Sunday, October 23, 2011

PROCEED WITH CAUTION: MENTAL LEPER CROSSING


It's been weighing on me heavily lately like some crushing menace I can't avoid. I keep wondering if I'm depressed and if so, is it possible to have been depressed my whole life? Can a person be born depressed? As far back as I can remember I've always felt the same way. I look at my gene pool and wonder if I was short-changed on the naturally occurring serotonin–norepinephrine–dopamine most people are blessed with. Perhaps my wiring is routed some other way. Or maybe happiness is like everything else in life. It has to be taught and encouraged right from infancy in order for it to develop properly. Sure, I've had moments of elation, but those moments have never been caused by anything I can take sole responsibility for doing. Happiness when it has come has always been external and I know that's wrong. I know I should be able to feel good about things that I do, but nothing I do seems quite worthy of happiness.

I awoke this morning while it was still dark and as I lay in bed, I let my mind wander. It took me to a place where I could hear voices singing.
The answer my friend is blowin' in the wind
The answer is blowin' in the wind.

I knew one of those voices was mine, yet I have no clear memory of being there. Why have I blocked out insignificant things like that, yet can remember painful things in vivid and sometimes grossly perverse detail? If I allow myself I can sink into a dark, cold place where things that happened long ago feel as if they just happened today. If I allow myself I'd never leave my cave again. If I allowed myself I'd become consumed with this darkness. I struggle to stay afloat and I'm afraid of what's going to happen when I can't float any longer. Do I simply sink and quietly fade away or does the survival mode kick in once more and save me from myself?

I think I need to get back to ranting about religion and politics and leave my feelings neatly packaged inside a box with a great big red bow on top. I'm tired of having questions, yet never finding answers that are adequate to satisfy me. I'm tired of remembering a young person who was once diagnosed as being a depressed neurotic (the shrink told me that meant "sad nut"). I guess that's better than being a depressed psychotic or is it???? Sometimes I wonder if being out of touch with reality might be better. I'm tired of wondering if neurosis ever subsides in time or does it take root like a weed and never really goes away even when it's sprayed with weed killer.

I looked up "neurosis" and found neurosis can involve: anxiety, depression, anger, irritability, mental confusion, low sense of self-worth, phobic avoidance, vigilance, impulsive and compulsive acts, lethargy, unpleasant or disturbing thoughts, repetition of thoughts and obsession, habitual fantasizing, negativity and cynicism, dependency, aggressiveness, perfectionism, schizoid isolation and socio-culturally inappropriate behaviors. Wow! Add heartburn and headaches to the list and it looks complete to me!

8 comments:

  1. I know I wasn't depressed as an infant. I was "too" happy and mother made sure to beat that smile off...after that the photos of me & my siblings are ones of fear, even the ones at christmas we are looking like deer in headlights with these gifts in our hands-
    Unfortunately, it never goes away, just fades sometimes. That's when I make the mistake of going off antidepressants and find myself after a few months wondering whats going on...oh, ya, That again....

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  2. I do believe that some folks are just melancholy by nature. My mom, for instance. She one of the most negative people I know. She is very religious, but something of a believer in predestination. As she puts it: "If it ain't meant for you have anything or to be successful, you won't have and won't be." She thinks of herself as "a modern day Job" (her phrase). I love her dearly, but her doom and gloom depresses me if I am around her for too long. Despite her faith in God she worries constantly (mostly about things that nobody can do anything about). And she can't let go of the past. It eats at her all the time. She's been that way as long as I've known her (which is over half a century), and I've no reason to suspect she was ever any different. It's in her genes - can't be reasoned out or prayed out or anything. Thank goodness I seem to have inherited my father's more mellow nature - which isn't to deny I have other mental issues of my own.

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  3. Peaceful, I think the one class of drugs I've never "abused" is antidepressants. Maybe I should give them a whirl and see if they help. I look at pictures of myself when I was little and to me I just look sad and out of all the pictures I;ve found of myself as a child only a very few are of me smiling. I wish I could scoop that child up and give her a huge hug and tell her that she's smart and kind and important (to steal a line from the movie, The Help).

    Doug, believe it or not growing up I was the class clown, the risk taker, the first to try everything and a generally goofy individual, but then came the darkness and well you know what they say...
    Sometimes you feel like a nut
    Sometimes you don't
    Almond Joy's got nuts
    Mounds don't

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  4. I meet a lot of patients who tell me they were depressed from the get-go.
    others say it in less frank terms "I don't have depression, I've just been irritable for 40 years".

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  5. Ur-spo, you mean I'm supposed to be irritable too? Oh shit! I'll get right on that! LOL

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  6. i'm going to tell you what someone told me years ago, when I complained about the same thing as you.

    "You have the soul of an artist." To me, that is much better than hearing I'm a depressed nutcase.

    and truly, mildred...you have the soul of an artist.

    now, for today, let's pretend we're still dancing around with flowers in our hair, ok?

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  7. as for being "irritable." if it was good enough for Ouiser Boudreax in "Steel Magnolias" it's good enough for me.

    (although I believe she actually said was: "I'm not crazy, I've just been in a very bad mood 40 years!") close enough.

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  8. Jnuts, I so needed to hear I have a soul of an artist. Thank you! Sometimes I forget being me just the way I am is okay, but you know soometimes I get so frustrated because I could have done so much more. I look at some of the sheeple and just shake my head..those idiots are running things and look at the fucked up mess this country/world is in.

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