Here! I'm here!

Monday, 25 May 2015 06:37 pm[personal profile] mokie
mokie: Red Dwarf's Rimmer does a very embarrassing dance (me)
I'm alive!

The holiday project isn't!

Alas, stress kicked my ass. I intended to write up the holidays when I got a little breathing room, but by then I was barely keeping up with regular days and the wee celebrations had been put on hold, too. I want to re-start the project at some point, but I'm not up to it just yet.

A few months ago, the jobs at work got bigger and the deadlines smaller. At the same time, schedules changed for some members of my family. This was a problem because they kept forgetting mine hadn't changed, and that I was not free in the evenings to hang out, watch a movie, fix their electronics, answer a question, no not even a quick one, etc. Because I can't work when I'm being interrupted regularly, this pushed my productive work hours far past midnight. Because the jobs were bigger and the deadlines smaller, that meant bedtime was then pushed way past dawn.

Also around the same time, a relative asked if his dog could come over during the day, as his landlord was fed up with the dog barking when left on its own while said relative was at work. I agreed, and we discovered that no, the dog doesn't bark because he's alone - he just barks, all day, at cats, at car noises, at the voices of people walking outside, at the voices in his head, at everything.

Since the dog was coming over just as I was getting to bed, and staying until the time when I should have been starting work, I wasn't getting much rest. It turns out sleep only works if you can get more than half an hour at a time.

Being a neurotic rescue with abandonment issues, the dog also demanded near constant touch for the first month or two, because of course he did. And since half their day was spent being hounded from the other side of a plastic gate by a strange and hostile new animal, the already clingy cats demanded near constant touch once the dog left. I was socially tapped out and physically touched out daily without ever leaving the house.

By early March, I was cracking, partly from the workload, partly from the Barkomatic 3000 and frayed social reserves, but mostly from lack of sleep. It's my favorite depressive trigger, and right on cue, it flipped on that tape loop in my head: Out of coffee creamer, might as well kill myself. Humidity's up, might as well kill myself. Time for the dog to arrive, might as well kill myself.

But one overriding thought kept me grounded: This is fucking stupid. It's a dog.

So I told the relative that the adorable non-stop noise machine has to find other daytime arrangements. And, while I was at it, I had a heart-to-heart with the family about interrupting me when I'm working, yes even if it's a tiny question and will only take a second, don't do it.* I'm getting my schedule back on track, and hopefully, everything else will click back into place, and it won't take too long for the depression to tuck itself back in the mental panty drawer where it usually resides.

The lesson to be learned? Eww, people. Defend the sanctity of your schedule, because if you don't value your time and well-being, nobody else will.

And in case anyone feels the need to comment on it: yes, my writing voice and my talking-to-people voice is perky. Yes, I can still smile. Yes, I still have a sense of humor, and the capacity to wring some pleasure from the world.** No, that doesn't mean it's not really depression but actually ___. No, I don't care if you took a semester of psychology once and so you're sure you totally know what's going on in my head better than I do. Depression is a complex thing, not a South Park goth cliché. If that confuses you, maybe Cracked can explain it to you.

* Okay, first I talked to them about the suicidal loop, and they did the I don't know how to talk to you about this, so I'll give you a wide berth thing - but I'm kind of counting on that, and making it work for me.

** Mostly through photography. Not only do I take more photos when I'm depressed, I take better photos, and I have no idea how. That's the real pisser here.

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