3 August 2017

digitalraven: (Default)
A few times now I've talked about what's going on in my head during depressive cycles. Unfortunately, a few times now people's comments on those posts have unintentionally made things worse, rather than better. While I'm writing this with actual love in the shrivelled lump of coal that is my heart, I’m aware that saying may well lose me friends. My mental health matters more than that.

So here’s the thing: explaining to me that the thoughts generated by my depression are wrong doesn't help. Pointing at articles or books that demonstrate that the thoughts generated by my depression are wrong doesn't help. Please don't do it in future. I know you are trying to help, but when I read it, it feels like you do not understand what I'm going through. That makes things worse, because I feel more isolated, because clearly my depression doesn’t work like other people’s, like the kind that can be magically fixed by realising that it’s wrong. It adds fuel to the fire.

I have been dealing with depressive episodes caused by bipolar-II for twenty-three motherfucking years at the time of writing. I am well aware that the thoughts it generates are wrong, but I have a neurochemical disorder that does not care what I know. It overrides my internalised knowledge. My depression rewrites my thoughts.

This is why I sometimes find it easier to characterise depression as psychic attack. It points out that my thoughts are being affected by an external (to my sense of self) agent, and that I can fight them off. Part of that fight is trapping these thoughts in a cage made of words. Words pin down the abstract, sharing them makes that abstract concrete. From there, I can shape focus on their externality or manipulate them. It's not the only thing I must do to be rid of it, and it is not any kind of magic bullet, but it is a part of how I process and move through what's going on until my mood swings up again.

Again: I know it's not intentional. I know you're trying to help. But please, find other ways. Sympathy's good, so is empathy, and volunteering tea/coffee/meeting (even though I may never take you up on it).