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C11P62 – Tired

C11P62 – Tired published on 19 Comments on C11P62 – Tired

Backstory tiiiiiiiime!

There’s something particular about feeling Tired. Not in a “I shouldn’t have stayed up reading until 3 in the morning” way, but in a bone-weary, soul-worn way. A “too little butter spread over too much bread” sort of way. It’s that moment of hitting the sandy bottom of the lake and realizing that you can either make a change and try to get back to the surface, or you can just let yourself sink and be lost forever.

Cory and I spent Sunday with some good friends, watching the football game. (Okay, they watched the game…I saw their kid’s collection of nail polish and decided to get CREATIVE with my fingernails because…colors…and stuff.) Their daughter is a really amazing and talented kiddo, and towards the end of the evening Cory and our friends and their daughter were just hanging out in the kitchen, talking about dreams and friendship and things like that. In passing, I mentioned I see an analyst for my chronic depression. Their daughter was very surprised.

“You don’t seem like someone who has depression,” she said. (This is a comment I’ve gotten several times from various people.)

“Well,” I replied, “That’s often the case with depressed people. We’ve usually gotten very good at hiding our depression.”

“I thought it was like…those commercials. Where the people are sad all the time. Or…like…when you see a sad puppy.”

This prompted a very interesting discussion where we all tried to explain how depression works. It’s a difficult thing to articulate. In part, because I think our culture lacks a decent vocabulary with which to describe the sensation. Her mom said:

“You know how sometimes you get really frustrated or upset, and you might say something mean about yourself in your own head? And how, when you’ve done something really cool, you think to yourself ‘I’m awesome!’ and you feel good?” (At this point there was an excited grin, as the daughter thought about one of the fun projects she’d just finished.) “Well, imagine that those mean thoughts don’t go away very often…and when you should feel the good ones, you don’t. That’s a little bit like what depression is like.”

I thought about the reason I’d originally decided to get help with my own depression. I wasn’t feeling sad, and I wasn’t having difficulty functioning in school or work. In terms of how most people define one’s capabilities (grades, for example) I was a top performer. I was in a relationship that was valuable and healthy. I had a job opportunity lined up after I graduated. I didn’t have a lot to feel bad about. What was wrong was that I didn’t seem to feel much of anything.

The way I described it to their daughter was that it felt like I was living life through frosted glass. I could see emotions on the other side of that glass, but they were fuzzy and distant. I couldn’t connect with them. I knew that they were there. I knew that I SHOULD feel SOMETHING, but try as I might, I just couldn’t. And I was tired of that distance. I knew that feeling the bad emotions would be hard, but I wanted to feel the good emotions and I couldn’t get to them without getting to the negative stuff too. Maybe it was because I’d finally reached a point where positive emotions were actually available to feel. Not having access to that…it felt like only a half life. I was tired of only being a portion of a person.

I didn’t make that change because I was sad. I made it because I was Tired. And making that choice, even though it took a lot of work (and still TAKES a lot of work) allowed me to access a much more vital and energized way of connecting the world. With myself.

It’s strange to think that feeling Tired, just fed up, 100% done with something could actually be a major turning point to a better way of living. Sometimes, I just get sick of something, and there’s a moment of strange clarity where I realize that I don’t have to be, if I just make a choice. A choice to gather that final reserve of strength, and commit to a new way of being.

Have you ever had one of those moments of clarity? What choice did you make?

Today’s Una Songs…
“Lost And Found” by Delerium. Oddly appropriate for today. “Tired of my sadness” indeed.

“I’ll Look Around” by Madeleine Peyroux. Una’s always looking, although she would never admit it. Not even to herself.

19 Comments

Children visit this site. Moderate your language accordingly.

There are things about Tired that hit close to home. That… make everything seem less worth doing. You’re too Tired to take care of yourself, too Tired to do anything fun. And then sometimes… sometimes someone asks about you, and… I dunno. I’ve always found that sharing my feelings helps the Tired go away, at least a little while.

