Diagnoses and the (potential) difficulty of dealing with them

I’m really busy with examens right now but I have this half-finished thought in my head, so I’m just going to throw that out here. The last +/- three months have been…not that good. As in, I’ve been super tired and it won’t go away, my mind is almost constantly spinning with (pretty intense) negative thoughts, and on the whole I’ve just been feeling really sad, emptied out, bored, uninspired, useless, … . Which is the main reason I started this blog, to try and rise myself to a more positive place, because oh my god how this annoys me. I’m a pretty (and sometimes ridiculously extremely, to be honest) optimistic person but lately almost everything I think has been negative negative negative, to the extend that I’ve been feeling almost as if I’m no longer me but some strange version of me, someone that I don’t recognize and don’t like (at all). This is not the first time something like this happens, but it’s still a really crappy and hard-to-deal-with feeling, at least it is for me.

So my mood annoys me quite enough, but then there’s this: one might call this particular mood I’m in ‘depression’. One might do that. Except: I cannot deal with that word. It’s just a word. But no. I do not want to use it, I do not want it to refer to me, and the last couple of times I went to see my psychiatrist, it has cost me about 20 euros per appointment to use a lot of different words to explain how I’m feeling because I do not want to use that word. I don’t have this with borderline, or dissociation, or social anxiety, I use these words all the time, but depression. No. Because it has this connotation in my mind that it’ll never go away. So if I call my current mood ‘depression’, it might never leave, whereas when I call it a bunch of other words, I can still see it as a more temporary state. Which is kind of ridiculous because it’s just a word, and yet it’s also kind of logical because it’s a diagnosis, too. And I think that this goes for diagnoses in general: that, as soon as you call your particular emotional state a ‘disorder’, there’s the risk that the entire thing moves from an emotion to an illness, and so it leaves the spectrum of ‘normal’, ‘fixable’, and ‘temporary’ and becomes the opposite of those instead. Which might be true for some aspects of it but not for the totality of it, and certainly not for the whole myriad of things that is you. I personally don’t mind diagnoses; getting diagnosed gave me a lot of clarity, and at least some sense that things could now, more or less, be controlled again (because I had a word now, instead of a never-ending web of problems). But I do think that, when I got diagnosed, one of the conclusions I initially drew was that I was an illness. I know and believe now that I’m not, which I guess is why I can use these other words (borderline etc.) without problems, but somehow this doesn’t work for ‘depression’. Because, I think, I cannot link the meaning of depression to the way I see myself (whereas I can absolutely link the meanings of borderline, dissociation, and social anxiety; that’s me all over, no problem). When I think of borderline, I think of a lot of things; some positive and constructive, others less so, but all alright. When I think of depression, though, I only think of darkness, absence, not being. So maybe that’s why diagnoses can feel so shitty for some people: not because diagnosing on its own is such a bad thing, but because people can suddenly view their struggles and themselves as so much worse, because the meaning of a diagnosis is seen as way more negative than it is, as I seem to do with depression. Now I don’t exactly know what we are supposed to do with this thought that I just (hopefully not too confusingly) wrote down, but there you are.

But, realistically, if I am indeed depressed, it’s not all bad. For example today, I went for maybe the best run I’ve ever had (not even exaggerating), in the crispy cold, through the winter trees and around the half-frozen lake, and even the slightest blob in the grass had it shadow because the sun was so low. So I paused my music and all the sounds were very calm; a bunch of different waterbirds calling out, little cracking-sounds from the ice sometimes, a dog in the distance. And my mind went quiet. It hasn’t been quiet in weeks, months, even, but now it was. For no apparent reason, everything felt suddenly alright again. And, honestly: if everything has been feeling completely wrong non-stop for months, the moment you feel that shift might very well be among the best moments of your life. (so I nearly started crying because I am a wuss and I’m proud)

I have to remember this: that things can be really hard, and my low, non-peaceful moods can last for a long time, but that such quiet moments will always return. (I was just looking up antonyms for peaceful and thesaurus lists ‘loud’ and ‘noisy’ as antonyms too, which perhaps is kind of logical but I don’t know, I like it. Just a side note) I also have to remember that I cannot force these moments to occur. Maybe the day after tomorrow I’ll go for a run in the exact same conditions, and it’ll do nothing to improve my mood. I cannot control my moods. As someone who has to deal with recurrent and long periods of constantly feeling down, insignificant, and altogether meaningless (or, you know, depressed), I so, so wish that I could. I wish I could just go down to my mood and go, Yo, you, stop whining things are not that bad, just be a little more positive please, and my mood would go, Yeah okay you’re totes right I’ll go up a notch, and they lived happily ever after. But no matter how often people (including me) tell me that I can do that; I can’t. I can try to step out of the negative spiral and stay down but steadily down, I can try to redirect my thoughts, I can keep doing my days, do little positive actions, not isolate myself, etc, but that’s about it.

So maybe with this little break-through of rediscovered inner peace I’ll be on my way now to step out of this negative cycle, and slowly find my way back into a more positive one; or, maybe, tomorrow I’ll wake up feeling like hell again. But, whatever happens, today has been alright, even more than alright, and today is forever in my possession now. Even if yesterday wasn’t, even if tomorrow won’t be, today is. I have to remember that.

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