Note: this talks about the call of the void, self-hatred, and suicidal thoughts. I am not suicidal, and haven't been in years. Still, if these things are upsetting, I suggest you not read this.
One of the more valuable things I figured out during my twenties is that self-hatred does not mean one's a good or particularly self-aware person. So far in this life, I've met a whole lot of people who also hate themselves, and are complete and utter assholes. There's a very Catholic sort of attitude around suffering equalling penance, and it's frustrating to see it from the inside and the outside.
Now that I've noticed this, I find it really hard to deal with in people close to me. I have a couple of friends whose reaction to fucking up, and realizing it, is to immediately call themselves horrible people. And... it doesn't do anything for me. Which leads me to suspect that me punishing myself as apology is equally as frustrating in the opposite direction.
The thing is, I still don't like myself very much. I've just learned to apologize by identifying:
- The thing I did wrong/ that hurt
- The steps I'm taking to not do it again
...and moving on. It's not the job of whoever's on the other side of that apology to make me feel less guilty, or to make the entire situation better. Self-hatred is not a virtue.
But this also doesn't do much for my own general dislike of myself. It's also equally frustrating to watch my friends be concerned for me, and so I've spent a fair amount of time with my depression reminding myself that if I work hard enough on the self care and anti-hermitry thing, I'll be less of a burden on the people around me... and that no, jerk brain, removal from the gene pool is not a valid reaction to feeling like shit.
I haven't been suicidal in years. But unfortunately, trauma leaves behind these ugly streak marks/ patterns in the brain. It's kinda akin to that urge to jerk the wheel of a car so one plunges off the highway, or that vague urge when standing on tall things. There's no actual want, just passive thought. I can have a purely happy day and still have intrusive thoughts.
The intrusive thoughts are absolutely a warning sign of depression, though. The denser the thoughts, the more I know I need to be careful with sleep, self-care, and my gym routine. And, just my luck: I spent September triaging the statements of rape victims and the ensuing community damage, October trying to figure out if I was going through a breakup, and the surrounding time dealing with my father being (yet again) in the hospital for (again) an infected leg. On top of that, work went sideways. I don't get to move to Oregon for quite a while, it seems.
It's been, shall we say, a difficult end to 2018. It's not surprising that I feel like shit more often recently. Depression, for me, has a linear recovery rate, but it's not a line without dips and spikes. While I've spent most of the last week or two more or less on an even keel, I've also spent it with my brain shrieking at me angrily about my latest relapse into love.
This isn't a situation I can precisely go apologize to the dark man for. To start with, it's not really his problem, for the second, we've more or less agreed (or rather, he's said) that long talks about the nature of friendship aren't on the table. In this friendship, we respect boundaries, so I'm doing my best to juggle the guilt of having feelings, the line of what's appropriate (and what's not), and the overwhelming joy of having the guy in my life.
I don't know where I'm going, or what hand basket I'm in, but I hope it leads out of depression, and to a place where I can live with myself for the compromises I've made for myself. If nothing else, the reaction of "this sucks, fuck this" propelling me towards doing useful things is promising.
Winter is always hard. This winter's just oddly more difficult than last winter. If not for the nascent March vacation I'm noodling with, I'd have nothing to look forwards to.
Guess I'd best put some time with the therapist on my calendar.