Why I Became Depressed

I once thought that I was bipolar.

Since finally establishing myself in a more favourable situation these past few months with a home in the city of my dreams by the ocean, a living space free of loud/boisterous/needy/messy people, freedom to do my own thing with no one breathing down my back, I have been feeling quite well.

Maybe I have what could be called situational bipolar disorder. I’m not even sure if that’s even a thing, but I am going to read up on it and find out more. I do notice that when I am in an environment that is closer to my ideal living situation, I magically become optimistic, light-hearted, and peaceful again.

My newest employer has mentioned how strong-minded and stable I am. Now, if you had of told anyone I worked with in Banff that I am a stable-minded person, they would either laugh or scratch their heads in disbelief.

You see, the main reason why I became so depressed in my home city London and in Alberta was that I was in a situation in which I had little control over my surroundings and life. Sure, once I journeyed out to a coffee shop or went for a walk, I was free and those times did a lot of good for me. But even when I was off doing my own fun things or having a good time with friends, I knew that at the back of my mind, once I returned home, chaos could be waiting around the door.

When I lived with my parents, they examined and critiqued many things about me. They commented on what I wore to how I spoke to what they believed I did. Being an adult, I had every right to do as I pleased, but under their roof being scrutinized, I lost most of my will to thrive. I snapped a couple of times before leaving to Alberta. The lodge in Alberta was a completely different setting with totally different people, of course, but the underlying situation was the same. I shared rooms with people, I was constantly pressured to go out, and while I enjoy going out, it needs to be in balance with my creative time. Knowing that I am failing people socially while being forced to live very closely to them drives me to the brink of insanity. I was made to feel disappointed in myself for being myself.

In Banff, it had been almost two years since my anxiety and depression episodes in London and I had finally hit rock bottom when I became stuck in a job I disliked and in a living situation where I had been involved with a couple of guys in our staff house. It was inevitable, really, and I did try to apply for other jobs to get out of it. I did fight to get out, but at the worst of my depression, it was during the off season where few people were hiring.

I am like a lone wolf or a rogue mare. I can’t stand being involved in the daily lives of other people, no matter how much I love them or how awesome I think that they are. It is me, not them.

You could be my favorite friend, singer, actor, or writer, but I would never want to fucking live with you. Sorry.

My life must be my own. I need to have freedom and space in order to function well. My sanity is directly related to my power over my own life. If I can feel free to wake up, go to work, do activities after work, and then come home without a single person challenging or stepping on my peace, then I am quite content.

Disagreements at work, crabby customers, rude people on the streets, and even bad relationships don’t phase me all that much when I am in a calm, solitary environment. Sure, it’s tough to fall for someone who is leaving you, or who can’t love you back, but in my case, that won’t lead me to hoping for suicide as long as I am in my own good place. Being stuck in a house full of chatty partiers or over-watchful family members, on the other hand, will give me nothing to fall back on energy-wise, leaving me susceptible to energy draining depression and suicidal thoughts. Even without some guy messing with me, the situation of living with a group of people will generally already bring me to depression and severe anxiety.

Now, melancholia is something completely different. I can be sad, and become in a state of melancholy, after falling for someone or becoming obsessed with a story or fictional character. If someone dies, of course I am going to grieve, and my form of grief is the bone-shattering, incapacitated type of grief. Melancholy is one major aspect of being an INFP, especially one who is very in tune with their own inner self and their creative process.

I am now fully aware of what type of situation will lead me to the worst form of depression – becoming suicidal. And I will fight and work as hard as I can to have my own place, to have space away from people – especially the negative or energy-consuming ones. I know what makes me happy, and if anyone begs to differ, then their opinion is irrelevant to me.

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What It Was Really Like Being Married To An Evangelical Christian

Not all of the abusiveness was due to him being a religious fanatic, but his harshness and threatening behaviour intensified the more deeply rooted in the Bible he became. His abuse turned more psychological in the end. When he was newer in the faith, his abuse was more physical/physically threatening.

I did stay with him for far too long, but I did finally leave the marriage that I was told to stay in because it’s regarded as some sort of religious institution.

