Friday, May 25, 2012

Spring Semester 2011-12, Part 3: Pills and Pals

In Part 2, I said how I hit a low point where I longed for a True Friend, but actually, I wanted one all semester. Just last semester, I was thinking how you don't need a significant other. You could find ways to be happy without one. I really believed it. I had friends, I enjoyed school, and I felt good. This semester, I was back to wishing as hard as ever for my True Friend. I stopped writing in my diary for the first time in five years because I didn't feel like anything in my life was worth remembering. I ate less but seemed to gain weight, probably because I was stressed and sleep-deprived. I had fairly constant heartburn. I thought a lot more than usual, NOT about committing suicide, but about suicide itself. I'm not sure why. Maybe I realized that some people commit suicide because of the very feelings I had. Knowing that, maybe I had more reason to feel sorry for myself; maybe I had more reason to believe I understood people; or maybe I just had more reason to think about suicide this semester.

I've always understood why people would kill themselves. I believe in Heaven. Who WOULDN'T want to switch their misery for Paradise? However, although I won't say that I'd never kill myself, it's not likely that I will. Some people think it takes guts, but I think the opposite. As I just said, it seems like the easy way out. I want to be brave, like the people I admire, and keep going no matter the pain. And I don't want "them" to win. I don't even know who "they" are, but it just seems like they would win if I died. So I refuse.

I just happened to think a lot about suicide this semester. That seems like a sign of depression, doesn't it? I mean, I know I was depressed, but I've begun to wonder if there's a difference between normal depression and "clinical" depression.

I don't really believe there's a difference, but it's also hard to swallow that all these health professionals could be lying when they say antidepressants will help you. In the END, I honestly don't think the pills help. I think people get depressed because something in their lives is wrong, and by taking these pills, people give themselves an excuse to NOT change their lives. By taking these pills, people give themselves an excuse to not grow as human beings. Perhaps though, by taking these pills, people also give themselves respite from the pain and strength try again later. Perhaps, even, by taking these pills, people fix their brains of the wonky hormones and chemicals that could be impeding their happiness. . . but I have a very hard time believing that.

While I'm tempted to blame my depression on hormones and chemicals, I know in the end why I'm unhappy. It's because I'm alone. It's a real reason, external to my brain, and it should cause me to change my world and myself.

Sadness is terrible in itself but can be very, very good for you. It forces you to grow and change until you've developed a new view of the world, one that will give you hope regardless of the newest addition to your list of sorrows. I'd like to skip the sorrow in life but I don't want to skip the growth.

During this semester, though, I thought more about antidepressants because I realized that while the pain I've gone through has made me stronger and better, it's a continuous cycle of pain and wellness. Pain then wellness, pain then wellness, pain pain pain then wellness. While I will always get through it, the real question is if I want to keep going through it.

Besides, this year, I had to wonder if I'd brought it on myself. My friends may have alienated me, but I kind of alienated them back. I wondered if I couldn't handle being happy, if I just HAD to dig up sadness for myself, if I myself have always been the cause of the cycle. If so, didn't that mean there was SOMETHING wrong with my brain, something that pills might help? But no.

See, for instance, I thought a lot about my friend, J, this year, and changed my mind many times, but so far, I've decided she wasn't a good friend to me and wasn't compassionate to others. I don't want to be around people like that. I'm better off without her. In distancing myself from her, I was aiming to lessen her influence on me till she couldn't hurt me anymore. That's not crazy, and it doesn't mean I need pills to fix my brain. I figure that I'm just as alone now as I was when she was my friend. I just don't hold as many illusions now. 'Course, I change my mind a lot on this issue, and maybe she wasn't that bad. I don't think she meant to hurt me. But that doesn't change the fact that she did. She was inconsiderate at best. . . See?

At least, I do seem better at distancing myself from her. I can be civil to her in a "Howdy, Stranger" kind of way, like I am to most people. I still hurt when she overlooks me though. I switched back and forth from hating her to implementing new plans to "forgive her" or "get over it" while we were both still alive and at school together, so that I could be a little happier. However, while it seems that civil discussion SHOULD help, there's not much you can say to a person like her. She's the kind who will never be able to believe she's done anything wrong.

