Letter about limits and choices and about being depressed

24th of May 2020

To whoever reads this

I don’t think I have a point today. I’m just writing because it feels important to keep writing these letters. Or maybe important is the wrong word. I feel commited to writing them. And not writing them feels like defeat, like failure, like letting someone down (probably just myself).

At the moment I am hoping any writing is better than no writing. I’m not sure that is true, but I think I need to keep going even though I m not sure I matters.

Mostly nothing matters at the moment. Depression is back in full (more or less). I manage to hold myself up when someone asks something of me. But collapse the second I return home and there is no one demanding anything.

I think slot about having choices. I believe I have more of them than I usually think and feel. I believe I am not as trapped as I feel. And I can try to focus on what I can choose and not hold that over the times in my life I didn’t have the options I have now. A lot of the things that felt and feels out of my control is because of trauma and fear. And those things are real. I just don’t want to be controlled my my trauma or my fear anymore. And I am not sure how to do that. But I am trying. And for me a big part of that is reminding myself of all the options that are there, behind the trauma or on the other side of fear.

I want a nuances take on this. On choices and options and what we can control. And that is difficult. I feel like always slip into either there is no limits only the ones we believe or I am powerless and limited because of reasons. And I don’t think any of these are really true. The things that holds us back are real and true. But so much of it can be overcome if we are able to see the way through fear, trauma, or if we are able to build new ways. So often I have been surprised to realise there was always options I didn’t know about, because I had been conditioned to see the world and myself a certain way. And now I am fighting to free myself from the restraints that in the grand scheme of things doesn’t seem that significant or real. So I can keep finding more options and be more free.

But it’s not just that easy. It’s not as simple as I would have liked. So many barriers are more real than most people would like to admit. And often it can be hard do look at other people’s lives and understand the way they a limited by things we cannot see. But the limits are still a reality in their lives.

I don’t under my depression’s power over me. The way I crumple and all the good seeps out of the world when I need it most. But it is so real. And I have to admit that willpower and stubbornness will not overpower it. Not even with a world of patience.

I used to think that I could do anything. In part because I am so stubborn. It always felt like such a beautiful gift I had been given. And on top of that I am also incredibly patient. And I used to believe that combination could do anything. The stubbornness to keep going and keep fighting and the patience to wait for a result. Now I am beginning to understand there are things no amount of stubbornness will ever let me achieve.

Depression is one of those things that I cannot fight with stubbornness and patience alone. And I am sort of out of patience with it anyway.

I’ve been allowed to se my family more. Which is good. My niece has grown so much. She is 7 months old and I haven’t seen her in almost 4 of them. I got to help my brother in his garden. He gave (and the kids) his wife a greenhouse for mother’s Day and he had tried to make the garden very nice. He also started construction on a treehouse for his kids. It’s not much more than a platform right now, but it’s still amazing.

Last time I was there I spend some time on that platform. Wishing I had brought a book. The weather was nice that day. And my nephew was playing with the kids next door, my parents were having s conversation with my brother and sister-in-law and I got tired of just sitting there waiting for nothing to happen. So I chose to spend some time in treehouse.

I lay down and look up. The sky was so blue. And somewhere high above me a bird of prey was circling, gliding. I tried to figure out what kind of bird it was but failed. It was to far away.

The sun was so warm on my black pants. Almost unbearable. The wind was so soft. A I could hear birds and quite conversation. And for a while everything was ok. Not great or wonderful. But a calm quiet ok. There is no joy there, just a kind lifting of the pain. It’s the kind of ok that would be easy to overlook. The kind that saves your life when you are depressed, because it reminds you what it’s like to look at the world without the lense of depression colouring everything.

I had time there. But I wasn’t done drinking all the calm in before my mom called and asked me if I wanted to go home. I needed the ride. And as I got in the car something felt not right. And on the short (10-15 minute) car ride home all the calm and peace I felt in the unfinished treehouse slipped away. It crumpled and collapsed. And I felt I happen in real time. Something that usually happens over weeks and months. The calm and quiet “I’m ok” giving way to unbearable pain.

And then I was back at the apartment. The apartment that still feels new and amazing. I still really like living in it and am still so happy about all the great solutions I found to make it feel more like home. And it does feel a little like home. And yet, in this time where staying home is so important I find myself hating being there. I cannot stand sitting there having nothing to do and being alone for this much time. And there is nowhere to go and even if there were I really shouldn’t go anywhere. I just sit there and wonder what to do to make my life in any way meaningful, and fail and fail and fail. There is no meaning. I find myself avoiding the balcony, it became hard to take good care of myself. I don’t want to eat and my sleep has been bad for a few weeks now too. The apartment doesn’t feel like a place I relax and feel calm and home and recharge. It feels like the place I am forced to be where there is nothing to do (except stare into a screen and that just makes my mental health worth at the moment). And still I remember how privileged I am in this time. To have this great a home, to be able to see my family a little, to go or walks and get out a little here and there. And in that perspective I’m doing ok. My depression just doesn’t care about the reasons, it just found a new hold on me and isn’t letting go.

I didn’t tell my parents how bad I felt on the car ride back. They would listen or understand. And no one talks in that car. My parents never really talk. They exchange information. But no one in my family has real deep meaningful conversations.

If I am in the car with my mom (even if it’s for hours) and try to have a conversation shell shut it down. Not directly. But by not engaging. Giving short one word answer and seeming indifferent. If I don’t drop it after an attempt or two she will actually reach out and turn the radio up. The ultimate sign that talking isn’t tolerated. I find the action hilarious. It would be sad or hurtful in any other context I think. But with her in this situation, I find it funny. She can’t bear to have a conversation, to sit with something, to risk an emotion. So she flees from it by creating noice between us so we can’t hear each other. I want so desperately to connect. She is so desperately afraid of that connection. And it’s all summed up and communicated clearly in that one small action, turning up the radio.

I wrote last that I might write something about emotions at some point. Thinking of my mom and her inability to accept emotions makes me think that it might be worth doing at some point.

I felt like I said good things today. Maybe not great. Maybe not what anyone needed. But I felt like writing it wasnt waisted or stupid.

I hope wherever you are that you are ok. I hope you find good ways to take care of yourself. Thank you for your time.