Last Tuesday, my boyfriend called me out on some shit. His exact word’s:
“You’ve been incredibly irritable for weeks and you’re not sleeping – I think you’re depressed.”
He hit the nail on the head. The funny thing – it had never crossed my mind – the LPC who has dealt with depression for the better part of 2 decades.
Last August, I had my first cancer scare at 31. That incident preceded a major mindset shift for me. For the first time in my life, I fully knew I wanted to live. Suicidal ideations have always come and gone with my depressive states. Quite frankly, I’ve spent a lot of my life not wanting to live just not having the guts to do anything about it.
All of a sudden, life wasn’t guaranteed. I saw this disease growing in me as the physical manifestation of a lifetime of holding other’s trauma as my own. And I wanted to live.
I wanted to live for myself. At that point I decided I deserved a life that wasn’t all spent in despair.
While things haven’t been a walk in the park the past 8 months. It’s been better than most years of my life. I’ve invested a lot of energy in taking care of myself Including:
– working with a personal trainer,
– quitting cigarettes,
– adding a supplement regiment,
– quitting hormonal birth control,
– removing inflammation causing foods from my diet
& taking daily walks
Basic psychology teaches us that each of these changes acts as protective factor against depression. I am literally doing ALL THE THINGS we tell people to do to protect their mental health. Never in my life have I this consistently been attuned to the needs of my vessel and my spirit.
In other realms, my business has taken off this year (thanks in many ways to COVID and the new acceptance for teleservices and coaching). My relationship is doing well. Objectively my life is on track in a way it hasn’t been in years.
So why am I again struggling to find the motivation to get out of bed each day? Waking up has returned to feeling like a punishment. Days stretch out an amorphous blob of anhedonia (inability to feel pleasure).
I can identify the prompting event – Winter Storm Uri Feb 15 – 19. The swath of devastation in my state was unprecedented. The amount of preventable human suffering (and death) that occurred solely due to greed. The protection of corporate interests at the cost of lives. While I was lucky not to suffer physical damage to my property, the soul damage of living through this event has been deep.
After a year of COVID, I view our country as the disgrace of the developed world. But I still had pride in my state. Until this incident I could hold the dialectic of my personal political beliefs and the southern values I was raised in. Things weren’t right, but they weren’t so wrong that I couldn’t function within the system.
I can’t any longer. I’m no longer willing to. What I’ve watched over the last year is the average American has taken many steps down on Maslow’s hierarchy, on Hertz Scale of Consciousness, and on almost all measures of basic quality of life.
The system is designed to keep the many down at the benefit of the few. At no time in history has it been more apparent than now. In 2020 billionaires became richer while the average family stood in food lines. The current distribution of wealth more closely resembles that of feudal Europe now that an any time in my or my parent’s life. It already worsened with every passing year before the exponential effects of a global pandemic.
So why am I depressed? I think the better question is – who’s not right now?
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