2022: Smiling Depression
This is the second part of my 2022 year in review post, the first part is here. My 46th birthday is coming in March, and I have been proudly Prozac free for at least a couple of decades now. Sometimes, I get revisited by that dark cloud, but I’ve found ways to manage it without resorting to meds (which I actually got off from because I felt that it had been difficult to distinguish whether my feelings were authentic or Prozac-driven).
Sometime in mid 2022, the things that brought me joy suddenly didn’t matter anymore. All my plants are either dead, or at the brink of. I stopped taking walks with my husband, and just kept myself indoors after buying a treadmill. I always feel exhausted even after waking up, that I don’t even feel like cooking anymore. I’ve become even more reclusive, and the only reason I do physically come out of my cave is when my husband wants to go out, or I’ve seen another area in Google Maps (oh yeah, I’m a Rank 7 Local Guide there, btw) that I want to explore. The rest of the time, I’d rather be in a quiet corner with my laptop and read other people’s problems to see if I could offer solutions. Randomly crying out of nowhere, and I couldn’t even use the quarantine as an excuse anymore. To shorten the explanation: the dark cloud that put me into therapy some 20 years ago came back full force in May, and it constantly hovered over me everyday. I have smiling depression, the type which makes other people unable to see the dark cloud because I’m always throwing out half-meant sarcastic jokes.
I actually still haven’t recovered, though I am thankful that I am on service leave for the first quarter of the year. I get back to work in April. It’s been pretty hectic enough to keep my brain busy with non-work/academe stuff, fortunately. I’ve just submitted one of my research to a Game Studies international journal (I’m emotionally meh about this lol, even though I should be dreading rejection). Also currently working on a couple of personal game dev projects for Senshi.Labs (which reminds me, my portfolio got corrupted and now I have to rebuild it from scratch). My driver’s license is also due for renewal, plus eyeglasses calibration, dental update, and annual physical exams happen in the first quarter of the year.
And the biggest task with multiple subtasks: my husband and I are registering our marriage into the Catholic church’s database, and there are a lot of requirements to fulfill that we’ve been working on for the past year since the church suddenly now has a longer list of things to submit compared to before the pandemic. ALSO: NO, THERE WILL BE NO PARTY. This is a convalidation (technical definition here), and things like this take years to implement, and is actually more complex (AND 100x MORE STRESSFUL) than our civil union. OUT OF PRINCIPLE, IT SHOULD BE LOWKEY AND NOT GRAND. In other countries, convalidations could be done in a priest’s office, and even a deacon could handle it. We are nowhere near done with the requirements. Furthermore, am in no mental condition to socialize with a group that’s bigger than the guest list of my 2017 wedding. Am in no mental condition to plan a party either (if some readers remember, our 2017 wedding was small, chill, and wonderfully suited to an introverted couple).
I’m still feeling a little wooden inside, though I do post frequently to crack jokes and whatnot. Google Maps and Instagram help me cope, and I truly am thankful for having a husband that constantly checks up on me and vice-versa. Sometimes, when he’s mentally trying to solve a bug, and I’m having a hard time getting out of bed (for him it’s unusual because I’m a morning person), he’d just enter the bedroom and say, “I just want to see you for a bit.” ?
The Google Maps kind of therapy is a tad expensive, though. I’ve actually hit VIP – Platinum membership status on Agoda for all the road trips and staycations we’ve taken. Much as I would have loved to hole myself up for days on end, I know that both my depression and my ADHD need me to be around nature. I also do not want to go back to taking meds. Outside of these trips, I distract myself by writing anecdotes about people and places we encounter, and helping strangers on the internet with other life problems. (We honestly want to move farther South so that we don’t have to pay for trips and accessing parks. At least our village HOA is starting to build one for us, so that’s a good thing.)