In a Rut of Depression

The end of August into early September is typically a busy time of year for me in terms of work: my clients, bosses, and websites all need attention as the USA football season begins. I worked hard throughout the summer months into September in hopes of making a lot of money, to help bolster my sense of self esteem and accomplishment. In doing so, I also risked a lot of money on advertising. At the moment, I’m still technically “in debt” to myself for all the advertising of my own websites, and jammed up financially because I don’t have a lot of liquid cash available. This causes me a lot of stress, but I tell myself that you have to invest money to make money.

Towards the end of September, and now into October up to this very moment, I’ve been in a state of depression. I’m not sure why it hit me. It just sort of came out of the blue. The side effects of my BPD depressions usually consist of thinking about the past, comparing myself to others, getting upset over my diabetes, feeling hopeless, feeling worthless, and feeling nothing but boredom to the point that I sleep throughout most of the day. Plus, I’ve also put on weight this year. I’ve never been heavier in my life. I was very physically active as a child, teenager, college student, and into my mid 20’s. Now, however, I hardly lift a finger.

Instead of being positive and hopeful about my life, my bouts of depression tend to revolve around a few themes:

  1. Regrets about past possible romantic relationships and the bright future I thought I saw from them – Basically, this emotion arises from browsing Facebook and looking at old faces from high school and mostly college. I’ve written extensively about women I adored from afar, and when I see what they’re up to now, I get upset. In nearly all cases, the women I viewed as “perfect catches” are just that: they are now happily married, and some are having children and settling down. This makes me upset because I feel like I should have done something about my feelings of attraction to these women when they arose. I knew they were the type of women that would be productive, happy, and wonderful to grow old with. Now that I see they’re married and starting families, while I am still very single and depressed, I get mad at life and myself for being so socially inept and helpless.

    Moreover, I get madder at myself if I somehow wasn’t good enough for them, beating myself up because I failed to meet their standards. Some might say, “Well, maybe their standards were very shallow”. Possibly: but as time has passed, it’s easy to see that whatever standards they had, they were the right ones to measure against because by all accounts, they are happy and resolved to spend THE REST of their lives with their new husbands and children.

  2. Comparing myself to others – To be clear, I’m almost never happy with myself. I always see people who are extremely successful, happy, and loving life, and I ask myself why can’t I be that way? Now that my peers and I are in our late 20’s and early 30’s, some are standout employees at top companies, or are performing on stage in a band around the country, or are exploring the world and doing charitable work in less fortunate nations, or have just finished their master’s degree and going for their Phd. I feel like no matter what I do, I can’t compete. I can’t measure up. The result is a feeling of utter hopelessness because I feel like I will be damned to a life of mediocrity governed mostly by my chronic illnesses. I’d much rather be healthy, wealthy, and happy opposed to pathetic, poor, and sick. What’s the joy in mental illness or shooting myself up with Insulin every day?
  3. No Self Worth, Hopelessness – When I, as a Borderline, look inside, I see nothing, and yet feel a wave of negative emotions churning around me. I don’t have any sense of self worth. What makes my life worth living? Why not just jump off a bridge and end it? Why am I who I am, and no matter how hard I work, can’t seem to get myself to a level of living that would be much more enjoyable? My Psychiatrist told me last winter, “Hard work is no guarantee of success”. Well, if that’s the case, what the hell is the point of living on this capitalistic, money-driven Earth anyway? I may not be able to control time, space, my health, others, or misfortune, but the one variable I do control is my effort at attempting to improve. If this effort is “no guarantee of success”, than what is? And why can’t I have what others seem to have by virtue of inheritance, dumb luck, or perseverance that actually DOES produce results? Why doesn’t my hard work pan out?
  4. Romanticizing other “lifes” and pursuits – The best way to illustrate this feeling is by providing an example. In high school and college, I ran track and had sporadic moments of success, but mostly a lot of disappointment and anger that I couldn’t get myself up for races. It was frustrating for my coaches, too, because they saw me as someone with strong potential – pushing hard in practice and literally going “the extra mile” – but not being able to “convert it” in races. Now that I am sitting at a computer, feeling crappy and typing this blog, I look back at people who were/are successful athletes and marvel at them. Being an athlete is like being a warrior in modern day society: they are worshiped, adored, and highly respected.

