A few things happened for me a long time ago which have been psychological anchors to reiterate the opening quote in this writing. What those events were is not important, what’s important is that I would constantly refer back to them, unconsciously of course, and measure my life by those events. I never measured up to those standards set by those “objective” criteria! Not continuous sobriety, not going to college, law school, becoming an attorney, a father, living in a place where many people of the world would like to live. Not doing all the work on houses, apartment buildings, any of it. Again, not any of it. I failed is what the mind says. It says no matter what I did, if I am not there now, I have failed and all of the time before this was a failure too.
That is not me talking. That is a voice that I have carried since I can remember when. It is not true. Many people dont even try to do what I did.
“Depression is the inability to construct a future”[ii] But I am here now. I am toying with the ideas of what I am going to do in the future. I am not sure, but I have a pretty good idea. I could not have said that even 2 months ago. Its not time to put it out here only because when I usually put something in writing, I then feel like I “have to do it.” Where I am now is better than I was a month ago with this.
A wonderful friend sent me an email card this morning. It said ” The World Is A Better Place With You In It.” Had I been sent that card 2 years ago, I would have instantaneously shuddered in fear and shame inside. Because I didnt feel that way. Even if I had received that e-card five years ago or 10 years ago I would not have believed it. This is not to say that I completely accepted and agreed with the statement when I read it this morning. But working through depression allows me to entertain the possibility that the statement is true!The only way that I am able to have the perspective that I have about that e-card today is the point of reference of my history of depression. Between five and 10 years ago I was, “on top,” I had all of the things that many people strive for. However I still felt like I was a failure when the depression became overt.
“Writing is the best anti-depressant.”[iii] Since I have started writing about depression I have been given more and more relief from it. I was talking with a friend last night and I was talking about how when I am doing better the nuances of the world don’t seem like earth shattering events. When the depression is strong, not winning a hand in a friendly poker game can seem like hell. When the depression is not as strong, Today when things don’t go my way, I am getting better at letting them roll off me and remembering how lucky I am to have been diagnosed with depression.