Upbeat, Downbeat

Love is love is love. Unless you can’t love yourself. Then love is something different, a thing that exists behind a window, glittering and unobtainable. Sure, it’s pretty, but it’s not for you.

The thing about depression is that they tell you its chemical and yet we can’t test for it. I went to a doctor to get tested for everything else I could. But the only answers for depression are medicines that may or may not work and talking about being depressed. I do enough of that already.

I first started therapy over 20 years ago, with my astrology teacher. I was taking classes when my boyfriend at the time told me I needed therapy and the teacher happened to be a therapist. A few months later the boyfriend broke up with me, and a few months after that, my father was diagnosed with a brain tumor. My astrology teacher turned out to be a great therapist and his wife was a Reiki practitioner who taught me methods for dealing with the energetic aftereffects of radiation and chemotherapy. There were other therapists after that, I’ve talked a lot about being depressed.

Before all that, I left college at 21, due to a breakdown that at the time I didn’t have words for. I only knew that I needed to stop for a while. I grew up before diagnoses that might have applied to me, before pills and treatment modalities that might have made a difference. It took me nearly a decade to go back and finish my degree, a time which seemed like infinity. Our twenties tend to seem like they are two decades long, the thirties start to speed up and by the time the forties arrive, they are nearly over before they begin. Why? Because we have fewer new experiences and new experiences are what juice life.

This is getting older, the downward drift, the slow slide, the sense of not knowing how many more innings are in you but the feeling that you want to make the most of the ones where you can still swing the bat. The problem is that those times when you most need to make a move are when you are most tied down by the world.

A friend of mine who has known me since we were tweens referenced my penchant for “shaking the snow globe” recently. Truth is the globe hasn’t been shaken in a while. I’ve left jobs, most recently last year to attend to some family concerns, but I’ve been living in the same city for the longest I’ve ever stayed somewhere in my life.

Is depression boredom? Not always, but maybe this time. Will I love myself more if I take a risk or will I manage to turn every decision into an opportunity for self-hatred? I used to say I would never be able to keep a relationship. I was wrong. What else have I been wrong about?

My old tradition on my birthday was to read The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock each year. I stopped doing that a while back but I read it again this year. It’s import changes with each decade. Do I dare disturb the universe? For too many years, the answer has been no. I became too afraid to disturb myself. Now I wonder if I have enough bravery for another at bat, to stand at the plate and take a fastball.

Do I still have value? For the world? For myself? I am no longer sure.

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