And I am not laughing about not laughing.
I just read an article that listed 16 Things People Don’t Realize You Are Doing Because You Are Emotionally Numb. And of those 16, 3 jumped out to me as things I am doing a lot. Well, I have been doing them a lot lately. And these issues appear to have their roots in my depression.
Click below to read the entire list: 16 Things People Don’t Realize You Are Doing Because You Are Emotionally Numb
The three items I see myself doing, out of the 16 are:
I Don’t Laugh Out Loud Anymore
“Something I’ve noticed I’ve been doing lately is not reacting externally if, say, I watch a funny YouTube video, but I can still feel myself laughing internally. It’s like my brain knows it’s funny, but I have no outward expression whatsoever.” — Katie S.
I am happy that Katie can feel herself laughing internally.
Having no outward expression is what I am all about these days. I used to be the one who could laugh at the drop of a hat. But I cannot tell you the last time that I laughed. It has probably been years. Seeing the humor in events was a challenge I enjoyed. And I was very good at seeing the humor in something and then verbalizing it.
Now I am not reacting externally.
In fact, I am not reacting at all. I will sometimes generate a bit of an internal laugh at something that catches my eye. But even this is fleeting at best, and I can not count on it happening with any regularity. This makes me seem very bland, even to myself.
I suppose that I toss a funny comment out at work every so often.
Doing so is part of my concealed or high-functioning depression. And this type of exertion is draining. I am back to making excuses to go to bed early. Yet I am also back to waking up frequently during the night. But all of that is for another time.
I Am Extra Forgetful
“Day-to-day I’ll be extra forgetful, forget to message people back, have to ask people to repeat things and might seem like I’m not listening when I’m actually just not present. I get extra clumsy too and tend to knock things over or walk into things. When I’m conscious it’s happening and can’t seem to get back to reality, I tend to switch onto self-destruct mode to try and get some feeling back.” — Harriet L.
I can’t forget that I can identify with this issue.
Having to ask people to repeat things can make it appear I am not listening. I really want to hear what is being said. Asking people to repeat themselves is not productive. But sometimes it’s the only way I can understand what is being talked about. Or it’s the only way I can understand what I am being asked to do.
Recently, I have noticed I am making simple mistakes on spreadsheets I have been doing for years.
In the past, I would catch these keying errors as I worked on the spreadsheet. I would notice something not adding up and just look at my inputs until the error jumped out at me. Having dyslexia, I know that I can flip numbers when I write them down. And I know that it sometimes takes me a minute to figure out what is wrong because I will read the transposed number correctly, even though it is entered wrong on the spreadsheet.
Now I am forgetful about the right words to say when I am describing something.
I know that I am talking about the vegetable garden, but when I go to say the word garden, I cannot think of it. My mind draws a blank. Often, the word comes quickly. Other times I cannot think of the word and the person I am talking to will fill it in.
This is almost as frustrating as being clumsy.
Over my lifetime, I have prided myself in my sense of balance and my ability to have a general sense of my surroundings. This has allowed me to not be or to feel clumsy. Now I am, at times, that person. My sense of balance is all out of whack. I can get in positions where tipping over almost becomes inevitable. I want so much to figure out a way to stop this and to feel more grounded.
As far as I can tell, I am not engaging in self-destruct mode.
My self-talk is still positive. My attitude towards the day is always positive. And I am not using harmful behaviors to feel any emotion. But the rest of this person’s issues are me in a nutshell.
You Have Trouble Following Social Cues
“I interrupt. I don’t hear lots of what is happening, I have trouble following social cues and I just interrupt people.” — Kristy G.
To some extent, I have done this most of my life.
“I just interrupt people.” This is not a great way to win friends and influence people. Interrupting can put a bad taste in one’s mouth. And it devalues whatever the person was saying because what I had to say couldn’t wait. For a long time, if I thought about my behavior, all I was doing was waiting for a person to pause, so that I could say what I felt I needed to say.
I don’t hear lots of what is happening, and I have trouble following social clues.
Now the hearing part can partially be blamed on me for not consistently wearing my hearing aids. In fact, one licensed dispenser told me my brain would never get used to the hearing aids unless I wore them consistently. Only then would I recognize what things were supposed to sound like? My brain would once again get used to the background noise and allow me to focus on what is being said.
However, my depression can cripple my ability to follow social cues.
This leaves me interrupting, so I can get in what I feel I must say. There is no way I can justify this action, depression or not. It is rude and very shallow. In fact, I have been focusing on this and making certain I hear and understand what people are saying, and what they need.
Until I read this article, I had no idea that this behavior, interrupting, could be linked to depression.
I want to be better at this and not push my questions at the expense of others. I recently began the practice of repeating back what was said: “I hear you saying that,” which has become a staple in my verbal diet. Understanding and following social clues will give me an edge in getting the outcomes people are expecting. And if I cannot provide that outcome, at least they will have a clearer idea of why.
Some of the other 16 I sometimes exhibit, while there are those I have never considered.
As with any list, I can make a case for and against many of the feelings listed. But the three I have chosen jumped off the page at me. I know these are feelings I have felt and still feel today. Understanding that they all have a link to my depression is not exactly comforting. I want to be better at all of these. Knowing that I first need to be better with my depression makes the outcomes less certain.