I think I need to be depressed.
Like most people, there are some things that I learn right away, and others that I seem incapable of learning no matter how many times I slam into their circumstances. One of the things I need to really keep in mind, always, is that if I’m happy the alarm klaxons are about to sound. Or they should. Because shortly thereafter, something is going to trigger the floodgates and I’ll descend to a very deep state of depression.
I think I need to be depressed. But not as some psychological facet of self-loathing (necessarily); instead, it seems to be a needed physiological condition.
The brain is basically an electro-chemical processing plant, and like any such machine, it can’t operate properly if it doesn’t have the right raw materials fed into it. Which is why we take Prozac when depressed, Valium when anxious, and maybe alcohol when both. “Happy” seems to be the state the brain is in when all the chemicals are there in the right amount; so far as I know, no one has to take any medication when they’re feeling happy (except maybe more alcohol).
In my case, “happy” is pretty rare, but it seems to be a brain-state which is incorrectly wired; for most people it’s a state of balance, but in my case, it triggers when the store of some chemical reaches a critical low. Depression apparently allows the brain to continue operating while I accumulate enough of that chemical to resume a normal state. A “normal state” for me is depression anyway, but there are depths and variations to any emotion—from “vaguely” to “profoundly.” (“Depression” is like “food”—there’s a lot of different kinds, some better than others.)
Last Wednesday and Thursday should have set off the alarms. I got a lot of very nice feedback on my long-winded anime piece, a nice note from a friend on a forum, some work stuff cleared up, and I noticed that my drawing skills were getting much better.
I was pretty happy about all that.
Bad move. Later that night is when depression hit me with its full strength. It’s still around, but I’m getting used to the feeling so it’s not quite as “bad” as it first was. All I can think of, is what I fool I was for not seeing it coming. Yes, that’s right: my mutant power is being able to predict when I’ll be really, really depressed. I tend to ignore my power when it triggers.
Happiness is a nice feeling, I won’t deny that. Even the founding fathers thought highly enough of it that its pursuit was considered one of the cornerstones of liberty. But I’m just not wired for it. I need to recognize that and act on it; I’m tired, very tired of these dramatic plunges. The thng about happiness is that it feels good. It’s an emotion that exists on a non-sentient level. The conscious mind recognizes this (on some level it doesn’t allow itself to see) and doesn’t really want to examine the state for fear of bursting the bubble prematurely. So we just bathe in it and, in my case, slip on the tiles and crack my head on the sink. But before that, it feels really, really good. But then, so does alcohol, and we know where too much of that leads.
Somehow, though, I’ve got to seize happiness when it appears and look at it rationally. Not let it take over the system and crash the brain out. Perhaps it’s possible to enjoy it, a bit, but I have to be ready to burn it to the ground. On a moment’s notice.
I should be downgrading the current storm in a couple of days or so, and we’ll resume a more normal level of posting here—minus all the self-pity.
Well, minus some of the self-pity, anyway. Where’s the fun in blogging if you can’t indulge yourself? As always, thanks for visiting.
dear blogger, I stumbled upon your website entirely by mistake. However, I am empathetic to your plight. I too suffered from depression and seemed destined to be so. However, I have found relief from the misery by thinking about things that are true, honest, just, pure, lovely and anything opposing to anxiety. When I have a thought that comes to me that makes me anxious I refuse to dwell on it. I capture the thought and make it subject to me, so I won’t be subject to it. I have had to really look at my life and circumstances and realize what I can and cannot do – work diligently on the things I can and appoint someone to do the things I cannot. Worry, I have found, is like a rocking chair – it gives you something to do, but you don’t go anywhere. Worry and anxiety led me into my depression. Thanks be to God that I am healed from it. No more doctor visits, cousel session, and pills to obey. I hope that since you have written this you have found relief. If you haven’t, I encourage you that help can be found. I would be more than happy to discuss in further detail my journey out of my black hole. Hopeful with you towards recovery ~ LaBetha
That’s a beautiful comment, and I thank you for your insights. Depression will be my eternal muse, I fear, but I know how to keep it in perspective (to the best degree I know).
Of course, my motto is “I dread everything at once, it saves time sorting them…” So I don’t have the grasp that you do on thought processes. With discipline that may come, maybe, but depression, like any emotional state isn’t subject to logic and superior thinking–it has to be tackled on its own terms.