Disclaimer: This is going to be a much more personal entry than normal. Just to get down some recent thoughts and revelations that I've had. I've read people talking about blogs as subject-focused, about building them almost like products. But this thing is a record, a mosaic, and a journal. So here we go.
On and off depression is the one thing I still really feel like is holding me back and don't like about myself. Part of the reason I stayed single (even became single in the first place) was to address this issue. I've resisted taking medication since I went cold turkey in February of 2005. For the seven years prior to that, I had been on a daily cocktail of Tegretol (a mood stabilizer), Risperdal (an anti-psychotic), Effexor XR (an anti-depressant) and Adderall (ADHD med/legalized extended release cocaine). It was a non-trivial cocktail. I may take up a light antidepressant until I can learn to keep myself in the upswing without it. But this post is less about that and more about celebrating continuing to become mentally and emotionally healthier and making it as far as I have.
Let's start with that last part. The meds I used to be on were *not* an accident and though I didn't love the experience they had their use. I demonstrated many of the precursors for Bipolar Disorder and the primary reason I was on the meds was to curb the likelihood of my brain ingraining the sort of patterns that can only be fought by regular Lithium intake later. I have a close blood relative who has suffered from Schizophrenia and another who received 33 shock treatments over the course of a bad episode. I think we can safely say that things have panned out so far. I've been medication free for 7 years and all indications are that the meds steered me away from forming some pretty deep canyons for the chemicals in my brain to run through.
In addition to that, and please believe this still sounds slightly ridiculous to me, I'm a survivor. I've actually been through a lot of shit and even when I acknowledge that I don't really tend to give myself credit for pushing beyond it. Granted, I had a lot of help. I've been surrounded by a lot of tolerant, patient people that saw through the problems and helped buy me time to work through them. One thing in particular that I've forgotten about is just how much my biological father fucked with me when I was younger. (Not my Dad, John, whom I regularly miss and dearly love.) Here are some examples:
* When I was 2, my father left me on the sidewalk outside our condo and went to work for the day. A neighbor found me at or on my way to the Bohler Road MARTA bus stop and brought me home. This, perhaps unsurprisingly, prompted a divorce.
* When I was 3, he told me that Mom wanted a girl, not a boy. I was rather passive aggressive when I got home.
* When I was 5, I said to Mom, "Terry is emotionally unavailable to me, isn't he?". Frankly, I still find this a little hard to believe, precocious though I was.
* When I was ~8, I remember riding back from the liquor store in his Toyota Celica with some wine and him opening it and having me pour some into a cup for him. Classy.
I was also molested by a step-brother (Terry was unaware of this), suffered through a bit of military school in Boonville, Missouri where I was one of the smallest and youngest children, and probably some other stuff. So it wasn't easy. I spent the first 18 or 19 years of my life not feeling safe, not trusting myself to connect with society or the world. When you get burned so much, why bother? But I came around. I'm remarkably functional, even warm. I *like* people. That's kind of a fucking miracle. And there is some strength in me to get to where I am today. It's something worth respecting and I'd do well to remind myself of that once in a while.
Tonight, I'm taking the opportunity to remember that with my blend of genetics and chemistry I could've wound up a total sociopath or just a non-functional, drug dependent nutter. I want to get healthier still and become an even more fully realized version of myself that isn't as prone to bouts of low energy that I coast through. So I'll figure it out and fix it. And I'll achieve.