Sunday, November 14, 2010

Letting go, and getting better

“Every man must look after his own soul; you can’t lay it down at another man’s door like a foundling, and expect him to take care of it."
--Anna Sewell, Black Beauty

I'm feeling better these days. I'm not jumping for joy or skipping down the street, but I am feeling gradually better. Life is manageable. It has plenty of challenges and ordeals to endure, and there are countless things I could probably complain at length about. But life is too short, and we only get one shot at it. And more than that, I really don't feel the need to complain as much as I used to.

I have spent a lot of my life, especially the last few years, being angry or depressed. Some say that depression is rage turned inwards, and I think that makes sense. I have raged against the world, against myself, against others. I have spent so much time finding reasons to look down on everyone around me, as well as myself. And then I've been angry that, surprisingly enough, people don't seem to want to spend much time around me meeting my emotional needs.

I am still a work in progress. But I think at the root of a lot of my frustration has been the fact that I've wanted to find other people to fill some gap, something missing inside myself. Humans are social creatures, and we crave human contact. And where the line between healthy need and unhealthy need is, I am not sure. But I have definitely spent a lot of time on the unhealthy side of the line. And what I needed, other people were not capable of giving. In hindsight, I think they recognized that, and moved away accordingly.

But I think there has been some shift within me. It has probably been caused by a number of different things. Part of it is probably diet and exercise, and forcing myself to get involved in more social activities. Part of it is writing this blog, and reading about the struggles of others who have been through similar things, especially Takashi. Mental illness is not something that one can openly talk about with a lot of people, and finding something of an online community of people who know what it is like helps.

And I am gradually moving closer to being okay with myself. I am caring a lot less about other people's opinions. I think I'm done walking on eggshells.

I am gradually feeling more confident in life, more accepting of my flaws and limitations. And I am able to see the flaws in others now, not as a reason to condemn them or look down on them, but just as part of their humanity. I think we are all as good as we are capable of being at any given time, getting by as best we can.


  1. It's wonderful you have been able to make this transition.

  2. Great post. I especially like what you say in that last paragraph. People are people, capable of both great and terrible things.

  3. I feel bad that I haven't stopped by in a while! I could have SWORN I was a follower of your blog - but I see that I'm not (no wonder I wasn't stopping by - I stop by the blogs I follow and therefore know when new posts are up) - so I will make sure to "follow" your blog before I leave your site!

    I've been reading the wonderful and supportive comments that you've left for Takashi - you really have great advice - and just in reading this post it seems like you have come a long way in dealing with your depression - reading your post feels like I was reading about myself - it's definitely getting better - and I could certainly complain more - but I try to focus on the progress and to stay positive...I look forward to reading more posts now that I'll KNOW about them!!!! (duh!)


    P.S. LOVE the quote!!!

  4. I'm glad you're feeling better! :) I'm also glad to know reading my blog helps - I consider it a true blessing to have you as a reader of my blog. You've saved me many times with your wonderful and supportive advice and comments. I see a man of incredible wisdom, courage and kindness through your writing. I don't know how I can ever thank you enough for what you have done for me. Hey, I got some great news today and wrote about it. Please check it out when you can. Hope all is well with you! :)

  5. "Some say that depression is rage turned inwards" -

    I've never really thought about that, but it makes perfect sense. Following that out to its conclusion, it would seem that a cure for depression would be to turn your rage outwards and focus it on something.

  6. Hello all, thanks for dropping by. It is good to be slowly on the mend.

    Suzie : Thanks - I hope the transition to a healthier state of mind is a permanent one! I've been around this merry-go-round three times now, and I really want to get off the damned thing for good!

    CID - Yep, people are people, and they are going to do what they're going to do. Very slowly I am learning that what we make of that is up to us.

    Christine - Thanks for coming by, commenting and following! I know what you mean about seeing oneself in other people's blog posts, especially in terms of the isolation and pain that can both cause and be caused by depression. Knowing that we are not alone in what we are going through is a great help.

    Takashi - No worries, anytime. I'm been glad to read that you are slowly getting yourself sorted out too. It is a long road, but it is possible to make it. It just takes a lot of time and endurance to get through all the pain, loneliness, and challenges that life throws our way.

    Anonymous - There is something to be said for turning the rage outwards onto some deserving target. And while I am still pretty angry about many things, I think it is gradually starting to dissipate. It is not being replaced by apathy, but slowly something is happening. I think I'm learning to channel my energies in slightly more productive ways. It is a very slow process, and I think it will take years to play out. I'm very curious what I'll be like in a year or two. I'm not sure, but I think I will be a lot more functional as a person, probably a lot more functional than I have ever been.

  7. I really enjoyed this post. It takes so much energy to be angry. And in the end what does the anger bring you....possibly more anger and frustration. I don't know. But it is awesome to know you are feeling on the mend and overcoming the many hurdles depression brings. I always believe that you have to use the hand you were dealt to the best of your abilities. Anyhow, I am glad to know your finding some relief.

  8. In the Pink - I know what you're saying. I remember a quote to the effect that "hating someone is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die", and sometimes being angry is the same way. On the other hand, sometimes anger can motivate us to get out and do things that we wouldn't have had the motivation to do otherwise.