Half of my life is wasted due to depression. It’s closely tied to my menstrual cycle and I suspect it’s seasonal, as well.
The last few months I’ve been busy with a new copy writing job, which made me happy for about a month, and also dealing with intermittent bouts of depression. I abandoned this blog, but now I’m back to reclaim it, like a ratty old sweater left in the bottom of the lost and found box that no one wants.
I decided this blog will be about dysthymia and how I see the world as a person living with what I guess is a mood disorder. For the uninitiated, dysthymia is chronic, low-grade depression and I’m pretty sure I’ve had it all my life.
To be honest, I’m proud of my dark sense of humor and cynicism. I am not perky and I never want to be perky. I love sad songs in minor keys. Allowing myself to feel sad and cry, makes me feel good, strangely. I’ve always enjoyed my extreme highs and lows – I used to be convinced that I was living and appreciating more of the human experience than most ever will.
Watching Ghost World will teach you more about the way my brain works then anything I could ever tell you about myself.
But something has happened to me the past few years. I am too cynical. I am less hopeful. I am probably more self-aware of my limitations than ever. I see more of the big picture, and well, it’s depressing.
The other night, my daughter had a concert at her school. The elementary school band played first, and predictably they were out of tune and played like crap. Because they’re elementary students! A ten year old boy played his flute solo and he screwed it up. Everyone felt sorry for him. The band conductor gave the audience a little shrug when the boy finished, as though to say “Yeah, I know he sucks. Probably should’ve practiced some more but due to budget cuts we only meet for practice twice a week, and I’m not paid so well either so what more do you want? I’m a fucking elementary school band teacher! I had dreams at one time too you know!”
But at the end of the concert, this boy was so happy and excited. Probably part relief but also the excitement of doing what he loves – making music.
My cynical self thought “How pathetic this life is. This shining moment in this boy’s life is a shitty solo in an elementary school’s band concert – this moment will encourage him to keep playing – maybe he’ll get really good or maybe he’ll always suck. This scene is playing itself out in elementary school auditoriums across the country. A bunch of little kids who don’t play very well, their parents anxiously filming the whole thing on their iPhone to post to Facebook, a rite of passage that soon leads to middle school, where band kids are nerds and little boys who love to play the flute are ridiculed.”
Yes, I thought these terrible, dark things. I hate myself for that.
That same night, I unpacked Christmas ornaments the other night and noticed that last year, I just threw them all together in a box, including the glass ornaments from my childhood. Instead of wrapping them carefully in newspaper and placing them in a shoebox, I threw everything in one box – the ornaments, a tangle of string lights, with wads of newspaper placed on top.
I must’ve been in a fog of depression when I put everything away last year. Because when you’re depressed, putting things away is hard. I’ve not put away groceries before because the effort to do so is too great.
So much symbolism in this picture!
Anyway, only one of the ornaments broke, but I still feel terribly about it. It was my little sister’s ornament my mom made back in 1980, when my sister was only 2.
She’s now living in a different state with a man who is abusive and chronically unemployed. I’m 18 months older than her, and growing up people used to think we were twins. We hardly talk to each other now.
And that is why I get so damn depressed. Life is cruel. Children’s dreams for the future don’t pan out. Adults become cynical and sad. And then they’re just cynical. I used to relish at the ridiculous wonderfulness of life, the ups and downs, dreams and disappointments that we all experience. But now it just leaves me cold.
All that said, I am trying to change. I really am. Ironically, I am in a position where true happiness is well within my reach. I have love in my life. I have autonomy. I am figuring out how to treat my depression. I will go on a low dose of accutane in a week.
I also feel creative. So a tiny little life force still resides in what’s left of my soul . In spite of this life. Or maybe because of it.