So, I haven’t posted in a long while, and basically, that has all been down to a massive depressive episode. Going through a huge mental health crash and sorta coming out the other side has left me without much left that I do. But I have had time to think, and pondering about how I could think all the things I did when depressed and how I could act the way I acted. It was very weird, it left me feeling at the mercy of random moods and unsure of who I was. When I’m thinking about the impact depression had, it’s not the few weeks where I was incredibly suicidal, it’s the slump afterwards, the constant feeling that I was worthless, hopeless and without happiness that I think of. It’s the slow recovery from that, into a state of trying to deal with the state you are in now, it’s like emerging out of a vault into a irradiated wasteland and wondering how on earth you build your life up again, and what the hell happened.

So, I’m in a weird spot, but I’ve had time to try to figure out the process of depression, I play a lot of games, and it’s fun picking apart their systems, so that’s what I did. I have tried to figure out how depression works and why it affected me the way it did, and I’m blogging about it so it seems less of this mysterious force and more understandable, and when things are understandable, you can fight them better. All of it might not apply to you, and my be complete bollocks, but it’s how I understand things right now.

So the things depression seems to do is, for one, stop normal things feeling good. Like eating, sleeping, having a good shit, masturbation, all these basic biological acts that at least leave us feeling relived, and often positive for having done, just don’t feel like that anymore, it just becomes stuff you have to do. And this resulted in me desperately eating takeout food because I didn’t care, stuffing my face. Not caring about my appearance because it didn’t feel different either way.

The second thing is it stops you being able to make yourself feel good. When you something productive, or something you consciously understand and enjoy doing, I imagine it as you telling your body, yes, that was good, that was a positive experience. And your body usually goes with that and you feel good. And depression comes in and stops that happening, or you end up in a bad situation for so long you forget how to do that. And you just can’t seem to figure out why things don’t feel good anymore, and you never come up with the explanation of “I’m just not able to feel things right now.” you go for more logical, but wrong, thoughts about how the activity is going, and you often conclude that maybe you just don’t like it anymore.

The final thing it does follows on from that, it stops you being able to remember anything good. It’s like google searching and nothing coming up, you assume there is nothing there, but rather it might there but you can’t find a path to it. It’s like the tag for “Happy” got deleted and you can’t search for those things. If you do remember them, you can’t recreate that happy feeling, there is no warm nostalgic glow, just a cold memory, or a memory with only the bad feelings and none of the good. It really taints how you feel about anything, suddenly *nothing* was ever fun for you, you have never been happy, and you have nothing to refute that claim. That for me was the feeling that completely crushed me, it made life seem pointless. And it’s important to note how sensible that seems when you literally can’t feel anything good.

Getting to a doctor and getting Citalopram pushed the depression away, but getting through it, to get to that stage where I could do that, involved remembering those things that I *knew* were happy memories, doing things that I *knew* were good and would always make me feel happy and that disconnect that I couldn’t remember them, or couldn’t feel them, sort of shocked me enough to realise something was deeply wrong, that it was my mood, and not the world.

It will sound soppy this, but the main thought that made me realise something was wrong was of Hannah, my now fiancée. I couldn’t feel happy with her at the time, but I knew I loved her, and that drive of depression to push everything away and sink down clashed with the love I had. It didn’t cure me, it didn’t save me, it didn’t always happen either, but it always made me realise I was in a depressive phase whenever that happened, and it allowed me to get back control, even if I couldn’t feel anything at all. So thank you so much Hannah.

And thank you to Becca, for giving inspiration to write about this. I know you’ve recently posted “I am not your inspiration” but I genuinely couldn’t think of any other word to describe that I’m writing this because you wrote stuff.

This Blog

I use this blog for many things, but I sadly find it rare that I have something I want to say. I mean there is plenty of stuff I can put here, but writing takes a lot of time, effort and, very often, a spark of creativity to word a sentence right. So, working up the desire to sit down and try to wrangle words to convey how I feel about something requires passion. Now, not much passion, but more than I have for the vast majority of the things I could write about. There are things I’d like to say, but that I wouldn’t want to read or want anyone else to read for that matter. The just random thoughts on life and suchlike. And my interest and feelings about them appear and fade constantly. Writing a blog post where the things you say, (about your own feelings!), that is out of date in a few hours is probably not a good use of writing time!

Of course I still seem to write, angsty, somewhat whining blog posts. But I only seem to write those when I’m in that mood. It’s something at the time that I want to write about, and want to read about. However, I hope I’ve written those sorts of posts with some humour still left. So that you, and less moody me, can read it and laugh at this slightly exaggerated version of myself. Though, I’m glad I stash these away here, where you can read only if you want to. Rather than being more open about it on Twitter or Facebook.

Though, if there’s one practical use this blog has above all the others, it’s getting practice writing. Writing is great, it’s an easier way of saying my thoughts and ideas than speaking. For the simple reason that I’m quite clumsy when speaking, I trip over my words and sometimes I stop being able to concentrate on what I’m saying. Writing and, in particular, typing are great because I can constantly see how something sounds, and edit it so what I say is the best I could have said it. Which is a warning to those who only know me online: If you ever saw me in real life, and tried to speak to me, I might be a disappointment relative to whatever opinion you might have made of me. I could say you would find me to as the unpolished diamond. But it’s more comparable to say that, upon closer inspection, I’m merely Quartz.

Despite my preference for writing, I still make lots of mistakes in what I write, and wish I’d written it better or I wish I’d seen how it might be taken the wrong way. So, I’d like to practice and perhaps experiment with writing a bit. Even if just to cut down on the vast amount of emotions, particularly :P, that I use so often to try to convey that I am actually joking.