    Further, there is an innocence of sorts tied to athleticism: it is a career derived not from predatory advertising, snake oil sales, or screwing people financially, but by genetic talent and extremely disciplined training. In other words, there is nothing inherently “evil” or “manipulative” about what they do; while it is quite clear that evil and manipulation pervade modern day marketing, business practices, and the rule of law. If I were only an athlete, I would feel pure, wholesome, and have a legitimate claim to an enhanced feeling of self worth that would be echoed back to me by society. Sadly, this is not the case. I feel the same way about being a doctor or missionary. You can’t go wrong in these lines of work.

That’s it for now. There are a few other emotions I have, but I’m actually getting bored of typing and feel like I want to sleep. I guess my general point is that it can be very hard to accept who and what you are when others seemingly have it better. Why is life like this? I don’t know. Can I do anything about? Not really, since “hard work is no guarantee of success”. So why am I forced to live a mediocre life plagued by sadness and chronic illness? Why must I take 6 different meds to start my day or else I’ll become even more depressed? Why is my pancreas part dead, rotting away in my body as I permanently drag around an insulin pump with a tube injected into my abdomen? If anyone has any answers or wisdom, I’d love to hear it…

11 Replies to “In a Rut of Depression”

  1. Heh. Alot of thought obviously goes into this website.

    I dont know exactly how you feel, but i do a bit.
    For the past 7 years of my life, i’ve been dreaming of joining the airforce. Literally DREAMING. I would see any type of play and i would be set into a trance of amazement.
    About a month ago, i was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. The doctor said “now this hasn’t stopped you from doing anything. You can still be anything you want.”.

    I told him that i wanted to be in the airforce.
    He said “Well you cant be that…”

    Turns out he has the exact same story as me. Type 1 diabetic and all, Except he’s now a doctor.

    Unfortunatly for me, I have no idea what to do in life. Since being diagnosed I have had many uncontrollable rages.

    Sux2Bus

  2. I’m afraid I have no words of advice or wisdom, but your post resonated with me so strongly that I wanted to comment. I can completely relate to everything you’ve said here; in particular, your second point is something that effects my daily life. The success of my school and uni friends enrages me so profoundly that I can barely speak at times. I am overcome with jealousy and rage, then my sense of utter inferiority and inadequacy takes over.

    What is really annoying is that I have a lot more intelligence than the majority of the people in question – and, I’d wager by the structure and style of your writing, you are in a similar position (honestly, your blog is incredibly articulate and well structured). But this bloody illness prevents us from achieving what our intellects would otherwise allow. OK, so it sounds like I’m abdicating personal responsibility, and maybe I am – but honestly, this feels like helplessness of the most profound nature.

    By the way, re: your previous post about your first sectioning after the election – I can totally understand the concept of ‘borderline anger’. I’ve experienced ‘normal’ anger too, but it’s not a patch on this.

    Anyway, I’ll stop rambling now. I’ve only just found your blog, but will be following it in future 🙂

    All the best

    SI

  3. Hi Serial,

    Thanks for your comment. I was actually tested once by a psychologist to verify my BPD diagnosis.

    During the tests, various facets of my mental capacity and efficiency were probed. In the end, a few basic mental processes were not up to speed: it turned out that BPD was hindering my short term memory.

    So yes, you are quite right, BPD hampers the mind, plus the low stress tolerance that comes with BPD makes it hard to focus at times.

  4. Hi Kayne,

    I’m very sorry to hear about your Diabetes diagnosis. To be honest, I absolutely HATE Type 1 Diabetes, and I find that the majority of the public doesn’t understand the illness. When most people think of diabetes, they think of an older relative who has Type 2 and must eat a restricted diet. That’s a far cry from the realities of Type 1.

    It sucks even more that you can’t join the Air Force. When I was coming out of college, one of my ideas was to join the Secret Service, but obviously my application was rejected because of health concerns.

    In time, I think you’ll find something else that will spark your interest.

    In the meantime, though, people around you should understand that Diabetes robbed you of a dream you’ve had for a long time…

  5. Hi there,

    I, too, don’t have any real advice to offer. I can only say that I understand where you’re coming from. I find it very hard, especially with mental illnesses, to separate myself from BPD. Having BPD affects everything, from how we think, feel and so on. University took me five years. For the first three years, I was undergoing the rapid hourly changes in mood/emotion. It affected my school work and social life. After being diagnosed with BPD, I began taking Effexor and sought treatment. I’m still not able to stop thinking about those years I lost. I feel as though BPD “stole” those three years from me.

