IX - Much Better - Depression Has Been My Middle Name
Depression has been my Middle Name throughout much of my Adult Life. Fortunately – since 2017 – I’ve not felt it coming into my being – beyond odd moments – which have left me relatively soon thereafter.
I’m no expert about what depression is, what causes it, or most anything else about it – beyond how it has affected me and how wonderful it has been to not have to struggle with it recently.
Depression for me has always been a painful aloneness – when I’ve questioned much of my value – and been thoroughly uncomfortable. While I’ve never been, nor felt suicidal when depressed, I have questioned – whether life is valuable or potentially good during the worst of my depressions.
My first conscious memories of depression are at age 18, when away starting my regular university study. During my childhood, undoubtedly, I was also depressed for significant period of time. Life as a child was lonely. Having insecure attachment with my parents – and feeling – Alone – without emotional support certainly helped me beginning – of Depression.
When away at college – I lived for months on end – alternating my days – between – being among other people – trying to fit in (and failing miserably), and staying alone – apart – not trying to be with anyone beyond what I absolutely had to.
I remember – sitting alone in Gordon Commons, the dining hall for the SouthEast Dorms at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. A fellow first year student, who I’d seen previously, sat down at my table. I didn’t say a word to her, nor she to me. I was a little freaked out several months later, when I learned that she’d recently married an older student, she’d evidently met after we were “together” – they obviously not having been in relationship for more than a few weeks, at best.
The Aloneness – had been a key part of my life in general, most noticeable – when I was significantly depressed.
Another – part – piece – related to my depression has been living in my head – in a world of “rationality” – with no spirit or heart – tied with being in a huge hurry – always, not being capable of “being with(in) myself”.
I remember – when traveling in New England just prior to the beginning of my second Men’s Conference. A man, who unfortunately has since passed away, tried to build at least minimal connection, chatting over tea at his house. I thought then that it was clearly obvious what should be going on – we should be moving forward into our foci on various men’s issues. He was there – inviting me into a common world of connection – and I was clueless as to how to – just be, to appreciate time with another caring man.
Until recently – I’ve been in spaces – focused on – rushing ahead – not being in a space – of connection, caring – even at a “low” level – of potentially sharing music, poetry, discussion of a movie or really anything beyond Politics or Sports – in a very routinized way.
Depression for me is a combination of Aloneness (extreme emotional isolation), together with a Deep Pain/Hurt – that is far beyond Momentary.
Therapy – has not been much of an anti-dote – for Depression! It has helped me – cope with hitting bottom – stabilizing me in my discomfort. Underneath it – therapists – have failed me – being seemingly stuck – outside – staying with me – as I rationally explain – my situation – while not realizing a piece of my – emotional being – without connecting with me at all – related to the important parts of who I really am.
Have I failed as the patient or client, have individual therapists failed, or has it been a combination of the two? The only way I can respond seriously to that question is to state that Only my last Therapist A, a Fellow Aspie, who treated me when we both knew that I was an Aspie, has been successful – incredibly successful – in helping me – understand myself. She’s had three advantages:
1.) I’ve not been in a state of depression throughout my treatment with her,
2.) I’ve been in an amazing (for me) period of deep emotional growth during my entire time she treated me, and
3.) Us both being Aspies.
Underneath it all, I think – guess only – that both A is an amazing therapist, with an incredible heart, and that we both were lucky to feel connected as we did. It was a process – of a “relationship” – we had a (professional) relationship – that was well beyond the Norm.
What is puzzling to me related to the therapeutic relationships is how not a single therapist in individual and couple’s therapy ever – brought up the issue – or mentioned that I might be Autistic. A new psychiatrist, inaccurately, and potentially very destructively told that he could say with 100% certainty that I am Not Autistic! (I hope that he is a rarity in his willingness to have the audacity to say almost anything has 100% certainty, beyond the obvious (e.g. we are currently in the same room when two people are alone – together in such an obvious situation.) Only my life partner – who was the one – who “exposed” – this obvious fact – reached me nearly three years ago so effectively –
How could so many therapists – dealing with my various depressive states and relationship difficulties – never detect such a key part of my being?
The only answer to this I have is that as a “minority” – with a potentially “invisible identity” – Neurotypical Therapists – don’t, in general, understand enough to question – to help us find this most important part of our identities, as Neurodiverse People.
I question – if most people – have a Curiosity – a General Curiosity – that take them perhaps “outside of themselves” – to the point whether they can pick up things that don’t fit regularly into their – “head based” education and essence. This is only a guess?
If this is true, what does it take, to have such a Curiosity? Does one need to be a significantly impacted outsider? Even some of them – no doubt are isolated emotionally – so that they can’t expand their visions beyond the walls surrounding their emotional being.
Depression is scary! Beyond the dangers, that it can lead to suicide, it can be extremely hurtful to many of us! It can keep us imprisoned – alone – totally incapacitated in numerous ways. Situational Depression – e.g. – an imprisoned individual – feels trapped in the prison – emotionally alone - can be horrible. Being stuck – in general – within a terribly intense, narrow – depression – for me, one lasting a good five years or so, is a huge waste of human potential. Well beyond that, it is and was simply very painful!
I will stop – now – continuing this part of my journey – perhaps in the future.