Lists and Bolts


I started off last night trying to write some of the thoughts floating around in my head during the past week, but couldn’t really get anywhere with it. As I started writing I found myself getting into a worse and worse mood. That coupled with the fact that I was overly tired(I’ve been staying up too late at night researching soundcards for digitizing vinyl, which has led me to read up on better cartridges and phono-pre amps and so on) made me decide to go to bed instead.

This morning I made the mistake of listening to a show on public radio that was discussing some political topics, but what affected me the most was the reminder that politics has been completely co-opted by the super wealthy in this country and I believe we are headed back into another gilded age. I despair so much every time I think about it too much. So many indignities and abuses going on in this country (and others), it’s overwhelming. A regular trigger for depression is a sense that things are out of control, (for example this country, politics, pollution, poverty, erosion of civil liberties and to a less extreme level my finances, inability to figure out my career path, not teaching my kids Spanish) and feeling either powerless or too overwhelmed to do anything about it.

I ran across a post on reddit that seemed relevant to my condition and the blog in general. The main thread(is that the proper Reddit term?) is someone wondering if they were the only person who didn’t find Cognitive Behavioral Therapy(CBT) useful. I tried this out a few years ago through and found that usually it didn’t work for me. However, with my coach last week, having someone help me discover the contradictions in my depressed mind-state was useful. I very effectively craft arguments and reasons for why I can’t do something or what is wrong with me. To defend one belief I had to concoct something else to account for a flaw. In the end, I was still not in a good space, but I was aware of the fact that I had to go through some convoluted mental gymnastics to stay hold on to those beliefs. Back to reddit, in that thread was what I thought a very good list of techniques to deal with depression. Some of those are very similar to the list in my man(bag) of tricks. The self.depression subreddit looks interesting.

Another article that stuck with me was by James Altucher. His website often has what I find at times very irreverant yet inspiring posts. The post in particular was about quitting your job. I’m not looking at a fiery departure, but I have a very real cut-off point and need to do something about it. What I took away from that article was that I should try to meet as many people as possible and to allow myself to indulge my interests or passions from time to time since they can lead to unexpected benefits. I was thinking about that this morning after I went to go pick up some parts from a 3D printing studio. I sent in a resume for some job listings there several months ago and never heard back. Maybe I should have made more of an effort to just get to know the people I interacted with so they would recognize my name in case they ran across my resume.

More generally I think that part of me is scared to leave the depressed state. It’s an escape from having to do what seems like the impossible task of crawling up out of this pit. It’s an escape from having to take responsibility for my behaviors or for neglecting stuff at home or elsewhere. It is so much easier to just give up and wallow in the despair and depression. Once again while writing this I am realizing how much more depressed I am than I normally realize.

To close, I will go over the positive experiences this week.
1) We had a nice family nature outing on Sunday. I enjoyed the change of scenery and being outdoors. I also feel that it’s important for the kids to get a better sense of nature, and living in an urban environment it can be tough to get out enough.
2)Work has been a bit more involved this week. I still wasted a lot of time on the internet, but I ran several experiments and got to do some basic data processing. I feel better when I am actively doing something, it makes me feel productive and useful. Also, I finally got a physical copy of the journal with my latest scientific manuscript. It’s my second first-author manuscript(not a lot for someone in my position), but it’s something.
3)I started the process of re-capping the stereo I’m working on. It’s a small step in that I just labeled the capacitors to prevent mix ups, but it’s something. It makes finishing this thing seem more manageable.

On that reddit list of things to help combat depression was getting small tasks done. I actually do feel better now that I finished this post. Now off to eat my lunch(thanks goodness for leftovers) out in the sun.

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