It’s me again. Ziya’s recent posts should be enough to show that lately, things have been far from easy.
Indeed, it has to have been (and still be) hard for Ziya. But sometimes I wonder how often the effects of the depression are shown on the people supporting the person facing it. Case in point:
Ziya and I have been together for very close to three years now. And for a good chunk of that time, we’ve spent enough concurrent time in the same location to make sharing a bed make sense. And for most of that time, we’ve generally been able to go to bed at the same time, and wake up around the same time (give or take an hour or so). I’ve gotten used to that: it’s part of one of the reasons I proposed to Ziya; I want to wake up next to zir everyday, for the rest of my life.
And prior to the new sleeping habits, that helped to at least give some semblance of “normalcy” to the end of the day, and has typically allowed my own depression to show up far less frequently and with less of an effect. That relational pattern was enough to help me (at least somewhat) with my own emotional regulation. But the new sleep pattern is proving to have some nasty effects on me as well.
I no longer expect to wake up alongside Ziya. Instead, I’ll wake up three, four, sometimes five hours later than zir; and when I wander out to find zir, ze tends to be in the living room, having already logged a few hours in Oblivion. And that tends to throw off my energy for the day: leaving me capable of little more than basic hygiene needs, food needs, and watching hours of Youtube videos. I’m usually in a slightly better boat than Ziya in some of these areas: I’ve been doing the bulk of the cooking (at least, as far as our shared meals go), and there are certain chores related to household keeping that I have been able to do with decent consistency.
But on my own bad days, forget it. I’m only able to suggest food when I’m starting to get really hungry; and by then, Ziya’s usually been significantly hungry for a while. On my low energy days (which are occurring with more frequency than I’d like lately), it takes me a stupidly long amount of time to suggest that maybe we should start getting ready for bed before one/both of us are stupid tired (assuming I even get to that point before Ziya starts to fall asleep during whatever ze’s doing). And unless we’re both stupid tired, the general lack of down time (and activities) kill my ability to get to sleep with any sort of speed.
At its worst, nights like tonight happen. Ziya fell asleep within maybe ten minutes of climbing into bed. That was about two hours ago now, and I’m still awake. And I know it’s not my normal speed for falling asleep: that usually takes about twenty minutes or so, and that’s fine. No… this is overwhelming sadness keeping my brain from letting me sleep.
It’s sadness about the relational things that used to be common; but have become increasingly rare: things like cuddling before turning off the lights, waking up next to each other, even other forms of physical (and emotional) intimacy. Ziya’s depression has seemingly left enough room (at least lately) to play Oblivion for hours on end, grab easy food for hirself, and sleep; with little left over for the interactions that used to be more common. And to be honest, that’s probably what hurts the most: I know that Ziya doesn’t mean to do these things; but the depression is none-the-less leaving me to carry more of the relationship. At least, that’s how it sometimes feels…
But the pattern continues, and I feel like I’ve gotten caught in it too. Ziya tries to include me and interact with me during the Oblivion sessions: and I’m happy to help look things up and contribute. And the cuddling close during these sessions does help greatly. But that still doesn’t help the part of it that I feel is most effecting my own depression: the dilemma of how much time I should spend tuning in, and how much of it I need to spend completely under my own headphones shutting out the sound of the game.
Because of this dilemma I feel like my emotional batteries have been woefully under charged for the bulk of the last few weeks. And usually, a few hours of video watching is enough to bring me back up to full (or near full) again. And most of what energy I do manage to recharge gets spent trying to help Ziya get through the day: gently pushing/encouraging zir to complete the few important tasks that are on the docket for that day. So it feels particularly devastating when the videos I am able to get something off of fill so little (particularly compared to what they used to). And this is not counting the other stuff of life (job acquisition steps, internship acquisition steps, etc), that I desperately need to focus on myself.
Don’t get me wrong: I’m not attempting to pin blame for the pattern (or its effects) on Ziya. I play just as much of a role in keeping the cycle going, especially when I stupidly don’t speak up about my own needs. Nor am I saying that Ziya isn’t trying; ze’s been sure to tell me that ze loves me and is vocally appreciative of at least a good chunk of what I have been doing. But in the midst of an episode, even those efforts don’t feel like enough. And all of the during game cuddling in the world doesn’t fulfill the needs that aren’t being met.
I can find some relief in one thing: the worst of these episodes are nothing compared to the handful of horrible ones I’ve had in the near-distant past. Those were something else, and it would take a really drastic trigger for one of them to spawn again. And I can count myself lucky that, even those could only nearly drain me of energy. I’ve never had to deal with an episode that involved self-harm thoughts, and the extent of my self-deprecating thoughts deal entirely with my problems not being worth burdening Ziya with. I’m amazed (based on what ze has told me, and what I’ve seen) at the strength that Ziya’s shown so far.
But ultimately, all the comparisons and analysis in the world don’t negate the fact that hir depression is hurting mine. I don’t like to say it, but it needs to be said: I’m hurting too. And it’s not good that I’m able to hide it as well as I have been able to.