Tuesday, May 23, 2017

depressed

I've often framed my issues as being something other than depression, and in part, that's because I think the term is too vague to be useful.  I think another component to my wariness of the term might be that I've suffered clinical organic depression, my entire life.  I suspect, the result of losing my pituitary, a symptom of this being that my entire childhood and ensuing development was established through the distorting influence of mental illness.

It's unusual for little kids to be clinically depressed.  Unless they've had to endure severe trauma, or have something wrong neurologically, kids tend to be quite energetic, motivated, optimistic and cheerful.  Even healthy adults look at them, wishing they could feel that way again.  You can see the same thing in other animal species, and even plants.  Youth generally provides a huge advantage, not only in physical health, recovery, and resilience, but mental health, as well.

When things go critically wrong that young though, it can go downhill from there.  It can inhibit the ability to recover from even the normal wear and tear of life, let alone anything more serious going wrong.  I often don't even think of myself as depressed, because I've been coping for so long.  It's all I know.  It's easy to mistake coping mechanisms for the real problem, because they've actually worked.

I've learned to overcome some symptoms of depression, but not others.  It's probably the reason I'm alive.  Hiding in my apartment might not help me attain self-actualization, independence, social connectivity or well-being, but it helps stave off a lot of the internal torment I've had a lifetime to figure out how to deal with, and enjoy myself, in spite of.

Some of this, certainly less than ideal.  Coping by not doing anything, not thinking about anything, not facing anything - obviously, those coping mechanisms are a huge problem.  A person has to face the trials and tribulations of life, not hide from them..  If only I had no idea what happens when I'm not coping.  If the severity of the underlying problem is misunderstood, obscured by how well I've learned to manage it.

It is conceivable that to some degree, my coping strategies have persisted well beyond their usefulness, but they're also deeply entrenched in who I am, pervading my transition from each moment to the next.  It's become the only way I know how to live.

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