Well, that is what the mind will tell you, amongst other lies. You can be socially, mentally, or emotionally disconnected from life itself. There are things that I know I should do, sometimes simple tasks, that I simply cannot. Even now, with years of psychiatric care, I still find myself not caring about basic elements of life. It isn’t just a matter of ceasing to care, though, but that complete lack of a connection. I know that this or that may need to be done, but there is no sense of attachment to complete the task. This concept is more difficult to convey than I had expected.
During the worst period of my depression, there was a three weekend which was a turning point. It was the lowest point of my life. I barely ate or slept. I did not bathe. I spent long stretches of time just wandering back and forth in my trailer, completely numb to existence yet, simultaneously, experiencing such emotional and mental distress that it was causing physical pain and sickness. There was nothing I could care about. Life was happening to other people and I simply existed. I cared about nothing but ending the pain. Part of the process in devising and discarding methods of suicide was the impact it would have on those who found me, especially my family. I retained sufficient emotion to not want them exposed to what I had done, although distantly, as though it were a thought in someone else’s mind that I was sensing.
Knowing that the people in my life love and care for me and I for them makes my sense of isolation a terrible strain on relationships. The emotions are still there, these people are still firmly rooted in my heart, but there is also that loss of connection. I do not react the way people want or expect. Occasionally there are people, particularly strangers or associates that have rarely been around me, who get disconcerted or even furious with me that I am not bursting with good humor or at least willing to lie and tell them how wonderful life may be. Social constructs, especially the little lies we are expected to tell, simply do not register. When asked how you are doing, it is a rarity that someone wants to hear anything beyond how great life is going. Some, as I mentioned, get angry over this taboo. For my part, I do not care. Years of a growing disconnect from a social identity leave me going through the motions, but not for the comfort of others.
I don’t so much as live as go through the motions. I have to survive, but lack any compulsion to do more than that. This is the best that I can summarize how this works. Hopefully it is sufficient and provides some insight for those who feel like this or to someone who recognizes it in a person they know. What does one do about merely existing to go from one day to the next? I’m still working on that.
Thank you for joining me, as always, and take care of yourselves, my friends.
Hey William, just wanted to say that I think it’s really important that you’re talking about depression and how it’s experienced. I’ve rarely felt the same ennui or detachment to my life as you’ve described in your post, but I think it’s given me a little perspective about how depressed people get through life. As I’ve attached much of my self-worth as ascribed by capitalism (a productive individual is more valuable than a non-productive individual) I struggle with recognizing that some people really do not have the executive function required to start or finish daily, mundane tasks.
I do, however, relate to societal expectations. I’m afraid that a lot of times (especially in America), there is an expectation to be bursting with cherubic, friendly energy. It’s only polite to show the world the best side of you, after all. But this is an exhausting expectation to meet on the daily, especially with mood fluctuations and other aspects of mental illness. I think it’s entirely unfair and have withdrawn a lot as a result. I don’t want to fail people’s expectations of me nor do I feel like fulfilling them, so I keep to myself to save myself of the mental burden.
It also serves as both therapy and catharsis getting these stories out, whether many read them or not. Mental illness or not, American society dearly loves to live with the casual lies to meet expectations.
Do you remember U2’s song “Numb”?. Yeah that was kinda my theme song for awhile.
I can’t say that rings a bell. I’ll have to look it up.
I can totally relate. I often just feel like I’m going through the motions. Forcing myself through the motions, really. I have to be reminded to eat or to bathe. I feel totally apart. Disassociated. My newer meds are helping some though. And my friends who know about my struggles; some of whom have similar issues. I cannot overstate the importance of a support system… even when all you want is to be alone.
Thanks again for keeping this blog. It’s been lovely to read. And it’s nice to know I’m not alone.
LikeLiked by 1 person
I know what you are saying quite well. A support system is a vital thing. You are never alone. Hugs
LikeLiked by 1 person