depression

Quickfix

I believe that often times the answer to a problem is quite easy. What most people fail at is the discipline to carry out what they know to be right. For the last days I have been struggling with this. I haven't been out as long as I wanted to. I didn't really stick to my daily morning routine of either showering or doing sports and I failed at going to bed early. 

I think that the most important skill that I picked up during my studies is discipline. But what is it worth that I can be disciplined when I am not being it? I know that happiness is a skill that I can manage to learn but like with every other skill I need to grind myself.

It seems that perfection is attained not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing more to remove. - Antoine de Saint Exupéry 

Today I woke up after about 5 hours of sleep and I just wanted to lay in bed forever and probably watch some episodes of Arrow (a pretty decent series on Netflix). Where would this lead me? Well I wouldn't need to feel myself, but that would only work for a couple of hours until I wake up and find myself in a even worse position because I'd realize that I haven't achieved anything today and hate myself even more. 

I am writing this article to remind myself that I don't have to identify with my feelings. I don't feel like doing sports now, but I will do it anyways because it gives me satisfaction, mental and physical strength, it gets my blood flow going and because it is part of my routine to a healthier, happier and more productive me. 

I can (not)

For quite some time and especially during my last relationship I've had the feeling that I can not do certain stuff. I've been feeling like I was not strong enough. During my studies I've learned that it's often times enough to just stick to some kind of behaviour or exercise or just try to do my best. 

I have been used to suppress my feelings in order to not get overwhelmed by them and it seems like I am just now learning to deal with those emotions. On somedays, like today they just feel overwhelmingly big and I feel like I could not do anything but mindfulness as it is trained with meditation and as I practice it by writing this article gives me the power of observing the feeling rather than experiencing it. I feel like I don't want to do anything today but I will do it anyways. Because I can. 

Greetings from Hippocampus: Stress down!

I had a blast today. Starting with an interesting Article about depression on nymag. The article mainly covers the great influence of aerobic exercise in form of running and meditation on depression and it's symptoms. The theory explaining this is that neurogenesis, the new formation of brain cells that happens throughout the whole life span, is reduced in the Hippocampus of depressed people.

According to German wikipedia it is backed up knowledge that the volume of people with (unipolar) depression is reduced when compared to healthy individuals. I was thinking of myself, because I am a narcissist (No seriously who's the person you care for the most, when you are single?). I am pretty bad when it comes to accessing pictures, smells, tastes and sounds in my memory. I have no problem spotting them whenever I encounter anything I have saved in my brain but accessing it at will is quite a problem. I also now that I get better at it on good days. So it might not be a very consistent problem. 

I had a theory coming up that depressed people probably tend to be stressed out all the time leading to a wasted Hippocampus which then leads to poor memory. So I started looking at a few sources on that subject because I did not really believe that there should be no sources available and what shall I tell you? Of course there are.  

Those sources are listed down below in the sources section of this article. Summoning them up: little amounts of stress increase the performance of memory in mice while high amounts of stress lower it's performance. Alcoholics also show a very similar change in their brain structure and eventually stress will also increase the emotional response: fear. 

Another source suggests that especially highly intuitive, sensitive people tend to have an always firing fear response (which I clearly see in myself during bad phases). This is why people who belong to that type of person are always in some state of trauma; they are stressed out all the time. The natural response to that is often times that people live in the past or in the future rather than standing their own emotion at this very moment, which is definitely something I do a lot. I would suggest that playing computer and video games or watching TV shows would also fall into this category even though I am not quite sure about that. I mean who does not exit reality using one way or the other?

Obviously the best way to cope with this is to learn to relax and recover which is not a natural behavior for people who own that trait. Mediation comes in handy at this position as well as doing sports does. Another interesting video that my brother has shown me the other day suggests that also changing our attitude towards stress would help us improve our response to that. Another article published by the German "Spiegel" in 1978 also suggests the obvious: antidepressants and a more interesting helpful thing: releasing the bad feelings by feeding them into anger and articulating them. I know from myself that this definitely helps to get some relief. 

