According to the screening I went through at the doctor’s yesterday, I’m precisely 60% less depressed than I was six months ago.
Despite the fact that the test struck me as about as valid as one published in Family Circle about 1985, I will say for the record that I am indeed in a lot better shape than I was last fall. I no longer burst into tears at oddly inappropriate moments, I spend a lot less time just staring at the TV looking for motivation to do something, and I seldom feel the urge to break things unless I’m driving behind some dumb ass on I-40. I think I’ve generally become a much more tolerable person all the way around–more positive and less caustic (unless..ahem…it’s really justified)–and am probably much more pleasant to be around.
I’ve done a good job of starting to concentrate on my future rather than my past, which has always been a problem for me, and I’m much more adventurous and experimental than I’ve been in a long time…food and music being good examples.
I still can hold a good grudge (hell, the Coors boycott probably ended fifteen or twenty years ago and I still won’t touch the stuff) but at least I develop them less frequently now. And at least I usually recognize which ones are silly and irrational now, even if I won’t always let them go.
My therapist/counsellor/whatever seems happy with my progress. Her only sticking point is that she really wants me to move toward romantic involvement again. And I just don’t want to. Hear me out; I have rational reasons.
I spent more than half my adult life as a solo act and I ultimately grew quite happy with that state of affairs. No one was more surprised than I was when I suddenly and seriously coupled thirteen years ago. It was uncharted territory for me; I was actually a rather independent sort and was quite proud of that fact. And all that changed really fast. In retrospect, I’m shocked at how much it changed and how quickly I was willing to give up a lot of that independence and how much of my individuality flew out the window in the process. When I look back now, it seems to me that I just got really lazy. being independent and making decisions on your own takes work and on some level I used my relationship as an excuse to take a long vacation from that work. I spent a lot of time really resenting the fact that just as I had to start taking responsibility for my own life again, I also had to assume responsibility for my parents’ lives. And it’s taken some time to get back into the swing if it.
Ultimately, I think I like myself better as a single person. I suspect most of my friends do too. This is not a reflection on anyone else but just a recognition of my own weaknesses. Or strengths. Or both. Coupling involves–by definition–losing some of one’s individuality. There’s no way to avoid it; some decisions have to be made based on the needs of unit rather than of either individual. When one or more partners are no longer willing to do that, the relationship ends. Since I’m just rediscovering who I am, I’m not really ready to give up any of that control right now. Having someone to curl up with every night is not worth giving up things I really love like traveling alone and never fucking having to celebrate Christmas again. The positives do not currently outweigh the negatives for me.
That may change. Or it may not. Frankly, there’s not a huge contingent of people around these parts who fetishize chubby middle-aged librarians so there’s no major pressure to commit right now anyway.
I’ve been depressed for years; all the shit over the past few years in my life did not “cause” it. My mom was profoundly depressed for most of her life so I was pretty much at risk right from the womb. Stupid heredity. Yes, having my whole world implode on me in a matter of months did bring a lot of it to the forefront, but that eventually made me do something about it too. Like many other things in my life that have sucked, this was just one more part of the equation that adds up to me. And I still kind of like myself.
Now, back to planning my big birthday trip for August and my two upcoming long weekend. If you’re nice, I’ll let you come along–but only virtually.
And no more navel-gazing for a while, I promise…