Depression is Just a Sarcastic State of Mind – Self Hatred and Shame

I hate myself. Like I HATE myself. I’m not going to be successful, I’m not going to be able to accomplish anything worthwhile, I’m going to be a failure. Seriously, I’m wasting my time, wasting my energy, putting myself out there just to get smacked around and stomped back down. This is useless, I’m not talented or worthy or capable of what I want to be, so really, why am I doing it at all? I know I’m a failure and I know how this is all going to turn out, I just haven’t quite figured out how. But I know why: because I fucking suck.

I’ve been thinking these thoughts a lot lately, as I’m prone to do. Self confidence is not my forte, and overcoming the tyrannical sentiments doesn’t always seem doable. There are times, as mentioned previously, where I’ve felt the load being lifted from my shoulders, like my mind is finally being unshackled of those burdens. And the past month, as I dedicated myself to another attempted career change, another wild swing at achieving something I truly, madly, deeply want (and feel deep down, in my soul, is something I can accomplish), has been one of those upswings. Between meds and the adrenaline rush from choosing this path, plus writing for the first time consistently and voluminously in several years, it felt like a page had turned. A new beginning was afoot, and I was going to lead myself to health and happiness. Nothing was going to stop me. And then…

Look, depression will kick your ass like Mike Tyson at the end of Punch-Out. It’s quick, it’s vicious, and it reassures you, over and over, that you are less than nothing. Seriously, go eat worms, man, because that’s all you oughta do. I feel so bad about myself and become so convinced that there is no brightside to any of it, that I just want to crawl into a hole and die (ok, throw him in the hole). Yet I can’t, because I don’t really want to leave the world. I just want to feel like I’m ok, or failing that at least come off like I am. When it becomes impossible to shake those sour emotions, you need to act like you can, and the rationale is rather simple. Maybe if I put on a happy face, hide my depression, and just fake it until I make it, things will work out on their own. At least no one will know I’m a weak and deeply flawed person, deficient in character and emotional strength. Because, really, if I was in such bad shape, why don’t I have a disease people can see and believe?

‘You seem fine, why are you acting this way?’ is something I’ve heard more than once in my life. There’s something about the inability to physically SEE mental illness, to recognize it as tangible and isn’t just ‘things you’re making up in your head,’ as I’ve also heard more than once. A REAL illness would leave a person incapacitated, truly knock them on their ass and make them literally unable to function in the world (which in fact it has done in the past!). But since you can’t have a visceral reaction to the horrid psychological thoughts and emotions running through a person’s head, then it might as well not exist.

I’m still ashamed, and feel a deep sense of shame and hatred of myself in those moments my illness takes over. Because it’s a sign that I must be a shit person, who deserves this because of my decisions and actions in life, and with the simple act of being born, means I CHOSE this. That emptiness, like drifting with no land in sight or any sort of end on the horizon, is daunting. It’s hard to just be happier, to get over the unyielding sense of impending doom, and I wonder if that’s on me. After all, not everyone has a mental illness, and I’ve worked with people who have REAL problems and disabilities that impact their ability to function happily and normally in society. Who am I to let an insufferable and illogical depth of sadness inside me get in the way of what’s ostensibly, a pretty easy life? Seriously, I don’t need to feel this way, I need to feel better, because I’m 32 and I am running out of time to fix my life (which I’m convinced is irrevocably broken).

But that’s, at least, a tad dramatic, and it’s unfair to me. It’s not fair to anyone who is engulfed in that depressive haze, or that iron grip of mental illness, to feel bad about things they cannot control. It’s not wrong for me to say I’ve had it easier than virtually everyone I worked with in my decade plus in human services, but that misses the point. Everyone has issues, and has problems, and whether it’s at the surface or not doesn’t make it any less real or difficult to live with. I shouldn’t be beating myself up because of things I didn’t choose. It’s frankly counterproductive, because making myself feel bad about feeling uncontrollably sad is fucking insane. Where’s the logic? Well, there is no logic to depression and mental illness. There’s just waves of pain and emotional suffering. Some days it feels like it’s getting better, and some days it feels like it’s getting worse. I guess that’s why I really can only take it one day at a time. Until next time…

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