Start of a New Conversation
In a funk again. Probably one of the best things for me to do is just start, so I'm just going to start writing without worrying how shitty this turns out or where this goes.
2017 is on the loom, and as I look back on 2016, I see that much has changed and remained the same.
- Gave up my apartment and sold most of my things to live out of suitcase for all of 2016
- Met new friends throughout my travels to Santa Fe, NM, New York, NY, Turkey, Lebanon, and San Diego, CA
- Increased the number of photographs I've added to my image library
- Improved skills as portraitist
- Consistent in my Myesore practice
- Changed hair color several times: currently purple
- Made commitment to photography as my vocation
- Read many books
- Decided my home base would be Manhattan--yeah, that’s changing everyday
- Fell in love with love several times
- Consumed and experimented with larger quantities of alcohol and life accessories
- Gained/ lost weight
What’s the same:
· Remnants of an eating disorder remain
· Inability to get my shit together and pick a career
· Fear of being vulnerable in a relationship—hence the non-committal approach to dating
· Frustration with this curse I seem to have been born with in my head called depression
· Doubt as to what my next move ought to be
· Indecision, fear, doubt, etc. Those all still co-exist inside
· The ADD that’s running through my head
· Psychiatrist and psychologist practitioners. Longest bout of same health care practitioners in my life.
· Respect for yoga
So there are some good and bad things on each list, but the things that stick out to me most are the things that have remained the same. It makes me wonder after 33 years, will I ever get my shit together? I thought that by getting an MBA at a top-10 school and getting a job at one of the most competitive management consulting firms I’d prove to myself that I have my shit together. But, I was totally wrong. That whole long episode of proving to myself that I could do it just dove me one step closer to suicide. Yeah, shit gets a little dark in my head. In 2015, I took a leave of absence from Deloitte after having a quasi melt-down. This one crazy psychiatrist, who I’m pretty sure was hopped up on benzos diagnosed me with bi-polar depression. This scared the shit out of me, since this was not the first time I had heard this from a psychiatrist. (But don’t worry, two other psychiatrists and three other psychologists diagnosed me otherwise with depression, not bi-polar, so I think depression wins 5-2.) I basically gave Dr. Druggy the finger and walked out of that office determined to find another health care practitioner who had his/her shit together and would actually help me. That’s when I found Dr. Brown. After a few meetings, he diagnosed me not with bi-polar but with severe depression. No big surprise there since I was first diagnosed with depression when I was 23. But the intensity of depression episodes has increased.
Now I’ve gotten criticism from others, including some of my own family members, telling me that it’s all in my head, telling me that I’m just being dramatic, overly emotional, or that I’m just in a funk with my head, and I've been told to just snap out of it. I can't blame them too much since I've told myself these things at one point-- that depression is just a form of self-pity, laziness and narcissism that could be overcome with mental fortitude. So for years, I hosed myself with self-help books and religion, trying to intellectualize and rationalize myself out of depression. But after having an intimate relationship with depression for 10+ years, I am done with trying to fix myself. No, this is not a suicide letter. This is a declaration of independence from the self-help aisle of nauseating cheerleading of positive crap, of promises of change and happiness so as to make everyone on Facebook and Instagram envy my life, or the need to lie to everyone that I'm super confident, happy, rational, comfortable in my skin, and know that I am worth more than what's in my bank account. I'm relinquishing golden handcuffs of perfection for honesty, embracing my fears, screw-ups, shit-sandwiches, and messiness.
So instead of wishing and praying for Depression and Anxiety to leave me once and for all, I’m going to focus on having an honest conversation with the two of them during 2017. Here is a public declaration of commitment to getting to know Depression and Anxiety—
Dear Depression & Anxiety,
We've known each other for a long time, but we've been fighting for so long that I'm not even sure why we started fighting. I'd like to call a detente. I'm not saying we have to become besties or say that this detente will last forever, but I would like for us to be civil with one another perhaps for a day or two.
I am fully open to hearing what you both have to say, even if it hurts. I promise to give you all the space to talk, to cry, to eat, to laugh and perhaps even to sleep. This space is dedicated for you to share your thoughts whenever, however you want. No more fighting, just conversing. What do you think?