    That’s all for now. I will continue to read your blog.

  6. I just found your blog site and I am delighted and amazed to finally read something that I can relate to. I am so TIRED of all the “abandonment” bullshit related to BPD. I am always the one doing the abandoning! My main problem is also the chronic comparison thing. I am female, a heck of a lot older than you (41), and have frittered away a whole decade more of my life than you to this chaos of BPD. Does that make you feel better? (I am laughing here, because laughing is how I survive – when I am not chainsmoking) I have more unfinished diplomas and degrees than you could list on a two page resume, and..no job right now. No idea which unfinished tentacle of the starfish I should reach towards. The darndest thing about BPD, and any other mental illness really, is that you don’t “look” like you need help. You look perfectly capable and successful. “Why can’t you just finish a program, or stick with a job (or a relationship, for that matter!)” Well, I just…can’t. You are lucky you found out what is wrong with you at your age. I had kids at 30 and 32. Main focus was on them. When they started acting “strange”, I clued in that maybe I have issues. Everyone always told me, but I never understood how I was perceived by others. The last 5 years have brought me closer to figuring myself out. I have good meds (Celexa and dexedrine – the latter for ADHD “procrastination/stagnation”), some psychiatric counselling, and DBT training. I also ended a marriage to Superman. The chronic inability to measure up to him and his abilities was killing me. Now I can be ME and accept my lesser capabilities. Life is getting better. I just need a career…

  7. Hi Squash,

    Thanks so much for your comment. I’ve read stories from others that talk about having a lot of loose ends in terms of career and education. For me it’s more in the relationship department – but I also feel pressured to not accept myself and try to pursue some higher meaning through further education.

    It’s especially tough around the holidays…I typically “take stock” this time of year and it always gets to me…

  8. I understand what you’re saying about your relationship regrets. Do you know what they say about us women getting older? “The older we get, the more we act like our mothers!” Horror of horrors! My mother is an over-controlling, bossy know-it-all.

    So, in that vein, let me tell you what I think about your situation and what you should do about it:
    1. Your perfectionism is paralysing you and causing potentially interesting life experiences to elude you.
    2. “settling” is a relevant term; I’m sorry honey, but you will probably NEVER get Shakira.
    3. My mother and father finally divorced when I was 25 (17 years ago). Five years after, my mother said, “oh, I am too old, or too this or too that to be interested in other men.” Now she is 65, and she says, “oh, now I am too old to go looking for a man; I should have done this 10 or 15 years ago.” !!!!The point is, stop dwelling on the mental blocks (nostalgiac reflections of “perfect” women from your past or Hollywood) that are preventing you from getting relationship experiences NOW.
    4. Admit that you have a faulty “the grass is always greener in someone else’s life” belief system, and that this “lens” through which you see things is defective.
    5. All life experiences are worthwhile. It is not what happens to you or what you end up doing that matters, the important thing is just to MAKE A MOVE, and EXPERIENCE something.
    6. Surprise news to you: relationships don’t last forever. You paint an idyllic image of your high school “crushes” living forever in blissful harmony with their nuclear families. Bullshit! Over 50% of those marriages won’t last, mine didn’t. Get the romantic notion of fairy tale relationships out of your head.
    7. Get this book: CHANGE YOUR THINKING – (overcoming Stress, anxiety and depression, and improve your life with CBT), by Sarah Edelman, PhD. You display many of the “faulty thinking” mechanisms she explodes in this book.
    8. Get this book too: GETTING LOVE RIGHT (learning the choices of healthy intimacy), by Terence T. Gorski. Very good book, might need to scour second hand book stores for this. Among other things, talks about LEVELS OF RELATIONSHIPS: a) acquaintanceship, b)companionship, c) friendship, d) romantic love, e)committed love. On a parallel vein, degrees of sexual involvement: a) attraction, b) flirtation, c) sensual involvement, d)sexual involvement.

