Monday, July 18, 2011

Hitting a wall

I've been feeling low recently. I feel like I'm in a fog. My memory feels worse than usual, and I have a bunch of things I want to do, but I can't seem to motivate myself to get things done. On a deeper level, there are things I know I need to do to try and deal with the root causes of why I have been slipping back and forth into states of depression, but I don't seem to have the guts to do them. And in addition to that, I am taking a break from running due to pushing myself too much over the last few weeks.

I haven't even been keeping up with blogging as much as I did before, in the past I put up a post as regular as clockwork every Sunday night, but the last month or so I haven't been so regular, nor so motivated to write anything.

Part of the reason is that unlike most bloggers, and perhaps missing the point of blogging, I don't want to put up much detail about myself. I never post about my family, my work, people I know or the specifics of my life. Nor do I really go into the details of my treatment, or many of the root causes of what has led me to this state. And as much as I'd like to be able to discuss these things with others who have similar experiences, I am wary about putting things online for anyone to read, knowing that it could come back to bite me later.

I seem to have hit a wall with the blog. I have things to write about, but don't feel comfortable in putting them out for the world to see. I've also hit a wall in my real life too, where I am starting to see what I need to do to maybe feel better, but I'm stuck. I feel like I need someone to help me reach the next level, but there is no one to do so. So I am stuck. It is a very bad feeling, and I know if I can't break through somehow things will continue to deteriorate.

Something's got to give, something's got to change. But I can't see how to do it by myself, and there doesn't seem to be anyone who is really willing and able to lend the helping hand that I need. So I'm stuck, writhing in frustration, unable to break free of this deep funk I am stuck in.


  1. I'm sorry to hear you've been feeling a bit down recently. I'm certainly not in a position to help you decide how to deal with it best, but as you've said previously, writing this blog must help in some way as an emotional outlet, even if you aren't directly talking about your life. One thing about writing is that it forces you to think in a coherent way, forces you to lay out some thoughts in an ordered manner, which for me at least is really important.

    When I'm lying in bed on a dark night with dark thoughts, it's easy to go down sinister paths in my head. However, these can often be irrational or hysterical, and even if I managed to get off the path, it leaves some kind of residual gunge in my head, making me look at everything negatively. Then, I find if I try write down the details of the winding path into the black forest, I'm forced to re-examine the feelings and logic that led me there. Only then can I see it as an outsider, and gain perspective on it...

    I'm not saying you need to spill out all your darkest emotions, but whatever you write, your mood will come out in it. And if it does become important to write about exactly what's bugging you, there's no need to put it online. Just jot it in a diary, keep it for the future versions of you to look back at and admire!

    Anyway, hope you get back to yourself soon. Not sure there's anything I can do to help, but if you need a friendly ear I'd be happy to oblige. Hang in there!

  2. I understand where you are and how difficult it is. Unfortunately I have no concrete way to help you except to say that I agree with Nick D. Even if you don't put it online (maybe especially if you don't) writing can be really helpful in sorting things out and changing the way you see them. I still frequently use the good old fashioned pen and paper and it helps me to completely spill everything in my head and heart on to the paper.

  3. D.R., I don't know where you live exactly (Just Japan Somewhere) and I don't know what you do for a living, or who you hang around, or what led to your depression. But, for what it is worth, I feel like I know you, and I relate to you and your words, and your emotions. I understand them, and I feel empathy for you. So your blog does express how you feel, even if you are not spelling everything out for all the world to see. I understand why you wouldn't want to do that. I often reger some of what is one my blog. But I also think that writing is VERY cathartic, and epecially if people are reading it and can respond to yu. So I would encourage you to continue to write whenever and whatever you feel comfortable. Of course, diaries are helpful to, but I find that with my blog, I get feedback, and in a diary, only I read my own words. That said, if writing in a diary helps you, then by all means do so!

