Becky Says...

February 2005

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Continuation - February 22

A year ago tonight I told you about a journey I was on, that had begun about a year earlier. Last month, because he outed the situation himself (it was his to tell first, not mine), I told you that my friend and journey companion is Patrick. The journey continues to be a source of much learning, much exploring, and much work, and to be both exhilarating and exhausting. As I said last year, it is one of the most worthwhile things I've ever done. Oh, and in some of its moments, it's uproariously funny. I could not have a better companion.

Along the same lines of self-exploration, I have gotten involved in a private forum at a favorite message board. A post I made there last weekend is something I'd like to let those of you who know me here in on, because it goes along with the notion of being more open, and because it and other parts of being open might help someone else feel free to tell a lifestory like it, as Patrick's telling of his helped me feel freer to tell mine.

The post follows. It was made in response to a question asked, that included thoughts on whether or not those of us responding to it thought depression was cyclical and whether we were good at banking emotional capital to help ourselves. Many respondents also included things that had worked to help them. And the term, "mercurial," came from a conversation with another dear friend who has shared much of my journey.

I definitely believe depression is cyclical. In my case, the cycles seem to have an added mercurial quality, in that sometimes I get past the depressive episode fairly quickly, and sometimes I slide down into one and don't feel the slide happening, though I'm getting somewhat better at that recognition. The cycle reminds me of a well-worn ring, with ridges and pits and then the shiny surface again. Actually, more the matte finish of "normal."

Mine is a situational depression. And for the last fifteen or twenty years of my life, there have been a metric buttload of situations to deal with. It took me the longest damned time to quit denying being depressed. That complicated the situations, of course, and I regret that denial probably more than anything else in my life.

One thing that has been very good for me is admitting this all in public. I am old enough to remember well when any semblance of imperfect mental health was hidden under layers of embarrassment and fear of social consequences. And yes, I recognize the influence of that in my own denial.

Although I'm a fairly strong person, I'm not very good at banking emotional capital. I wish I were. I'm sometimes able to catch myself sliding and do my own version of "I'm good enough, I'm smart enough..." to make my failure demon shut up. I do try to pay attention to myself, and remember how a happier Becky would handle whatever is going on. But sometimes that's hard. Very, very hard.

I majored in psychology in college, and have kept up with it, though I didn't go on to pursue it as a career. Because I know a lot of the tricks of the trade, I tend to fight therapy. I have tried it, but don't know if I'll go that route again. I do often talk things out with friends who both know me and know depression, and that usually helps. I find tremendous comfort in knowing that someone understands and doesn't either recoil in horror or tell me to get over it.

And that ended the part of my post that doesn't deal with anyone else's privacy.

Good days and bad ones, heavy times and times of pure, utter delight, are all part of this life of mine. They all are part of the cycle. They are part of the journey.

The journey continues.

Text © copyright 2000-2005 Becky