The Freedom and the Folly

I realized it had been a few weeks since I posted.

I want to talk openly about what has been going on.  I am going to ask first though that you check this definition for dysthymia.

Now that you’ve done that let me explain why.  About eighteen months ago I was formally diagnosed with dysthymia and bouts of what is known as double depression.  This means that along with the dysthymia I would suffer with times of deep depressive episodes.  Sounds like fun right?

If you read my partner’s blog: lovelifepractice.com you’ll know what’s coming next.  If you don’t then I will tell you.  A couple of months ago my therapist removed the diagnosis of dysthymia. This means that after nearly a decade possibly two from what we can tell I am no longer suffering my depression on a constant basis. You dear reader are sitting there thinking “how wonderful” I suspect.

Yes, it is wonderful. It is also scary as hell.  I essentially have to navigate what it feels like to be happy.  A feeling I am not at all used to.  If you suffer from depression you understand extremes in emotions.  It is a very uncomfortable feeling to go along in a day a experience what I would describe as an emotional plateau. I have to remind myself that this is “normal” non-depressive feelings.  That the extreme emotions I was feeling before had to do with my old neural pathways.  That, in reality, the other shoe is not about to drop.

That is the freedom, really, it is. What is the folly?  That comes from also remembering that I have a chronic illness. The dysthymia may have been removed from my diagnosis but I still battle with depression.  I probably always will.  That the old neural pathways are always going to be there and that I have to train my mind to follow the new ones.  I had to remind myself and my partner that there will probably still be bad days.  Admittedly, we are better equipped to deal with them now.  That helps. I wish I could tell the people that love me and that have been on this journey with me that it is over.  I can’t but what I can do is remember to say “THANK YOU”  and I love you.  I know it is not always easy to love me or understand.  To my partner,Gray, I love you more everyday, more than I ever thought possible.  Thank you for your strength, your bravery, and your compassion.

To the rest of you, please keep fighting for yourself and those whom you love.  It can be a dark and tiresome journey but it is definitely worth it.

The Discomfort of Happiness

I was leaving my therapist’s office last week and looked me in the eye and told me how wonderful it was to see me smile.  It was not long before this that my partner Gray said similar.  I have to tell you that both times I became uncomfortable.

You have to understand.  I have “dealt” with my depression for a very long time.  I didn’t get help or treatment for at least twenty years.  I just lived with it.  I don’t really even notice if I am not smiling so sometimes I am surprised to hear that it is rare.

I am curious if anyone else out there experiences that?  Do you go through your day not realizing that you are not smiling.  I am also curious if those of you working through your clinical depression ever feel woozy when your happy? I have this sneaking suspicion that I am not alone.  If you have spent years depressed then those moments of true happiness can be unsettling.  Understand, I do not mean that they are bad.

Imagine having spent your life on an emotional roller coaster, mostly on the downslope.  I had not realized how accustomed I had become to drama. (No, we are going to call them theatrics)  I am not beating myself up by saying this, at the time I didn’t know any differently.  I now find that the quiet moments of peace and joy feel awkward.  It’s as if something is horribly wrong yet I’m happy. Sigh. Writing that out makes me shake my head.

I guess I bring this up because I am lucky to have a loving patient partner.  I know it is frustrating to have everything going well and have me sort of bristle.  I am working on it.  I have years of neural pathways to overcome.  I just want to tell all of those out there loving and supporting and yes, swallowing a good deal of frustration, Thank you. THANK YOU! We love you and we know it must be so hard sometimes.

I Need Your Help

Over the last 12+ months I have been coming to terms with and learning to live with clinical depression and social anxiety.  I have also become passionate about finding ways to get people to talk about mental illness openly and getting rid of the stigma that is attached to these illnesses.

Why do I need your help?  That is more difficult, at least for me.  Asking for help doesn’t come easily.  What I need from all of you is your ear and if you can your voice.  I want to take you all on the journey with me through my healing and my learning and my teaching.

I want you to be my sounding board and I want your thoughts and opinions as I try to find bigger and better ways to communicate and get others to start communicating.  It is time for all of us to start talking and being honest in our daily lives, our kink lives and the way we negotiate.

I am not asking for anything I won’t do.  I am going to be opening myself and my journey up to all of you in the hope that someone may find some strength in it.