“What happened” – I bet that’s a question Una doesn’t get a lot, right there next to “How do you feel” and “What do you want”. “You” questions are very important to someone who is so used to being unloved.

A burden shared is often one that’s easier to bear. It makes sense that sometimes just the simple act of letting somebody else know what’s going on, and having them accept and validate those feelings, is what we need to be a little less Tired. Like you said, “you” questions are very important.

I like how you set up the flashback on this page. That’s very clever.

I’m glad you approve. Although I feel like I’m probably not as clever as you’re giving me credit for…? I can’t tell if that’s me being self-effacing or if I can’t actually see whatever it is that you’re impressed with? OH GOD I JUST MEAN “THANK YOU, YOU ARE VERY KIND.” *hides in a hole*

There’s a lot I could say on this subject…but ironically, at the moment I am too Tired to do so. I’m going to have a time and a half just talking myself into doing my college work for the day, despite the classes involved being ones I know should feel fun.

Your response to Miri R prompted a question though. ‘Sharing the burden’ requires first getting past A) the guilty feeling that doing so is making someone you care about’s life harder when they really don’t need that (my parents have health problems out the wazoo atm, and my best friend is pregnant, neither set of people needs another stressor right now) and B) the idea that doing so is just being all whiney and look-at-poor-little-me (oddly, this opinion does not apply to my view of others who seek help, it’s just a conviction that that’s what it would be from me, since hey, I’m managing, right? Many people are in worse shape, what right do I have to complain?). How on earth do you get past that, if you don’t mind me asking?

Oh, do I relate to that inner narrative. To be frank, sometimes I don’t get past it. That’s one thing that made going to an analyst so valuable. She is quite literally PAID to listen to me. Her entire job description is to deal with people sharing their burdens. I know going in that if she didn’t WANT to be there, she wouldn’t have gotten a degree and spent years and years of time building up a practice. I cannot make her life harder, and if I do, then it’s part of her job description to deal with it, and she has the training to do so.

However, all that said, not everyone is in a position to get the help of an analyst or therapist. I’m very fortunate that she works with me so that I can still see her, even at a very reduced income.

So what do I do the other times, the other days when I’m NOT in her office but DO need to talk?

On the “good” bad days, it’s actually looking at the two narratives you bring up, but in a different way.

A) The guilty feeling about making someone else’s life harder: Often hearing other people struggle, and being there for them, makes people feel BETTER. It can be heavy, and tiring, but it can also be very rewarding. For one, hearing that somebody else is having difficulties can let us know that we’re not the only ones out there having trouble. For two, it gives the other person opportunity to share in return. Who knows how much someone else is keeping inside for OUR benefit, because we never share with them that we’re struggling too? That means that TWO people are isolated and alone in their pain, instead of BOTH having someone to confide in. It also shows a lot of trust, which is moving and life-affirming in its own way. If someone trusts us with their vulnerability, it means they view us as trust-worthy. The same is true for them, when we reciprocate. And finally, if they are able to give us some degree of comfort, if we feel better afterwards, then they feel like they have helped someone. That’s a pretty powerful feeling.

(Some caveats on this: 1. Not all people are actually trustworthy people to talk with. Learning to find someone who is ACTUALLY TRUSTWORTHY is a skill I’ve had to cultivate. I have very bad instincts for it, due to my upbringing. It has to be someone who is SAFE to be vulnerable with. If I share something and they lay out a guilt trip on me for inconveniencing them, or otherwise validate all the reasons I was scared to share something in the first place, this is NOT BECAUSE I BURDENED THEM. It is because they aren’t a SAFE PERSON. 2. It helps to prep, especially if someone is having troubles of their own. Saying “Hey, I am having a difficult time and I need to talk to somebody. Is there a day or time I could come over and talk with you?” gives them the opportunity to evaluate their energy level and be prepared. They might say, “Whoa, right now is totally fine, what’s up?” or they might say, “Sure, I can make some time tomorrow,” or they might say, “I really want to be there for you, but I’m not sure I’m up to it, is that okay?” In any case, you know that they’re managing their own boundaries, and they’re not going to be surprised or shocked or “brought down” by you sharing. Again, this requires SAFETY. If they don’t feel safe sharing a boundary with you, then this can’t happen. And if you don’t trust them managing their own boundaries, it can’t happen. Gotta find SAFE people!)

