Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Pause, Process, Proceed (Companion Post)

Fall 1994 Entry 1
Fall 1994 Entry 2
Fall 1994 Entry 3

The first thing I notice in the journal entries from 1994 is the language. For me, it was extreme and probably the only way I could express both my anger at God (wasn't becoming a Christian supposed to solve all my problems?) and the depth of my feelings at the time.

It's also obvious the depth of self-hatred I had, which still makes me squirm all these years later.

What really gets me though is how completely I was living within emotion. I can look back now and acknowledge that while emotion may always be real, it's not always honest. I am not, nor was I ever, the complete waste of humanity I so deeply believed. Even when not in the throes of a Major Depressive Episode, this was a deeply held belief and it seemed certain that eventually everyone would figure this out and I'd end up alone. I can't pinpoint exactly when I finally accepted my own value as a human and a child of God... to be honest, it's still an occasional struggle. But it's been years since "You're a shit" has played ad nauseum in my head or since walking past a mirror brought with it the compulsion to curse my reflection.

There's hope in that. Granted, brain chemistry may never change and Depression may always be something lurking and ready to strike... but I can honestly say the tools to fight it are there and fight it, I do. It's nice to see the difference and know, not simply feel, it's a battle I'm equipped to fight.

One thing in these writings I'm proud of is the level of questioning there was for the theories of the "doctor" I was seeing at the time. It didn't take me long to realize he was a fraud and even more self-involved than I was at the time. I saw him for only a few weeks. By the time my pastor informed me the man was an unlicensed pariah, I was already at my limit with him (though I'd never admit that to the pastor). When I called Dr. M to tell him I would no longer be seeing him, he had the gall to tell me I couldn't make it without him. No kidding. If for no other reason than spite, I managed to pull myself out of that particular cycle of depression within a few weeks. I can at least thank the guy for giving me motivation to prove him wrong.

As uncomfortable as it is to type up and read these past writings, it is nice to be able to look at it without getting lost in it. The lyrics from a contemporary Christian song have been playing in my head as I write... "I don't have to carry the weight of who I was". What a very welcome change from the 'tapes' of the old days.