In the last 9 weeks I have logged into Facebook, Instagram, this blog and Whatsapp altogether maybe 20 times. My FB profile is deactivated, my WhatsApp and Instagram are installed on the devices I use the least and this is the first time I have logged into my blog since my last post.
All of this has been extremely good for me.
Leading up to the cut
During the early summer months (and summer starts in May!) some things have happened that reinforced my antisocial behaviour. People have always been very exhausting to me – the more I know them, the more they would drain my resources. There are only three people on this planet I can stand indefinitely – my best two best friends and my boyfriend. All other people I find exhausting, no matter how much I might like and love them. May it be family, friends, strangers or colleagues, people rob my energy.
In July I snapped. Whenever I thought of people, my head would become numb and my arm would feel like they fall asleep. I would be unable to really think and panic would rise in my chest. So I “cut the cord” to the rest of humanity, in a way, by completely shutting myself off from social media. It was good.
Never before have I noticed how much time and energy social media took up. All of a sudden I was free of many burdens and, although it took several weeks to be able to talk to people again, I had a real heart to heart with myself. I used the time and energy I now had and poured them into other things: Designing and playing games, working out, finding ways to calm myself.
It’s mid September now and I have had a few bad days, as it is to be expected by now, but on all other days I don’t just merely exist, I feel really, really good. I am – dare I say it – happy. Happier than I have been in a while.
The depression side of it all
Why everything is going so well currently is probably a combination of many things.
For one, I experience a lot less stress than before.
I do not have any social obligations at the moment. I did meet with a few people during the last weeks – family, primarily. I do keep in contact with my besties and we even had a good friend over to play games a few times. But a lot of stress is gone, now, that I do not feel like I should keep up a certain front. I do not have to come up with ideas, I do not have to solve disputes or organise things. I do not have to keep in touch with people. And most of all: I do not have to feel bad about my life.
Never before have I relaized how much pressure I have felt because of how limited my options are. When I now log into Facebook, I see people on vacation, people being successful, happy, full of life. People do things I simply cannot do. I am too sick. I am too overwhelmed by life. I am too poor. But now that I do not get confronted by so many things I feel like should be doing, I feel a lot more free.
I know this is a typical depression thing. I know that this feeling of being inadequate and not measuring up to societies expectations if probably a symptom. That doesn’t change the fact that these feelings still are very real to me. And they are hindering my recovery.
A few weeks ago I realized that I have been avoiding really seeking professional help because I feel like should be able to just … deal with it. Everyone get’s unhappy, right? Everyone has bad days and a lot of stress. Why should it be different for me? Why am I unable to cope with so many things – more and more things, as the years go by – that other people seem to just overcome?
I am still wishing for a moment when I finally snap out of it all. When I find the magic cure or just pull myself together and do things others are doing.
I know that it’s not like that. I know that I am sick and that I need treatment. But those thoughts don’t leave me. And sometimes I think that most people expect me to function and be happy just because they are too. Other people with depression do finish their studies. Why can’t I? Other people with depression can cope with other people and keep up a front. Why can’t I?
I do not know why I cannot. And being disconnected from people, taking their (or my perceived) expectation off me has helped me see that what I go through is not normal. I doubt the beautiful successful woman on my FB feed gets light-headed when facing obstacles. I doubt most of my friends experience anxiety attacks when tying to call someone for an appointment. I doubt others hide form their best friends, literally and figuratively, just because being with people is scary.
I now realize that I am, temporarily at least, better off if I keep myself away from other people’s expectations. I need to define my own goals, as small as they may be, and stop comparing myself. Being disconnected from social media, and my social life as a whole, helps. So much.
Luckily I have been able to integrate myself a little bit back into my social life by now. My best friends did reach out to be as they noticed I was basically “gone” and I love them for it. Being supported without questions and critcism with my decision to limit my interactions with them and others has been extremely valuable. So thank you, guys. You know who you are.
Time spent wisely
I also have a lot more time now. And I feel like I can use this time for good things.
For one, I am really close to getting myself into therapy. After a lot of planing and researching I might have found a way to get myself off those 2-3 year waiting lists that the Germany therapists have to work with. Maybe more on this later.
But I also have been able to finally spent time with more of my hobbies. I have been really putting some time into minecraft – both playing it as well as learning Java for modding and trouble shooting. I will probably post about this soon, simply beceause I am happy and proud that I can enjoy playing it again. I don’t think I have been able to dive into an activity for such a long time for a few years now. Simply being able to play a game, staying focused and entertained while doing it, has been something I had lost.
Other than that, I have also been able to get into a few things offline. Cleaning, cooking and caring for myself is a lot easier now. As as usual, doing things with my hands feels more than great.
And damn, have I gotten into sports. Gosh.
At this point in time I work out 7-10 times a week. I run every two days (c25k, actually, so less of actual running but more of training myself to run) and use these days for flexibility excercises as well. I can do a lot of things now that I have not been able to do for a long time, both with stretches and endurance.
Every other day I lift weights. I do both actual weight lifting (only up to 4kg, but hey, I started at 0.5kg) and body weight exercises. I have slowly arrived at this regime int eh past two months. Before I maybe did a combination of cardio and body weight once a week (from March to July), but since I got more time I have been upping my regime to approximately 1-1.5 hours of activity a day.
Feel the burn and be flooded by light
And it’s so good. There have been drastic improvements in my form all accross the board and I have a lot more energy now. I need less sleep, don’t eat as much and generally feel like the queen of the world during and after a workout, usually for many hours. Working out has been the absolut best thing I have done this whole year.
I also changed the way I eat. I started putting a few supplements in my diet (B12 because I am a lot more hardcore vegan than before and wanna be sure) and now only started courting my macros and calories, but also build myself a planned out meal plan that I stick to. Overall I’d say I am leading a more healthy lifestyle now that I have the time to pursue it.
There are many things that I need to do, still. There still are responsibilities on the horizon I need to tackle, but now I do not hide from them, I instead approach them with a plan. I do not know where I will be going from here academically or professionally. But I do not sweat it right now. My highest priority is to improve the things that are good for me (sports, nutrition, social contacts as far as I can handle, stress relief, stress management) and to really get myself some professional help. I do want to be healthy again, after so many years of struggeling, and I will make that my life goal for now.
Thank you for listening.