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I try

Hi, my name is John and I haven’t posted anything of substance in a year or more.

I have a good thing not going here, so why start now? This is a couch and you are my therapist – so be warned.

After a few false starts, we’re really moving. Cheryl starts a new job in Orlando on Friday, we’re moving much of our furniture after Christmas (to the guest wing of my sister and brother-in-law’s house), and the kids start at their new schools when they reopen after the holiday break. As of a week ago, I have no idea what I’m doing – other than staying behind until I can find a job in Orlando. I have some ideas about what I may be doing (hopefully a transferring within my department), but much feels uncertain and depression doesn’t help. I feel deep depression waiting around the corner like a would-be mugger, waiting to beat the shit out of me and steal everything I have. This may sound odd at first, but it feels like an ego trip gone VERY wrong. Mixed with uncertainty, it feels like the mental health equivalent of booze and narcotics.

Putting all of that aside for a moment, let me tell you I am extremely proud of Cheryl and I know I’m very lucky. Not only is she the love of my life, my partner in life, and my very best friend, but she put our family on her back and carried us through a tough seven years while dealing with a few of her own problems…

… and this is where I lose folks who’ve never dealt with severe depression: I’m trying to be supportive.

Trying? you may ask. You either ARE supportive, or you are NOT. There is no TRY.

Thank you, Yoda.

If you’ve been depressed, read anything about depression, or have a shred of common sense, you know (on some level) depression is an internal struggle. There’s a reason I referred to it as an ego trip of sorts. Depression turns your thoughts inward and self-destructive. At its worst, it can take self-absorption to dangerous lows. Self pity, helplessness, self loathing, despair… I could go on and on – but I won’t – for your sake.

My aim is not to make YOU depressed. I want you to understand. Short of that (which isn’t realistic anyway), I’d like you to know where I am when I say I’m trying. Every day takes some effort. Sometimes it feels harder to get out of bed when I’m depressed than when chemotherapy was trying to kill cancer before it killed me. I constantly fight my mind’s (mostly) unconscious push to think the worst, overlook the positive, and focus on the negative. I struggle against a desire to isolate myself all day at work by seeking people out. I make my own signs of self worth by putting smiles on other people’s faces (or trying anyway). Then I come home and try to do at least as much for the ones who mean the most to me: my family. This still takes a toll – I’m often physically and emotionally exhausted. But it’s better than the alternative: the isolated, lonely, and hopeless downward spiral of profound depression.

So I’m trying to be supportive. I’m trying to see opportunity in change. I love Cheryl and I know I’m lucky we found each other, but I wish I didn’t have to try to be the kind of person I wish I was – that I know she deserves.

However, just wishing something were true rarely makes it so.

So I try.

2 Comments

  1. Oh the fake it till you make it approach. Yep, I’ve done that. I’m actually in a great place right now mentally and making a point of finding reasons to stay there. (Hope it works !)

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