Adventures in Divorce

I always wondered why people who murdered their spouses didn't just get a divorce.... I now understand why

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Location: Nap Town, Indie-anne-ahhhhhh!, United States

No, I'm not a prophetess. Cassandra, according to Greek mythology, spurned the advances of the Greek god Apollo and her gift of prophecy was cursed so that her predictions would never be believed. Such is my life. I tend not to think like most people, which is a gift... but also a curse. So step into my mind, take off your shoes and stay for awhile... you're always welcome, loved ones.

July 29, 2008

Extraordinarily Human

(originally posted Saturday, December 30, 2006)

"Illnesses of mood distort and magnify what is human; they do not destroy it." -- Elliot Pearlman, Seven Types of Ambiguity

My friends who know me well are aware that I've had almost a lifelong struggle with clinical depression. I don't broadcast it to the general public, but it's not a state secret, either. Part of the reason for that is because I believe that there needs to be more awareness of mental health issues such as these, and that depression should not be stigmatized as a weakness of character, but rather a health condition just like diabetes or high blood pressure.... something that merely must be dealt with and treated, not ignored and swept under the rug. Because trying to be "strong" and pretending that nothing is wrong has consequences not only to the individual dealing with the issue, but everyone else around them.

Nature and Nurture are very powerful influences, but the combination creates ironclad habits and behaviors that are damn near impossible to break. The reason that I can firmly say that my depression is clinical is because damn near all my family members deal with it-- mom, grandma, siblings, uncle.... we all deal with it to some degree. But because people don't acknowldege that this is not normal, not healthy, it is the sort of thing that becomes normal, so that all the behaviors and symptoms just become what is taught to the next generation. I attribute most of my social anxiety to my mom (yea, it's always mom's fault.... I'm bracing myself for that). I can only think of one friend that my mom had over the years, and that was our next door neighbor that moved away when I was 6. Nobody ever came over to our house to visit; mom never had shopping outings with girlfriends. I never learned how to interact with people. So take that compounded with the chemical anxiety and depression, and you've got the recipe for one messed up chica. I now have to fight through those feelings of wanting to retreat and run away.... but I don't know how so I have to make it up as I go along. But [The Ex] is always telling me about some social faux pas that I've committed that tends to come off as rude and aloof, and I honestly am not trying to be such.

Sometimes I feel angry and frustrated and defeated..... tired of being "not normal" and just wanting to be comfortable in my skin and around others and not be the social freak that I feel like most of the time. I know a small level of social anxiety is normal (oddly, though, I don't have that much problem with public speaking.... I smashed that fear long ago), but, like the quote above, I feel that this has been maginfied in me. And it's big and heavy. And sometimes I just get tired.

**********

FOLLOW UP COMMENTARY:

At the time I wrote that post, I had resigned myself to accept the fact that my depression was 95% chemical and that life factors were not playing that great of a role. After all, I had the "perfect" life...... marriage to a man who was crazy about me, 2 gorgeous well behaved kids, the "dream job" that every lawyer (who didn't know any better) wanted, a house, a dog, and all those other things that were outward signs of success. What did I have to be depressed about? Yet I was sad, anxious, depressed, and medicated to the hilt just so I could function.

Recently, however, and thankfully due to circumstances beyond my control (or else I wouldn't have done it otherwise), I've had to stop taking my "meds". I saw this coming so I gradually stepped down my dosages (PSA Note: Never EVER stop antidepressants cold turkey. That is a dangerous no no. And really it should be supervised by a doctor) and I discovered that, huh, I'm ok. Better than ok. For the first time in a LONG time, I feel like me. My silly nature has returned, I'm able write more, I'm able to interact with people easier and life just feels BETTER. I was conversing with The Ex the other day and he was expressing how he was worried about me with regards to this issue, and I had to cut him off and let him know that no, I don't need those meds anymore. *Pause* Him: "Oh, so you get rid of me and you're not depressed anymore?" Me: "Basically." He then made a snide comment about how a male friend of mine(who he assumes is my boo) just must be making me that happy, and I had to correct him with a quickness.

No, my joy and contentment comes from within. I realized long ago that the only person responsible for my happiness is ME, and that happiness is a factor of perception and attitude. I am not an overly religious person, but the Serenity Prayer is one that I take to heart. I decided to make some changes in my life--some extremely difficult, scary changes--and it seems to have served me well. I can't help but notice that since I left two situations that caused me great amounts of internal turmoil-- my job and my marriage-- I've been able to find so much more peace and joy, even amongst situations that have been FAR from the "pefection" that I supposedly had at the time I originally wrote that post. I think that's more than just coincidence.

