moragmacpherson: (Default)
moragmacpherson ([personal profile] moragmacpherson) wrote2014-08-22 10:19 pm

Shrugging off the Onus

I may have mentioned in the comments to my last post that I live with Major Depressive Disorder (recurring), and that at times when the laughingstock that is the cultural treatment and understanding of depression, I can't help but take on the onus of education. It drives me nuts when people, especially people who've known me since before I received my diagnosis, need power point presentations to explain that no, the pills are not going away, then be told "well, it's that can't attitude that's a self-fulfilling prophecy."  And I'm going to cut for a trigger warning now because just reliving that conversation in my head is enough to make me... well, I'll explain.

What I haven't mentioned is that I am in the midst of an Major Depressive Episode that started in June and hasn't responded to medication adjustments nor shown any indication that it's planning on moving on (it's even faked me out a couple times). Honestly: it's probably the worst one I've had since we finally figured out the mechanism of my depression.  I know that it will eventually move on, but in the here and now, while there's no need to worry about me, I'm also just not in a good place. Sucks, but them's the cards I got dealt.  I'll deal.

Until then, I have to deal with neurotypicals/undiagnosed atypicals on a regular basis. Most of them do not understand the difference between "Morag's atypical," versus "Morag's in the middle of a major episode."  I can't tell them why I'm in the episode, or that no, they're probably not going to magic out of me, no matter how hard they try. I'm not even entirely sure when it started. I do know when it got bad enough that everyone else noticed: when no one could figure out what mood or kind of thoughts I was having and kept asking why I was angry or sad when I wasn't.  I call it the Un-Poked Face, and I'm going to steal Allie Brosh's picture for those few people who haven't read the 100% Must Read posts "Adventures in Depression," and "Depression Part 2."
Am I making the face?
It's that hideous/glorious phase where your brain, totally incapable of processing emotions in the face of misfiring neurons, just throws up its hands and says "fuck it."  And I do try to make the right face: I am listening, and I know when events are triggering emotions in other people, it's just that with the exception of "crying" and "quiet," I don't have any other reaction to non-crisis situations. The attempted facial expressions are just to make the people around me less uncomfortable, because my ultimate goal when I'm at this state is to not be noticed. (I didn't say it was healthy, but when you're tolerating life because family and friends have told you that the alternative is a no-go, being told that you still have to do shit like pay the bills, go to work, clean the house and engage in personal hygiene make you wonder if you've been conned. I've honestly considered committing a minor misdemeanor just so I can go somewhere where there will be food and solitude and I don't wind up having my student loan officer sending me job applications and wellness guides after they track me down again.).

Then today happened. A friend who'd been abroad since before the onset of this episode finally returned home, and my "guy who sleeps next to me" decided to have a hissy fit because I locked the door on the way to the airport and neither he nor other roommate had remembered to bring their keys with them. (I also have agoraphobia: if you're just stepping out for a second, let me know, or I will lock the damn door).  As "guy who sleeps next to me" kept calling, alternating between apologizing for blowing up and telling me that it was in fact a big deal and my solution of "get the spare from the neighbor" wasn't acceptable and made him have to leave work and other roommate to be late for work. Eventually he accepted the "sorry you got hassled, no, really, I'm not mad."  As is my way, I was crying and being quiet, because that's what I've got, and so my friend asked what was going on, and commenced to taking me out for drinks.

It was a pretty good time: the food didn't taste like blah, the drinks were tasty, and her stories about time abroad pretty interesting. But, she and the waitstaff couldn't help themselves. "Are you okay?" "Fine, thanks." "You don't look it, are you sure there's nothing we can do?" "Yes, seriously, no worries." And there was this epiphany. I dropped off friend and returned home, where "guy who sleeps next to me" is attempting to deal with his habit of blowing up over nothing and then suffering immediate remorse because his parents didn't understand the concept of unconditional love. (It is possible for two people to argue, leave the argument while still not agreeing, and not love or respect the party any less after.)  But, because he is Him, he's doing it through adolescent boy jokes and sarcasm and pretty much pulling my pigtails.

Then I realized why he still hasn't stopped.  I'm not reacting. Too tired to cry, so I'm just being quiet. I don't have to explain why: he's heard it before. All I have to do is sit here, work on stuff and be quiet and all of a sudden I have a personal valet (and I even asked him to knock that off). Which is an odd sort of power, and one I shouldn't abuse. But I don't always have to explain why I'm me to other people just because I'm in Un-Poked face mode. It's not my job to make them comfortable with it. If they still need someone to take them through it again, they can read Allie's Posts. My job is keeping my shit together until the jumbled bits of my brain finish their hissy fit..

And that thought just made me smile, and sigh, and get one of those rare glimmers of "happy," "relieved," and "accomplished".


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