jazzfish: Pig from "Pearls Before Swine" standing next to a Ball O'Splendid Isolation (Ball O'Splendid Isolation)
Will Moore RIP. The comments are insightful, particularly CassandraLeo's, particularly when paired with Five Lies Depression Told Me.

I don't know. At this point I feel confident in saying that I was depressed by summer 2012. That I was probably depressed by September 2011, and likely October 2010, and back and back and back with a little less certainty at each milestone. That being laid off eased up certain pressures but not others, and that after six months, being off work had done about as much good as it was going to. That I remained depressed up through last summer and on into the start of fall.

Still, I'm reluctant to identify as "depressed." I guess maybe I am, if frequent suicidal ideation and sporadic self-harm are anything to go by. I don't know. I feel pretty okay these days, but then oxytocin is a hell of a drug. Ask me in a month.



Too, I'm reluctant to try antidepressants for several reasons. In no particular order:

One, I am not the most reliable observer of my own mental state, and would prefer not to lock myself into something that maybe works with unpleasant side effects.

Two, finding a doctor in this town is a fool's errand.

Three, I would much prefer to sort out the external stressors in my life and see what's left after that.

Four, I've tried drugs once. I was on Prozac for a little over two years, from the end of high school through the first two years of university. It clipped the highs and lows of my emotional state, which I guess was a tradeoff I was happy to make at the time, and also sharply limited any pleasure I took from sex. Not the drive, mind you, just the physical pleasure.

This was under the direction of a terrible, terrible counselor chosen by my parents, at a time when their worry was "clearly there's something wrong with our son, he's not keeping up with his schoolwork." (A caricature, but not, I think, a wholly unfair one.) It's possible that that whole experience has made me averse to the idea of being depressed.



I don't know what the point of this post is, either, other than leaving a record where I can find it later. At about this time, Tucker began to consider that maybe he was clinically depressed and had been for well over a decade.

Eh.
jazzfish: a black-haired man with a big sword. blood stains the snow behind (Eddard Stark)
ETA: To clarify: as things stand, I seem to be on an upswing. I can tell it's not permanent, there are things that need to reassess and change. But it's not as bad as it may seem. You can tell by how I'm willing to talk about it, for instance.

cw: suicide talk )
jazzfish: Pig from "Pearls Before Swine" standing next to a Ball O'Splendid Isolation (Ball O'Splendid Isolation)
Noting for posterity:
So I call it in my mind: the dark year.

To try to tell it is like trying to tell the passage of a sleepless night. Nothing happens. One thinks, and dreams briefly, and wakes again; fears loom and pass, and ideas won't come clear, and meaningless words haunt the mind, and the shudder of nightmare brushes by, and time seems not to move, and it's dark, and nothing happens.

--Ursula K. Le Guin, Gifts
Le Guin's speaking of grief, there, but it's also the best description of depression I've seen since Dar Williams's "After All".
jazzfish: an evil-looking man in a purple hood (Lord Fomax)
Toronto woman with bipolar disorder refused entry into U.S. for being a ‘flight risk’: "While she was standing in front of a U.S. Customs and Border Protection agent, Box says he looked at his computer screen 'and he said something about "mental health issues." Then he said, "Yeah, you’re really crazy."'"

From late 1994 through early 1997 I was on Prozac for depression. In late 2003 I visited a therapist for, among other things, depression and sorting out my life. That ended abruptly when Anthem (hereinafter Those Pig****ers) refused to pay for the counseling on the grounds that it was a pre-existing condition.

When I moved out here for work, I was put on my employer's medical short-term/long-term disability insurance. They sent me a piece of paper reading "Because you sought treatment for depression in 1994-97 and in 2003, we're not insuring you for any disability from depression or similar causes."

Moral: never tell anyone who can put it in official writing that you have symptoms of a mental illness, because that shit will haunt you for the rest of your bureaucratic existence.

(Happy ending: work renegotiated their contract with the insurer last year, so there are no more exclusions like that one.)
jazzfish: a black-haired man with a big sword. blood stains the snow behind (Eddard Stark)
Counting years for something else, and I just noticed that it's been twenty years since I embarked on the two-year crash course in hell that's better known as "junior high." Which means it's been just under twenty years since the first time I considered killing myself.

I dunno. If you'd asked me what I thought my life would look like at this point, and I'd been able to answer you, the only things that would look at all similar would be that I have a job involving a computer, that I live in the DC area, and that I have lots of books and a couple of cats. Just about all of the rest of it would either appall or baffle twelve-year-old me, from "glasses and ponytail" on through "nearly failed out of college" and into "nigh-atheist" and "poly."

I think, on balance, that's a good thing. Certainly I'm happier as I am now than as I'd thought I would be. I don't think "happy" even entered into that. Getting to be happy was like getting to choose where I lived: so far out of the realm of the possible that it couldn't be seen with a telescope. Now. . . I'm happier than not, most days, and actively working to improve that ratio.

As for the other. . . it's hard to look back, to know what's to come in those two years, and in the greater part of the six that follow them, and still look myself in the eye and say, "It's worth it." Any time the question comes up I tell people that I don't want to have kids because I wouldn't willingly put anyone else through junior high, and I'm only half kidding.

I can look around and say "I'm glad I'm here." I have tea, and the Internet, and a small but real cohort of people I care about that also care about me. I just can't say "it's worth the pain," because I don't know how to gauge that, or if it's even possible to weigh pain and joy in the same scale.

I said By the fires I see this is hell
By the looks on your faces you're damned here as well
They said Come and be welcome wearing your curse
To get here you must have walked through hell first

-SKZB, "More Thumbscrews"

There was, eventually, camping last weekend. More on that tomorrow.

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Tucker McKinnon

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Adventures in Mamboland

"Jazz Fish, a saxophone playing wanderer, finds himself in Mamboland at a critical phase in his life." --Howie Green, on his book Jazz Fish Zen

Yeah. That sounds about right.

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