This semester, I told her I was frustrated she didn't keep in touch. At least, I said, "You never text me anymore," in as frustrated a voice as I could. She lightheartedly replied that she "didn't text anyone anymore." She was "trying to focus on school this year." Yet, I seemed to see her texting all the time, and somehow she managed to get together with all her other friends every night for dinner, and according to one of those friends, none of them were doing their homework. Last semester, it was the same thing. I'd get after J for something and she'd come back at me with endless excuses.

I obviously can't talk to her, so I distanced myself, but if it's helping with the pain, it's working very slowly. Besides, it scares me because I'm not sure if it's weird to care that much about a friend. If she's any indication of normal, then it's very weird. I was scared someone would think I was a lesbian, when I'm pretty sure I'm not and I hate being misunderstood. I think I only care so much because it always hurts when people neglect me, especially those I used to trust. Maybe, as with many pains, I just have to wait until it fades.

Even after that pain fades, I'll still be alone, which I know is why I'm depressed. In order to get better, I need to shake this loneliness. The most obvious and perfect way to do this would be to find my True Friend. I'll get into exactly what that means in my post on Love, which I promise is coming sometime.

Anyway, this semester, I felt a strong impulse to try eHarmony or some other soul mate-finding site, to find someone who will always be with me. However -- and this makes me feel like such a whiner -- I don't have time for a soul mate. I won't have time until after college, at the earliest. At least, I don't FEEL like I have time for anyone I'd find online. Somehow, though, I always feel like I have time for anyone who just pops into my life. I don't know. I'm kind of messed up at this point anyway, and I'd like to prove that I can become wise without my soul mate, and then prove I only need my soul mate because they are my soul mate. I'm getting ahead of this post, though. The point is I didn't try anything like eHarmony this year, and I probably won't unless I get really depressed. It's possible.

But I don't think I should take pills to fix my brain. I should fix my life. You know?

In the last couple of week of school, I was starting to feel better. I spent more time than usual with my classmates. We went to a music-fest, took a box of free pizza from it, and chased people around campus asking if they wanted free pizza. We threw a folf disk around. We had long conversations about anything and everything, because we had time, because school was almost over, and I finally started feeling like writing in my journal again.

Now I've been on vacation for about a week, and I have summer classes in another week. I'm taking summer classes so that I can fit a chemistry minor into these next four years, but I kind of regret giving my summer away. It's only five weeks, but still.

I really want to post that Love post, but I don't know if I'll get to it in the next week. I'll try, but I also want more followers before I post that one. I feel I have something to say to the world, but so far, I haven't done a great job of getting the world's attention. After my summer classes, I'll try to get more followers. In the meantime, I want to encourage comments, so comment and tell me what you think about loneliness, antidepressants, and/or free pizza.

Thanks for listening, I feel better already!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Spring Semester 2011-12, Part 2: The Stories and The Agony

As I said in Part 1, I had a low point in the last month or two of school. It came after I read the first two pages of a short story for my Literature class. It was called "In Broad Daylight" by Ha Jin (I think). Don't read it. It starts with a somewhat graphic description of the old Chinese punishment of burning adulteresses alive. If the story's true, they merely beheaded male adulterers. I didn't finish the story, but I gleaned that the adulteress of this story was paraded through her Chinese town by the "Red Guards," or something like that, and her husband killed himself. From the way the professor denounced these officials for carrying out this new form of punishment, you'd think the professor didn't realize that the old form, burning alive, was worse. I mean, both are horrible, but one is definitely worse, but no one in class even mentioned how horrible the old punishment was. I was sluggish and unmotivated for a couple weeks afterward.

I'm not naiive when it comes to these things. I know that such cruelty and violence and hate towards women existed in ALL ancient cultures and many present ones. I have a hundred stories of cruelty that I can't forget and don't necessarily WANT to forget, but often, I can ignore them. It takes only one story to bring them all to the front of my mind, though, as if one wasn't enough. It takes just one story to remind me that this is a hideous world, and I don't want to be here.

I'm always scared to say this, and I never have, because I think it might make me sound pretentiously humanitarian, but the following statement true. I am in agony for all the people of the world who are being hurt, humiliated, and made to feel worthless, and all who ever have been. I can ignore the stories, and then, I feel only a slight ache in the corners of my heart, and it doesn't bother me TOO much. But the stories and The Agony are so readily called up and fanned into fires.

