A paradox of depressing proportions

I wasn’t sure how to start this update.  I’ve been wanting to write a post for the last week or so.  This blog, whether posting in text or in viog format, has been a therapeutic tool for me and an outlet to let others know how I’m doing.  I wish I had a better outcome to report, but my depression and anxiety levels have only increased since my last update.  A sense of helplessness has taken up residence again.  I’m finding it harder and harder to see what “normal” or “better” even looks like anymore.  They seem like such foreign concepts.  I feel like I’m just going through the motions and those motions are minimal at that.  I miss the sense of optimism.  What little bit that used to be there seems to be drained dry.  The snowball that is depression grows at such a sneakily fast pace.

Over the last 15 months I’ve been to four different facilities, looking for answers, comfort, and a path forward.  I look at that stat and it only makes me more depressed.  What does it take, why have they failed?  Why have I failed?  Intellectually I know it’s not that simple—recovery is not a zero sum game.  Of course, the rational mind isn’t driving this car, it’s been relegated to the trunk.  Depression is evil that way.  Letting your rational mind come along for the ride so that it can see the irrationality taking control.  Making it watch as my depression and anxiety rise for no apparent reason.  Depression is the bully that rubs your nose in it.  Saying, “See, you know the world is out there, but I’ve buried you so far under this stack of fear, sadness, and hopelessness you’ll never get to it.”

I guess it’s a good thing that I can see what it’s doing to me.  I can see that it’s irrational.  However, it’s also completely demoralizing to know that I can acknowledge this parasite and not have a clue how to destroy it.  It’s said that ignorance is bliss, and while that may be true for Trump voters, for those of us living in the real world it’s dangerous.  If I couldn’t tell the difference between the rational and irrational I may be at peace with one extreme or the other, but it wouldn’t be living.  Not in any true sense of the word.  So, I keep moving on.  I keep riding in the trunk, knowing I don’t have to be there, but having no idea how to get out and take control of the wheel. A paradox of depressing proportions.

Mark’s Journey – 2016 Year End Update

As the year draws to a close I created a quick vlog entry to talk about how things are going. It’s been a tough year, but I’m looking forward to the new year and I’m trying to reflect on some of the positive outcomes that took place in 2016.

I hope you all have a happy and wonderful new year!

My Writing: The Checker

The Checker

by Mark Majors

I don’t sleep much anymore.  I’ve grown tired of the pills that would occasionally overpower my senses and force my eyelids shut.  It was never quality sleep and I hated that wretched feeling that would always come the next morning.  Now I simply rely on pure exhaustion as my drug of choice.  It visits me every couple of days, filling my tank just enough to keep the low fuel light off.  I’ve actually gotten pretty good at navigating life on fumes, coasting along until exhaustion strikes again.

My insomnia is a byproduct of anxiety and depression, both hardwired into my brain.  My anxiety fuels my OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder).  I’m not a cleaner, a hoarder, or some of the more stereotypical types you hear when OCD is mentioned.  I’m a checker.  I make sure that the stove is off when it hasn’t been used in days.  I don’t leave a room until the light switch is turned off and it feels just right.  The door to my house?  I’ve checked the lock on it so often that I’m on my fifth door handle.  You might ask yourself why, and you would not be alone.  I ask myself that same question, every single check.  That’s the torture, and also saving grace, of OCD.  It’s torturous to check, check, check and nothing ever feels right.  The saving grace?  I know my checking is irrational.  This is what separates me from, say, a Schizophrenic.  I don’t truly believe that the oven magically turned itself on, or that the light switch is stuck in between on and off causing a spark to start a fire, which of course would burn the building down. No, no, no, I don’t believe any of that.  I just feel it.  A feeling so real of the Obsession, the door unlocked leading to terrible things happening, that causes a Compulsion, an act of checking the door to ensure the horrible occurrence doesn’t happen.

You feel it too actually.  However, you probably feel it once, each night when you swing by the door to lock it before bed.  Then the thought of uncertainty vanishes.  At that moment if you were to stop and ask yourself about the status of the door it would feel locked and chances are very high that you’d be correct.  With so little doubt you head off to the bedroom for a good night’s sleep.

Here is where we differ.  I’d still be at the door, and why not?  There is that one in a million chance that the door didn’t actually lock correctly?  Imagine how bad I would feel if it were unlocked and this was the night the bad guys were planning their stroll through the neighborhood, inspecting front doors which were carelessly left unlocked.  To save my family from such carnage, shouldn’t I check it just one more time?  This time will be the last check, I’m sure of it, because it will feel right.  So I check it, and guess what, I’m not feeling to great about this check, how ‘bout another?  On and on I go, down the OCD rabbit hole.

My depression is easier to understand.  We all get depressed.  I happen to get depressed for who the hell knows why.  Again, brain chemistry at work.  Being depressed is part of life, an evolutionary gift to help us deal with grief and sadness.  When you lose a loved one, you have a shitty job, or even something trivial, you get depressed.  You are in a funk, and eventually you start to get out of it.  This doesn’t mean you forget, but you start to move on.  With depression, you stay in that funk regardless of what is going on around you.  In fact, all you want to do is checkout from life.  Many of us do this metaphorically, with a bed, eight-hundred channels, and hours of staring off into space.  Unfortunately, there are those who take life’s exit literally, deciding that the there’s too much shit to handle or there’s no way it will ever end.  I’ve thought about the literal way, more times than I care to admit.  I wouldn’t suggest that route to anyone, but I’d be a liar if I said I didn’t understand.  The boundaries of that understanding have been tested and I’ve decided to live, but living is more than just a heartbeat.  Living is having a purpose, and I need to find mine.

Mark’s Journey – Back Home (Again)

I’m officially back home.  It’s been a while since I’ve last posted an update so here’s a vlog post to provide some context around my decision to come home and what I’ve been up to since I’ve been back.  I’m hoping to start posting more frequently now that I’m back home and have more access.  If you’re just tuning in, here is the link to my “Mark’s Journey” playlist on YouTube which chronicles my journey with Mental Health issues and the logistical struggles that come with trying to find proper care.

Two weeks in my new facility (a healing community)

Today marks my 14th day at a new facility, located on a 90+ acre farm in the mountains.  It’s a facility that is open for those struggling with mental health issues and refers to itself as a “healing community”.  As a resident I have access to my phone and occasional WiFi, but without a standard keyboard my messages are all being typed on my phone’s small onscreen keyboard.  With that said, I will be be doing more short video posts during my time here than text heavy posts.  Below are the two vlogs I’ve made so far while I’ve been here.  Thanks again to everyone for their support and warm wishes as I continue my journey!

Mark’s Journey: Trapped – Six days in a bad Mental Health facility

Been out of pocket for a couple weeks, unfortunately experiencing the dark side of a mental health facility.  I discuss the events and unbelievable activity that took place in my six days at the facility in a vlog post.  Everyone, stay strong, and know that getting treatment is still the best way to go…just be careful and make sure you find the right provider and/or facility!  Take care everyone!