I've not been attentive in the Blogger world- barely there in the Etsyverse either. The Black Dog has had me this past two weeks, growling in the pit of my stomach. I won't gloss over it or shrug it off as 'nothing really', because depression is horribly over-looked and under-played in society. We don't talk about it, we don't share that we have it...even myself being an open person I often find myself saying 'I was unwell' to my friends, rather than the truth.
What is it that we try to hide? Do we worry people will think us crazy, or dramatic? Do we worry they must look at us and think 'God- just cheer up, get over it.'? Do we fear people we know and love will shy away from us, thinking we've turned suicidal (or homicidal) because we're not in our right minds?
Whatever we think, regardless of whether we want to think it, we hide ourselves. And that does no service to ourselves or others. No service in that we don't talk to people who care about us, and no service to those we might share with and learn of their problems. Most of us go around thinking we're the only ones suffering, when people we know close to us might be going through something very similar, and are fighting (or suppressing) it alone, perhaps with less skills than ourselves.
In the midst of the past two weeks, I've felt my identity crumbling. A deep period of re-assessment is upon me, where alot of old layers are being peeled away, and the rot cut out. There are dead branches within me that starve the soul for spirit- I need to cut them away so I can devote all my energy to being the real me.
This blog is a lily in a muddy pond- just scrolling through it reminds me who I am and what I do- and that I love it. Art is wholly and solely a part of me, not just an element of business. Everything I do and see and hear and feel is filtered through an artist's mind. It's a blessing and a curse, but as my neurologist asked me today during my epilepsy re-assessment, 'would you have it any other way?'
And I said no.
In his television show The Secret Life of the Manic Depressive, Stephen Fry asked himself would he take medication if he had the opportunity, or did he feel that what was 'wrong' with him was such a part of who he was that the change would be creatively unwelcome? He concluded (as far as my memory goes) that he would rather stay as he is. All through my problems I've refused medication, and Stephen helped me see why. Who I am, how I see, what I make in the studio is all a part of my soul. If I were to 'dose up', what might I lose?
Thankfully I don't feel I actually need medication. My depression isn't too debilitating most of the time I've been very lucky in that I've been able to set up a lifestyle where by I can avoid those things that trigger my problems, and keep myself fairly 'sane' (if there is any such thing). If I had to deal with the work-a-day world I'd definitely need medication! But I'm not part of the real world, I never have and I never will be.
I have made a pact with myself from this day on that when I want to say 'I have depression' - I will say it. I won't pretend I had a cold, or was just madly busy. I will tell people I have depression and occasionally the darker episodes keep me from caring about anything but eating sleeping and watching TV, that sometimes getting out of bed can seem as pointless as going there in the first place, that leaving the house is just too much to think about. I won't reel it off to every stranger who needs a reason, but to those who know and love me, it's important they know the truth.