Some people have such an attitude of "How dare you complain about the state of the world? 90% of your life is beautiful." I've let them keep me from saying just how upset I am, but seriously? I know I have good things in my life and maybe I should be more grateful, but how dare THEY try and keep me from empathizing with people? That's all I'm doing. I'm not saying my life is that bad, or that the world is all bad, but I won't pretend that it's good either. Why shouldn't I be upset? Do they think I can't truly be empathizing with people if I haven't actually been through what they have?

I have a good imagination, if I do say so myself. I have a dime-sized scar on my knee where I burned myself when I was little. Around which time, I also stepped on red-hot embers in bare feet. (I wasn't trying to, obviously. I was just careless.) I've been cut, bruised, embarrassed, ignored, and dealt injustices, and I CAN imagine what it might be like to experience those pains on a larger scale. I can imagine what it might be like to be burned alive. I won't apologize for feeling so low after reading that story.

The Agony is actually a huge part of my life, and I want to write pages about it, but right now, I don't know what I'd say. It's just always there, has been for years, and probably always will be. It's the reason I need people to distract me, and more than that, I want someone to BE like me. After reading that story, as I always do when I'm in agony, I wished for someone I could really talk to, for someone who would completely understand, for just one person who is as haunted by The Agony as I am. But I didn't even have anyone to distract me from it, which brings me back to this semester and my lack of a True Friend, which I'll get more into in Part 3: Pills and Pals.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Spring Semester 2011-12, Part 1: Grades and Loneliness


I'm off school for a couple weeks before I start my summer classes. I wish to update you on my life.

This semester was obviously harder than the last.

Academically, it was okay, but I was very lonely and sad. I got all A's (including the A- I got in math)! I was only taking fourteen credits this semester, so even though I had to learn a greater amount of new material this semester than I had to learn last semester, I worked less this semester.

I have a bad habit, though, of using any spare time I have for the purpose of procrastinating. Sometimes, when I procrastinate, I make the work even more stressful than when I have no time to relax. When I put work off until the last minute, I sometimes panic, wondering if I'll get done at all. With the looming possibility that I won't get done, I lose some motivation to try. With the loss of motivation, I lose some love for the subject matter.

I would probably die if I lost ALL love for what I'm studying and if I started feeling lost again. After all, these past months, I've been so sure this was my path in life. Luckily, however, I somehow always finished my work in time, and I didn't face the kind the academic despair that would cause me to lose all love for the material. I mean, I failed one math test and turned in one paper 15 minutes late, but it never got much worse than that. I credit God with getting me through the semester with such success in spite of the way I was feeling and in spite of how much I procrastinated.

As for my emotional state this semester, well...As I've said previously, I was very alone.

I've never had anyone I could REALLY talk to, but I've usually had someone to distract me from painful thoughts. This year, I had that distraction during class-time, when I was listening to lectures, walking between classes, and talking to classmates. That was when I felt okay, during class-time.

Back at my effective "home," the dorms, however, I no longer had the friend I was closest to last year. And my other close friend was taking nineteen credits. She was always busy and exhausted, and I don't blame her. Still, she left me with no one at "home" to distract me. This situation was even worse because I had comparatively massive amounts of free time, time to think about my loneliness. In addition to that, I had become  unfamiliar with the very sensation of being alone. I felt really weird without people keeping track of me and keeping plans with me. I was almost in physical pain, for the first couple months of the year.

Nonetheless, just as I did with the very same feelings BEFORE college, I got used to them. I stopped feeling weird and unsafe at the fact that no one knew where I was at any one time. Before I went to college, I had recognized my tendency to use other people to distract me from my fear and pain. I had realized that, rather than alleviating those emotions, other people (usually my family) constantly aggravated them. I was slowly learning to stop seeking other people out. I was learning to find other ways of distracting myself. I started relearning those ways this semester. I'd watch Youtube, listen to music, etc. I stopped feeling quite so bad.

Of course, there's nothing quite like a conversation to distract and entertain.

I was in a stable state of pain for the rest of the semester. Most of it. I had at least one memorable low, which I will tell you all about in Part 2: The Stories and The Agony. . . In case you're wondering, I'm having fun naming the parts, yes. =)