Brains are weird.

19 Sep

brain art

Good morning lovely readers! I’m back from my sojourn to the US’s southern regions and have returned to the land of no humidity where I don’t wake up every morning with a dozen new mosquito bites. It’s the little things in life.

But, lovely readers, I have a bone to pick. Well, not so much a bone as a fairly squishy organ. Yup. The brain.

Brains are weird. And by “weird” what I really mean is “confusing asshole.” A lot of you may know that I am a depression recoveree. (Yes, I know the word is technically “recoverer,” but I like “recoveree” better and this is my blog, so there.) Most of the time I am some level of “fine.” No, this summer wasn’t the nastiest my depression has ever been, but it was fairly unfun. Whatever.

For the past three weeks – the period of time I spent traipsing around Florida and Georgia with my boyfriend and my best friend – I’d found a sort of respite. For three blessed damn weeks, it wasn’t a struggle to push myself out of bed in the morning (beyond my normal pre-coffee grogginess, that is). For three weeks, I didn’t have to walk around feeling like my heart was twisted into a coil and my soul was stuck crushed beneath an anchor. For three weeks, the shackles of anxiety and worry and loneliness I’ve grown so used to trudging around in that I don’t even think of them as “not normal” anymore – they just weren’t there. Sure, there was a maybe a moment or two of freak-out, but they were only that – a moment. I wasn’t left with an unrescinding haze hanging over me for days. I felt… free. Light. Even happy.

Then I come back to Los Angeles. Normally touching down at LAX fills me with relief (usually ’cause I’ve just returned from an obligatory trip to that emotional war zone known as my house in Missouri) – but this time, not so. I felt… lonely. But whatever. I shook it off as jet lag or something.

Then I entered my dorm room.

This is why I say brains are weird. (Ahem, confusing assholes.) Brains make connections between physical locations and emotional/physiological responses, right? Seriously – that’s why some drug addicts can overdose on what had been a usual amount of whatever substance for them if they do it somewhere out of the ordinary; their brain wasn’t given the environmental stimulus that told it “I’m going to do x amount of y here” and so it didn’t ramp up the necessary physiological response to cope with that x amount of y.

Anyhoo. Back to my dorm room. About that environmental stimulus… sure, I had just spent an incredible three weeks being happy, but guess what connection my brain had made between my being alone in my dorm room and what emotion I would be feeling?

Yup. Hey there, depression. How not nice to see you.

I keep trying to tell myself that the amount of sadness and loneliness that came crashing over me is understandable. Yeah, I had just spent the past three weeks surrounded almost 24/7 by the people I’m closest to – it’s understandable that there would be some kind of backlash, some kind of withdrawal to their suddenly not being there. I hope.

Yes, I had spent the entire summer forging a connection between the “dorm room” and “depressed” neurons in my brain, so of course there would be a noticeable shock when they fired together again after having laid dormant for three weeks. I think.

It’s just… odd, feeling these feelings again after having been happy for what feels like so long. It’s like I’m walking through a familiar landscape, but suddenly all the angles are odd and the walls jut out in weird places. While yes, this loneliness and the sadness born from it are familiar dressings, suddenly the skin just doesn’t fit right. I have found another shape, and the part of my consciousness that knows that is disgruntled at being forced back into old containers.

With diseases like depression, they say you can’t run away from it, because wherever you go, there you are. But what if it isn’t me? What if it is where I am? The place where so many events and tears have stained the carpet and the walls with memories and expectations? What if I can go somewhere else where there aren’t those constant visual triggers? What if it is not that I can’t run away from it – but that I can at least not walk right in?

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