Distorted Darkness

Life continues being good. There’s a little shiver in my spine telling me that when I go back into stress, life won’t be so good anymore. And a bigger shiver all over my body making me aware that if it happens, maybe… what?, will I never deal with anything big and stressful anymore? No way, I have so many plans… I can’t quit and move to the country to watch clouds all day eternally.

I’ll waiiit… and I’ll sit and watch the clouds as they go by…

Luckily, another part of my mind keeps trying to balance the thing, and the result these days is that everything has definitely been good. Extremely good, I could say.

It is funny that when I feel the least depressed, it’s when I truly become aware that my depression has been real all the time. This is not an epiphany, I’ve thought this before, I’ve reasoned about this a million times. Unfortunately, logic seems to vanish into the fog when depression covers you with it’s dark, thick, and eternal shapeless material (<<haha yay for dramatic effect). Then all you see is distorted by this; every single experience, good or bad is viewed through its lens, and if you’re unlucky enough to still be aware, you will most likely get to the point where you can’t tell what’s real and whatsnot.

In the point of confusion, you also become pretty susceptible to any argument pointing to one or the other direction; and especially gullible to those who “confirm” how much of a faker you are, and how flawed and horrible you are.

I was recently struck with an image a friend created and published, not sure if it’s directed at me or not and that’s not really relevant at the moment. The image used to be posted here, but I couln’t keep it (person later pulled the card of “copyrights” to make me take it off). Anyway, I can describe it for you: it was one of those “demotivational posters” you see on the web; it was illustrated with a box reading “Suicide booth”, with the tags “in use” in bright letters. The message below was “DEPRESSION” and in smaller print “Because there is always a solution to the lack of guts”.

Well, I’m aware these popular demotivational cards tend to be harsh and are not to be taken seriously because, frankly, the original ones are absolutely hilarious. I’m sure you have seen a few already al around the web. Maybe even made one.

If not, click on the image above to see a bunch. Enjoy.

Anyway, my friends demotivational card just helps me point out how people usually view depression: as a character flaw.

I believe that any reader that has been dealing with any sort of mental disorder that is accompanied with a big sense of introspection, will recognize the mental fight of “Is there something really affecting me?, or am I just flawed, weak, and broken?

Easy prey of stigma and judgement from other people.

After all, there’s no Gold Standard to precisely diagnose a mental disorder. What makes one think they’re not mere illusions for the confort of weak minds? or an excuse to justify erratic behaviour?

I know it’s pointless to pretend that, when I rant about how little people understand mental illnesses, I will make them automatically know what I mean, empathize with me and end the conversation with a big emotional moment with crying, hugs, apologies and indulgence. I also don’t mean to consider myself a misunderstood victim, part of a misunderstood group of crazies with varying degrees of severity. I just think that the mind and its disorders are so personal, so different from each other, and the limits so blurry, that you just have to be there to know what it feels. Only you know, so it makes sense that you don’t allow any other person to judge whether what you’re feeling is real or not, even if you can’t quite tell yourself.

I know that when I was much younger and very sane and innocent, I used to think suicide was the most stupid thing in the world, and that crazy people were scary and always “other people”. If I had not experienced what I’ve experienced with depression, I’d probably stick with that idea.

I don’t mean I should also experience schizophrenia and bipolar disorder in order to understand people who suffer from this. All I’m saying is that I hope that my blink of experience helps me not to do the same with other people. To be more open and not judge the millions of different paths a mind can take, no matter that I can’t really put myself in their shoes.

Among med students, psychiatry has a pretty bad reputation. It’s seen as a “pseudoscience” and the psychiatrists are seen as “the doctors of the nonexistent diseases”. Also, it’s said you have to be crazy to become one. It’s an example of how little understanding of mental disorders there is, and we’re talking about a supposedly well educated community of people.

However, I agree that you might be better suited for the job if you have suffered or someone close to you has suffered a mental illness. Because I believe it would be a little difficult to empathize with your patients, or even be interested on them if you have no idea of what it is like; and worst, if you don’t believe that what they’re going through is very real in their minds and affects all areas of their lives. Books are one thing. Books are not enough. Maybe that’s the problem with the current mental health workers I’ve had to deal with; maybe they went into this discipline because someone told them they should, or because they ran out of options, or whatever other stupid reason.

Alright everyone, the loooong blah blah blah is finally over. I’m not sure if I made any point at all, or I just spitted my mind out and made no sense.

Oh well, take care.

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14 thoughts on “Distorted Darkness

  1. Ah, demotivational posters! I actually made some of these and submitted them to ebaumsworld once. I’ve seen a few floating around out there. None as nice as these though.

    As far as the post goes, I’ve got some mild depression, especially this time of year after the holidays in the long darkness and deep cold of winter.

