Will's Coffee House

John Dryden, Dramatist, Critic, Poet Laureate, and my ancestor, frequented a coffee house called Will's almost daily, where he would hold forth on sundry subjects with great wit and aplomb. Same deal here, only without the wit or aplomb.

Location: Large Midwestern City, Midwestern State, United States

I am a stranger in a sane land...

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Trying, TRYING To Be Healthy

Mentally speaking. It's not easy. I'm realizing, as I move towards the campus visit, how very comfortable I've become in just accepting my anxiety and the attendant depression. Which suggests that there needs to be another stage beyond that of the last stage of grief. When I first was diagnosed with depression, I went through mini-versions of all the usual--denial, fear, anger, bargaining, and then, finally, I accepted that, yes, I was a depressive, and probably would be for most of my life. Which is a seductive and poisonous frame of mind to linger in. Because if you accept being a depressive, then doing anything about it--making the effort to not let it run your mental life, becomes much more elusive. "Well, of course I'm miserable--I'm a depressive, I'm supposed to be miserable." Easy to think that. And so one sinks into the torpor that ensures that when depression hits, you just sit back and accept it.

But that's nonsense. Depression isn't an inevitability--and one has an enormous control over the intensity and frequency with which it intrudes into one's life. So rather than just sighing heavily and saying, "Well, it'll pass in time," I'm trying--trying--to confront it. To say, "No, it will pass because I'm going to face it, fiercely and logically and without self-pity--it will pass because I evict it, not because I allow it to ruin my life for a few weeks rather than do something about it."

But--high, whiny voice--it's hard. I confront it, and it diminishes, and then I have to think about other things, and it comes creeping back again. And I confront it, and it slinks away, and as soon as my back is turned, there it is again. It's quite tiring--I feel like I have to keep one eye always peeled for that grim cloud, and the distraction makes other things--like teaching or prepping that nightmare-long paper on Marlowe's Tamburlaine for my mock job-talk (which I'm delivering this afternoon, much to my exhausted non-delight--aaagh--see?!--immediately I go to a negative, 'woe-is-me' anticipation of the event--wrong! wrong! wrong!--what I should be saying is, "Well, at least it's better than having to listen to a nightmare-long paper on Tamburlaine"--right? No? Still bad and self-compromising? Dammit!!!)--anyway, point is, I'm trying. Small steps. Small, small steps. (Tiny, but heartfelt growl of frustration...)


Blogger phd me said...

Tamburlaine. Really? No, wait, I'm supposed to offer consolatory thoughts on the emotional paralysis that threatens your joy in the coming interview. I got nothing. Just keep on with the small steps...wait, are you walking toward the drinks cabinet?

6:54 PM  
Blogger post-doc said...

Wow. This makes me face internal issues I'd rather ignore. Because it is hard. And you're brave and strong and super-cool for being capable of doing it. I've felt that frustration but applaud your small steps. Good luck with that. When you succeed, remember to tell me how it's done.

9:25 PM  
Blogger Yr. Hmbl. & Obdt. said...

I'm am not "walking" to the drinks cabinet. "Sprinting feverishly" is more like it. F. Scott and Zelda would look at me and say, "Whoa, that guy's gotta learn to pace himself!" No, not really. But it *is* tempting--so much easier to 'let go' when your blood-alcohol level is at the 'F*** EVERYTHING' level.

Thanks, Post-doc--I don't consider myself any of the nice things you called me, but I'm *trying* to do so--I don't want to be an egomaniac, but I really *should*, at some point in my life, learn to take a compliment.

2:15 PM  

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