Brutally Honest Writings from a Depressive State

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Today I thought I’d share a few excerpts and snippets from journal entries written while I was in a deeply depressive state. Often, writing these thoughts and feelings out has been healing and maybe even life saving, as it gives me a way to focus the negativity without harming myself. I hope that by sharing these very personal thoughts, that it might help others who struggle with depression to feel less alone, and give those who don’t quite understand true depression a feel for the mental suffering endured by the clinically depressed:

“I’m so anxious today. I feel that there is little hope of my brain ever letting me live in peace. I’m so exhausted by the pain, fear, and despair of existence. I wish there was a simple ‘check out’ button when you can’t deal with life. I don’t want to harm myself but I don’t want to live this way anymore either.”

“I think way too much about death – always have. Death to me always represented freedom, a way out of unbearable life circumstances.”

“I often feel (and sometimes am certain I KNOW) that I am far more mentally ill than anyone else notices. I believe I hide it well, but often feel on the edge of snapping.”

“Only my pride and fear of complete loss of control restrain me from self-annihilation in the worst of my moments.”

“I don’t want to be hospitalized, I don’t want to cross that line, but I wonder sometimes if that is what I need.”

“I am so tired of fighting these self-destructive impulses and wondering what in the hell is wrong with me that I have them in the first place.”

“Why am I tempted while riding in the car to grab the steering wheel and spin us into oncoming traffic? I cross my arms tightly just to make sure I don’t act the thought out.”

“Why do I feel such a depth of emptiness and despair that I lay in bed wanting to sink my teeth into my skin until the pain finally ebbs away?”

“Why do I fear physical pain more than anything in life, yet feel the urge to inflict it on myself?”

“There are no good options. All this rage, anger, and pain. If I inflict it on others…I hate myself. If I inflict it on myself…I hate myself. There are no good options.”

(If you like this post and would like to see more, please comment and let me know! I was thinking of maybe sharing more of these in the future if anyone finds them helpful.)

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Hiking with Hemingway

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Hiking with Hemingway
Written By: Maranda Russell

One foot in front of the other,
he reminds himself sternly,
pulling the edge of his hat down
to shield his sensitive brown eyes
from the glare of the city lights
winking in the distance.

Every glimpse of human society,
of the burning embers
from love lost and found
and lust thrown to the ground,
only serve to make a lesser man
turn his heart aside.

Depression & Suicidal Thoughts

I’ve been dealing with depression a lot lately, mostly due to unresolved childhood trauma I believe. Today I finally felt at least well enough to make a video talking about some of the things I am going through and wanted to share that in case it might help anyone else struggling. I am also going to share the written version of the poem I read in the video here:

Suicidal Ideations
Written by: Maranda Russell

If I only had a dollar
for every time
I have looked down
from a great height,
shook a full bottle of pills,
held my breath under water,
or inhaled exhaust fumes
while thinking

I could actually do it,
I could end it all –

I would have more
than enough
to pay for all the
therapy sessions
I obviously need.

Dear Einstein, A Letter to a Beloved Lost Pet

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Dear Einstein,

I’ve been dreading this for years. I knew when I chose to have so many cats that I would someday likely have to make a decision about whether to artificially extend one of your lives or try to save you from enduring unnecessary pain. Even so, when the decision had to be made, it was no easier, even though I had said for years that I would rather have to put one of you down than to see you suffer needlessly. This is the first time I have had such power over the life or death of a loved one and I hope it will be the last, although I know it probably won’t.

To be honest, you have been kind of a pain in the butt for most of your life. As a kitten you were a holy terror who had amazing powers of destruction. As an adult, you were a grumpy, angry cat who would often give a warning bite when petted the wrong way (pretty much anywhere but around the head). You were fun to tease because your reaction would be over the top within seconds. All I had to do was walk within a couple feet of you and you would start growling in annoyance. You were definitely the alpha male in this house and constantly reminded us of that fact. You reminded everyone of a regal lion, both in dignity and in your attitude of entitlement.

As we sat in the veterinary emergency room, making a decision about your fate, one of the vet techs came in and told us what a sweetheart you were. We laughed and said “she really doesn’t know you well, does she?” The fact that anyone would think that, told us how very sick you were. To be seen as cooperative and mellow just wasn’t in your nature. As I looked into your sad, blank face with tears running down my own cheeks, I knew I had to let you go. If we fought to keep you alive, you would have been miserable. I know you would have hated the long hospitalization, frequent medical procedures and forced medication.

Even had we went ahead with the treatment, the vet was blunt about the fact that you had six months at most to live and even that was highly unlikely. He told us the cost of treatment in dollars and that was certainly something that would have been a struggle for us, but the true cost to us was the misery we knew we would have to put you through just to keep you with us a bit longer. In good conscience, I couldn’t do that to you, because regardless of how mean and grumpy you could be, I love you with all my heart.

