Half a Person

28 Jul

I’m planning on writing a series about depression when, um, I’m less depressed (or have fewer things to do that take up my energy and willpower), but I thought I’d talk briefly about one of the symptoms I have that I hate the most. When my depression gets bad, I become really, really dumb.

My ability to learn quickly, remember things, problem-solve, and concentrate completely goes away. I’ve seen people* try to chalk these symptoms (especially lack of concentration) up to excess rumination, which can be true, but it’s beyond that. It’s truly a physical response–my brain slows waaaaay down. I forget how to do things I’ve done hundreds of times before. I can’t do simple math or remember short strings of numbers. I haven’t read a remotely challenging book in quite some time because I’m simply not up to it.

I’m okay with being a space cadet (I always have been, and had daydreaming down to an art when I was in school), but feeling slow and stupid? I hate it. Especially when my brain is already trying to tell me that I’m incompetent, useless, fat, lazy, unloveable, etc etc etc.

The worst part about it is that there’s nothing I can do about it. Sometimes caffeine helps, but that also makes me more anxious, which also makes me stupid (although in a different way–yay!). All I can do is try and turn off the asshole part of my brain and resist telling other people, “No!!! I’m not normally this stupid, I swear!” It sucks.

*Mostly dicks who don’t believe that there’s any physiological aspect to depression and that it’s all in people’s heads. Unfortunately, a lot of these people are considered “experts”. Which is part of the reason why I feel like I need talk about these things with complete candor sometimes.

16 Responses to “Half a Person”

  1. zombie rotten mcdonald 07.28.2011 at 14:40 #

    I can relate; in the last bit of time, i have found it hard not to be glum myself.

    Regardless of you’re level of spaceheadedness, however, it never makes you half a person.

  2. Another Kiwi 07.28.2011 at 15:10 #

    Depression seems to be the most widespread syndrome in the world. everybody seems to get a dose at some stage. I think it might be part of the humanity deal, part of being human. Possibly empathy linked? Because, fuck, it can be a nasty world. even if one didn’t have ones own life to worry about there is plenty enough to kick one in the kidneys.
    But you are never 1/2 a person, maybe less mental agile than other days. So sue me, as you Americans say. I never feel that I’m running on all cylinders in the brain box, always could be smarter. But it doesn’t happen.
    You are most definitely not alone

  3. B^4 07.28.2011 at 15:18 #

    It’s hard not to be depressed these days, things being what they are. I imagine, though, that even at your spaciest, you’d be able to whip, cognitively, ninety percent of the population with one hemisphere of your brain tied behind your back.

  4. M. Bouffant 07.28.2011 at 15:24 #

    *Mostly dicks who don’t believe that there’s any physiological aspect to depression and that it’s all in people’s heads.

    Psychomotor Retardation. It’s real. A friend who saw a gummint-approved shrink when applying for disability said the shrink could tell he was disabled just from the PMR.

    What gets me most is that everything is an imposition. Someone asks me a question & I get all “Agggh, I don’t want to say anything. Leave me alone.” Not out loud, ‘though. Maybe I should just say it.

    P.S.: Don’t believe all that “incompetent, useless, fat, lazy, unloveable, etc etc etc.” crap. Society’s standards are bullshit; don’t buy into them.

  5. Another Kiwi 07.28.2011 at 15:47 #

    yeah, one of the coping mechanisms I had was “Who the fuck, wants to be like normal folks, anyway?”

  6. zombie rotten mcdonald 07.28.2011 at 16:32 #

    if anything, since truculent AND unreliable is an ampersandic-american, she should be counted as AT LEAST 1.4 persons.

    “Who the fuck, wants to be like normal folks, anyway?”

    AND YET you all are perfectly awful toward Shamble-Americans. It’s appalling.

  7. Whale Chowder 07.28.2011 at 16:55 #

    Shamblers only count as 3/5 of a person anyway. I think it’s in the Constooshun!

    T&U, depression’s a bitch. I imagine you’re already doing so but just in case: get assistance. There’s no reason to go it alone, even if it stresses you financially. And best of luck. You clearly have friends out here in ephemera-land who are pulling for you.

  8. zombie rotten mcdonald 07.28.2011 at 17:02 #

    Shamblers only count as 3/5 of a person anyway.

    Back on moderation, chowderhead.

  9. Another Kiwi 07.28.2011 at 19:32 #

    Shamble-Americans? Cry-baby-Americans I say! ” Boo hoo hoo, just because my arms fall off and I smell like rotten dog food, no one likes me”

  10. Larkspur 07.28.2011 at 21:36 #

    I can’t cheer you up. Depression fucks up everything. It makes you give up trying, but doesn’t let you rest with the giving up. There’s no place to rest, and the whole time you hate yourself. And if anyone likes you, you are driven to assume that they suck too. Sometimes it gets better. Sometimes it doesn’t. Mostly it just cycles. I’m sorry. I like you. It might be okay, eventually. Anyway, even though everything in you says it’s no good to keep trying, you keep trying anyway, and that’s good, because the future hasn’t happened yet, so who knows. Ya know?

  11. Kristjan Wager 07.29.2011 at 03:44 #

    I have a hard time thinking of you as stupid in any context, but I can understand the frustration of running below full mental capacity. When I am stressed, one of my symptoms is that I have a harder time focusing etc. – it’s really frustrating, and I know that I am affected much more lightly than you are when you’re depressed.

    Still, depressed or not, you’re still one of the smartest persons I’ve ever come across.

  12. Dragon-King Wangchuck 07.29.2011 at 12:33 #

    I guess I don’t have anything to add on top of what’s already been said. Other than to remind you that This Too Shall Pass.

  13. bbkf 07.29.2011 at 20:32 #

    oh, i am there for you, girlfriend…i have been struggling with depression for nearly twenty years now…it does suck the big one. on top of that, i also have fibromyalgia and they both feed each other.

    pretty interesting take on the branez slowz and i gotta check out mb’s link…the fibro when flaring up makes me earth shatteringly stupid…words are the worst…which sucked big time when i was in radio and on-air for 8 hours a day…

    anyhoo…you are not alone…and for what it’s worth, you are one of my heroines…keep up the good fight…keep your chin up…and don’t let that bastard called depression get you down…

    also too, feel free to email me if you want 🙂

  14. Smut Clyde 07.30.2011 at 06:59 #

    What MB said. As well as the ‘depression’ part of depression, there is the annoying knowledge that there is less going on between one’s ears than usual. Or so I hear from a friend. And what with many mis-spent years of recreational pharmacology, the ummm friend could never be sure that the sponge-for-brains sensation was a temporary phase that would get better, or whether it was permanent.
    Teh tricyclics helped.

  15. Substance McGravitas 07.31.2011 at 00:06 #

    I understand the dumb well. The inertia doesn’t help much either. The elves refuse to do my laundry.

  16. M. Bouffant 07.31.2011 at 00:24 #

    Damn elves. I did my own laundry yesterday. Or the day before. Who can tell?

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