    From what I get out of your writing, you falsely believe that you have to jump from acquaintanceship to committed love in 10 seconds flat. This is perhaps what fuels your fear of “settling”. The natural progression of this takes a lot longer. First you just “check it out”, if it don’t feel “good enough”, then don’t commit further. Obviously, you don’t hop into bed on the first few dates, or you’ll be more committed than you want to be!

    9. When you meet someone who interests you, stay cool, casual, friendly. Tell yourself that “this is not a big deal; I’m just going to get to know her better.” If you let your intensity and anxiety burst out, you will scare her off. If you learn to view dating in this casual way, rather than “this is the decision that may shape the rest of my life!!!”, then you can be more relaxed and probably more successful in your quest.

    Thanks for letting me act like my mother here! Good luck with everything!

  9. I had some super-important afterthoughts:

    1. Your goal in finding a relationship partner should not be the end in itself. The relationship should only enhance your life(not BE your life) and provide a way for you to share your life experiences with somebody. Don’t morph with the person. BPD sufferers are notorious for twisting themselves, malleably, to make a relationship work. We need to first figure out what WE want and NEED, then find someone who wants to share at least some (if not most) of these experiences. We are all still ALONE IN THIS WORLD! Don’t expect to find a forever partner. That should not be your quest! It is the biggest falsehood sustained by Hollywood and fairy tales. If the person you end up with RESULTS in being a “forever” partner, then that is a happy circumstance that can only be borne out by getting there (the end of your life) and realizing that “hey, I’m still with the same person; she must have been my “forever” partner!”. Get it? A forever partner “happens”, it can’t be forced or sought out. Expect to have multiple relationships in your life and be happily surprised if you end up with one “forever” partner after all. Also, don’t forget that you too will change your goals and aspirations the older you get. Sometimes this results in relationships coming apart because the partner doesn’t share your new goals. I now believe that being true to my goals and aspirations is more important than moulding myself to fit and hang on to a relationship. Also, it is important to have friends to do activities with aside from the girlfriend. Don’t expect the girlfriend to spend all her time with you, and vice-versa. Don’t hook up with someone who is too needy of you and your time. Keep the balance in your life. Maybe you need to make some more friends/acquaintances first to round out your life before you try to get a girlfriend. See if there is a recreational “Masters” type track and field club where you live. Sometimes these friends and acquaintances can introduce you to potential girlfriends too!

    Back to initiating the date:

    1. You need to get yourself out there where you can meet potential dates. Sounds like you spend a lot of time “cooped up”. Think of places and social activites that you could check out to meet women.

    2. Pickup lines! Okay, this is coming from me (a woman), so this should benefit you. Generally, we like sincere, honest, “know where he’s coming from and clearly understand what he’s after” lines. I would appreciate small talk at a social function. After sharing some sincere laughs, and obvious signs of mutual flirting-attraction, try to see her again in the same, unplanned social setting. Seek her out again, semi-CASUALLY – not too intensely, and if the same vibes are there, at the end of the event, say something like, “you know, I’m really enjoying chatting with you. Do you have some free time this week to go for coffee with me?” This shows that you are interested in her, and a day time rendez-vous is more honest and casual than drinks or dinner. I would feel better about just arranging a time and place right then and there without doing the awkward phone number exchange. Bring a book or newspaper along (not work-related) in case you have a no-show at the cafe. Make sure it is not TOO interesting otherwise you will get annoyed at her interrupting your reading when she shows up (re: you can’t stand interruptions when you work). Others might prefer to do the phone number exchange-thing. If your first attempts don’t work, keep trying, either with the same fish or others. Just don’t take everything too seriously. We BPD people are sometimes overly-sensitive to rejection. Remember your quest: you’re looking for someone to spend time with to enhance your life experiences, you are not looking for someone to validate your self-worth! You already HAVE self-worth, so you don’t need to be crushed if you don’t immediately hook the first fish you meet.

    Wow, I sure like the clickety-clack of my own keyboard! I should just create my own blog. Wish I had the techno-savy to do that. One day I should learn how.

    Sorry for the verbosity! Hope some of this drivel is useful.

  10. Hi Squash,

    WOW, amazing advice! You’re right: despite the common expectation that relationships are “supposed” to last forever, most don’t.

    You bring up a valid point about that fact and in some ways it brings me a sigh of relief: maybe these things aren’t so serious after all!

    Thanks again…

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