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Depression and Bullies - The Watchtower of Destruction: The Ferrett's Journal
December 27th, 2011
12:32 pm

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Depression and Bullies

I used to think you could turn bullies into friends.  If I just wear the right clothes and act the way they want, I thought, then suddenly everything they’re making fun of me for would be gone!  And logically, once I’d made myself into what they wanted of me, the bullies would welcome me into their group.

As it turns out, I misunderstood what the bullies wanted.  They did not want me to change so I could fit into their social group better; they wanted me to be miserable.  My poor clothing and book-nerdery was just an excuse to pick on me.  The hook to hang misery on, as it were.

Even if I had learned to dress exactly like all the other kids in school, they would have started making fun of me for thinking I was good enough to dress like that, or mocking me for how stupid I looked in that clothing compared to them, or maybe they’d just ignore the clothing and move on to my terrible hair.

The point is that bullies, once they’ve chosen their target, are not rational beings.  And that was a lesson that came hard to this psychotherapy-soaked child, where every conflict could be smoothed out in a room between two reasonable people and a therapist to mediate them.  I kept thinking that this could all be worked out, when the proper solution was to ignore the bullies as much as was possible.

Depression is a bully.

I was suicidally down yesterday for no reason except brain chemistry, waking up with the belief that everyone I knew would be much better off if I killed myself.  And I did my usual ration-checks to see if what depression was saying was correct – because, like bullies, occasionally the cruel will tell you what the kind will not.  So I looked at the evidence.

What the evidence told me was that as a polyamorous man, I had several women who loved me deeply, women who had the choice of other partners and yet still cared about me enough to send me texts and emails, and this should be evidence that I was not a worthless human being.  At which point my depression started in on me: See?  All these women who love you, and you just write them off.  That’s how selfish you are, ignoring the adoration of these women.  You’re such a self-centered asshole, you should kill yourself.

Fortunately, I knew my old adversary well enough to understand where it was leading me.  I stepped away from the self-destructive sequence my depression was trying to guide me down, recognizing that when I’m in this mood every path goes straight to off-yourself-ville, and understood that the facts would have to be enough.

Depression is a bully in that it’s fundamentally out to destroy you.  You can’t quite get away from him, like any good bully; the best you can do is come to an understanding that this is unpleasant, but it’s nothing you should take too personally.  And hope, one day, that you’ll become strong enough to walk away.

Cross-posted from Ferrett's Real Blog.

This entry has also been posted at http://theferrett.dreamwidth.org/181894.html. You can comment here, or comment there; makes no never-mind by me.

(55 shouts of denial | Tell me I'm full of it)

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From:radiumhead
Date:December 27th, 2011 05:36 pm (UTC)
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I wish i had known how powerless adults really are when i was a kid.

I rarely fought back against bullies cause i always had this vague fear of "getting into trouble." if i had known then what i knew now i wouldve made kicking the shit out of them a hobby.
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From:mariadkins
Date:December 27th, 2011 09:16 pm (UTC)
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you and me both.
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From:radiumhead
Date:December 27th, 2011 05:37 pm (UTC)
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And i think getting to fuck lots of women is the best revenge. Guess that comes under "living well", etc
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From:theferrett
Date:December 28th, 2011 01:31 am (UTC)
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My life's pretty decent right now. Now "trump the whole high school reunion thing" decent, but decent enough to be proud of.
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From:lyssabard
Date:December 27th, 2011 05:48 pm (UTC)
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Here is your logic check--you do not neglect me.
I love you and need you in my life.

*HUG*

Also? Yeah, bullies are douche bags and if I can beat yours up, lemme know.
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From:theferrett
Date:December 28th, 2011 01:31 am (UTC)
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I feel like I should talk to you more often, though. I love you.
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From:soldiergrrrl
Date:December 27th, 2011 10:10 pm (UTC)
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When I'm depressed and I think about all the people who love me, I just think, "Well, they don't know the *real* me." D'oh!

Oh man, do I know this one. It's an old song and dance in my head...
(Deleted comment)
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From:aiela
Date:December 27th, 2011 05:53 pm (UTC)
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I love you.

No matter what your brain tells you.
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From:theferrett
Date:December 28th, 2011 01:34 am (UTC)
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I try my best to remember this.
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From:jesskastar
Date:December 27th, 2011 07:21 pm (UTC)
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*hugs* Thank goodness for checks and recognizing paths. I swear there are days that is what gets me through, also. You aren't alone and you are very much wanted.

