Depression and me in the always-online generation.
Over the years that I’ve written on this blog, I’ve talked about my history with what I called, and still to this day call, depression. It was 2007 and 2008. I kept myself hidden away in my bedroom, skipped a lot of class, and just generally felt sad most of the time. It was, what I assumed, what depression was: an overwhelming sense of helplessness, anger, and apathy. As I look back to that time and to stints over the last six years, I wonder if it was actually depression or if it was what I’ve come to call
"Obese, bored, lonely, and addicted to the Internet."
Certainly depression is a real, certifiable thing, but I have a nagging suspicion that sometimes when the word gets thrown around it’s a self diagnosis that can actually be attributed to our own self loathing, embarrassment to be seen in public and envy as we watch our friends live lives online that make our own look truly lackluster.
I came to hate people I once considered friends and watched incessantly with animosity at each new picture and video they uploaded. The jealousy I had as I looked at their perfect bodies was only matched by the insecurity I felt with my own. Why would I do that? Why would anyone do that? And it compounds on itself. Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook. F5, F5, F5, F5.
Obese, bored, lonely, and addicted to the Internet.
Falling behind, avoiding friends, living in a dark room, and eating fast food exclusively. It was, no doubt, a truly depressing existence; but was it actually depression?
I have my doubts. Because as soon as I dragged myself from the house and went for a walk around campus, or played racquetball with Jed, or hiked up the local mountain, the suffocating blanket was removed. And once I got serious about life and living better, it was gone permanently. Well, until I fell into old habits. And maybe that’s the difference. Depression, it seems, doesn’t shake off like that. It’s a long constant battle. I was quick to diagnose myself and, frankly, feel sorry for myself when I might have just been trying to justify a shitty way of living.
One thing I’ve struggled with in my many failed attempts to “get back” is the desire to jump straight into running 3 or 4 miles like I’m still at a high level of fitness.
This time, I’m doing it from the perspective of starting fresh. To that end, I’ve been jogging a mile every morning and that’s all. Nothing extra, just setting a nice baseline upon which I’ll build. It’s what I did in 2009 and it worked, so that’s what I’m doing. I’ve done it for two weeks now. Tonight I’m running for time. I’m headed to the track right now to push out a mile at my highest effort.
My mile runs in the mornings have been between 11 and 12 minutes. I’ll know more about where I stand after tonight.
Each day I’m able to run a bit farther before my first walk break. We live at the bottom of a hill and the first three quarters of a mile of each run are pretty steep; it’s a blessing/curse. Hill work every day.