I decided to write this post because I’d been feeling guilty. Illogically, of course, but there’s no way my depression should listen to reason.
I’ve never hidden my mental state. I don’t care if people see me through it, I’d rather work as some sort of activist for others who have way more troublesome situations than me. But I’ve been dealing with depression probably my whole life. It’s been better and worse, it has its phases.
The pandemic didn’t overwhelm me that much. It was easy to be introverted and at home. The first couple of months were rather exciting to have more time to myself. I didn’t have to commute or figure out my boxed lunch. Only later when my other side started missing events and getting too much on my plate to fill the void, I began to feel the burden. I fell to a drastic burnout hole that I’m still working my way out of. But it’s better now. At least it was.
It seems that the world doesn’t want to be a good place. The cruelty and devastation are all around and there are never enough good people to change it. I’ve always been a pessimist-realist and the level of helplessness always brought me down. Still, I could always focus on my own bubble world and break out of thinking how lousy it is out there.
But Putin broke me.
Ever since the invasion of Ukraine, my bubble got severely damaged or even completely broken. I’m in a rut and I can’t do anything. Nothing for me and nothing for the world. My feed has been flooded with the news and ways to help. The brutal images of destroyed cities and people crowded in trains or on the border. You know.
What it did was make me numb. I wanted to help but all I could do was break down. I was actually frightened to get involved because it would have to deal with human pain and the helplessness I can’t bear. The injustice of one that destroyed the lives of millions.
I can’t remember what I was doing in the first couple of days after Thursday. Funny thing is – it wasn’t even a week ago. The moment I can remember is when I realised I cannot live like this. I needed to cut the cord. I needed to find strength and figure out my life. If I kept this stillness, I’d only be more damaged later. This was certain, happened too many times already.
All I could understand is that I can’t get closer to this war. I’ve been already losing what I’d worked on for the last six months. Since Monday, I’ve been avoiding any sort of information about Ukraine and thankfully, some accounts started posting unrelated content. I set up my calendar for March and I pointed out a few things to do (or not to do). I needed a routine to stick to and I needed a routine to help me with my mental health.
I still feel guilty, though. Sure, I post a related story from time to time, but that’s about it. I still feel like somebody will judge me. That I’m the only Polish who doesn’t help. And even though I know I’m doing it for a reason, I don’t feel comfortable at all. I envy all who help – through money, items or simply helping with their hands. And here I am – scared to even acknowledge this suffering.
All I know is – if I see more cruelty of this world, I’ll get to the worst possible place I’ve ever been. And I can’t go there, even if it’s just for my boyfriend who happened to see it already.
The point I planned to make at first was to somehow get it off my chest or maybe have this explanation when my current worst fear surfaces – someone actually asks me. But then I realised that I can’t be the only one. I’ve been trying to be the voice for the damaged and I guess this is another try. This is for everybody who feels the same: it’s okay. If you can’t do anything – you don’t have the obligation to. It doesn’t mean you don’t care. You do care. But to care, you have to be able to. And with your depression dragging you down, you aren’t able to do it.
I know how much therapy helps me. Some of the things I’ve written here were already discussed with my therapist and she applauded that. For me, it’s still a work in progress but I have the opportunity to work on it. And I am not alone. I am lucky this way. If you have thoughts like that, please don’t keep them to yourself. It doesn’t do any good. Find someone to help or even something. Or I don’t know, scream it into some void or write it to Santa Claus. Tell him you want to end all wars for Christmas. Or something. But don’t stay alone.
What I’ve been trying to do now is acknowledge my emotions. It’s one of the hardest things I’ve been doing. I simply write what I feel. I try to understand why I feel like I swallowed a stone or why my brain seems clouded with toxic fumes. I’m trying to braindump every single thought that ruins the clarity. And most importantly, I’m trying to focus on living.
My living consists of a lot of control over my time and tasks. My living consists of maniacally planning and reviewing my productivity. It isn’t a perfect solution and obviously not perfectly healthy but I know it helps me keep going. I know it calms me down when I see the structure. And if I add a Winnie the Pooh sticker, it works even better.
I know this is not the stand that we need. Maybe it is cowardly. But it’s thought through. I hope eventually I’ll be able to do more. But now I can’t. And I am truly sorry about it.
If you can do more – please do. We need fighters and we need to win.