I am not writing this to mock him or to make a spectacle of him, but to show a small glimpse of what many Christian men actually think of women and marriage. He is a person who needed a lot of help, and I tried to help him because I saw him trying, but in the end, I needed to be free.

“I could beat you up, but you’re still talking to me like that?”

“When you get in line and prepare a chicken dinner, then I’ll maybe cook a chicken dinner one time.”

“Satan, I cast you out of my wife!” *While holding me down*

“I will not allow a closet abortionist to live in my home.”

“If you provoke me, I will spank you. You’re asking for it.”

“Because we need to respect the Old Testament, we need to abide by the teachings of not touching a woman when it’s that time of the month.”

“You watch what you say to me.” *While giving me a death glare.*

“You have to submit to me!”

“Taking birth control pills is like having an abortion, because it can still kill a fertilized egg.”

“It is God’s will for you to have children. It is everyone’s purpose.”

“You have to stop taking birth control!” *While hitting the steering wheel.*

“Wow, you’re becoming quite a feminist…”

“The husband IS the head of the household!”

“I am the final decision maker.”

“You have the spirit of rebellion all over you.”

“What is on you?!” *While holding me down*

It is a wonder that I stayed with him at all.

This is how some people can become damaged: When their religion tells them to stay in a marriage that is hurting them.

On Friday, Anita Sarkeesian called out “toxic masculinity” on Twitter. Here’s what happened next.

we hunted the mammoth

Anita Sarkeesian's Twitter notifications (Artist's conception) Anita Sarkeesian’s Twitter mentions (Artist’s conception)

What a surreal life Anita Sarkeesian must lead, in which virtually everything she says and does becomes grist for the Great Internet Lady Harassment Machine, Sarkeesian Division.

Take the latest blowup, which followed a few comments Sarkeesian made in the wake of Friday’s school shooting in Maryville, which may have been triggered by the shooter’s angry response to a romantic breakup. On Friday, Sarkeesian posted a few thoughts on the matter on Twitter:

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To Study Psychology

I’ve been pondering seriously studying psychology for over a year now. Some days, I feel so impatient to study it that I have to calm myself down. I have a lot of anxiety and disappointment about my career life, mostly because I didn’t pursue a psychology degree in the first place.

I chose general science in college and I knew that it wasn’t my forte, but I am proud of myself for completing it regardless, and my summer jobs at the research lab were my best positions ever.

What drew me to psychology? It was actually an elective that I took in first year called motivational psychology, and I loved it. It was the one class that I didn’t wander away into my Paracosm or fantasize about whoever I was interested in at the time.

I would have changed majors, but living at home and being raised under the idea that psychology was basically a pseudo science (I never believed that), I put it off and put it off. I won’t blame anyone for my choice not to study psychology, because at any point in the past, I could have. I could do it next year if I want to.

I am going to do it. The thought of studying mental illnesses and brain function, reading text books about psychological theories, and writing essays about the mind and effects of social behavior turns my crank. It isn’t so much of a loss that I’ve waited until now to embrace that I want a Masters, possibly a doctorate, in Psychology, because I’m going to work my ass off knowing how long it’s taken me to get there.

I want to get more into the research end, likely doing studies and research projects at a university and possibly some patient work as well. I could teach it as well or be a guidance counsellor, but research will be my main career goal.

I’m going to do it. Now all I have to do is get ready to apply. Dig up that high school transcript, write an essay about why I wish to apply as a mature student, and decide on the universities that offer the best programs. I can take out another loan, but that doesn’t bother me, because this time, I’ll get a job that pays enough to pay them off. Even if I were in debt for another 10 years, at least I’d be doing what I love.

I never saw myself having kids and now it’s actually clear why. I’ll be a student for the next 8 years if I become a doctor. I’ll be forty when I get my career, but I’ll still have at least 25 years left in the working world. If I ever do meet someone, they’ll probably be very intellectual and enjoy living on less and they won’t want kids either, because I don’t give a shit about having a family or a house. I just want to write stories and know as much as I can about the mind… And maybe love and be loved while doing so.

The Moment I Realized That I’m Not Crazy

I’m weird, yes. Fantasy prone and willfully melancholic and oftentimes reclusive, yes. I also used to think I was crazy.

