Sunday, August 9, 2009

Second thoughts

I'm not really sure this blog is good for me.

I've spent a lot of time intentionally not looking back, and I think that's a very good idea. But I'm writing this with the idea that others might read it, and that seems to require a bit of background.

I can't help but feel that "there, be dragons."

I have come a million miles forward from the blackness of depression. I don't think that I will ever build the kind of relationships and stability that others have; I have too much of a psychological limp for that. And that's okay with me; I just don't want to be where I was, ever again. I want to build a fulfilling life for myself, and since I'm relatively easily pleased in the way of material things, what I really have to work with - and on - is my mind.

I hate the idea that people who read this might feel sorry for me. I can't afford to slip, to lose my perspective and compare my life to others'. That's an unwise thing to do even when you've lived a "normal" life. It's extremely important for me to stay focused on my own life, my own goals.

I want to wrap this up with one final description of deep depression, and then end the looking backward, for good.

All the books say that when you're depressed, you don't really have feelings. That wasn't true for me. At its worst, depression meant that I wasn't thin-skinned; I was no-skinned. Everything hurt, in the way that air blowing across badly scraped skin hurts. I had emotions, but I spent a great deal of time and energy clamping them down, seriously afraid of what would happen if they broke loose.

At the end, just before I got the help I needed, I was living behind a gray screen. It wasn't a physical screen, of course, but it was visible, it was very real, and it was a few feet in front of me at all times. It separated me from the rest of the world and it was always, always there.

Nothing in my life since - not the death of my mother, not a marriage and divorce, not my father's fury at finding himself old - has been as painful as that life was, as just getting through a day behind that horrible screen. There, indeed, be dragons, and I will not look back any more. It costs too much, and it's dangerous.

From here on out, this blog will be true to its name. There are people who write about depression; that's not what I set out to do. I set out to write about building a life after depression, and that's what I'm going to focus on.

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