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From:theferrett
Date:December 28th, 2011 01:34 am (UTC)
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You keep examining your data and I'll keep examining mine.
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From:sacramentalist
Date:December 27th, 2011 07:27 pm (UTC)
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Like you said yesterday about objective opinion. Your bully's opinion simply doesn't match the data.
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From:shandra
Date:December 27th, 2011 07:32 pm (UTC)
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I have no insight about depression but in light of your prior post I just wanted to let you know I appreciate your expressing your experience so well. It is not a turn off. :)
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From:alexmegami
Date:December 27th, 2011 07:39 pm (UTC)
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How do you step away from it? I find once the depression bully starts into that sequence, it's nigh-impossible to disengage from it. Once it hits the fact that you are thinking about this/feeling this way is proof that you are the worst person on the planet I don't know what to do to stop it short. In some ways it's almost better if there are a lot of "little" things I can hate myself for instead, because then it's more like a series of paper cuts instead of someone drilling into my chest. And isn't that fucked up.

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From:mariadkins
Date:December 27th, 2011 09:19 pm (UTC)
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you learn to tell it to stfu, then you don't listen to it. it's hard. it's hell. but it can be done. when i was in group therapy for panic disorder last year, and my therapist suggested such a thing, i thought she had gone insane. but no. when you hear that voice starting up, you punch it in the face, and walk off.
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From:bethzebra
Date:December 27th, 2011 09:05 pm (UTC)
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As Graydon Saunders used to say, "Not everything in your head is your friend."
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From:theferrett
Date:December 28th, 2011 01:35 am (UTC)
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I rather like that.
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From:naamah_darling
Date:December 27th, 2011 10:16 pm (UTC)
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I think this is one of the more apt metaphors for depression I've ever read. It is very much like that, yes, only with no option to kick its ass or grow out of having to go to school with it altogether.

*hugs*

It's rough, and I'm sorry you get kicked around. I get it, too, as you know quite well. No matter how awesome I become, I will always have to deal with that voice that says "They crowned you Queen of Slut Island, named a species of venomous snake after you, you were the first person to reconstitute saber-toothed tiger DNA from a single tooth, you carved your name on the moon, and you have a fleet of time-traveling pirate ships? You don't deserve any of that because YOU SUCK. Now entering Sucksville, population: YOU."

It is utterly ridiculous.
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From:theferrett
Date:December 28th, 2011 01:36 am (UTC)
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Now I want to write a novel with a depressive swashbuckler. That'd be a challenge.

BTdubs, I totally love you and I'm sorry you feel bad. I wish I could take that away.
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From:phule77
Date:December 27th, 2011 10:57 pm (UTC)
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Generally, once I hit an episode (and there will be a day or two on the road in where I become aware "oh, it's going to be like that then...") I know that it'll probably be roughly 3 days or so where the most I can do is move through it.

The worst thing I can do during that time is, generally, to get online and post about things, because I will post from the darkest place imaginable, and it tends to get a very low response rate, if at all. Which is fine, people do not need to feed my BS.

Sleep is good. So is meaningless interaction/fun, if it can be had at all, anything to distract me and move me through it, but keep me from focusing on my crap.
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From:roaming
Date:December 27th, 2011 11:06 pm (UTC)
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Besides, if you ever did off yourself, Ginny and your S.O.s and just about everybody here would kick your butt back up here from the grave. Think about how much damn work that is! If you love us, you'll spare us that chore and just let us all cuddle and love on you until the urge passes. And it always does, right? Sometimes like a kidney stone, but you ride it out.

I'm always amazed by stories of bullies. I mean, of course I know it happens, but I can't figure out why it didn't happen to me/around me. I went to public school in Manhattan (born in 1950, graduated high school in 1968). I don't remember bullies. (Maybe I'm alzheimered?) If you didn't like someone/vice versa, you just snubbed eachother and hung out with your own clique.
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From:ariaflame
Date:December 28th, 2011 01:15 am (UTC)
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That is if you are lucky enough to have a clique. I was without any friends until at least age 14.
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From:juglore
Date:December 28th, 2011 01:11 am (UTC)
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Depression fights dirty.

This hot kinky woman, that gave me one of the better birthday hugs I got this year, is exchanging flirtatious emails with me while she is out of town for the holidays, and I can't stop thinking about how badly I need to kill myself.

My local kink group is throwing a New Years Eve skinny dipping play party and I keep wondering who'll take care of my cat after I kill myself.

Depression fights dirty. So nail the bastard in the fork and run like hell.
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From:theferrett
Date:December 28th, 2011 01:39 am (UTC)
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I hear ya big time. Hang in there.
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From:erin_c_1978
Date:December 28th, 2011 02:56 am (UTC)
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I think this may be one of the most insightful things you've ever written.
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From:channelpenguin
Date:December 28th, 2011 07:14 am (UTC)
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Sorry to hear you are feeling bad. Hope you battle your way out the other side sooner rather than later.

Yeah, when you work out that conforming does no good, nor does telling the idiots you know exactly what they are up to, then it at least saves you the effort, and sets you at least on the first steps of the path to being yourself.

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From:mariadkins
Date:December 30th, 2011 03:52 pm (UTC)
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Put a rubber band on your wrist. When you feel the word vomit threatening to spew, snap it sharply and say this charm:

When I snap this rubber band,
I will not word vomit just as planned.
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