World Photography Day — When The Motivation is Gone

I guess everything has a day these days and apparently it’s World Photography day.

http://worldphotoday.com

There was a time I would have enjoyed this and tried to shoot something but if I’m being fully honest there’s no motivation for me to pick up any of my glass. The loss of my passion for the things I used to enjoy, photography chief among, them has been one of the most painful things I’ve come to understand about my depression.

While I’ve had up/down moments where I’ve been able to use my photography as a therapeutic element I’ll be honest this week at least hasn’t been one of them. I may try to force myself to shoot some footage this weekend but this week I’ve had the hardest time keeping focus. Just have to keep trying, good or bad.

 

Thank You Captain Obvious…

http://gizmodo.com/an-algorithm-can-tell-if-youre-depressed-just-by-lookin-1785529915

As a colorblind photographer I had to roll my eyes at this one. While I’m sure there may be a bias towards certain filters I found some of the conclusions to be a little insulting. I’ve shot black and while and used filters that tend towards that both before and during my depression. On the other hand I’ve used brighter,might contrast stuff while in the worst of my depression.

While certainly darker tones and colors are common in subjects that depict depression or sadness I don’t feel like you can identify it through an algorithm.

Routine and Rut

Something that’s occasionally hard to describe about depression is the feeling of life being one big loop.  Had Nine Inch Nails’ track Every Day Is Exactly the Same playing in the back of my mind for a while lately.  Guess the routine and motivational issues I’ve had this week have been particularly difficult.

Trying to adjust my diet a bit with more fruits and vitamin C as I feel I haven’t gotten much in the way of sunlight and exercise. Even as I start off this 3-day weekend (Yay Admissions Day) I realize even my days off are sort of a basic routine of run errands, clean and try to work on coping tools. Hopefully besides this blog and other side projects I can occasionally change things up more going forward.

A Little Positive News About People Helping One Another

Negative news predominates so much of media out there but there are at times positive moments that should be more recognized. The story of US runner Abbey D’Agostino and New Zealander Nikki Hamblin.  After a stumble and collision both athletes could have simply stopped and accepted they wouldn’t advance.  D’Agostino urged Hamblin to get up and finish her run.

http://deadspin.com/no-youre-genuinely-moved-by-this-display-of-olympic-sp-1785345875

After realizing she herself was injured D’Agostino slowly made her way to the finish with Hamblin waiting there and calling for medical staff. On the world’s greatest stage, where the competition can be cut throat, it was great to see camaraderie.

 

 

Interesting New Medical Approach for Major Depression

http://www.cnn.com/2016/08/17/health/ketamine-depression-treatment/index.html

I have to admit this is not a treatment option I would have imagined. My only real knowledge of ketamine is as it relates to helping people suffering from opioid addiction. For what it’s worth I can understand the idea of using it for improve neuroplasticity in patients but I do worry that the sensitivity of users and the impact as relates to opioid resistance is a delicate balance.

 

Just One of Those Weeks

One of the difficult things with depression, least for me is the up/down day to day, week to week. There are some days where my motivation hits the floor. I don’t want to move around, I don’t have any focus on my work or home life.

Usually this is where I get that feeling my life is in a rut and my patterns are part of the painful cycle of depression. I’ve tried to use some of my general activities like my morning coffee routine, a classic shave or this blog.

Friends keep me grounded, as do the various online support groups I try to pop into.  It isn’t easy, survival never is.

The Black Hole of Anhedonia

Anhedonia might be the worst word I’ve had to learn in the last two years. It’s textbook definition is an inability to feel pleasure, though I think it’s more apt to call it joylessness.

Read any forum or group on depression and you’ll see typical patterns. People who express that they no longer feel much of anything. I viewed it as being emotionally flatlined.  It wasn’t that I was happy or sad specifically I simply couldn’t feel much of anything positive. You can have so many things in your life, a good job, a wife and family and yet depression and anhedonia can still turn all of that into a joyless series of day to day tasks.

Painful as it sounds, being aware of depression and your own sense of joylessness doesn’t automatically make it go away. Often I worry that the things I do throughout the day are essentially just me going through the motions. Smiling when I need to because that’s what people expect. I do have a few moments of what feel like happiness but it’s been a juggling act.

I know that motion or not, I have to put the effort in to at least try to feel something other than the flat emotionless state that has become too common for me. It isn’t easy and there are certainly days I just feel like giving up.  Amid all that though I try to find at least one good thing that happened per day and remind myself that I can still feel things, it just takes a bit more of an active role for me now.

The Ups/Downs of PC Tinkering

My first birthday post divorce was pretty rough. I really didn’t want “things” and time with friends was far more meaningful for me. Of course the circle of friends I still maintain did great by me and got me gifts that were useful and well thought out.

For myself however I initially didn’t get anything. I had thought about a laptop but those plans weren’t that great. In the end an on the whim purchase did come to me and honestly it was a ridiculous one. Asus STRIX 1080GTX OC edition.  A high end video card in a bracket that in the past I would have deemed stupidly expensive. But you only get a few birthdays and I needed a pick me up.

The part arrived today and I got a chance to benchmark it.  The programmer and overall hardware geek in me was just stupidly happy.  In the end it is complete overkill.  I only ever really make use of the video card for gaming and when doing photo editing (CUDA cores can help with video and photoshop performance).  Beyond that it’s just power waiting on standby.  Still there is a sense of self-fulfillment when one realizes something you put together is running and running well. While it might be gloried retail therapy for now I am very pleased with my choice of splurge items and hopefully it proves to be something that lasts a good long while.

Blame Game and Self-Reflection

One of the most difficult things with depression and especially depression and a divorce is I found myself reflecting a lot about all the things that went wrong and my inability to change them.

I don’t ever contend that I was blameless in the failure of my marriage. Not understanding the scale and scope of my depression was a huge part of it. My own abrasive personality not withstanding. It took a lot of sessions for me to really gradually get out of the blame game loop and start looking backwards at things I couldn’t change.

The thing is there’s still positives to be had by self reflection if taken in the right framework.  It isn’t that you should dwell on self-blame and the past. Everything that was amiss I now try to look at as things I should work on to change going forward.  Accepting that has been a struggle but it’s one I continue to work at every day. I try not to internalize my frustrations and seek outlets, not holding in when I disagree with things as much.  Some days it feels like too-little-too-late but I remind myself that as long as I’m still here, as long as I am still trying there is no such thing as too late to improve myself.

 

Rough News Weekend

I’ve made mention in past posts about the impact of news on depression.  This week’s been a weird up and down. I take a bit of pride and happiness in seeing the occasional Olympic news.  Some of the stories of athletes are simply amazing.  Besides insanely gifted stand outs like Michael Phelps there’s stories like the 41 year old gold medalist from Vietnam (Hoang Xuan Vinh).  Seeing some forget about national discord and just being competitors (North and South Korean Olympic shooters shaking hands). Sadly though in the news just recently is also a lot of violence.

It pains me to think that at a time when our athletes are presented before the world and trying to show a sense of unity and camaraderie that right here in the states we have riots and yet more shooting violence. I’m opting not to link to those articles. Every morning I go through the news I’ve got to make that selective choice about what to read and what to pass.  It affects me less when I don’t give in the morbidity and read upon the negative articles. Sometimes I’ve found it’s easier to read up on such things mid-day when my mood is better rather than first thing in the morning or before bed (where I start to dwell on things).

I’m hoping that at least over the next few days the news balance tips towards the positive more than the violent.