Sunday, October 31, 2010

I'm on my way from misery to happiness today..

Well, maybe. Quoting The Proclaimers goofy 80s hit may be a bit premature, but I am gradually feeling a bit better as time goes by. Life is not exactly a barrel of laughs, but I feel some progress.

There are probably a few reasons for this. I think this blog has been helpful in giving me an outlet for my own feelings and opinions, and also it is a way to meet other bloggers who are going through similar experiences. It feels good to have some sense of community, even one as ephemeral as the online world. It is good to know that I am not the only one going through anxiety and depression, and having the chance to be there for some others is also rewarding.

Over the past six months I have also been eating more healthily and exercising more as well. There is no such thing as a cure-all for depression, and it is something that will probably be with me in some form forever, but taking care of what I eat, and getting out there and putting my body through it's paces is good for me. Even today we tend to have some form of Cartesian dualism, where we think the mind and body are separate things. This is not true, but it is a very sticky meme. Mind and body are two parts of one whole, and neglecting the body cannot help but have a bad impact on the mind.

I've also made some first steps towards accepting myself as I am. I tend to be full of self-loathing, always wanting to be better or different than I am. But I am what I am, and I need to just deal with that. I'm doing the best that I can, and beating myself up over being inadequate doesn't help anyone, least of all myself.

As well as that, I've come to realize that I am not quite as inadequate as I thought I was. I've been making some progress in life, slowly but surely. Previously I wrote about the isolation I felt when I went to see fireworks a few months ago, feeling so alone, isolated, removed from the people I was with. I received quite a few insightful replies to that post, but the one that really made me think was from Nick. He talked about how there is room for all kinds of people in the world, and no point in trying to be something we are not. I'll never be a gregarious extrovert, and there is nothing wrong with that. It is just the way I am.

Last night I went to a combined halloween/birthday party. I was coming from work, so decided to simply compliment my suit with horns and a pitchfork, and come as a "corporate demon", which people seemed to think was pretty funny. I talked to a few people some of whom I knew, others who were strangers. I talked to a variety of people, Japanese, Chinese, miscellaneous Westerners, in English and my broken Japanese. I wasn't the life of the party, and I did feel uncomfortable at times. I don't think I'll ever be really comfortable in crowded social settings. But it was much better than that night under the fireworks.

Life is a struggle, but I seem to be making progress, slowly but steadily. And like those Scottish lads sang, I'll do my best, to do the best I can!


  1. It is so good to know things are going well for you. And as a side note: I really appreciate your language and use of the full English spectrum. Words like gregarious and the proper use of whom. It makes me smile. Your writing is very fluid.

  2. I love the corporate demon thing! It's simple but clever and humorous.

  3. Good to hear that you're doing well. This post really speaks to me because I've experienced tremendous anxiety and discomfort in crowded social gatherings. Until recently, I was struggling to be OK with what I am because of all the negative experiences from the past, but I think I'm slowly learning to accept myself for who I am. I took a look at Nick's post, and I found it very encouraging. And I'm also learning that I will have to live with my depression as it is not merely something to confront and defeat. I hope to learn more about myself, my illness and most of all, other people who have gone through mental health issues. By doing so, I believe I can become better at living my life at my own pace. I always enjoy your writing! :)

  4. "It feels good to have some sense of community..."

    I've found that, in the blog world, some friends stick and others don't (just like in real life), and that the friendship of those who do stick is as real as a face-to-face friendship despite some rather severe limitations.

    "I wrote about the isolation I felt when I went to see fireworks a few months ago, feeling so alone, isolated, removed from the people I was with."

    I relate. Maybe most people do, even if they aren't chronic depressives. I remember large group canoe trips that my brother-in-law arranged when I lived in Mississippi. I always felt like an outsider on those trips even though I knew everyone and was well treated. Every time, I would be sitting there in my canoe with the theme song from Easy Rider going through my head. It goes, in part:

    "Flow river flow
    Let your waters wash down
    Take me from this road
    To some other town"

    I imagined that, if only I could get out of rural Mississippi, I could find a place--and a people--where I would belong, and for many years, it seemed that I had. Now, though, I have few friends--some of the ones I had moved, some died, and some were unable to get along with me over the long haul for one reason or another. I'm not so lonely though because I have my blog and I'm in a place where I'm not looked upon as a freak, and because I know I could find friends if I really wanted to.

    Anyway, I relate very much to what you say. When you write about feeling inadequate though, I wonder if you mean globally or socially. I also wonder if you don't sometimes think that, just maybe, you feel isolated because other people are unworthy of you as opposed to you being unworthy of them.

  5. Hello everyone, thanks for coming by and posting. Today was a wonderful sunny Sunday here in Tokyo. I'm feeling some pain after doing a half-marathon today, but other than that I'm feeling mostly okay.

    In the Pink - thanks for your compliments on my writing! Any compliments are always gratefully accepted! I'm glad you enjoy reading my blog.

    CID - Yep, I thought the corporate demon thing was a nice little way to make lemonade out of lemons. It seemed to work out well. Someday I'd like to go to a Halloween party as Han Solo. That'd be cool.

    Takashi - I'm glad you found something of use in my writings, and I'm glad you read Nick's comment too. His words really helped me back then, and I'm glad they have helped you too. I hope that you can gradually get more comfortable with social situations too.

    Snowbrush - Thanks for sharing your own past experiences with loneliness. As you say, people come and go, in the real world and the blog world. Sometimes I think of the line from the NIN song Hurt, so wonderfully covered by Johnny Cash -"Everyone I know goes away in the end".

    As for your last point, there is definitely a misanthropic element to my character. Basically, I don't trust people. I've been let down and disappointed too many times. And while I often look down on myself, I tend to look down on others as well. This is probably not too healthy, but it is the way I am.