One time, while I was in the middle of a long bout of clinical depression, I mentioned to a friend that I’d gone somewhere recently and had fun. And he was like:
…Because I was depressed, right? So being happy and having fun did not compute.
Here’s the thing about depression, for me (for other people it may be different): it doesn’t mean I never feel positive emotions, it means that they get muffled under a big ol’ blanket of brain chemistry. But they still exist.
The best metaphor I can think of is this: say I live in a house and over time, the windows very, very gradually get more and more filthy. Sometimes it rains outside. Sometimes after it rains, the sun breaks through and sparkling water beads up on the lush green trees outside and also there’s rainbows n shit. Weather still happens. Prettiness still happens. It’s just that I’m viewing it all through a layer of gray sludge, and only when someone squeegees it off do I realize how much I was missing out on – particularly the rainbows and sun, since grey shitty weather viewed through grey dirt is kinda the same.
Continuing the metaphor, the dirt on the windows also makes it hard for others to see in, so most of the time it seems like nobody’s home, or like someone might be in there but it’s hard to tell.
When I went to the doctor recently for help with mental issues, it was the anxiety I was focused on. I did not think I was especially depressed. But doctors use the same shit for anxiety that they do for depression, and after a pretty short while on meds I realized that my brain had, at some point, gone seriously sideways. I had indeed been depressed, possibly even for years, I don’t know. Like I said, it sneaks up on you.
The paradox is that underneath all the arbitrary brain chemistry bullshit, I’m probably happier than I’ve ever been (which is why I didn’t know I was depressed, I guess – so much more sun than usual coming through my dirty-ass windows!). I’m making a living (well, kind of, and for the time being I have enough savings to pick up any slack) at something I enjoy. I’ve been getting out into the kink community and having amazing experiences. I have wonderful friends, an amazing Bunny, and a budding harem of dudes who respect my boundaries and want to give me pleasure. I get lovely compliments from random people almost every time I leave the house – passing strangers telling me they love my outfit or people at work telling me I’m incredible to draw. The new kitten is growing more and more adorable every day, and I love watching her interact with Bastardcat. They take frequent snugglenaps together and it makes my heart just about burst.
It makes me angry that I’ve spent large portions of this amazing phase of my life being too fucked up to fully enjoy it.
It also makes me angry that most antidepressants fuck with my libido and/or sexual functioning.
I’ve asked to switch from Celexa to Wellbutrin, which I haven’t been on before and which apparently is very good for not causing sexual side effects. I have several men in my life whose main kink is being sexually “used” and I wanna take proper advantage, dammit!
But sexual issues aside, the Celexa is having some good effects. When I saw my friend Kaija recently she said it’s like a light had been off inside me and now it’s on again – and that’s exactly how I feel, too.
My lights are on and my windows are semi-clean. More sun it coming in. It’s pretty nice.