Note to Self and Altered Perceptions of Reality.

Do you ever have times when you feel like there’s nothing wrong with you and you can’t seem to remember how you felt when you thought there was something really wrong with you??

and if you do, do you feel like your being fussed over way too much when that happens?

Quote taken from a comment on a post at The Secret Life of a Manic Depressive.

It caught my attention because this is something I’ve done, of course. One day I have my mind splattered on the floor, and later, time goes by, medications kick in + factor X, and factor Y and such, and I get better. I never get better overnight… it is almost as I don’t notice the shifts… one day I wake up and realize I have been doing better and can’t seem to remember why. So, sometimes it goes like what the quote says and I think I was being stupid and childish and I am really a normal person who worries too much, and become ashamed of my posts and ashamed of having a psychiatrist and ashamed of taking medication. This is the main cause of depressed people becoming not compliant according to what I’ve seen.

But what caught my attention EVEN MORE, is that it seems like it works the opposite way in me, most of the times at least. So, there I am, feeling really ashamed when I’m not doing well, and the worst it gets the more ashamed I become, thinking I’m an idiot and a weak person and everything is hard because I am so weak and useless and can’t do anything right.  Here‘s an example of some of the things I’ve said to myself on those times.

But then, when I realize I am doing better I also come to the conclusion that I was right. Not about the guilty thoughts (especially NOT about the guilty thoughts), but about the other feelings. It takes me going back to being strong and realizing how much I am capable of, and how many problems I can take and solve effectively, to realize how bad it was before and how uncontrollable it really was. On those times I strongly wish I could send a note to myself to the times I am depressed to tell myself that all of those feelings are justified and to stop torturing me without needing to. The idea of the note was brought back to me by Sulz with her post Letter To Me.

It’s like being drowning and thinking you’re drowning in a kids pool and are an idiot for not being able to get out of that little insignificant thing. And then, when you’re finally safe, you realize what you just left was a dark horrible ocean of never ending pain. It was a real ocean, not a kiddies pool after all. And you can’t believe you got out of there alright.

(I’ve realized depressed people tend to rely on metaphors a lot.)

So, I am posting the note, because now I need it desperately. I am the lowest I’ve ever remember being in my life, I don’t see the other side of this…

But here it is anyway.

Note to me:

This is not your fault. You truly are going through hell, and the fact that you feel like you are not capable of doing anything right now doesn’t mean that’s how you are as a person. You are NOT being irrational. Your perception of the world has changed, has been covered with a somber but really subtle mental curtain, and what’s wrong is that PERCEPTION, not your interpretation of it. Whatever the cause it is of that perception becoming tainted, the point is that it is altered, not yourself. Anyone who had to be behind that sneaky curtain of doom would probably interpret the outside the same way and also feel the same you’re feeling. All you need to work on right now is on getting rid of that curtain, not on altering your thoughts on it. Any rational process based on a wrong perception is meant to be wrong. It has to. Nobody else can see this alteration because it’s in your mind, and they will try to convince you that your behaviour IS irrational. I know this is hard to take because you are a scientist and it sounds like cheap faith garbage. But this is not about faith, is about doubting your own perception, and realize it is possible that it has been altered. This is actually about being skeptical. Why? Try to objectively analize what you have done, said and thought when you have been “alright”. Imagine yourself doing all that now. Feels like too much, doesn’t it? Well, it was a piece of cake when you did it, and even the things that were hard were sucesfully acomplished. You have done all you’ve ever set your mind to, and you don’t remember it now, but you have created ways to remember it. Remember? lol, you are a memory freak, you were able to recognize that you couldn’t rely on your own memory, because once depression is involved, that hard drive is altered aswell; so you took pictures of every dust in the corner, you made blogs, journals and saved all you can in hopes that when your memory tells you you’re a miserable failure, you can confront it with the external device and say “HA, busted”.

It is hard to accept that your very own tool to see the world has been corrupted, but you need to learn to recognize when this happens. Who knows if you’ll ever stop getting this, but you at least can learn to ignore it and put your brain on confinement and not believe a word it says until everything is working again.

Well, that’s it for now. Stay safe.

Break Down, Matthew Johnstone, 2004

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5 thoughts on “Note to Self and Altered Perceptions of Reality.

  1. I’m trying to work out how to say this, and I can’t.

    Basically, I think your note to self may have helped me unconsciously today.

    The weekend was a rollercoaster, mostly due to my misuse of toxins and the attempted bodily recovery. Some things make your liver hurt, and some things just make you feel regret.

    Anyway, I was down and anxious yesterday. Really down. Really anxious. Couldn’t sleep until about five, had weird, weird dreams (Gladiators, Old men, libraries, Gym routines….weird) that meant I woke up for work feeling worse than I’d been before.

    I was four hours late for work (I’m really pushing it now…someone’s gonna notice and I’m gonna get in trouble) because it took me that long to get over the mental barriers.

    But I did, and at work, I realised afterwards, I’d actually been mostly productive all day. Had at least one genuine connecting experience with a friend (I’m worried about how quickly I lose the ability to connect with people…it’s my whole fucking life and sometimes it’s just not there. I can almost always talk…but there’s something missing).

    Anyway, I was walking home, and I realised I felt alright. The air was right, I’ve got lots of bullshit ahead of me…but it suddenly wasn’t this big insurmountable thing. It was just me forgetting how I deal with things.

    Anyway. I read your note for the second time on sitting back down at home. And I think it might have something to do with it.

    Not sure where I’m going, or where I’ve been.

    But here I am.

  2. I think it is a huge thing for me if something that I wrote made it better for you. This is the final kick I needed to mark today as a Good Day. Thank you.

    Everything about today has been good. 🙂

    I think something little that plays the right unknown switches inside our minds can do a great change. Today I woke up, I was sort of awake, but I blamed the huge amount of sleep I had gotten. I read a blog post by Seaneen (The Secret Life…). Reading it made me smile, but it was nothing huge. A while later I noticed everything had a different look. I connected to people, I was able to help somebody, and I found many bad things but nothing of that overwhelmed me. I liked my music and the world just has a nice light…

    Could have been the meds, and could have been that + the little invisible switches of the strange mental world we’ve yet to completely figure out.

    I’m worried about how quickly I lose the ability to connect with people

    I think it is a plus that you worry about it. It shows that you’re at least not antisocial. 🙂 You just have to figure out a way to keep your ability switched on “most of the time” instead of “almost never”. I could work on that myself too.

    (Gladiators, Old men, libraries, Gym routines….weird)

    Haha, that made me giggle… I can picture images in my mind so quickly… Ehh.

  3. I think this is one of the most important things to realise – that there *is* something wrong with you. That may sound a very negative and defeatist attitude to some … but when you find yourself thinking you’re weak and stupid it helps a lot to remember that these thoughts are part of your illness, they aren’t who you are.

  4. You can’t rely on your memory most of the times, because the memory tends to be corrupted too! Sometimes it’s hard to just say that “it is important to remember…”. It is important but might not be the most plausible thing to do when most of your brain is pointing you in the opposite direction.

    Hence the “external memory devices”.

  5. of all things the person closest to you can make the difference and chase much of the darkness turn to a lighter note. temporary but at least it helps the weight to be eased while you can function and perform until, the next wave that comes around unexpectedly.

    colin

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