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Adventures in Divorce: Extraordinarily Human

Extraordinarily Human

(originally posted Saturday, December 30, 2006)

"Illnesses of mood distort and magnify what is human; they do not destroy it." -- Elliot Pearlman, Seven Types of Ambiguity

My friends who know me well are aware that I've had almost a lifelong struggle with clinical depression. I don't broadcast it to the general public, but it's not a state secret, either. Part of the reason for that is because I believe that there needs to be more awareness of mental health issues such as these, and that depression should not be stigmatized as a weakness of character, but rather a health condition just like diabetes or high blood pressure.... something that merely must be dealt with and treated, not ignored and swept under the rug. Because trying to be "strong" and pretending that nothing is wrong has consequences not only to the individual dealing with the issue, but everyone else around them.

Nature and Nurture are very powerful influences, but the combination creates ironclad habits and behaviors that are damn near impossible to break. The reason that I can firmly say that my depression is clinical is because damn near all my family members deal with it-- mom, grandma, siblings, uncle.... we all deal with it to some degree. But because people don't acknowldege that this is not normal, not healthy, it is the sort of thing that becomes normal, so that all the behaviors and symptoms just become what is taught to the next generation. I attribute most of my social anxiety to my mom (yea, it's always mom's fault.... I'm bracing myself for that). I can only think of one friend that my mom had over the years, and that was our next door neighbor that moved away when I was 6. Nobody ever came over to our house to visit; mom never had shopping outings with girlfriends. I never learned how to interact with people. So take that compounded with the chemical anxiety and depression, and you've got the recipe for one messed up chica. I now have to fight through those feelings of wanting to retreat and run away.... but I don't know how so I have to make it up as I go along. But [The Ex] is always telling me about some social faux pas that I've committed that tends to come off as rude and aloof, and I honestly am not trying to be such.

Sometimes I feel angry and frustrated and defeated..... tired of being "not normal" and just wanting to be comfortable in my skin and around others and not be the social freak that I feel like most of the time. I know a small level of social anxiety is normal (oddly, though, I don't have that much problem with public speaking.... I smashed that fear long ago), but, like the quote above, I feel that this has been maginfied in me. And it's big and heavy. And sometimes I just get tired.

**********

FOLLOW UP COMMENTARY:

At the time I wrote that post, I had resigned myself to accept the fact that my depression was 95% chemical and that life factors were not playing that great of a role. After all, I had the "perfect" life...... marriage to a man who was crazy about me, 2 gorgeous well behaved kids, the "dream job" that every lawyer (who didn't know any better) wanted, a house, a dog, and all those other things that were outward signs of success. What did I have to be depressed about? Yet I was sad, anxious, depressed, and medicated to the hilt just so I could function.

Recently, however, and thankfully due to circumstances beyond my control (or else I wouldn't have done it otherwise), I've had to stop taking my "meds". I saw this coming so I gradually stepped down my dosages (PSA Note: Never EVER stop antidepressants cold turkey. That is a dangerous no no. And really it should be supervised by a doctor) and I discovered that, huh, I'm ok. Better than ok. For the first time in a LONG time, I feel like me. My silly nature has returned, I'm able write more, I'm able to interact with people easier and life just feels BETTER. I was conversing with The Ex the other day and he was expressing how he was worried about me with regards to this issue, and I had to cut him off and let him know that no, I don't need those meds anymore. *Pause* Him: "Oh, so you get rid of me and you're not depressed anymore?" Me: "Basically." He then made a snide comment about how a male friend of mine(who he assumes is my boo) just must be making me that happy, and I had to correct him with a quickness.

No, my joy and contentment comes from within. I realized long ago that the only person responsible for my happiness is ME, and that happiness is a factor of perception and attitude. I am not an overly religious person, but the Serenity Prayer is one that I take to heart. I decided to make some changes in my life--some extremely difficult, scary changes--and it seems to have served me well. I can't help but notice that since I left two situations that caused me great amounts of internal turmoil-- my job and my marriage-- I've been able to find so much more peace and joy, even amongst situations that have been FAR from the "pefection" that I supposedly had at the time I originally wrote that post. I think that's more than just coincidence.

Labels: ,