A High Functioning H.A.M.

This entry is part of 3 in the series Lessons in Unemployment

It is fairly common and statistically proven that kids who were deemed “above average” in grade school grew up to be adults who developed some form of high-functioning (or sometimes not-so-high-functioning) neurosis.

A recent doctor’s visit confirmed that I am one of those people.

I like to think my blog is pretty funny. Irl, I’m generally a good spirited person when I’m out and about and people who know me would say I’m pretty level headed, mild mannered person. I have my ambitions and goals which keep me moving forward on the day to day but behind closed doors it is a completely different story.

Being unemployed this summer was a special shock to the system because I’m usually able to keep my mind occupied with the menial tasks required of being an hourly worker. Then, when I go home, I’m too tired to let anxious thoughts overwhelm me and I can avoid them with sleep. On a typical off day, I would just smoke a couple blunts, again, successfully avoiding the crash.

But not having a job means no longer being able to afford a weed habit and having a scary amount of free time for the full brunt of depression to wreak havoc inside my head.

People who think depression is a state of mind and that it can be remedied with positive thoughts are why I generally keep my mouth shut about the things that go on inside my head. Science says that clinical depression is a chemical, biological, and/or structural condition rendering your brain physiologically incapable of producing the hormones that even make positive thoughts possible. Unfortunately, a lot people don’t read about and are mad ignorant to these issues.

YoU jUsT GoTta Be PosItiVe… ThiNk HapPy ThOuGhTs…

I realize now, fully, that my weed habit was an unhealthy dependence. While I haven’t written it out of my future completely, I need to chill for a bit and reevaluate my relationship with the herb. And I’m also scared of spending what little money I have because I’m going to hate myself if I turn around and need that $15 I spend on a gram somewhere down the line. We might meet again one day though, on better terms

Now, these meds… I just don’t know. SSRIs work as long as you take them but I don’t want to take them forever.

Fran mentioned this herb called Rhodiola on Wednesday’s episode of The Friend Zone and I read up on it. It’s classified as an adaptogen. The way it works: whatever hormones are lacking in the brain, the molecules sort of mimic and replace. i.e. need serotonin, the active chemical compound takes the shape of serotonin molecule. But in the same way that one could become dependent on marijuana, Rhodiola holds that same potential. I don’t think it’s meant to be a habitual thing like prescribed medications are. You can find it at Whole Foods. The medical research is sparse but that’s usually the case for remedies outside of the pharmaceutical realm.

(Yes, I know Fran is not a medical professional. But she is a trusted wellness personality and having an M.D. behind your name is not necessarily synonymous with knowing what you’re talking about or knowing what is best).

What has helped most is daily mindfulness practice. Journaling, drinking my morning coffee on the front porch, staying off social media, and actively trying to put pen to paper every day.

After all, this graduate program is supposed to culminate in my writing a book – a daunting task, and one that can easily become overwhelming, but one that can only be achieved by taking it one day at a time.

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  1. Stay strong. You’re not alone in your battle with depression nor your desire to remain unencumbered by a foreign substance. I used ssri’s for about a month then got off. It was enough for me to take the edge off. What type of book are you thinking of writing?

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