Wednesday, August 31, 2011

So long, and thanks for all the fish

It has been a while since I started this blog. My first post was on June 26th last year, and I originally imagined that it would be a series of book reports written as I tried to mine a little happiness from each book that I ready. It started out like that, but quickly became a place for me to let out a bit more of myself, as much as I felt comfortable in posting.

It helped. Writing a weekly blog helped me to focus a little, gave me an outlet for my writing, and enabled me to vent. It let me feel that people were hearing me, and it also let me contact a lot of other bloggers going through similar issues. In no particular order, I enjoyed reading the blogs of and interacting with, in no particular order, CID, Susan, Jen, 4-Lorn, Lil, Stephi, Nick, In The Pink, Snowbrush, Up The Mountain, Anonymous, Wendy, and many others who have dropped by my blog over the months to post, or simply to read. It has been nice knowing that people were out there, people going through comparable experiences, or at least prepared to lend an ear or a shoulder to someone going through a rough time.

When I was first starting this blog I read a number of different blogs about depression, and I was frustrated by the way many of them seemed to only last for a post or two, or gradually trail off, or change topics to something less focused on depression or mental illness. I was in the grips of one of my worst bouts of depression, and I wanted to read about others who were in that state also.

But in the last few months I have come to understand why that happens with so many blogs. There is only so much to say. There is only so much it is beneficial to go over. And there is only so much that is safe to say online. As Stephi noted before, the internet can be a wolf in sheep's clothing, and it can be easy to let too much out.

But aside from the internet and related issues, the more I think about this blog and its focus of fighting depression, the less productive it seems to me at this point. The focus on fighting depression seems to me now like a man drowning in quicksand focusing on thrashing around and hitting the sand that traps him. It doesn't help him get out, and can drag him in deeper. Instead, it is better to focus on whatever lifeline is available. Dealing with depression is a part of my life, and I suspect that it always will be. But it can't be the focus of my life. That seems counter-productive, and my heart isn't in this blog anymore.

So I think I've said all I have to say on this blog. Thanks again to all of you who have spent time reading it, and my best wishes to you all. I think I'll close with a couple of words from Henry Rollins that have helped me.

Give your self a break from self-rejection,
Try some introspection,
And you just might find,
Its not so bad and anyway,
At the end of the day, all you have is yourself and your mind.
--Henry Rollins, Low Self Opinion

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Japan by Night

In my last post I was complaining about trouble getting to sleep. I am still having that trouble, but I am learning to manage it. A few weeks ago I was going to bed a bit after midnight and then tossing and turning, turning the light on, reading for a while, trying to sleep, failing, reading again.. then finally getting to sleep around 2 or 3 after hours of frustration. Once I am asleep I am okay, but getting to sleep is tough.

In the last few days I've been changing things up a little. It is August, which means that here in Japan it is very hot. This may have something to do with my sleeping problems, but I don't recall having this problem in previous years. In any case, it also means that the heat is pretty oppressive during the day and it feels a little like the sunlight is punching you, especially if you've decided to go running around in the midday sun, as I have been doing for the last few weeks. It means I do sweat a lot, which is good, but running is a struggle.

Anyway, in the last few days I've decided that it might be good to kill two birds with one stone, and started night running. It is not that much cooler than during the day, but the lack of glaring sunlight does help. In addition, there are not too many people about, and a lot less traffic on the roads. The feeling is a little bit different too, and while there are always some other joggers and random pedestrians running around, the city feels very different at night, particularly on weekend nights.

Japan is famous for being a safe place, and I've never felt in danger running around at night. The public toilets nearby are open and lit. Back home I would steer clear of them at night, but I have no hesitation about using them here. Last night I went out and ran for around 90 minutes by myself in a hilly area I hadn't been to before, which was nice. To some the near-empty streets might seem lonely, and they probably would to me if I were walking. But while running they feel okay, much more manageable that the crowded, yet incredibly isolating place that the streets of Japan usually are for me.

Then after the run I get home, eat something, shower and relax. I'm watching the first season of The Tudors and an hour of the machinations of Henry VIII and his courtiers is about enough to let the tiredness from the run and the day that has passed seep into my bones, and by the time the episode finishes I am almost tired enough to sleep.