Today’s post and tomorrow’s post are companion pieces
Depression is a selfish disease. It’s not that those of us who do our best to manage depression intend to be selfish — the selfishness is a by-product of the warped thought processes that often accompany the condition.
(I suppose the same could be said of addiction. I am not an addict, but addiction is in my gene pool. If depression doesn’t fit you or anyone in your life, perhaps you can read this as depression=addiction.)
When you’re tender-hearted, and, due to Circumstances, vulnerable to insult in even the most mundane situations, it’s exceedingly easy to retreat into the self. And once you’re trained inward, what is there but… you?
The advice for this situation, a cure offered, or so I’ve read multiple times over the years, is to do something for others. Do something for someone who is in need, preferably someone who is worse off than you. Keep yourself Busy, doing something Productive.
I simultaneously concur with and loathe this advice. I support doing things for others as a way to get outside of oneself, at least partially, and at least for as long as it takes to finish the task. I loathe this advice because it implies you can deed away your depression — that if you fulfill enough acts, the depression won’t be there anymore. And that’s simply not true.
Secondary to the depression that’s come to me partially through biology and partially through Circumstance are the Coping Mechanisms that have crafted themselves, subconsciously yet elegantly. One of the most insidious of mine is Lost Time: dissociating myself from a situation because it’s simply too difficult to Be There.
For me, it’s imagining I’m Anywhere but Here at the time of insult — mentally distancing myself from the offending person and/or situation so that it hurts less. While a mental flight doesn’t take as long as a physical one, the costs are, arguably, greater.
Over the last fifteen years, I have lost a considerable amount of time. I have lost time, and others have lost my time. I don’t know what it feels like from the outside, but from the inside, it feels horrible. It feels like missed coffee with friends. It feels like college classes, failed. It feels like family outings, minus one. Holes, not at all equally spaced.
A Swiss cheese life.
The header photo for today’s post is from Wildflower + Co.