  2. Vane,

    “I was recently struck with an image a friend created and published, not sure if it’s directed at me or not”

    The answer is yes and not. In my life, I have been given the gift of dealing with depressive people all the time. I can’t deny, that my first impression regarding them was “weak people”. Since my post-adolescence I have been thrilled by knowing a little bit more about behaviour patterns in creative person’s depression. Maybe this could answer a lot of questions you have been done since we met.

    “The first image I posted, just helps me point out how people usually view depression: as a character flaw”.

    Certainly you know that I am right. Probably it won’t help you to feel better to think about you as a faulty human, and it’s not my intention, but you know that there is something blocking you. You may have tried psychotherapy or antidepressant drugs, but you probably remain unconvinced that the answers you’re looking for about the causes and management of your depression can be supplied by psychologists or medical doctors.

    The cliché is that “(little) few people understand mental illnesses”. That “you don’t allow any other person to judge whether what you’re feeling is real or not”, etc.
    Like many clichés, these ones you exposed are quite true. But let me tell you that there are “other people” who go a little bit further about this depression thing (even if they are not afflicted by it), trying to solve this complex puzzle.

    In conclusion, my poster was only a sarcasm to the psychological approach to depression. In fact, I am preparing another poster, related to the biological approach to depression, but I haven’t had time to finish it. It’s a smiling lab rat with that thing in the head, ECT patients have to wear on. It will say something like:

    ANTIDEPRESSANTS: Because you are worth it.

    I would speak about all these topics personally, but believe me that the last thing I will do the day I see you again is to speak about depression 😉

    PS: Regarding to one of the last posts… (The one of the photos)

    – What happened to Mr. Roo? I was looking for him between your soft toys and I realised he wasn’t there!… Did he suffer the same destiny of Mr. Feety 😦 ?
    – Sleeping naked?, Leggy photos from you hung from a tree? Jeez, this blog is getting better… Definitively you know how to increase the hits! 😉

    Love,

    Diego

  3. I don’t agree with you. And that’s fine. You are very different to me and you are entittled to have whatever opinion suits you, as well as I can.

    I had no problem with your poster, I just used it to illustrate my point. I didn’t took it as a personal offence.

    But right now I’m starting to. And it’s not the poster.

    What bothers me is your attitude, like you’re right and I’m just an immature girl who is trying to avoid her problems. And what’s worse, you go for it and still act like you were doing me a favor.

    Of course it seems like it was my mistake to open up so much to you. You obviously know my flaws, especially because you’ve always seen me when I’m at my worst. You have no right to take advantage of it.

    If this was anyone’s posts I would probably post something calm and refer them to read more about mental disorders. But there’s you.

    I’m seriously trying to control myself from just posting “FUCK YOU” all over my comments.

    Depression is something that has affected my life for a long time. It has messed with me, it has made me lose friends, it has done so much damage to me, and I’m not going to let some ignorant – wannabe student of the human behaviour tell me that I’m weak. I’m very aware of my flaws, I actually like them now, I’m not trying to run away from them. You ignorant asshole. Don’t you understand anything about depression? Have you read ANYTHING about it, actually, have you read anything I’ve said here?

    Go back to your computers, baby.

    I might be tolerant in a lot of ways, and I would gladly accept someone posting contrary views of this post to make an interesting debate, but that’s nothing like your patronising, presuntous way to put it out. This is not about this comment btw. It’s about a series of attitudes, I’m a pretty nice girl most of the time, I’ve never fought you, even when you were fighting me and making me feel like crap over something you IMAGINED!

    But that’s it. Depression is something I feel very strongly about and you know it. I usually don’t tell anyone, but I told YOU, because I trusted you, crap bag.

    I’ve lost many people to depression in a very passive way…

    You’re probably the first one to be FIRED. Get the fuck out of my life for good.

  4. I was recently struck with an image a friend created and published, not sure if it’s directed at me or not and that’s not really relevant at the moment.

    This poster is disgusting. It’s basically making fun of people who commit suicide, saying they are weak and “lack guts”. Pisses me off!

    During my early teens I too thought suicide was a pathetic way out. But then my cousin committed suicide and once I learned the circumstances, I couldn’t blame him. When depression hit me I finally knew the despair and desperateness of wanting to kill myself. I now see suicide is a very brave thing to do. It takes a lot of GUTS to do it.

    Diego – You’re the “friend” who did the poster? I thought it was cruel. Depression is NOT a character flaw. The only thing “holding Nessa back” is low serotonin levels, something that’s out of her control. Your ECT poster isn’t funny either. They fry your brain, destroy cells and memories. ECT is not treatment. ECT is torture. And in fact, depression is a kind of torture too. Unless you know what it feels like to want to die, you should stop making posters making fun of illnesses you couldn’t possibly understand.

  5. Different points of view generate many arguments, and many arguments in life are caused by differences in reality.

    That’s the reason because sometimes I prefer to stay quiet.

