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Friday, August 15, 2014

An Unmarked Road

     When I realized I had depression, which wasn't until a therapist "labeled" me, I was surprised. 

     "Doesn't everyone feel bummed out about life?"

I asked this of the first counselor I paid to listen. Her response surprised me again.

     "Not to the level that you do."

25 years later I remain skeptical with that answer. At the time I asked a follow up question.

     "How do you know?"

She gave me statistics for several minutes, but it never really satisfied my question.

     How does anyone KNOW the common state of the human mind?

Back then I couldn't argue with the learned woman, I avoided lengthy discussions about mental health. I wasn't overly fond of communicating about anything. Two decades and a half later, I am in a profession that puts me up close and personal with lots of people, so today I'd challenge her opinion. After all, that's what it was, her opinion. From my perspective humans are in varying states of awareness on any given day and that colors who would or wouldn't acknowledge the sadness quotient of their lives. Wide awake people tend to shout their ups and downs. I haven't met a one who hasn't had a thing or two to say about the depth of their valleys. Of those, all would have gotten the big D label. Which leaves individuals living in a state of have to lists. The people who's mantra is, "You live and then you die, in between it's just a grueling ordeal."  I'm gonna guess they wouldn't walk out of a therapist's office without a tattoo as well. Sprinkled in that mix are those who talk about happiness in thrilled whispers. 

     "Oh god my husband just got a raise, my kids are amazing, we're going to Bali, we have the perfect house, car, friends, bank account."

Ask them a pertinent question about the world at large and the answer ranges from, "I don't know", to "I don't care". I'm not stating everyone awaits a depression diagnosis. I'm pondering whether or not a label generates more than segregation from the "happy" collective. At 29 getting the big D moniker made me feel more isolated than I already felt, which is saying a lot. What brought me from "out there" to active participant in the global tribe is an unmarked road.
     I tried the traditional route of medication to treat my slide into a a long black hole. It took the darkness and made it grey, which at the time was a productive start. Adding talk therapy gave me a place to vent and introduced coping strategies on difficult days. But big D turned into little d with an asterisk when I went for non-traditional or untried approaches. Untried is assumed since some of the odd experiences are so utterly preposterous I can't imagine anyone else went through the same doors. However, the world is quite large, with a mammoth population, so perhaps I haven't met the others as yet.
     I went to a shaman, had my aura read, did a cleanse with disastrous results (you have been warned), had several somato-emotional releases through CranioSacral Therapy (it works, take my word for it), talked to ghosts, expunged misguided energies wreaking havoc, drummed healing, cleared past life traumas, purged dysfunctional relationships (which may not sound strange but it was),conversed with a voice in my head, done several soul retrievals (I think more of my parts are still out there to get), been surgically maimed, had ridiculous experiences with a dresser, a mutilated duck, a mouse, an exploding Buddha, several dogs, an eagle and had to noodle through a window the size of a postage stamp with a very large ass. 
     I'm sure I have missed a few of the party games, but you get the point. I walked the road I found, not the one laid out by well meaning and caring know-it-alls. This journey is written down in the book I'm writing so as not to forget each and every turn I took getting to neutral. Which is where I am with little d* depression. Neutral is the best place for me to be with a world and mind that from time to time gets mayhem filled. 
     There is darkness to be sure. The fact I notice means there is also light. The neutral space in the middle experiences both and on a clear day I see forever.

      Yeah, a head bob to Barbra Streisand and that movie.


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