I admire your straightforward, take-no-crap attitude and the fact that you were never afraid to be yourself and stare any enemy down. I admire your intelligence…Einstein was definitely a fitting name for you. I loved the precious moments when you would be uncharacteristically loving and sweet (mostly when you were sucking up or asking for something). I think of you every time I open the door and you aren’t there trying to sneak out. It is these things, these precious memories that I will carry with me now that you are gone. I love you and miss you. Goodbye, my sweet Steiner.

Abstract Art Kick – Delving into the Dark

Lately, I’ve been on an abstract art kick. For several reasons. The first and foremost reason is probably because abstract art is just pure fun! It often feels more like playing than work. It is a great way to rediscover that childhood sense of wonder and vivid imagination that we all once had but may have left behind.

It can also be a low pressure way to try new things. With abstract art you don’t have to worry as much about whether it turns out good or not. Even if it does turn out badly, just put some more paint on and keep reworking it! I’ve done that myself quite a few times and ironically, those “bad” artworks often turn out to be some of my most popular pieces. Go figure.

Lastly, I believe I am drawn to abstract art because I find it to be the most efficient way to express deep emotions and feelings in a way that transcends simple, realistic imagery. With abstract art I find it easier to delve into subjects like depression, anxiety, rejection, anger, hurt and fear. For some reason I find that the happier emotions can be easily expressed using realistic or figurative art, but the seedier side of life and human feelings can be harder to portray. And to be quite honest, I’ve always been fascinated by the dark side…even though I strive to live in the light as much as possible.

Here are a few of my recent abstract paintings, hopefully they make you feel something. If they succeed in doing that, than I feel like I have done my job as an artist –

"The River of Envy", acrylic 5.5" x 8.5"

“The River of Envy”, acrylic 5.5″ x 8.5″

"Quick to Turn Away", acrylic 5.5" x 8.5"

“Quick to Turn Away”, acrylic 5.5″ x 8.5″

"Deep Space Abstract", acrylic 5.5" x 8.5"

“Deep Space Abstract”, acrylic 5.5″ x 8.5″

"Floating Through Life", acrylic 5.5" x 8.5"

“Floating Through Life”, acrylic 5.5″ x 8.5″

Video diary/blog (video 4) depression, chronic illness & chronic pain

I have been wanting to talk about the connection between dealing with chronic pain/illness and dealing with depression. I figured making a video diary about the subject would be a good way to approach the subject. Just please keep in mind that my advice for dealing with this issue is not a substitute for medical care. If you are experiencing severe depression, please see a healthcare professional. If you like the video or have something to say about this subject, please feel free to comment or like the post either here or on YouTube 🙂

Too many mountains to climb?

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Have you ever felt like the odds are always against you? Like you overcome one hurdle, just to have several more obstacles thrown in your path? That is how I’m feeling tonight. I know that we all have our mountains to climb and that life is full of ups and downs for everyone. But, what do you do when that mountain before you multiplies and becomes an entire range before your very eyes? Do you give up? Walk away? Or do you press on and start climbing anyway?

I guess you could say that right now I am at the base of a growing mountain range, trying to figure out if it is worth the effort to keep going or if I should just say “to heck with it all”, go home and become a hermit. I was pretty resilient back when there were just a few issues to overcome in my life (sensory issues, social problems, obsessive interests and the other stuff we high-functioning autistics deal with on a daily basis). I’ve always been stubborn and determined to show that I could do anything I set my mind to. Naysayers didn’t hold me back, they just made me determined to prove them wrong. However, it seems that the older I get, the more there is to overcome and frankly, it makes me tired and want to give up sometimes. My Asperger’s traits that I have had since birth are compounded by anxiety and depression (brought on partly from genetics and partly from a lifetime of feeling rejected and “weird” by people who either didn’t understand or didn’t care to understand my differences).

I also deal with a lot of confusion about my place in the world. I know I am intelligent and talented in some areas, but I am often at a loss as to how to turn those qualities into practical, useful occupations. If I really did what I wanted to, I would sit and read all day, write down my random thoughts and feelings, doodle, put puzzles together, color pictures, dance and play with kids. I’ve had people suggest teaching and even tried it in the past, however, I don’t really want to be the adult watching the kids or telling them what to do. Instead, I want to play with them as equals, which is really kind of downright strange at my age, but apparently a somewhat common trait among Aspies (many of us hate being in charge of anyone else, we just want to be independent to do our own thing).

Of course, to top it all off, there are medical issues. I don’t want to go into it all because I would probably bore you and sound like I’m whining, but between my autoimmune problems, chronic infections and chronic inflammatory conditions, sometimes life is pretty painful. Add that to my physical hypersensitivity and you have a recipe for disaster. It’s no wonder that sometimes it is a struggle to even get out of bed.

I know that people always say that God won’t give you more than you can handle and in theory that sounds great…but sometimes I feel like I am just being buried alive by the weight of this world and my own internal struggles. I know that I will keep forcing myself to go on and keep trying to climb that next mountain, even if I fall a million times, because that is the kind of stubborn person I am. But, honestly, the enthusiasm isn’t always there and life sometimes feels like drudgery. I just hope that someday I can look back and see that I actually got somewhere, because some days it feels like I’m losing ground instead of gaining it.