But, the nicest part of blogging is finding out I actually enjoy blogging. It’s not just something I do to get something out of my system. It can just be a fun thing to do. It’s a similar realisation to “Hey, I actually like doing Physics”, but that’s a blog for another time!

On Goodbyes

I’m very bad at goodbyes. Though, not in the stereotypical way of crying or whatever. I’m fine with saying goodbye to someone, it’s not a sad thing, after all, it’s a sign good times were had. But, and this is possibly beyond even stereotypical nerdery, I feel awkward when it comes to goodbyes with women.

Let me clarify, saying goodbye to the guys involves 2 things. Saying a goodbye and then often a firm handshake. But with women, I can say the goodbye, that’s easy, but I can’t decide on what to do along with that. All I know for certain is that it is NOT a handshake. panicked and did that once, it was incredibly awkward. I should never have done that. But going for a hug is terrifying, it has a huge possibility of creeping someone out. And I really don’t want to be ‘That guy’ the one that creeps people out. It’s possibly my biggest source of awkwardness, the knowledge that I could do something, quite by accident, that makes someone feel uncomfortable. Worse, it could be a lasting effect. The idea that my very presence might make someone feel uncomfortable is sickening. And I’d probably be oblivious to this, because I don’t think anyone would say a thing.

The worst part of this is being unable to decide on the spot whether a hug is appropriate. The awkwardness is often enhanced by shaking the hand of a guy you know well, and then realising that the next person you should greet is a woman, and not knowing if to go in for a hug or not. I mean, what else do you do. A handshake, we have already established is awkward. But a hug could be awkward and not doing anything at all, when you’ve already started on the handshakes is also super awkward. It’s a difficult problem.

Don’t however, do my solution of “Well, I’ll buy myself time and just deal with shaking the guy’s hands, and then I’ll hopefully have decided what to do after that.” Because it turns out that’s even worse. I felt it as I turned past her to the other guy. The feeling of: “Shit, that was stupid.” I did eventually finish the hugs goodbye and then stood there awkwardly, said goodbye again and then ran.

Why yes, I am still single, however did you guess?

Who’s Sheldon?

The Delivery

So today, I went downstairs to see this:

Which contained this:

I’m trying to rekindle a love of reading, it hasn’t really deteriorated I just haven’t done it as much as I want to, and it has been a while since I just sat down and read a good book.  So I’ve splurged a bit of my student loan I had saved, because alcohol tastes horrid, on books. I bought a lot of Feynman, as you can see, because frankly it was getting embarrassing that I was studying physics and didn’t have tonnes of it. The Top right and left are two text books for next year, they felt useful having around, the rest of next years text books are mostly covered by what I already have from the last time I went mad and bought loads of books.

I also have Paradox by Jim Al-Khalili and Quirkology by Richard Wiseman on the left. A friend suggested… well demanded, that I get The Hitchhiker’s guide to the galaxy. It seems to be a source of shame that I haven’t read it. The other two were suggestions from the lovely Alice Sheppard. The magic furnace is something I hope fleshes out my pretty poor knowledge of science history, whilst “What Einstein told his cook.” is a wonderfully futile attempt by me to try to improve my cooking. I’m hoping that understanding a little of how it works might help me cook. And if not, it looks to be an interesting read all the same.

That just about rounds it up. What I start with though… I have no idea, there are still unread books lingering on my shelf. But, I’m not doing anything else during these weeks without lectures, so I should have plenty of time, I just wonder if I can tear myself away from the internet and distractions long enough to sit down and have a good read.

I just hope the Feynman lectures don’t break my shelf.

On a Rainy Day

Don’t worry, the rain is not here yet. I just couldn’t sleep tonight, so I ended up rediscovering a mad game I remember very fondly, and it seemed to be the perfect game if the rain arrives this week and you start feeling down. It’s called On a Rainy Day, and it’s incredibly simple, and it will take at most 20 minutes to exhaust everything about it. But after doing that, I hope it will have cheered you up. Download it direct from here  (PC only I think, sadly). If you want to jump right in and mess about without knowing anything, then play it before reading the rest of this, because I will now try to explain the sheer weirdness of this game, and me for playing it. Spoilers ahoy! Continue reading “On a Rainy Day”

The NHS bill is terrifying me

I am genuinely scared of the NHS bill being voted through. I usually try to remain apolitical, simply because I know that I know nothing, and the very few opinions I have are nieve and idealistic. However, reading about the NHS bill from various people on twitter, most notably Ben Goldacre and David Colquhoun, has changed that. The sheer number of doctors opposing the bill that purports to give them more power is staggering. I had assumed that, despite the jokes, politicians weren’t inherently evil, corrupt or stupid. But this Bill is all of that. Evil because it will deal, perhaps irreversible damage to overall healthcare. Corrupt because of how many links with private healthcare companies there seem to be. And stupid simply because it ultimately affects everyone. An MP should never, and hopefully will never, be forgiven for voting to kill off the NHS.

Many years ago, I went to a mining museum. There was a talk by an ex miner, and a lot of the details escape me, but he did tell us a story.  His father or grandfather was working in the mines, and got horribly injured. They couldn’t afford or get medical care, so he died in their home as they tried to save his life. Now I realise this was many years ago, and I hope it couldn’t, or wouldn’t happen in the future. But the last words of his story stick with me: “Protect the NHS kids.”

For a long time I had assumed the NHS wouldn’t need defending. For much of my youth I didn’t realise the UK was rare, nearly unique, in having a health service like this. I’m scared of losing it. I would urge everyone to have a look at this and take its advice to email your MP. Follow up on the information if you need to, there is more here. Even I emailed my MP, breaking my vow of apathy, cynicism and laziness with regards to politics. I hope everyone shouts. I hope that MPs listen. And I hope that the NHS is safe.