I’ve spent a great deal of time lately trying to figure out why I’m struggling with depression and have been for a few years. I’ve been trying to tease out the unraveling threads, to figure out what the factors are in what feels, at times, like I’m losing my mind. I’m not suicidal by any means, but I am alarmed at how I would rather spend all my time inside, preferably in bed, sleeping my life away. The problem is growing, not going away.
I’ve tried anti-depressants and I don’t like how they make me feel. Everyone says that though, so I’ll be specific. I don’t like the narrow range of emotions they allow. I don’t like how they shut down my sexual drive, which has always been iffy to begin with. I don’t like how they keep me from having orgasms. I mean, as few and far between as they are due to how often I even want to have sex, I certainly don’t want to waste my time when it happens (and there’s something in that sentence to be explored, but that’s for another time). I don’t like feeling like I need a pill to want to get out of bed and face life. I don’t like that feeling at all.
So I’ve tried following the threads back to when I feel like the unraveling started. I think it started when Jasmine died, and at first, it felt like a much-needed loosening, rather than coming apart. And I was writing. A lot. Almost daily, and certainly weekly. Mostly journaling, but I was also writing stories. I felt creatively alive. I was spiritually active, despite feeling something of a blow when Jasmine died. I was building a coven, building on what was truly a strengthening time in the Midwest. Our family unit was pretty tight, though I was beginning to be disillusioned by broken promises. I was pretty focused on health, working with a trainer in 2004 and continuing regular gym and home workouts. That was much of 2004 and 2005.
I went to witchcamp in 2005 with a friend. Many of you know this story and I’m not going to rehash the details, but if what came before was a loosening, camp began to pull things apart. I had started working with Dionysos prior to camp, which means I had began to develop a close and personal relationship with wine. I watched someone else’s marriage disintegrate due to serious dishonesty and a very badly executed attempt at polyamory and decided to practice radical honesty within my own. At first that seemed like a good idea, but I can see now that this is part of what brought me to the insane Gordian knot I face now. That same set of circumstances also led to the end of my coven, and for a very long time, an end to my active practice as a Witch. I was disillusioned by a community that not only seemed unable to see this person’s dishonesty (and/or hold her and her partners responsible for it), but that seemed intent on rewarding it. I became more of a seeker, trying to find a place where I again felt connected and safe. Physically, I continued to be in pretty good shape, staying active and eating well. The bulk of this time is closely chronicled here on LiveJournal, in fact, and I continued to be prolific both in journaling and writing fiction, non-fiction and poetry.
Somewhere between 2006 and 2009 things really started to slip away. The fabric wouldn’t hold. I split with Jeff twice. I really tried to end my marriage and just … couldn’t. I had some major revelations about my sexuality, coming to terms with my attraction to women and very nearly making a major mistake, not because of the fact that I would have left my marriage for a woman, but because of who that woman was (and was not). I had my first prescription for Xanax and LexaPro in 2007. LexaPro didn’t work, so I switched to Prozac, which I continued to take on and off all the way up through this year. I spent 2006 getting in the best shape of my life, but then I quit going to the gym and though I tried to stay active at home, that pretty much faded by early 2008. I stopped journaling regularly in this time. Facebook became an easy way to feel like I was still in contact with my community, even though we no longer shared stories about ourselves and our lives. Instead we share(d) soundbites. I continued to write stories up until I graduated in 2008. I continued to journal, albeit not super regularly, until right about the same time. In fact, I think I stopped journaling regularly when I ended things with Louise (though exactly who ended that is sort of up for debate). I stopped writing, in fact, when I made the biggest break with Jeff and got my own apartment. And I had no spiritual home.
My foray into independence was short-lived. I think there were three major factors: money, fear and a broken heart. At the end of my lease, Jeff and I moved into my parents’ house in Big River/Parker and my period of exile began in January 2010. My marriage was shaky (and still is, in many ways). I had huge questions about my sexuality (and still do). And once I was “home,” where drinking is a daily event, I entered a period of what was almost certainly alcoholism. My aim, the entire time I was in Parker, was to get the hell out. And I didn’t write, hardly ever. For all of 2010, I made 28 entries in this blog. Other than the papers I wrote for grad school and some stuff I did at work, I did no other writing. And though I wanted to restart a spiritual practice, it just didn’t happen. No community and Parker, well, Parker doesn’t feed this green-earth-girl’s soul. I was sick, literally, for the first six months or so I was there. I lost weight and “looked good” according to locals, but I knew it wasn’t really good, that it was not because I was taking care of myself. I began to plan to move to Portland and applied to grad school.
So 2011. Things were going great and I had secured going to Portland when my dad died unexpectedly in April. I did not write as I had with Jasmine. I still haven’t, not really. I pushed forward with my plans to move two months later. And I love Portland, I do, but here I am, spending weekends sitting in my apartment. I am very out of shape and am having a hard time motivating myself to change that. My eating is … sporadic and mostly not good. And though I am starting to get a grip on my drinking, it is still far from moderate. I am trying to find a spiritual community but I’ve crippled myself with being so out-of-shape and reclusive. As much as I love it here, I am struggling with deep depression, family issues (my mom is much further off the deep end than I am), self-esteem issues and loneliness.
And I have, as I said, been introverting, as I will in times like this, to try to figure out why. Part of it is definitely not writing. Part of it is being out of shape. And part of it is my sexuality and marital issues. I feel like if I could dig out of the stupid depression and get to the point of having the motivation to work out and see a counselor, it would help. One thing that’s for sure, I really don’t want to go back to taking pills. I wish I had a really good friend close by who’d been through this, someone to hang with who would say, “Hey, it’s okay and let’s go to the park and knit for awhile,” or “Hey, I’d kind of like to get in shape too, let’s come up with a plan to make it happen.” Until that happens, I am going to try to start with the one thing I feel like I can do, which is journal here. I may not always share them, but I will at least try to get back to pulling things out of my brain, much like Dumbledore with the damned pensieve, which is a fabulous metaphor for the power of journaling if ever I’ve seen one…