Inside the Shell

I have just come out of one of the worst depression periods in a long time. Now I’m more upbeat.

Why is this guy depressed, you might ask yourself? Well, because. Because is not an answer, you say! In this case it is. That how it is on this side of the manic-depression fence.

I have probably been like this since I was 15–16 years old, and probably been aware of it from that I was 18–19. But manic-depression isn’t something you come to terms with easily. You might feel somethings is wrong but you often attribute it to the fact other people don’t understand you.

The terrible fact is that they mostly don’t. Common people often misuse terms like “obsession”, “depression”, “manic”, “panic”, “panic attack”. They think depression is something you can get over. It’s not. A depression is a state, a mood that you fall into. It’s like malaria. Once you have it you can’t get fully cured. It will come back in intervals and all you can do is to keep it under control with drugs.

A common myth is that you get depressed “over” something. But it’s in fact more like you get depressed “by” something in the sense of a “trigger” not a “reason”. A “reason” would be a rational entity, a “cause”, something you can fix and make the depression go away.

Manic-depression can manifest itself in different ways. But common to all is that you try to flee into your own world of some kind.

Severe depression:
Laying in bed trying to flee away into unconsciousness getting away from everything. Like don’t even bother to get up from the bed, trying lying sleepy all day not being conscious of the world and thoughts. It’s a way to get away from reality.
Depression:
Everything you do feel pointless and stillborn. You just walk around apathetic. You are sensitive to stuff that might trigger panic attacks.
Normal:
The state I guess most common people experience. Except that you still can get panic attacks, often you try to work them away by getting into a manic mood or just obsessing about something.
Manic:
You really up to speed with things. You start projects (or pick up old ones) and concentrate on them. You may work on a single project at the time and might actually finish it which feels rewarding. Sometimes forgetting/don’t caring about anything else or the world around you. This easily become something of an obsession, often in a good way, and obsession to finish things.
Hypermanic:
You start so many projects and so so many things simultaneously that nothing substantial gets done. Your somewhat hyperactive. This can easily implode and you find yourself in a depressive stage.

Your mood do not swing between these stages like a smooth sinodial or even conform to the bell curve. It is randomly trigged by external events and thoughts.

There are basically two types in my experience. The one where you become apathetic. And the one where you want to hurt yourself. The border between them is self-destruction either by intent or negligence.

What I, in lack of a better name, call “angst attacks” is like being sucked into this alternative dimension where you get to relive moments of your life that you regret, has hurt you or just make you sad. You only visit this world for a couple of seconds and then return back to this world. However the short “flashback” take a toll on your feelings and might trigger a depression. And you have no control over when or how you visit that world.

How do you live with something like this? In my case I always seek stability in my life. A structure to fall back on. Stuff that you know what you get. That don’t disappoint you. You do things repetitively day by day or once a week. Also structure in the sense that you feel you are in control of what you do and your environment. If that rug is pulled away beneath you, a depression is certain.

Sometimes the manic stage can be rewarding. You accomplice things and that fast. You do some things that is good and might be appreciated by others, some things that just pointless or to ambitious. But this stage is not always ideal since you can quickly switch to a depressive one where you abandon things and don’t give a damn.

Do this make me unemployable? I like to think “no”. A stable working with some kind of structure in place can be a very good thing.

Side note: A couple month a go I laid a 1 000 pieces puzzle in about 16 hours of working time, a single shaded floor slowed me down. So catch me on my ups. Just kidding…

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