B) Being whiny/pity-party: First, the fact that we only hold this conviction for ourselves and not for other people is…kinda a warning sign, right? I mean, why aren’t we applying equal standards across the board? Why are the standards only different for US? Are we…some kind of robot? Are we perfect? Maybe immaculate, heavenly beings from Jupiter? No…okay…so…Dang it! That means we’re just humans. Fallible, squishy human meat-bags, full of imperfections. Just like…dare I say it? Everybody else. So, second: Even if we ARE being whiny…SO WHAT? Pain is pain. Everybody feels it. If a kid breaks their finger, are we going to say, “Hey, TOUGH LUCK 8-year-old, that person over there fell out of a window and broke EVERY BONE IN THEIR BODY. So quit your whining and suck it up, you baby!” No! Of course not! That child deserves care just as much as that person who fell out the window. Both are important. And here’s the thing: Sometimes, we are the person that fell out of the window. And sometimes, we are the kid that broke their finger. And in both cases, it’s okay to take a little time and tend to our hurts. Leaving either to “just deal” means that complications are going to develop later, and nobody wants that. It’s completely unnecessary. Seeking help now means we are actually avoiding bigger, and worse, problems later. That’s better for us, and better for the people who care about us. Because, if they are safe people, then they will be there for us whether the problem is small, or massively infected and awful. So we may as well keep things small by getting help and addressing the feelings early. For everyone’s sake.

Thank you so much for that reply! I don’t know if I’ll be able to test it out today, but I will definitely put the effort into TRYING to view things like that at sometime this week.

The college actually does have a therapist we can see for free…but I’ve been having a very difficult time convincing myself to set up an appointment. I know I should, but depending on the day I either think ‘it’s not really that bad, and I have so much I need to do’ or ‘they’ll just try to get me on some sort of pill and I really don’t want to risk anything messing with my brain chemistry’. I see the holes in both, of course, but as I’m sure you know seeing the hole in your thinking and moving past it are two different things. I currently have scheduled a date on my calendar to get the phone number…hopefully once I’ve made that first step it’ll be easier to actually call and make an appointment.

Thanks again for your help!

Any time. As for your concerns, it’s okay to have them. And totally valid to have them. The therapist might not be a good fit for you, or be quick to make recommendations for medications that you don’t want. You can ALWAYS say “no thank you!” or “I want to try something else, or to speak with somebody else, do you have any recommendations?” The first TWO analysts I contacted turned out were not for me, but I got enough out of the experiences to keep trying until I found someone I felt comfortable with. What is the MOST important was I was taking steps to invest in my mental health. Which means I was VALUING myself as somebody worthy of RECEIVING help. That first step is super hard, but it often makes the steps that come after it just a tiny bit easier. Doing anything the first time is particularly challenging. I know you can do it!!!

Thanks ^_^()

Hey, Kalietha. As someone who also has that narrative, to almost a debilitating degree (my friends are very patient people who occasionally joke about surgically removing the word ‘sorry’ from my vocabulary), I can commiserate with you – it’s hard, it is SO HARD. The way I’ve managedt o get myself to do it is time. Time, and a little of Robin’s advice, and also cultivating in some ways a better-forgiveness-than-permission approach to my own feelings. I tend to use apologies as a kind of stability crutch. If I do something wrong by sharing my feelings, I can make it okay by saying sorry for it.

Now, there are problems to this kind of thinking, and I don’t engage in it applied to everything else I do. But I tend to indulge the talk-first-think-later side of my brain when I have issues that need spilling, and my friends are just wonderful people who can take it in without question.

