This is going to be a tactical entry… maybe even a long-range planning brainstorming session. For what it is worth, I feel comfortable with my ability in my Algebra class, leading me to wonder if I need a slower pace to keep up, since on the 2nd go ‘round, the stuff comes easier to me. Or perhaps, I need to simply work harder than I have been. That idea of hard work and all the effects that are associated to it, encapsulated by a new phrase, “Embrace the suck” (used by the military), has always had a particularly keen resonance with me. It also plays no small part in why I would rather be in my neo-Quixotic pursuit alone than partnered with someone who is looking for what is “owed” them by life.
State ended up winning the Big Ten Championship by beating the Ohio State Buckeyes, and you KNOW that I was extremely happy. But the thing that added to my enjoyment and savoring of the win was the way my co-workers and club members showed their appreciation for my happiness! That is something that had heretofore been unique to only my blogging persona and the friends I have made out here. While it was in a sense a new experience for me, indirectly I have prepared for how I would respond to such moments, by making a practice of being gracious and appreciative in ALL things, so that when something major happens, I am going to be prepared for the situation. And that is how I was able to deal with my latest bout of depression.
As one of the expected by-products of my condition, dealing with depression has been one of the most privately held issues that I have had to cope with in blogging. In many ways, depression spurred me to begin blogging, as I am self-described as a social introvert. Nebraska can certainly attest to my disdain for company, and I would think that the lack of mentions of her or Princess would confirm that I am not sitting around pining away for another person to share my space with. So loneliness is something that I feel has been “solved for”, and that it was not a source of what I felt for the past few weeks.
The victory by the Spartans undoubtedly did more for me than anyone else could in my quadrant of the human galaxy. See, the game represented the kinds of things that I expect of myself and of others who would be a part of my life, winning and being victorious in a memorable fashion. Meritocracy does still matter and triumphs, but you have to believe in your methodology and be strong enough to see things through to their conclusion.
LIVING IN THAT MOMENT
I was thinking of how I began to withdraw from social contact and one of the driving forces was the inability of other people to “see things” in the world. Not as I see them, but their inability to look through the superficial layer of systems and draw their own conclusions. That should be understandable, as I am nothing if not a mixer and (ab)user of metaphors and that hopefully hints at my willingness for a deeper understanding of my existence. Given how much I have been influenced by the books I have read, some of which discussed “the purpose of things”, both in the concrete and the abstract, this admission would should not be surprising. Though most of those who have continued to read my journal do understand this trait of mine, IRL, a lot of what I hope is expressed through my patois unfortunately gets “lost in the wash”.
When I find myself twisting in the existential angst that is my bouts of depression, I wonder about what it would be like if there was “a someone who was that someone” for me to call upon. Usually, I summarily dismiss the idea and it usually brings about the end of my descent. See, I understand that depression is a condition that is unique to those afflicted with it and for people to deny it place as a disease (lookin’ at YOU Scientologists!!) simply are ignorant of facts. Depression has been observed in animals and while there are those who do make a crutch of the word, it is not something that is merely “a feeling based on chemicals” that can be corrected by a constant change in attitude. That is the type of bias that leads people to think that homosexuality is a curable disease and hold fast the fears of miscegenation. But in many communities, depression is still seen as a disease that afflicts only people in a certain socio-economic class, and people who display certain characteristics and chief among them is an inability to deal with “first-world problems”. Still, it is ignorance of the highest level to say that depression is nothing more than a person seeking attention. In fact, it could be ignorance that makes depression such a scourge… as I was saying, there are elements in some social communities where depression is seen at best, as a weakness and at worst, is greeted with denial.
“Nature shows that with the growth of intelligence comes increased capacity for pain, and it is only with the highest degree of intelligence that suffering reaches its supreme point.” Arthur Schopenhauer
While I substitute “awareness” for intelligence (because that further ingrains the bias toward the disease), I don’t think it is surprising that in self-aware animals that depression can be seen. There has to be a greater sense of one’s place to appreciate the depths of hopelessness that one experiences… even when THERE IS NO REASON TO FEEL THAT WAY.
To wit: Anyone who feels that they know me is aware of how I identify with Michigan State, and with the basketball team beating Kentucky to start the season and the football team winning the Big Ten Championship over Ohio State, I was feeling objectively and demonstrably “good”. I was more than good, the victories made me “happy”. But even with the good feelings that the victories represented to me, “the black dog” still took up residence in my life.
I grew up with great admiration for Winston Churchill and his leadership of England in the second World War. Reading about him and discovering that he suffered from depression only increased his esteem in my thoughts. That is where I took the term “the black dog” to describe those moments where I was really sad as a teen. But I never used the term “depression” to describe those states because I was still too much of myself and not overcome by the black dog. In fact, the black dog itself was merely a caricature of what it has become… from a small, gruff-looking mongrel, to a huge and ominous creature. It would be after I lost my job in Southfield and was struggling with getting to my feet in the “provincial town I once jogged ‘round” that I sought help… and even that decision was providential.
...BECAUSE THAT IS THE KIND OF STUFF THAT HAPPENS TO OTHER PEOPLE…
Even while I am not religious, I cannot find any other word to describe how I have felt about my life other than “blessed”. It connotes all of the reasons why I feel the way I do about living, the depth of emotions that wells up, and that it isn’t something that I just thought about since my diagnosis.
When I say that I “love my life”, I mean it as completely as that phrase can be understood. In fact, a small corner in my mind is reserved for a tragic end, not because I am a fatalist, but because I feel that I am living on “extra time”. My life has already contained more fun and opportunity that two of most other people, and while I do feel a small twinge of guilt for not making more of it, the fact remains that this existence was given to ME, to make of it what I will. So for all those other roads that wind and bend in the Nexus of Realities that would have led me to glory and universal acclaim, later for that stuff! Because those other roads could have led me into a world of sulfur and brimstone (or I should have just said Del Ray and left things at that!!) and that is the point… there are no assurances that I would have had THIS LIFE…
I have three beautiful daughters, two who do talk and visit, one of whom makes it a point to keep me in her life. There are MILLIONS of cats who can’t say that and it it isn’t a matter of pride with which I announce this with. It is just the way things played out, with everyone playing their part and making the best choices they could. Those decisions by me and my co-parents, led everyone to where we are now… and the future is yet to be written and sent to the copy editor for final revisions. And while I am chronically broke, the steps that I feel that I should take to alleviate that mild hardship is viable and in visual range. Just a dot, but I can see it!
Every day is the two quarters that Coach Gaines presages in his speech. And after those two quarters… that’s it. And as for me being alone and my relationships that had their high moments but eventually crashed and burned? Well, it was about not what I wanted or even they may have wanted… but it was the perception that our relationship would never be honest, that there would always be something held back, kept in reserve…
… and I would never be able to look the person who was doing that and professing to have deep feelings for me at the same time. I would rather fall alone than to be with someone who knowingly kept themselves from being present when the moment called them to account. And since that is one of the agents that fuel depression, trust me when I say that is one that has been solved for...