Grandeur, Delusions or Something by Charlie Francis Cassidy

Growing up I was always certain I’d be rich and well known even before I really had a grasp on what it was I’d be doing. I just knew that I was destined for great things. It seemed so obvious to me. Why did I exist if it wasn’t to be great. Now you could easily chalk this up being young and not really having a grasp on the world, but my view hasn’t changed at all. (Unless I’m depressed, but I’ll get to that) Right now, sitting here typing this, I couldn’t possibly imagine how I could be anything but.

Now it’s not like Games Design always (or often) turns out to be a pile of money waiting to happen, I just truly believe there is nothing I can’t learn to do and do well. When programming I actually feel like a god of sorts. I believe that there is nothing I could not learn to program. All I have to do is try. And by try, I mean do. Because there is no way I’d fail.

The times that I do finally get a bit of reason in my head are when I’m depressed. As depression goes though, it rarely stays reasonable. It tends to turn into how incapable I am of doing anything. But lately I am finding myself staying in the realm of mania. I rarely (if ever) find myself in the normal range of things. 

When I first started uni, I thought I had beaten depression all on my own. I hadn’t seen it for at least a year, and here I was learning all these new things that I was amazing at. I felt great. I felt invincible.

I was partying hard and leaving assignments to the last minute. Then not sleeping for up to 3 nights in a row finishing said assignments, mostly programming small games. I would often joke about being the god of code when I’d start and finish my game over a 2/3 day stint. I’m not sure I was really joking though. I felt on top of the world. 

When I did go home to sleep it was for maybe 3hrs max before I headed back out to do it all again. I was known for never being able to sit still in class, or anywhere really, and being stupidly happy all the time. I was the last person anyone would guess to have a mental illness. Or even problems at home. I was too happy.

But then I crashed. After months of this insanity, my depression came back full force. I owe a lot to a now close friend who got me to get help and start actually dealing with the depression rather than ignoring it. I could not have done it without her.

Mania didn’t pop up again till much later after being triggered by my Efexor last year, which lead to me actually being diagnosed with Bipolar. It’s only now that I’m considering that that’s what my first year was, an episode of mania rather than just a break from my depression. I really should bring it up with my psychiatrist.

Even now, after writing all this, I can’t stem the thoughts of how great I’m meant to be. I know that they’re probably symptoms on the mania, but I am still so sure that these thoughts are different. That for me, they don’t really apply to this.

Introductions and the like by Charlie Francis Cassidy

Trigger warning: Self harm and Suicide

I’ve been considering starting this blog for about a year now. I never got to it because I wasn’t sure how to do it, whether it’d be any good or if anyone would even read it. But I suppose if no one reads it, then that solves my first two problems anyway. My vague idea of what I wanted this to be came from the grind I went through with my last big project. I’d sit down everyday and have to pull through some tough emotions and mind trickery just to get a simple thing done. So I kind of want to write about what it’s all like, for me living with this and trying to make creative things (or anything really).

Here’s a bit of back story. The way things went down when I found out I had depression really shaped how I dealt with it at first and still. I might have actually gotten real help earlier if things had happened differently, but it’s hard to say.

I’m 22, I was “diagnosed” with depression at about 14/15 and I’ve been struggling with it since then. Of course how I came to be diagnosed was not at all pleasant. My highschool principal came into possession of a note (ergh, 15yr old me was an idiot) that made it pretty obvious I’d been cutting myself. Now this lead me to be pulled out of class and then thrown into what is still one of the worst days of my life.

I had a more than awkward meeting with my principal, who was convinced I might have been cutting the soles of my feet to hide it. Of course I wasn’t that stupid or clever. Legs and wrists for me. She wanted to throw me into hospital right then and there, but thankfully my mum talked her out of it. On the condition I was immediately medicated and thrown at just about every kind of therapist they could find. 

And this is where things actually got worse. My parents had no idea anything was wrong, so naturally they were shocked and wanted to get me better. Problem is no one ever stopped to ask me how I’d like to go about it. I had to at least look like I was getting proper help so the school wouldn’t have to intervene. The whole time the possibility of being hospitalised loomed over me. It didn’t motivate me to get help and get better though. It motivated me to shut the hell up about my problems. If I looked like I was getting better, they couldn’t do anything, right?

I went to my family doctor that day and my mum of course did all the talking. I wasn’t ever any good at talking to doctors anyway, and I certainly wasn’t about to say anything that could make things worse. So I was put on Zoloft immediately. And had a referral to see a psychiatrist in quite a few months. I was then booked in with a psychologist in some youth mental health centre for the mean time.

To say I didn’t like being forced onto medication would be an understatement. For awhile my parents controlled it, giving it to me every night at dinner, making sure I took it. All the while I was saying nothing in my psychologist appointments. I would just sit there. Shrug at the questions and stare into space. I guess I feel bad about that now, I wasn’t exactly pleasant. I don’t like being forced into things. I have a few control issues, that either stemmed from this or is why this was the most painful experience. I did eventually tell her about some of the issues I was having with my weight, but she then wanted to involve some other people and monitor me closely, so I freaked and told my parents I wouldn’t go back.

By this point the school had backed off, I still had an upcoming psychiatrist appointment and was still on medication so they didn’t force me to go anymore. They even left control of my medication to me. Which was a really, really, really bad idea. I don’t blame them for that, I think they were trying to make me feel less like I was being forced into treatment now my school had stopped pressing us about it. They trusted me. Problem is, I shouldn’t have been trusted to medicate myself. I didn’t know that at the time though. It just felt good that I had the control of it, so everything was okay. Of course, Zoloft was not what I should have been on really anyway, it didn’t help at all. I suppose the idea was that it’d be something till I saw someone that could find the right medication.

Now, having control of the medication helped for a little while but I soon started questioning why I still had to be taking it. I didn’t feel like it was doing anything. So I started skipping doses. I still had to make sure my parents saw me taking it some days, but eventually they stopped bothering to check. I started getting really sketchy with taking it. I could go days without then start taking it again, sometimes I might have even taken more than I should have. 

This is where my memory starts fading. I have a very large chunk of time that I can’t actually recall, which I’d say is when I was at my worst. The bits I can remember are terrifying. I was messing with my medication and just spiraling downwards. 

The thing that snapped me out of it was my sister moving back home. I later found out it was for me, to help me with what was going on. We had a tiny house, so I had to share my room with her. I loved my sister, so I was actually pretty excited to have her around more. The important thing with this is that even this didn’t spur me into getting help. It pushed me to hide myself better. I no longer had the luxury to sit in my room and fall into a depressed stupor and do very very stupid things. I did get somewhat better though, other problems that had been taking a toll on me at home where reduced by her being there. She looked out for me. I was still struggling with depression the whole time, but I know I wouldn’t have gotten through school if she hadn’t moved in. Hell, I know I wouldn’t still be alive. I can never thank her enough for that.