Robin’s response has one other important thing though, you need to know that the person you’re talking to is safe and trustworthy. I’ve built up a large cadre of trustworthy friends. However, you don’t learn whether someone is truly worth trusting until you take the plunge and trust them. So there’s an element of risk-taking involved, too. I thinkone of the biggest lessons I’ve had to learn as far as things go is that it’s okay to take a chance on someone again, that taking risks isn’t inherently bad. I’ve gotten to be so much of the mindset that you can’t fail if you don’t try so it’s better not to try and be disappointed. I’ve had to forcefully retrain myself that that’s not true, that mistakes aren’t inherently bad.

So opening up to someone is more than just a skill to learn or a consequence of healing, it’s a step in the healing process. It can be a huge accomplishment. Sometimes thinking of it that way can help you open up to people. And once you open up to one person, if you feel like you’re ready, practice opening up by talking to more people. In a lot of ways the more you talk about your feelings, and the bad things that have happened either emotionally or action-wise in your life, the less power they hold over you.

Practicing in front of the mirror when you know you want to tell someone, or even just in a dark, quiet space or even in your head if nowhere else, is another thing I’ve found that helps. It’s easier to open up if you know what you’re going to say because that search for the right words gives your brain another opportunity to back out.

And if you _don’t_ take advantage of that help, Old Man Mark Linimon is going to come over there and kick your butt. (I will actually be looking to kick 20-year-old Mark Linimon’s butt, for having put it off as well, but that’s another story).

Your first comment is particularly painful for me because someone that I knew, who was a “giver” — the perfect listener — is not with us any more. This happened last summer.

No one understands what happened, but my feeling is that perhaps she felt that she “had to be strong” for everyone else, and thus, showing weakness was a horrible sin.

What showing weakness means is … we’re human.

The older I get, the more this sinks in. (But believe me, a few decades of stubborness are hard to overcome.)

If your therapist immediately recommends pills, *find another one*. Pills _may_ help. They are different from person to person. I’ve tried several different ones; one works (for a definition of “works” that would take 100 pages to define 🙂 ) The others I tried … oh good Lord no. Never again.

But talking has to be the gateway to any therapy.

In therapy, you’ll probably find that your most horrible secret is … that you’re not perfect. That you get angry. That you think mean things sometimes. That you let people treat you badly and are then resentful.

Welcome to the club called “humanity” 🙂

Believe me, after the 1000th negative thing you endure in this world, it kind of gets to be “oh, not this again”, rather than the Most Awful Thing In The History Of The World.

I had to figure out in my 20s that most people don’t remember conversations forever. So if, sorry, _when_ I say something stupid, most people have forgotten it within an hour. A day perhaps.

But I can still recite stupid things I said when I was a kid. I’ll bet Robin will tell you she can too (based on previous comments). _None of those people remember those things_. (Some are not even alive anymore. It was ages ago.)

Someone once said “these thoughts — you should charge them rent for living in your skull. If they don’t pay up, kick them to the curb.”

We’re messes, us human beings.

It does get easier, with time.

Thanks Robin. My father-in-law was diagnosed with lung cancer and he basically spent two years dying. I hope when it’s my turn I get hit by a car!

I’m really, really happy you’re back! I spent several hours yesterday catching up on LeyLines and I’m just loving the interactions between Pakku and Una. You are an astonishingly strong and inspiring person.

I cannot even imagine how incredibly hard that was for you, your family, and him to go through. The closest I can come was watching my grandfather slip into dementia, but at least there was no pain involved with that. It did make me hope for a death that’s sudden. I don’t want to spend the last years of my life wasting away.

I am very glad to be back! I was so nervous about taking a break so large and open-ended, but it turned out to be the right thing for me to do. I feel so much stronger and more together, and the story is stronger and more together too.

Especially knowing he didn’t need to die at 68. His entire life, Seth begged his parents to stop smoking, and they never listened. That hell was the reason I stopped doing Castle Whatsitsname. I’m slowly getting back into it, but this time I’m not killing off the wise wizard character to set the story in motion. I’m going to use the grief to tell the story of someone who fades before they die. The wizard dying suddenly and forcing the protagonist(s) to overcome the challenge alone is plenty common in storytelling, but it didn’t have any personal resonance for me. This will, so I hope it’ll be a better story, despite being grimmer.

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