I spent my late teens and early twenties thinking that I was stupid, despite being very philosophical, a decent writer, and a college student studying laboratory technology. I graduated, too, but I lacked the confidence to go where I needed to in order to find a job.

By my mid-twenties, I gained a bit more confidence as I self-identified as a creative writer and I started modelling for money, but I thought I was crazy. I realized that I was smart, and taking an IQ test along with receiving compliments from older, professional people affirmed this. But I was aware that something was off about me, I just didn’t know what it was.

I never grew out of those roller coaster emotion phases that only teenagers are meant to have. I was 26 years old and obsessed with fictional characters on and off, falling for real guys along the way while I was married after knowing them for only two days. Clearly, I was not stable or happy, but I labelled myself as immature and crazy. I would be happy and energetic for weeks at a time, and then a single incident could send me into deep depression instantly.

At 30, it was the moment when I found myself crying on the bathroom floor genuinely wanting to die over a transient German guy that I realized I had issues. I had known years before I needed to see a psychologist, but never had the funds or the freedom to see one. My early 30s, which I’m still in, at age 32, have been the most informative, free, and detrimental years of my life.

I never had the freedom that most twenty something’s have. I went straight from my parents’ home to my marriage at only age 23. I was a virgin who had never been drunk or even smoked a cigarette. I hadn’t even been to a metal concert let alone a club. I divorced at 28, the age where many North Americans are just starting to get married. I gained my freedom at last, but I struggled so much financially that I ended up under my parents’ roof too many times. I felt so trapped. Until I finally went out to another province to understand what living my own life was like at age 30. I looked 22, and I also felt like I was 22. Just leaving home for the first time to go find myself. I felt so lost.

I ended up in Banff, Alberta, where I became suicidal. I didn’t think I was going to make it out of there alive. I thought I was crazy, and my frustration, sadness, and feelings of being trapped in a house where no one understood me drove me to do things that appeared crazy, like shrieking when I had to stay at work later or crying hysterically when a British idiot stopped talking to me because we didn’t fuck soon enough and I was “too clingy”. No, he thought I was crazy. I thought I was crazy, too. I think everyone who spent more than a month with me in Banff thought I was nuts.

My meds weren’t working and my therapist was getting frustrated with me. I thought I was hopeless. One of my supervisors at work also thought I was hopeless.

I left Banff to work at a wilderness lodge to rejuvenate. Though my job stressed me out and I’d wake up trembling in my bed, I was feeling better! I didn’t want to kill myself! I was inspired to write more than ever. I got to enjoy rain again, because it actually rained there. I started to heal, despite the new challenges. But I still thought I was crazy, because I was still so different from everyone there, except for one of the chefs. He became a decent mentor to me in the end.

So, what led me to believe I wasn’t crazy? It’s sort of funny, but it was when this random guy who was using the campsite kept hanging around for no reason other than to hang out with me and a few of the girls there. He admitted that he liked me, but that he was getting mixed signals. I didn’t find him attractive at all and I was actually scared of him because of his admission to beating his step dad within an inch if his life, and he had abused his last girlfriend. He heard that I had been suicidal in Banff, and after I rejected him, he told one of my friends that he had dated enough crazy bitches in his life and he didn’t need another one. I actually laughed! He of all people called me crazy and I didn’t even have the nerve to use that term on him.

This friend of mine also reiterated that I was crazy, but she made note that I didn’t go all nuts about the guys there, and that I was stable enough to sit in my room quietly and write my books.

That made me stop and think. Was I actually somewhat stable? Was I not crazy? Am I more grown up than I thought I was?

Maybe we are a little confused, broken, or in need of a mental break, but that doesn’t make us crazy. I finally realize this. I’m not crazy.

The depression has lifted

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Well, la dee da. It’s been a while since I have written on this blog.

I apologize for the dry spell. I think I did need a break.

My depression lifted after I left Banff and worked at a wilderness lodge in northern British Columbia. I did feel anxious and stressed because of the job I was doing, but it was a hell of a lot better than wanting to die and sleeping my life away. 

I was a bad patient back in Banff. That resilience training probably would have helped me a great deal, but I felt that the therapist had an issue with me. Maybe she did, or maybe it was a bad case of my INFP personality reading between the lines. Maybe it was a bit of both.