 

Sources

Staticness

I am studying physics and even though it's very unlikely for me to follow a career as a physicist I would consider myself a scientist. What does that mean? Well, not only do I currently love the song 'The scientist' by Coldplay but I do also observe the world and people around me. I then give hypothesises about why things are the way they are and try to assume what will happen next. 

Why do I do that? I don't really know but it's the way I have always dealt with things. This is why I tend to overthink things, but I am relatively good in it, at least that's what I think. This is why I trust my hypothesises so much that I rarely ever try to challenge them once I've come to a conclusion.

Why is this a problem? sd

A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it. - Max Planck

Because it prohibits change. The world and especially people change way to far, so static assumption will only hold true for a short amount of time. I now know that I presented myself last year as a person with traits that had ceased to exist years ago. For example I have always described myself as independent of compliments and attention, not caring for the outer appearance of others, controlled and as an introvert. When in fact I seek attention and compliments, I am very picky when it comes to the looks (and everything else), I genuinely enjoy talking to other people and I am sometimes not controlled at all.

Has this been a long term change? I think yes and no. All of those statements were true about 7 years ago, when I was younger, hadn't lost 40kg of weight, was not as confident with myself and probably even more depressed than I am right now. I had adapted to not ever getting compliments since I was not really talking to people, not working on myself and not good looking. I could not talk to new people because I hated smalltalk and was unskilled in speaking with people who didn't share the same interests as me. 

I think I lost part of this idea of a static me, when Tim Pritlove said "I am many personalities, which one would you prefer?" when asked about his personality at 32c3. I still hadn't fully given up on it, but now I understand: There is many me (mes? Yes, I'm a mess). They change depending on the persons who surround be, my sleep, the season, the food I eat, the hormones released into my system.

What to do about it? There is not much I can do about it. I will most certainly be subject to change at any given point in time, which is good, because without change there will be no improvements. I for example use it, because I actually change my behaviour when speaking in English. This is actually why I write this blog in English: I can connect better to my emotions. But other than that I can't really to anything. I need to accept myself for who I am before I can move forward. In any situation I can just try to be the best person I can be and accept the outcome. This means I really have to give up the controlling part within me.

Flight

He sat in his grandma's living room staring at the TV without even noticing what was going on. Caught in his thoughts he didn't even try to listen to her words. The cloud-covered sky eliminated all emotion in this working class neighbourhood. All of the city had seen better days but today it felt worse than ever.

He didn't even know how to explain it. Chased by an inexpressible anxiety every part of his body needed to leave this place. All of the sudden he just said to his grandma that he had to leave interrupting her pleading on the importance of discipline. He smiled at her in a way that would make him freeze if he saw it in others, because he knew the feeling he had bound to it. 

Having promised not to hurt himself he ran away neglecting her sadness. He just couldn't. What was it? What was the thing he couldn't do? He didn't know. He ran down the hallway putting his earplugs where they belonged and turned up the music until he couldn't listen to his own thoughts while he was running back home... 

No Guarantee

The last week has given me an immense amount of power. I thought that if I'd stick to my routine, I'd be able to be happy always. I tried it again today. I put a checkmark on all the things on the list but even following my sports programme didn't really help. Well it did for some time but the returns seem to be diminishing. I am wondering if I can keep momentum....

Daily routine

I have never really cared for myself. I am a people pleaser and I have always been seeking appreciation in others. I think a big problem that ate away on my relationship was the fact that I did not have a good self care routine installed.

What do I mean when saying that? Well, basically I did not really do anything for myself and the sake of doing it ever. I was always just looking for appreciation in others which made me happy. This has always never been a problem for me since I almost always had a lot of friends around me and since I moved to Berlin for my studies I have always hung around with my room mates and a bunch of other awesome people. I was happy, or so I thought. 

