I’m pretty tired of writing about depression. I really am. I’d like to be back to working on my parenting relationship, or my primary relationship with my fiance. But, alas, the depression requires some serious consideration and management.
My depression is directly related to my creative output as well. When I’m writing and playing music is when my life is in the best condition, as in Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. When I’m actualized I’m creating and living on the same frequency. When the depression strikes the first thing to go is the creativity. I get quiet. And suddenly my creative expression, perhaps part of what keeps me on an even keel, is the first thing to go. I’m left mute and isolated, even from myself. It’s not a pretty picture. Let’s take a look at how the creativity and depression on interdependent.
Part of the creative spirit is the ability to suspend disbelief and doubt. A huge part of depression, for me, is giving in to the doubt and fear associated with creative projects. When I hit a moment of doubt in depression I am immediately taking back to survival mode, reptilian brain and all that stuff. The only thing that matters at that point is food, shelter, and rest. All of my extracurricular activities not only take a nose dive, but they become minor panic inducing worry about future planned events.
Case in point, I play an annual music festival here in town with my band. When the doubt struck this year, I was ready to jettison everything. There was no “point” in playing the gig, in fact, the mere idea of it caused me to hyperventilate. I was so freaked out at the next band practice, that I’m certain the guys thought I was on drugs. The problem was, I was not yet back on the drugs that might help me moderate the panic and anxiety. I was going cold turkey and failing.
So as cliché as the term bipolar is, that’s a bit what this looks like. You get so depressed that you want to head towards the bottom of the ocean, or at least the bottom of your bed, under the covers. And when I come out of it, and the creative energies are once again brought back online, I want to lean into the excitement and “muse” and let the mojo flow. Isn’t that understandable? Is this bipolar, or just mood swings? Is there a difference?
It’s not hard for me to see the link between my creative process and the depression that causes everything to fall away. Survival becomes my modus operandi. It’s a sad state of affairs. And I can create a lot of drama just by shutting my mouth for days at a time. I don’t want to tell you about. I don’t really want to tell my therapist about it. I’m so frustrated by having been dropped to my knees again, that I’d rather stay at home and be alone. But aloneness is not the solution, nor is it a very good place for me to be.
It seems to be that part of my strategy for dealing with the eventual low again is to really grok the idea that it ALWAYS abates. I always come back to where I am today. It’s the loss of hope, the hope that I with EVER be happy again, that cuts the legs out from underneath me. Even when I’m feeling strong and have had months or years between slips, the next one is just a complication away.
In deciding to blog/journal about this process for me, I am attempting to put the brakes on the next slip before it happens. Or when I start feeling the LOW again, that I can begin here, with the affirmation that I DO come out, and I WILL come out sooner if I allow just a bit of HOPE to creep in. It’s the hope that’s almost impossible to find, as if my hope blood cells had all been drained away.
I commit to writing through the next LOW in the hopes that I can prevent the damage I just experienced. Sure, 90% of that damage and drama was in my own mind, but my lulls are not without effect on others. I think I have a pretty good handle on things. I think I’ve been working my recovery pretty hard these days, but as this depression showed, I am never completely free of the potential for depression. Much like an alcoholic might have a propensity towards wanting to drink 5 rather than one margarita, I tend to dip down through five layers of normal sadness into something that looks very little like the person who is writing this post today.
Let’s do this together. I’d love to hear from you if you’ve suffered from depression. Sure, my most recent bouts were triggered by my divorce, but it’s a lifelong journey for me. I can drink. I can stop drinking. But I’m not sure how good I am at getting sad and not turning on the sadness fire hose at the first sign of things going off.
[In future posts I will examine how this life of struggle may have affected my kids and what I will be watching for as they move beyond high school and jr. high school.]
The Off Parent
This post continues here: Collaborative Divorce My Ass!
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- The Painful Business of Divorce
- Your Contempt for Me is Hurting All of Us
- The Humans Of Divorce, Dear AG’s Office Special Cases Officer Mr. McK!
- And Just As We Reach A Calm Moment
- What I Still Fail to Understand About My Ex-wife
- When Kids, Money, and Divorce Collide
- Trusting Your Unreliable Ex
image: this banana is a freak out, creative commons usage
I get it. It’s hard to find the time to date. Even when you have opportunities, and willing partners, sometimes it’s just more of a hassle than going on your own. Let me share an example about my evening, tonight.
I’m invited to a cool house party for a musician friend who’s going to perform. And I sort of have two potential “dates” for the evening, but… I’m not calling either one. What? Hard to get closer, hard to find another lover, if we’re always going by ourselves. Let’s examine.
My first choice would be the second “woman with potential” who has been renamed “the muse.” After three months of courting, on all available “every other Saturday nights” we never even shared a sexual kiss. It’s okay. But having an aspirational relationship is one thing. Being in a relationship with someone who’s not that interested in going further, is another. And after her three-week vacation up East, she’s been too busy to get together. Best to let that sleeping muse rest quietly in her own world. She was happy and self-sufficient before I came into the picture, and she’ll be fine with or without me. She’s still aspirational, but on an artistic plane, rather than relationship one. Okay.
My second choice would mark a fourth date with a woman from OK Cupid. She’s cute enough and smart enough. And we’ve hinted around sexual discussions enough to know that an opening could be available for that. But… She’s not who I’m looking for. And I guess she’s knows it. My several “wanna have lunch” texts, which were really about having lunch, have gone unanswered. I guess she senses the heat is on or I’d be more active.
There’s even a third woman who came on pretty strong on OK Cupid and has since then gone dark. I just opened the site to see what she’s up to and she’s apparently blocked me or dropped off the site. Okay.
So, I could call one of the first two women. And make plans to have a drink and some food before the show. And get a little contact time with either of these lovely women. BUT, it’s easier to not call them and go to the show alone. Maybe there will be a nice woman there to chat up. (grin)
So in the slice of time that is available outside of being a single parent, and doing our work, there is some space for another person. But the more you get into the alone time the harder it is to work to fill it with opportunities. So the time goes along, and we’re alone, and it’s okay.
I’m pretty sure this is the story with the Muse. She’s not had a long-term relationship for years and years. And her sixteen year old daughter needs her. But even she said, “I might be using her to keep from making time available to be in a relationship.” And the bigger tell was when she returned from a three-week hiatus and hasn’t really made any effort to connect. Then again, neither have I.
I write the love poems to soothe myself. I improve my fitness to make myself feel better about myself. And I am readying the live band show in two weeks to bring my full creative potency back into fruition.
And when she shows up it won’t have to be WORK. There will be negotiations to find the slice of available time to be together, but it will be an effort in mutual attraction.
The Off Parent
< back to On Dating Again index
- Casual Sex. What? I Have No Experience with This…
- The Honey Trap: How Beauty Can Lead Us Astray
- Burn the Maps!
- Little Turnoffs: On a First Date with a Woman
- The Divorce Library (reading list)
- Songs of Divorce (free listening library – youtube sourced songs)
- Laugh It Off (building a resource library of funny videos and other diversions)
- Facebook (follow us on Facebook and keep up with all the conversations)
- The 5 Love Languages (a book on love styles by Gary Chapman)