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Self-Diagnostic 5

I think it’s time for another self-assessment check-in on how my brain is doing. This is gonna be fun! Let’s go!

And the fun thing is…I haven’t been doing well. It occurred to me a couple of weeks ago that I’ve been dealing with some bad depression for a while now and I hadn’t noticed. (Depression can be a sneaky little sneaker when it wants to be.) I want to think the depression is mostly situational–due to some personal life stuff that’s stressing me out, allergy season being particularly bad and making me feel pretty rundown physically, and the daily waking-up-and-going-to-bed-surrounded-by-burning-garbage experience of living in a world where a truly horrible, delusional, petty man is occupying the White House (or more accurately, he’s at the golf course while his band of corporate criminals and neo-Nazis occupy the White House)–rather than brain chemistry or my humors being unbalanced. I want it to be situational because I can at least do something about my personal life and because I don’t want to go back on antidepressants. (There are other medication solutions, however, that I’m considering. I’m firmly a member of Club Meds.)

But I’ve been feeling tired and sluggish, while also having worse than usual insomnia. I’ve found myself sighing a lot, feeling like there’s little point to anything I do, having fairly frequent existential crises. My insecurity has been off the charts, and I’ve found myself questioning whether people–even my nearest and dearest–truly like me, sometimes to the point of paranoia. I’ve had good days, I’ve been enjoying the things I read and watch, I’ve felt inspired and made a lot of notes for stories I want to write, I’ve gone out with friends and had a great time, I had an amazing weekend at Planet Comicon, but it’s all been covered by a ghostly shroud of sadness, loneliness, low self-esteem, doubt, fear, and weariness.

I don’t like it.

But I have a few candles in the darkness. One of them is this: I have therapeutic tools I can use to deal with this, now that I’ve faced up to what I’m dealing with. Another candle is this: inspired by Wil Wheaton’s “reboot year” and the better-self-care my girlfriend and another dear friend have been doing, I’m working on a plan for my own reboot. I don’t want to change who I am, but I’ve been saying for many, many years that I want to be the best Me I can be, and it’s about damn time I really tackled that. Racing around the weekend of Planet Comicon hammered home that I need to be doing regular exercise. I need to make changes to my diet. There are things I’ve been wanting to do for a long time and I need to stop putting them off. Depression lies, and one of its biggest lies is “You have no control over your life.” Time to take more control of things. And another candle is this: I’m not alone. Asking for help is not super easy, even if it’s just asking for affirmations that I don’t completely suck and I’m not wasting time being here. Another lie of depression is “Asking for help is needy and weak, and it will drive people away.” But I know, I really, truly know, that this isn’t true. So when I need help, I’m going to ask for it. I’m stating all of this publicly to hold myself accountable.

Depression lies and tells me I suck. But deep down, I know I don’t suck. Anxiety lies and tells me I can’t do the things that seem scary or hard. But deep down, I know I can.

This self-diagnostic shows I need a major tune-up. I want the next self-diagnostic to be much, much better.

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