28 September 2017

What I've got they used to call the blues

Here’s how I knew I wasn’t depressed:
·         I have never spent the day in bed because I did not have the energy or enough hope to get up.
·         I have never failed to go to work because I couldn’t bring myself to face the world.
·         I have never been suicidal, or harbored any serious thoughts about committing suicide.
·         Most people would describe me as a contented or happy person.
·         Preferring to be alone is just a function of my Introversion.
·         Self-deprecating humor is funny.
·         Loneliness is a condition caused by others not welcoming me into their circle.
·         “Joy” is different from “happiness” and I can be truly joyful even if I’m not particularly happy.

Yeah, everyone’s depression is different.

What form does my depression take?
·         Self-deprecating humor gives me the chance to beat others to the obvious conclusion that I’m really not worth much. (But, hey, maybe I can at least make them laugh!)
·         Appearing content and happy is part of the people-pleasing package. And I had better keep people pleased, or they may not keep me.
·         Sadness follows me around and can infect even the nicest moments in life.
·         Loneliness has nothing to do with Solitude, and generally makes me feel that I am on the outside of every circle.
·         You wanna talk “imposter syndrome”? My depression has convinced me that I have never done anything worth noting professionally.
·         While I weigh less now than I did in high school, I have carried around an emotional weight that feels like that old physical weight.

But I get out of bed, I show up for work, I engage with people, I accomplish some things. I’ve managed since childhood (a very satisfactory childhood, I hasten to note), but my sense of loneliness stretches back to early grade school (at least), and my abiding sadness since at least junior high school.

When I showed up a year ago for my first counseling session, I had no idea what was ahead of me. It took me a while to admit my sadness, to understand the sense of loneliness, and to accept the “big D”—depression. I’m not going to spend a lot of time navel-gazing in this space. But having decided to say anything, I have a couple more posts before I feel like I’ve said enough.

To own my depression does not mean I think my condition is the same as the wounded soldier, the abused child, the neglected spouse, etc. I am fortunate to be a high-functioning depressive. I am thankful for a kind professional therapist who is also a Christian. And I am deeply grateful for a life-long partner who is helping me sort myself clear about these things.

1 comment:

Jansi said...

This is a beautiful, honest and self-revealing Post, Chuck. I can relate, and I love that you are putting this out here for the rest of us. Thank you!