling for three years at this point. I don’t need to get out of low-power mode in order to write, but I feel like it’d be a lot easier if I could.

Of course, its been so long that I’m not sure if I can actually get recharged or if I’m making the entire thing up as an excuse to stop when things get difficult. Time will tell, I suppose. It usually does.

Conflicting Emotions

I’ve had a bit of a week. A lot has happened since June 13th (Okay, a week and a day), and I’ve been doing my best to deal with it. I tried writing (*cough* last week’s blog post *cough*) but wound up being unfortunately busy most of the time I thought I’d be able to write and entirely too tired for the rest of it. Throughout it all, I’ve had another major bout of depression come and go with a frequency comparable to bipolar disorder (and yes, I’m certain it’s not that) as a result of some of last week’s events.

I’ve never been terribly good at handling conflicts on my own behalf. If someone I know needs an advocate or someone to intercede on their behalf, I’ll dive right in with barely a second thought. When it comes to initiating conflicts on my own behalf, I would almost certainly rather suffer for weeks and months than start an emotionally charged conflict. Specifically emotionally charged conflicts.

Need to decide where to go for dinner and no one can agree? No problem, I can argue my suggestion with the best of them. Need to tell someone that their callous, disrespectful, and down-right negligent behavior is having a severely negative impact on my mental and emotional well-being? Fuck that, I’ll bring it up when it gets to the point of being nearly crippling.

As a result, I have a tendency to stay in shitty situations far longer than any reasonable person would. For example, my roommate and I definitely shouldn’t have re-signed our lease together, even if it was only going to be for 6 months. I knew then that we were not good cohabitors. The problem is that I’d been trying the subtle and conflict-less resolutions to our problems for 9 months at that point without result and even done a few more direct attempts that resulted in small conflicts, again without result. In his eyes, things were not that bad yet. In my eyes, I couldn’t really afford to live alone and we hadn’t tried everything yet.

So I tried being more direct and more forceful, all to no avail, until things came to a head and I told him we wouldn’t room together after our current lease expires. As a result of the conflicts leading up to that moment and all of the conflicts after that (because the issues have only been growing as time goes on), I’ve probably been more frequently and severely depressed than I was before I left my horrid, soul-sucking job in January.

That’s what conflict does to me. It stresses me out, makes me worry about having taken things too far despite knowing I pulled every single metaphorical punch and let the other person off too easy, it cuts into my ability to sleep properly, and makes my depression flare up with a vengeance. The more emotionally charged the conflict, the worse I get. The more often I’m in conflict, the worse I get. When you get both together, I wind up in a misery and depression hole it takes two or more weeks to actively climb out of (usually after two or three weeks of trying to make myself want to climb out of the hole).

I want to blame my roommate for my recent issues and I know a certain amount belongs to him for not respecting me and not respecting the agreements we made when we moved in together, but it’s not his fault I’ve got issues with conflict. He wouldn’t even know since I’m good at hiding it from people I want to hide it from and he’s already pretty oblivious on his own. I’ve told him a part of it now and I’m probably going to tell him the rest in an effort to encourage him to develop as a person and learn to respect people within his inner circle, but that’s another emotionally charged conflict right there and I’m still reeling from last week’s.

I know whose fault it is and I know how to make progress on resolving the issue as much as I’ll ever be able to, but that’s a big ol’ therapy journey and I’ve been procrastinating on getting a new therapist on my new insurance. It can be hard, to have to spend 6 or more months of sessions just working on getting comfortable with a therapist and familiar enough that I can talk about my big issues without needing a 15 minute aside to tell the entire story. Ultimately, it’s just another excuse to avoid something I find difficult. Like the phone call I’m going to make tomorrow (during business hours), sometimes you have to do something that makes you feel worse in the moment in order to feel better in the long run.

All I really wish, I suppose, is that this idea of misery now for a potential lack of misery later wasn’t a major theme of every aspect of my life. Kinda sucks to be a responsible adult sometimes.