“Cry Followup”, or “See A Doctor! The Musical”
I got sad. A doctor recommended that I go off my anxiety meds because they might be interfering with a bunch of other health issues. I did. It wasn’t good.
I tapered off for months and dealt with the withdrawal symptoms. When they were gone, I felt ok for a few weeks. Then I was easily irritated and sometimes angry. Then weird feelings started to creep in. I guess it was just dread. Maybe it was weird to just be feeling anything after being numbed on meds for so long. I started crying watching movies sometimes or thinking about whatever the fuck. I started getting really sad. Eventually I would cry everyday, sometimes for multiple sessions. It’s strange to think back on that now that I’m safely numbed to fuck again.
My grandfather had died about 8 months earlier and I thought I had emotionally exhausted that, but now it was back and I dwelt on it constantly. I thought of dying with an urgency that I couldn’t distract myself from. I thought of everyone I knew dying. It felt like time was an illusion and it wouldn’t be long until I’m standing beside their open coffins, reflecting on how quickly time had passed and now they’re gone and I’d wasted time not spending more time with them.
Most days I’d just wake up and lie there for hours. I’d try to look at things on my phone to try to distract myself. Snapchat was fun for that. Christ, so was Miitomo. I wouldn’t get any work done. It was difficult to focus and overcome the feeling in my gut of being pulled down and the constant present terror feelings of death and knowing this whole experience will be gone some day, but before that, I’ll watch everyone I know leave too. For a long time, I don’t think I really connected that it was my absence of meds that was doing this to me. I thought maybe it was just circumstances and some kind of Holmes-Rahe scale thing where a bunch of life events happening at once were stacking and compounding my depression feelings. There was no way to win against it and this kind of thing encourages you to not to the things that will typically pull you out of a depression. It makes you want to seclude yourself more and work on further diminishing your self-worth mentally. Instead of seeing friends or doing activities you enjoy, you convince yourself that you’re a burden to them, they don’t really want to see you anyway, and that something bad is going to happen if you go out and do anything. For so many fucking days I just laid there. That makes your depression even worse; your lack of productivity frustrates you and makes you hate yourself. All that wasted time boils your living asshole. It’s a paralysis and you don’t know why you can’t break out of it. You can’t just go into the other room and sit at your computer and do your work. Brains are incredible. Just a bit of absence from a certain chemical changes everything. Of course, you tell yourself things like this, that it’s not really you and that it’s just a biological ineptitude temporarily and that everything will be fine soon enough, but that doesn’t help at all.
That’s the other thing: you don’t feel like this will ever end. This is who you are now. A fucking shrivelled terrified cryhole. I did feel terror quite a few times during all this. It usually gets you when you wake up or try to go to sleep. Everything is still and You are going to fucking die someday, sooner than you think and You have wasted every moment of your life so far blast in your mind and your heart pounds, you can barely breathe, and you might even suddenly groan as panic waves hit your brain in an instant. There’s a terror in knowing there’s no relief from this; that all of these things are true and for some reason you believed the illusion your whole life and weren’t always in the perfect terror about it that you are now. Still, you beg for that trick to come back, to be able to put this mindset away and believe in the stupid shit we tell ourselves just to keep existing in some kind of calm. All these thoughts keep assaulting you with some kind of biological urgency, like you need to figure this problem out immediately or you die. This is what being on chemicals to help your brain for years and then suddenly going off them is like. Your body doesn’t know what the fuck. It’s weird to not give a shit about any of this and then suddenly imperatively have to give a shit about it and be unable to escape it. Even now when I’m in the clear, I still feel its background noise. Maybe I always will from now on. This whole thing has been a Paul on the road to Damascus type ordeal.
I fucking cried watching the new X-Files episodes, my dude. Probably during each one. That’s what it was fucking like. Imagine being in your late ass twenties and something in the X-Files makes you cry because you think of a squandered opportunity, or what you should or shouldn’t have done as a kid, or wishing you had put more effort into certain relationships with family or friends. It just finds anything to grab onto and get you with. You just have a dragging feeling constantly present and looking for things to attach to and convince you you’re sad about. Frankly, it’s fucking annoying. I cried one time because a nintendo phone app was enthusiastic about sharing my character’s picture with others. Just the fact that someone would have an interest in who I am and treat me like a normal person and want to share something about me with other terrible avatars made me cry as I was playing this thing and trying to take a shit. It made me think about my own self-worth and how long I thought there was no reason anyone should give a fuck. Cripe, one time I was almost screaming crying about my best friend who died when we were 11. It was like a fresh wound again and I was lying facedown on my bed wailing like an asshole. Depression can fuck with you.
So, this got pretty bad and I decided I had to see my GP about it. This can become a battle in itself, because past a certain point, you are convinced you aren’t worth the effort and that you’re a burden to have to deal with, and someone else could use that time to see the doctor instead. It gives you any reason to turn yourself down. I cried right away talking to my doctor. All this is really weird to reflect on; I was an entirely different person then. It was like a frantic sadness, an inability to just hold your shit together for even a few minutes. The impending terror was really pressing; a constant urgent anxiety that something bad is going to happen really soon, or that I’m about to get a call that someone I know just died. The doctor recommended seeing a therapist and going back on meds. Now I remember that the reason I finally did something was because my neighbour’s son killed himself. Fuck, that really bothered me. Hearing about any death at all was bad enough, but I think that week I was reading about Edgar Allan Poe’s death and then Vincent Van Gogh’s, and I just got really fixated on vividly imagining their final moments. I think there were others, too. See? Just a stupid thing to waste your time on but in the moment, you think this will help for some reason. Maybe the gravity of that kind of thing hooks you and you can’t help but look into it. So when my neighbour’s son also committed suicide, that was a pretty strong blow. I hadn’t even talked to the guy in over ten years, but I couldn’t help but fixate on having seen his father maybe 3 days prior as he joked in my mom’s backyard and borrowed a ladder. Now his life was ruined and the son he struggled to try to get mental help his whole life had killed himself. He was only 37 and he had a son. I think I spent a few days of weeping out my stupid ass over this, then made the decision to see my doctor.
