Thursday, April 1, 2010
I'm just an April Fool.
There aren't too many funny things about depression; it's more a matter of irony. On the brightest, sunniest day depression can hit like a hammer blow to the head. "I don't deserve to enjoy such a gorgeous day. -- or -- Why can't I get my shit out of bed to at least open the curtains?" To me, these ironies prove that depression is caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain. How else to explain how one can feel darkly blue when the rest of the world is overjoyed? Granted, there have been plenty of times when circumstances forced me get moving when I would rather have folded up and disappeared. The end result is usually positive. I've taken medicine for anxiety/depression since a few years after I married in 1983. Spouse and I lived with each other for a year and a half before I was able to say I would marry him. Even then, if it hadn't been for his near deportation, we might still be living in sin. I wasn't interested in getting married although I was hopelessly attracted to Spouse. Three previous engagements had made me skittish and incredibly grateful that I'd not married any one of the guys! After breaking with the last one, I decided I was happier being solitary. I did what I wanted, when I wanted and how I wanted -- no interference. I'm still fine in my own company. Only one of my cousins, who is the same way, gets it. He had a long, passionate marriage with a woman whom he credits with saving him from himself. He was a wild young man and she introduced him to a life that was fun as well as stable and fulfilling. Tragically, she recently died following a long, uncredibly courageous battle against cancer. I think the shared trauma and dashed hopes during that brought them even closer together. To many people's surprise, my cousin is doing well on his own. He's in his mid-6os so he could enjoy another marriage if he was interested. He adopted a stray dog who simply adores him and sticks to him like a magnet. His Kindle is a constant companion whether he's in the back yard, or sitting in his favorite chair in the room he and his wife remodeled shortly before her death. Surviving a Dickensian childhood and Vietnam, I don't think anything can hurt him anymore. He freely admits that his late wife grounded him and helped to heal his soul. My childhood was idyllic in comparison. I grew up surrounded by family in a small, safe Chicago suburb with excellent schools, a church I felt connected to and the best beach on Lake Michigan! We kids were free to roam all over town without any thought of danger other than losing a shoe in the ravine's quicksand or frostbite from staying out too long in winter. Our dog roamed with us; sans leash. I so wish that today's young kids could enjoy the same freedoms and security. But I digress . . . Chemistry was strong between us the first time Spouse and I saw each other. Maybe you've heard of the lightning bolt of love. Well, there was that and more! We couldn't keep our eyes off each other and, in very short order, couldn't stand to be apart. With any new relationship, there's a period of adjustment. Ours was horrendous!! Even though I was completely infatuated, I was reluctant to give up my freedom. Truth be told, I dreaded sharing my apartment with anyone else and hated the idea of having to check with anyone before making plans or a decision. I'd owned a car for only five years and was all about spontaneity and adventuring. That quickly fizzled because Spouse doesn't have a spontaneous bone in his body! The more I learned about Spouse and his childhood in the Middleast, the more I realized how fantastic mine had been in comparison. I was never deliberately humiliated or abused by teachers or forced to publicly celebrate the birthday of a tyrannical leader. Secret police never came to my house when I failed to report to work after working 72 hours straight. My naivete took a flying leap. It would be untrue to say I pity Spouse. I feel his pain and try to take his mind off of it when it surfaces. However, I've come to accept that even non-practicing Muslims may forgive but they never forget. We've debated the futility of revenge too many times and he still feels the need of it even for events 50 years ago! He carries painful memories that I worry are affecting his health. It's crazy because we're both worried about each other's health which is, of course, unhealthy. [did that make any sense?] So -- here I sit at my computer, waiting for someone to fix the leak under our kitchen sink and typing my sad saga on an unbelievable gorgeous, fresh, Spring afternoon. I should be out enjoying it and taking pictures in my beloved D.C. The will just isn't there. Maybe my PCP is right that I should find a therapist. Maybe there's a drug or answers to subconscious concerns that could turn my life around. If only I knew how to kick-start myself . . . Music! That's what I need. I'll go put on some jazzy Gershwin or raggin' Motown. That should get my mojo goin'! Hope y'all are out enjoying this magnificent April Fool's Day!