    Also, I don't know if you have a therapist, but I have found therapy to be extremely helpful in sorting out my thoughts, and figuring out what led to my problems, and how to go on from here. I find medication most helpful for me, but for many people therapy is really key. It might be worthwhile to try to find a therapist, if you do not already have one.

    There may also be support groups where you live, like what we have in the U.S. - the NMational Alliance on Mental Illness - or other such places where you could vent to people privately and have feedback and a helpful group of listeners who have been where you are.

    I think a key thing to managing life with any mental illness is to get help and have a support system, and not go it alone. I hope for you that you are truly getting the help you deserve.

    I love your blog, and I do hope you continue writing because I think it probably helps you on soem level, and it helps others like me too.

  4. I am sorry for the typos in my comment. "reger" should say "regret". I have a very slow computer and sometimes it is hard to write without typos.

  5. Taking the positivist outlook, we wouldn't know we were having hard times if we didn't know what better times looked like. They'll be back. Life's a big cycle of ups and downs. For depressives, its just a faster cycle with deeper downs. But I'm sure living life like that has made you a tough nut inside, and capable of dealing with many things life will throw your way.

    From the time I was born until I left my parents home, there was a hand-stitched poster on my bedroom wall, sewn by some great-grandmother I never met. Later I found out the words were from Calvin Coolidge, but they are fossilized in my brain, and help me during tough times:

    "Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination are omnipotent. The slogan 'press on' has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race. No person was ever honored for what he received. Honor has been the reward for what he gave."

  6. Hi everyone, thanks for commenting. It does help a little to know that there are people out there who care.

    Nick - Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I have been writing a diary with some of the things that I don't put on the blog. It does help a little, for sure. Thanks man.

    Jojosek, I'm glad writing helps you too. At times it can be a wonderful outlet, and at other times it can achieve nothing. But I suppose writing is at least trying to come to terms with oneself, trying to process and work through things, rather than giving up. A private diary has served this purpose for people for generations.

    But as Jen Daisybee commented, the downside of that is that there is no feedback. The truth is, of course, that I would rather be talking through these things late at night side by side with someone I love, but that isn't the world I'm in. So I make do.

    As for mental health support groups in Tokyo, I looked around some time ago, but there don't appear to be any, at least not in English. There was an AA group, but nothing really mental-health related. It is something that would be useful and I am sure there would be demand for one if one did exist. But none seem to be around.

    Anonymous - The same quote was up on the fridge in my family's house, although on that photocopy it was attributed to Ray Croc, the king of McDonald's. Despite the fact I don't have it memorized it has never entirely left my head either. I guess I'll keep pressing on, and see how things go.

  7. Hi TDR, I am really the last one to talk but you are probably wise not writing too much about your personal life. The internet can be like a wolf dressed up as a sheep and therefore really not to be trusted. I do talk about certain personal things on my blog and I have felt both liberated and regretful about spilling the beans. In the end I decided that the advantages far outweighed the disadvantages of fessing up (this may change at anytime) but certain topics will always be off limits. It is completely up to you what you do. There are no rules.

    It must be tough being in a foreign country, especially Japan, trying to battle depression as you are away from all your familiar surroundings. I know for me it was so hard battling a mental illness while living in America, even though I had my Aunt and best friend with me. I am not sure what options are available for you to get yourself out of this. But if "somethings got to give" I hope that it will be you taking a step forward and breaking through whatever chains are holding you.

  8. Hi Stephi,
    Thanks for your thoughts. This whole blogging thing is a constant balancing act, wanting to disclose and yet not wanting too, needing to disclose enough to be both therapeutic and readable, but not so much that it could be harmful if the wrong person reads it. It is a tricky thing.

    As for going through depression abroad, you are right, it is tough. I suppose living overseas can make people both more likely to suffer from mental illness given the stress of a new place, and make it harder to deal with given that whatever support networks we had at home are not present. It is a tricky thing, but I'm slogging away as best I can trying to get through. Every day is another chance.