The problem with blogging about your life is knowing where to draw the line. It seems there should be a line, but where to draw it? Do you draw it when you believe that others might be angered? Do you draw it to protect the privacy of others even when you expose the details of your own life?
Do you sugarcoat when you should not, because you're afraid?
There's the question. And, of course, the follow up question: what do you fear?
But before I say anything else, the perfect evening in Syracuse, New York (for Anne):
part one (or, gloriousness, experienced):
Once upon a time, back when I was still married (and, it turns out, clueless), my husband and I spent a lot of time in Syracuse. We had friends there, we liked going there, and there was a festival we liked to go to in the summer, so we would often travel there.
In the summer of 2005, we drove to Syracuse. I remember it clearly (driving out, singing "What it Takes" along with the radio and dancing in the car) and stayed at the Mark. One warm, glorious summer evening, we went into Armory Square and got drinks at the Blue Tusk. We sat outside, where I could see the Soundgarden (a fabulous music store) and talked. It was one of those nights where you discuss everything and nothing. It was warm and beautiful -- the sun was setting over the buildings to my back, so the street was illuminated with twilight; it was also illuminated with luminaria, as unbeknownst to me, there was some sort of Armory Square fabulousness going on. All of the stores put luminaria out, and about two blocks away from us, there was a concert involving local opera singers.
So there we were: my then husband. Me. Streets full of flickering luminaria. And then, wafting through the evening -- Verdi. A glass of Pinot Grigio (okay, maybe more than one glass). Conversation. Harmony. The lowering purple night.
I remember thinking, this may be the most perfect moment I have ever experienced.
If you had told me then that, a year later, I would be in the same seat but desperately trying to save my marriage, I would not only have called you a liar, I would have punched you as hard as I could. But that is, perhaps, a story for another day.
part two (or, why I haven't blogged in weeks):
It's hard to be diagnosed with depression and then to tell people what's wrong with you, because they often want to tell you that it's an overused diagnosis, that we as a society are overmedicated, that shit happens and you need to get over it.
So you don't say anything, and you let them wonder. Or you DO say something and then face judgement and speculation.
For the record: I was diagnosed in 2004 (I think) but I already knew that something was not right and had NEVER been right, but I was afraid to say anything because I knew that people would have things to say that I didn't necessarily want to hear. The only reason I said anything to my doctor was this: I was afraid of what would happen if I didn't get help; the fear of that was greater than the fear of what would happen if I had to tell people I had a problem.
I think it should be noted that there is a difference between depressing ("Dustin Pedroia will be on the DL for HOW long? Man that's depressing") and depressed ("I think I would like to stay here in this dark room for many many days, seriously considering how much better off everyone would be if I were not here"). If you do not deal with depression, I don't think you understand it, and it's easy to write it off or to make it a joke (a family member: "I'm glad you're crazy and not me."), but it's not funny, and it shouldn't be written off.
The doctor prescribed medication. I took it with gratitude. It helped, though it was weird. (When you know you're on meds, it makes your experiences suspect. Does this REALLY make me happy? Are things REALLY okay? Can I trust my perceptions? Could I not trust them before? DAMN, but it's a good thing this is an antianxiety drug!!!)
Then I was getting divorced -- which was hard and sucky, plus my health insurance was suddenly canceled (which, to be fair, I don't think my ex did on purpose) -- it's NOT a good idea to go off meds like, say, Lexapro, cold turkey. FYI, it can jack up your heart rhythym, and you could die. I obviously did not die, but I didn't feel well. Also, driving off a bridge on the way home from work sometimes seemed like an okay idea. (Again, I didn't. But it was only because I had a group of very concerned friends keeping very close tabs.)
I never got back on a program. Mostly I do okay. Sometimes, not so much. Lately, things have been hard for a number of reasons that I don't want to get into right now. But I have fought through them, and I will keep fighting, and I refuse to give up. (Which is what happens when you have depression AND are STUBBORN and pigheaded.)
I have been inspired by Casey at Moosh in Indy (http://mooshinindy.com/) to be honest and to share what I've got going on in the hopes that maybe -- just possibly -- it will help someone else. I didn't blog because I didn't know what to say and because I was afraid. Fear? Useless. Helps no one. Honesty? Might give people hope.
I will no longer let fear keep me silent.
And? I hope to have many more perfect evenings.