Leaving the situation with the noisome, misunderstanding room mates in Banff helped quite a bit. Even my short term traveler boyfriend, whom I thought I had truly fallen for at the time, was taking a toll on me. Probably because transient relationships don’t exactly float my boat anymore… and I was torturing myself by being with someone who I knew would willingly leave. With a smile on his face. 

Well, we live and learn right?

I had my own room at the wilderness lodge, and life was easier going. Sure, we drank sometimes, but we would be just as likely to sit around a bonfire or watch movies while smoking a joint. It was much more chill, and that was what I needed. 

I think having the INFP personality type in and of itself makes life an eternal emotional roller coaster, as though we never truly emerge from our adolescence. I really prefer not to think too much of my suicidal/depression days. If they never come up again, I can just think of it as a bad dream, and use it to help people who are battling depression by sharing my experiences and telling them how I was able to combat it. Maybe this is the hypomania stage, but I want to think that it isn’t and that I really am doing a lot better. That there isn’t a wave of depression waiting to take me down again. 

After seeing the west coast for a few days, I fell in love with it as I knew I would. I had wanted to live out there since I was a teenager, being a lover of the rain and preferring to live by the water. Now, my dream has become a reality and I am going to move out there when early September rolls around. I feel refreshed, ready for a new change and certainly a new challenge. 

I probably did not build a lot of resilience to arm myself against another wave of depression, but I am going to hope that with the better setting, I won’t have to battle against all that much. As long as I have a good friend or two within reach, I think I’ll be okay even if some bad situation comes my way. I’ll also have the mountains, the ocean, and the rain to calm me and cater to my inspiration. My sister and cousins are always within reach to call or Skype as well. My goodness, life is going to be much better this year. 🙂 

Maybe sometimes all that we need is to be in the right setting and be around good people who at least respect us even if they can’t understand us, and things will be okay. 

Walking Through the Graveyard

We walked through the serene graveyard, admiring some of the stones and reflecting on the other types of graveyards found in the world. I looked at the stones and felt afraid.

“I feel weird. Not because I think it is creepy though.”

“Well, we have all had to say good-bye to someone at a grave site,” he said kindly.

“Yes, but that is not what I meant.”

“Sorry, I hope that made sense.”

“Oh, it definitely did. I just meant something else.”

“Haha all right then…” laughed her other friend.

What I really meant was that I felt strange, because I could have been resting in a graveyard had I committed suicide back in the winter, or a couple of weeks ago. I was afraid because I was nowhere near wanting to end my life, but yet I wondered when the next feeling of hopelessness and finality would come.

I am so scared.

I Want To Be Single Right Now…

There is one thing that I find quite strange about people I have come across while living here, and it’s that they always seem to assume that I want a relationship with someone. I guess they expect me to follow stereotypical female behaviour? Or, they can’t fathom that I just want to make friends, maybe develop a crush or two and have fun? It’s so strange, even when I repeatedly tell the same people that I am not looking for a relationship “at the moment* they will still bring it up again the next time it comes up, and they say things like, “He’s young, he’s allowed to be a player” or “He isn’t ready” etc. and I am standing there like, “What the hell? Did I not tell you that I don’t want a relationship?!”

I am not someone who would go into a relationship with someone without even knowing them, which to me would be for a couple of months at least. And personally, I am single and still young, in travel mode, and summer is coming… I honestly just want to be free and have fun myself. Not looking for a relationship.

I suppose that some people will just never listen to or believe what you tell them. And in the end, I guess it doesn’t matter if they get you wrong, as long as you don’t get yourself wrong. The only time that it bothers me is when they have to bring up irrelevant conversations about a guy I barely even think about and then tell me that I still like him, when I don’t.

I guess I’ll just have to stop these conversations in their tracks to avoid more pointless debates about people whom I’ve moved on from.

Of course I want a meaningful, connected relationship down the road full of respect and amazing chemistry, but not now. I just wish I could make people see that as well so that they would leave me alone and stop telling me what I want, when I don’t really want it.

Haha males are not the only ones who just want to have fun and not be committed.