I started seeing my therapist and cried within 6 minutes of entering his office. I wish I went to see a talk doctor when I was recommended it as a teenager. It’s good shit. Beyond that, I started seeing my friends again. Before this, I think 2 years had passed between us spending time together. I had talked myself into feeling like they were better off without me anyway and had their own real friends and lives that I didn’t have anything to do with. I started to exercise and even just take walks around the block. Sometimes, if I was just lying awake staring at the ceiling, I’d get up and go for a run. I started being able to work on videos again and looked forward to it. Thinking back on it now, I realize I kept streaming during the whole time. That would become the only thing I’d do or look forward to for most of this stretch. SO THANKS IF YOU LOOKED AT MY TERRIBLE STREAMS DURING THIS ERA I WAS QUITE WOUNDED AND I’M HOPEFUL THAT I WASN’T TREMENDOUSLY OBVIOUS ABOUT THIS, YOU HELPED KEEP ME STABLE WATCHING ME PLAY WITH CHILDREN’S TOYS. Beyond this, I’d just sleep until the afternoon and try to find a way to kill time until the streams started. This is why there were even less videos than usual. I was sad.
So, these things helped pull me out of the shit. A lot of it is self-examination and discovering why you feel this way in the first place. I’ve talked to my therapist about whether or not this whole thing was because of being on meds for so long and then going off them and feeling a withdrawal, or if that’s who I am underneath the medication. He said that it is probably both, but more that that’s who I am. Fuck. He categorized this as a major depressive episode. It was weird to just hear the words. That is the kind of thing that happens to people in their mid-30s in office jobs who are getting shit on by everything in their lives. I guess it can also make you feel like a diva asshole; that you feel you’re so important that you had to have this major crisis about yourself. Writing this makes me realize how stupid it is to think like this, but that’s the kind of trap you get put into. Anyway, let me emphasize how important it is to see a therapist if you are depressed. Do it. It can change everything. Also talk to a doctor and see if meds are part of your solution. See a doctor. Do not just let it go. This is like if you had cancer and you just wanted to wait it out or hoped it would get better on its own. A lot of people let it go until it’s overwhelming and consumes them completely and just kill themselves to end the pain. Don’t!
I got better. I went on meds and in just a few weeks I made a drastic improvement. Plus the therapy, and plus feeling like I was doing anything with my life again. I hear a lot about hesitation to go on meds because you feel like they may change the foundation of who you ever are. This doesn’t happen. For me, it made me feel more free to be who I felt like I really was. That said, it may numb your emotions if you are a person who typically feels a lot of things. Just talk to a doctor about any concerns you have and don’t let these build up and become reasons you don’t get help for yourself. You are worth it. The doctor isn’t angry to have to deal with you. If it will cost what you can’t afford, don’t let that become an excuse not to do it. Save up or find a way to make it work. Again, it’s like if you couldn’t afford cancer treatments so you just let it kill you instead of finding out how you can make the situation work financially. What you’re dealing with is serious! Do something about it!
I almost forgot to mention that a lot of getting better was having something to look forward to. Knowing I’d see my friends and we’d have a good time was part of it. Another was spending all of my fucking money to go to as many conventions as I could. They were something I enjoyed in the past but didn’t bother with much anymore, so I decided to get back into them. It was the best choice. Thanks for coming to drink a lot of beers and talk shit if I saw you at a PAX or TwitchCon or Magfest! They were sincerely some of the best times of my life. Knowing that it wouldn’t be long until I’d be at another convention helped a lot with otherwise feeling complete dread. The power of giving yourself something great to look forward to is really strong! Do it! Find things you like and make time for them. Reward yourself! At one point, I got into a really unbalanced lifestyle and would spend maybe 60 or 70 hours a week editing videos and I burned myself out to shit. All I would think about was the job and let my health and relationships go to shit. You’re not supposed to do that. Give yourself good things and make it a habit. Anyway, PAX East soon, my man.
When I wrote my last crypost, a lot of people responded it it. I was in a daze for the rest of that day as I heard from a mountain of individuals. A lot of you deal with issues like this and a lot of you feel hopeless about it. It’s fucked up! This is your life! You’re entitled to a good one! Doing something about it will take a lot less than you may think, and will help you in a lot more ways and probably faster than you may think. A lot of you also said since that you’ve decided to finally get help. So yeah motherfucker I had a cool cry about your messages several times. What was also helpful was anonymous tumblr questions saying they got help so others could see your experiences and know I’m not just yelling out my dick about this. Thanks! You helped people!
Ok I think I have to cut this short now, it got late and I try not to stay awake until fucking 7 AM these days. I feel like I missed a few of the main points I wanted to make but by now I think you get the point that you can feel like you are going to face total annihilation within the next few moments and still get back to normal in very little time. I almost just wrote “Hopefully talking about my own cringe-ass experience helped you with…” and so forth to end this on a light-hearted self-shitting, but that again is part of the problem. Feeling as if your issues are embarrassing, not worthy, juvenile, or to be written off as not serious is no good. I know we joke about this kind of thing to help deal with it, but don’t feel that way for real. AGAIN, YOU’RE WORTH IT. YOU’RE GOOD! YOU’RE WORTH DOING WHATEVER IT TAKES TO FEEL NOT FUCKED UP! GO!