A Fallacy of Peace #2

WARNING

This journal entry contains sensitive reading material that may not be suitable to all readers.  Topics include Drug use, Self-Harm, Suicide, and some foul language. This entry will be broken into three parts, as this is not the easiest for me to let out in the open.

– Part 2 of 3

 

That stomach dropping feeling, although present made itself known after reading that I in fact almost succeeded in ending it all. Extreme shame followed immediately, and I was terrified of who I called, what I said, how I said it, and what would happen next.  The logical thing would be to tell my psychiatrist, but I didnt for fear that I would be forcibly committed to a psych evaluation. With time, I was able to convince myself that it wasn’t a big deal.  I had the mindset that I wouldn’t kill myself, but I would welcome death if it were to find me.  I went as far as putting a DNR (Do Not Resuscitate) card in my wallet.  I just didn’t care what happened to me.  The only thing I really cared about was my adderall.  Without the adderall, my mind ran anyway it desired.  I had no control of the thoughts that would find a way to take precedent over anything I consciously had in mind.

 Although the adderall had lost most of its potency on me, I was still taking it out of habit.  It had convinced me I couldn’t function without it. Adderall was my safety net.  Adderall would take the bad thoughts away, not allowing me to grieve and process anything traumatic as they should. I was essentially a wall most of the day who would go through manic stages of euphoria to deepened states of depression all within minutes.  Adderall had allowed me to push back anything I didn’t want to deal with for over eleven years.  Unaware of the consequences that had been present, but was too blind to notice. The anguish of all that transpired not just on the 7th of January, but the past two years had built a foundation destined for failure.  I was no longer myself and everyone could see it, excluding me.

In my experience, I would typically begin adderall withdrawals anywhere from 3-4 days after last use. I would periodically try weaning myself off to limit my usage, and to eventually be free from it all together. I was never successful, and always found myself running short a few days before my next refill.  I had expressed interest to my psychiatrist that I would like to eventually stop taking the medicine as I didn’t like the control it had over me. The first time I had mentioned this to my Doctor was in early 2020.  I had gone through a pretty tough breakup a few months before, and I didnt like how the adderall would block out the feelings of grief. The grief and pain were only getting stronger the more I was pushing back. The doctor told me that she didn’t believe it would be best for me to stop taking it with so much change going on. I planned anything and everything I did around my adderall and thought this would never change. I personally didn’t have the will to stop.   

The mind is so complex and powerful. If something needs to get out, it will.  The trauma of life, work, and heartbreak was never able to properly run its course. Any cracks in the wall I had put up were getting bigger from the enormous amounts of pressure behind it. Anytime I had a drink, those feelings found a way to move towards the exit.  Creating an emotional avalanche that was nearly impossible to stop. I couldn’t enjoy social gathering, because I knew and felt I no longer had control of my emotions. Despite being aware of all this, I still continued to choose adderall over my quality of life.   

There is a bright side to this story, and I promise this whole entry isn’t all negative.  This story does have a happy conclusion. I wont say ending, but as cheesy and cliche as it does sound…my story is still being written.  Part 3 of 3 will be available on July 1st, 2022

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The Power of “Can’t”.

Sooner or later, most of us who try to cope with depression feel so overwhelmed that all we can hold onto is: I just can’t do it. I can’t stop being depressed. I can’t stop it from coming back.

When “I can’t” comes rushing out, it feel like the response to an accusation. Sometimes, I feel the weight of other people’s expectations. “If you really wanted to get well, you could at least get up and get moving.” Sure, they don’t understand, they don’t get it. But I’m asking the same question of myself.

I’m answering my own accusation. “So why can’t you handle this? You’re a completely worthless weakling!” “But I just can’t!” is my only answer. I’ve internalized the stigma and prejudice and feebly try to respond. I don’t trust myself. What if I am faking this? What if I’m just afraid to face things? I know that isn’t true, but there’s the inner belief that I ought to be able to snap out of depression. But there’s nothing left to fight with. Everything deserts me: vitality, willpower, feelings, the ability to think clearly about getting well, to make choices, to take action. The inner drive to get well is replaced by the depressive drive to get worse or simply stagnate.

When I’m trying to cope in that condition, all I can do is to start where I am. Since I can’t do anything, just where would that starting point be? Depression gifts you with extraordinarily vivid, powerful, detailed memories of all your mistakes, failures, weaknesses, embarrassments. You have absolute clarity of mind for the negatives, and they build a case of shame and worthlessness. Severe depression, after all, really wants to destroy you, literally if possible. So it leaves you the mental and emotional equipment to undermine your life.

That’s what I’m obsessed with. At the same time, though, I’m aware that I’m tearing myself down. I see what I’m doing to myself, and another level of awareness opens up. I want to stop the depression. I really want to feel better. I may not be able to do much to end it, but I know I want to come alive again.

Why do I push people away?

To explain in its most simple form from my perspective requires only two words: Defense Mechanism. What I’ve discovered is vulnerability takes a lot of courage and resolve, and adding to the anxiety is the reaction of an outside party and if the effort was worth it.  In life, we live and learn from our experiences.  Despite this, and due to previous cases of having my trust broken or my vulnerability of being taken advantage of leads to the activation of my defense mechanism. In turn, I naturally push people away.

t’s not uncommon to prefer your own company over that of others, regardless if you’re an introvert or extrovert. While there is nothing wrong with some downtime and relaxation, it’s the extreme that becomes a difficult issue to handle. The mistake I unknowingly find myself constantly making is my self imposed isolation.  Instead of allowing my mind to relax, I end up exposing my fragile state of mind to overthinking.

Stuck.  Stuck is where I’m at. I’ve become emotionally unavailable to those who love me because I feel like I don’t deserve love.  I do not love myself, therefore how can I love fairly? I don’t handle what should be a positive experience well, and the negative I’ve grown accustomed to.  This attitude has become second nature to me, and is essentially a part of my being. I view any and all relationships from a detached perspective and refrain from building stronger bonds, and I don’t want to be stuck with this mindset.  I find myself withdrawing from social interaction thinking I’m protecting my mental health, but the truth is all I’m doing is further damaging myself. 

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There is never a single solution to problems that involve your mental health and being isolated.  While communication and openness can be one approach, the other approach is to withdraw entirely and avoid any contact with anyone who might have the potential to cause hurt or stress.  Both approaches help in reducing the stress of the situation but only one is productive while the other is nothing but avoidant coping mechanisms.  Avoidant coping or defense mechanism is by its very own definition a maladaptive coping method.  Rather than confronting the situation and finding an active solution via participation and acceptance, avoidance coping refrains from taking any active action. 

Some examples of this are:

  1. Not answering or returning calls or messages
  2. Sending few or no messages to anyone asking to meet or catch up
  3. Backing out of premade plans constantly
  4. Avoiding getting interested in other people’s lives or emotional state
  5. Replying with short, clipped, or blunt responses.

 We all need someone who understands our feelings, acknowledges our fears, and hears our thoughts without judgment.  It should come as no surprise that scientific research consistently shows that humans need one another in their lives to feel a sense of happiness and fulfillment. Retreating within yourself with some subconscious resolve of never exposing that emotional capacity is a road I’m so eagerly waiting to exit.