Well, of course I knew I wasn't happy. I always thought, I'd be lovesick when I was unsuccessfully chasing different girls over the span of a year or so. I always thought, I'd be happy when I'd get a girlfriend. In the end I managed to be confident enough to get one by working my ass of for years which brought me in some state of 'almost burnout' after half a year of dating my previous girlfriend. 

So what's the point? I think I need to learn how to care for myself and how to be happy on my own before I can find real love and have successful relationship. I need to be constantly working on myself. Since I need to fight for everyday to just be okay and feel good anyways, as I described yesterday, this what I need to do anyways.

So what is it, that I do on a daily basis?

  • First thing in the morning: go to the bathroom, shower, trim my beard, brush my teeth, use a comb. Everything is better if you're not feeling so fuzzy and beeh after waking up. I really needed to learn this one, especially the comb thing. Since I have naturally dry skin, I also apply some skin care afterwards.
  • I use deodorants or perfumes, because I have a nose that I working quite well and I like to smell well. If people try to take that away from you by making fun of you: let them do it. Haters gonna hate. 
  • I wear good clothes every day. I recently threw away almost anything that wasn't a good fit for me and my body. I will eventually write another blog post on this. However, I don't even wear sweat pants anymore. I just wear jeans. One for the life outside of this apartment and one for the apartment. The one for the apartment is a little bit less tight and made out of a less hard fabric. It's still quite comfy, but I always feel good looking and not to slackly. 
  • I make my bed. It's the first achievement everyday that sets me up on a goal hunting mission. Don't underestimate this one!
  • I try to sing a long to some of my most favourite songs. Especially the empowering ones, but depending on my feeling I sometimes also choose the sad ones. Singing is the most effective way for me to get in touch with my feelings. If you're more into crafting a piece of art or whatever, just do that! I am a really bad singer and when I start to sing people leave the room to stop cringing, but I do it anyways.
  • I do sports following the training plan created for me by the app Freelethics, which I really like. I just need someone to tell me which goals I should be achieving today and then work my butt off, because I can be proud afterwards that I did it. Sometimes my muscles are sore and I need to take a day off, but I restart the game as soon as I can.
  • Daily step goal: 10k. Also low intensity movement helps your body feel like it is supposed to feel. I listen to a lot of podcasts while walking, so it's not really a waste of time for me.
  • Meditate. I use the app created by headspace.com. It's a great app and I really do like it.

Starting over

About one year ago I received the biggest gift I could have imagined. I got in my very first relationship with a girl that had been diagnosed with depression about two months before. I felt truly understood for the very first time. I didn't really speak of depression when I talked about my problems which I rarely ever did before. 

Two weeks ago I have finally been diagnosed with depression. I always thought that I was letting other people down when I wasn't working as hard as I should have been able to. It is kind of a relief to know this. I'm not letting people down. I'm just not always as strong as everybody else.

Just about a week ago my girlfriend broke up with me for several reasons. I think in the end it all came down to me being depressed and clinging, blaming her that she wasn't caring enough for me and making her feel terrible and insufficient. However I now have to learn how to live a happy life on my own.

I always thought that I'd be happy when I'd get my first girlfriend which was true for about half a year. Then I thought I'd be happy when we'd just have more sex or she'd care more for me. Just about half a week before she broke up I realized that I had everything I ever wanted but I just was not happy. I still think that we've been a good match but I guess I will have to move on. 

When my depression started in this year, I often times realized that days would be shitty. Since I knew how good days would feel, I did not work a lot on those days because I was like 'Let's just stay in bed all day and wait until this is over'. During the last three weeks I have not had a good day. But I've had better days and I've had worse days. I realized that I'd have to work every day to make it the best day possible. I start this blog to document my struggles in order to empower other people who are feeling like me and to remind myself of what I have achieved. Everyday is worth celebrating it and I need to make myself feel like it.