    Chao

  6. you’re the first person i know who has depression. i think what you blog helps me to understand people with the illness, or at least what they might be going through (though as you said all cases differ).

    i’m not sure what’s the point of this post either, but hey, i think i learnt something! 😛

  7. Ignoring all the kerfuffle above. I want to tell you what I thought the point of this post is:
    I just think that the mind and its disorders are so personal, so different from each other, and the limits so blurry, that you just have to be there to know what it feels.

    I once (twice actually) had a breakdown type episode. One possibly tirggered by depression, but mostly keyed in by exposure to hallucingoens and then lack of sleep (two totally seperate occasions, but basically, I think I broke my contact with reality at the age of 16 with drugs, took a while to get back to reality (like two months) and then went back to the same place under a lot of stress a few years ago.

    The mind is the strangest thing, immeasurably so. I learnt that I couldn’t rely on my mind to tell me the truth, and that I had to be aware of that. I realised that everything can be distorted and shifting, and you need to rely on other people to confirm reality and get you through the worst of times (if it wasn’t for my Ex, I wouldn’t still be alive. She stayed with me even as I pushed her away, making her part of my paranoid worldview, to her I owe everything.)

    The biggest thing I learnt, was that so few people realise these facts, the possibility of being wrong, totally and utterly wrong about the way the world is. The way reality is.

    Also, I learnt that I, though in some ways more broken/weak mentally than others, am also many times stronger, because I can fall apart and still find it in myself to put myself back together, and become real again.

    I managed it twice. And in a way, that’s two of the proudest achievements of my life.

    We are all so incredibly different, nobody can see through another’s eyes. But everybody can try. Empathy and understanding is important.

    Now I’m not sure what my point is. But yeah. Who needs points?

  8. I should name this “The pointless topic”. B)

    I think I’m trying to make a point somewhere in my mind though. I’m just not good at putting it into words. Maybe I will someday.

  9. To be honest, I think you make lots of really interesting and honestly meant points. You’re sharing something personal and helping people understand it. Which is what this whole blog business is about (at least partly). Sharing perspectives.

    Everything has a point, even if it isn’t apparent immediately.

  10. Anyway, I can describe it for you: it was one of those “demotivational posters” you see on the web; it was illustrated with a box reading “Suicide booth”, with the tags “in use” in bright letters. The message below was “DEPRESSION” and in smaller print “Because there is always a solution to the lack of guts”.

    The only circumstance in which there is NO justification for you to take offense from this poster is if you came across it through purely accidental means and the author whilst aware of your history with depression did not believe your eyes will ever view it. I am new to your blog and unaware of the details of your past with the user ‘Diego’ but by all appearances he intended for you to see it.

    This makes all the difference. Offense is not just justifiable in this instance but entirely expected. His ad hominen counterarguments and all around faulty logic are weak attempts to confuse the issue.

    Let us humour the argument that this is a matter of communication and diverging beliefs. Now let us also assume that Diego does not suffer from autism which would impair his ability to understand issues from a social relevance perspective. The average human—barring severe physical or mental handicap—shares more similarities than differences in the way in which they view the world. As humans, it is not our objective perceptions of the world around us that leads to tension but rather how we choose to interpret what we see.

    Even so, diverging beliefs do not impair a human being’s ability to predict the effect specific messages will have on others. In this instance, it is possible to believe depression is a character defect whilst still knowing that telling someone who suffers from depression and believes the opposite will rightfully find offense in the poster. To present the poster to such an individual regardless then is not about an inability to discern, but a result of malice at least and indifference at best—making the claim one did not ‘intend to cause harm’ a lie or an undeniable case of severe obtuseness.

    Digging further, the real motivation behind all of this is a poorly veiled dominance struggle. This is especially evident in the sentence ‘Certainly you know that I am right,’ and the emoticons dispersed throughout the response along with your supposed faults. The user fails to provide valid explanations for his actions because there are none.

    Also note that a commonly used argument by a sexist male when attempting to argue a weak point of view with a female is: claiming the female is displaying a level of emotion that is excessive for that particular situation and that it impairs their capacity for reason.

    I noticed your reluctance to say you were initially offended by the poster. However, an emotional response to an offensive poster and the capacity for open mindedness are not mutually exclusive. What you face in this confrontation crazyasuka are not your personal struggles, but the last futile attempts of an individual to test where he stands now. To confuse and unbalance you long enough to own you. With the bitterness of someone who remains in denial of his true motivations and actions.

  11. Satoruvash:

    I’m very impressed from reading your post. You’re giving a point of view that not only has very good arguments and explain your views in an excellent way; you’re putting into words things that were in my mind in a messy way, and it was upseting me not being able to express them.

    Besides, you’re doing it from a more objective point of view than any of the previous commenters, who are in one way or the other, emotionally involved in the issue.

    Thanks for your input. For taking the time to read all this, and to give your opinion in such an eloquent way, even thought you’re not involved in this personally.

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