It’s been forever since I posted on this blog of mine, but it’s the more appropriate place, as compared to my Librarianhats spot, for what I want to share. It’s personal and this is my more personal virtual place.
Both last night and this morning, I posted status updates on my Facebook page that revealed my current state of sadness. Most of my friends, being of the same ilk when it comes to our values and our politics, understandably believed that I was expressing what many of us have been expressing, i.e. sadness over the state of our country, anxiety and fears over new leadership, general unrest and violence throughout the world. I’d be much less than truthful if I didn’t say that I am saddened by all of those things, deeply so, but I’m also depressed.
I have clinical depression. I was diagnosed several years back, though no doubt have lived with it for a long time. I shared with a friend how much I wish that there was a 12-step support group where the only requirement for membership is a desire to not be depressed. I can (and have) abstained from different substances and behaviors out of a desire to do so, but sadly, one just isn’t able to abstain from depression. It just seems to hang around, sometimes further away than others, but it’s always there. A cloud. A visible and tangible cloud.
One of the most maddening things, to me, about depression and/or any mental health condition is that even if you are the most knowledgeable and accepting person regarding the realities of mental illness, and that you understand and believe that clinical depression is as real and as debilitating as a broken bone or a the flu, you still find yourself constantly repeating, “Get over it! Get up! Get moving! It’s all in your head!” It is in my head, of course, but not make-believe. And even working within a health care environment, I don’t call in sick for sadness. We don’t do it. I don’t do it. It’s the world that we’ve created and the world that we live in.
I just wanted to share this in case others feel more than sad right now, because there are always others who feel more than sad. And this is a really hard time in our society to be more than sad, less because of certain individuals, but because we live in a time and place where empathy and compassion do seem on the wane. There are dozens of theories as to why and maybe if we look with a larger lens, we can see that we’ve been in such places before, but regardless, it’s always most difficult when one is in the midst of things. And we are in the midst of something.
I also wanted to say that on my way into work this morning, I stopped off at my local art museum to sign up for a class – a Christmas present from my wife, Lynn. It starts in a couple of weeks. If you, like me, are more than sad, seek out the help that you need from doctors and therapists, but in addition consider making art. Make art, make music, draw a blue chicken. Make your world better through creating something. It really does help.