You can’t lose me

depression-94808_640

Among the many chronic conditions I deal with, I have depression. By all recollection, I have always had depression although at various times I have been able to assemble a life which has allowed me to avoid the debilitating symptoms of depression. Like most people, I am capable of experiencing genuine happiness. In fact, I’m actually quite good at it. But it’s a delicate balance. There are no quick fixes. Every treatment has its side effects. Actions have consequences and even right action can have unintended consequences.

I don’t claim to understand depression any better than anyone else; all I know is me, my life and how I experience it. Depression is a name given to me by doctors, invented by scientist, based on hypotheses and the shared experiences of everyday ordinary people. As a result of this diagnosis I have been able to tape into a wealth of knowledge and collective experience to better understand myself. I’ve been able to take comfort in the knowledge that I am not alone. I am able to feel connected, which is perhaps an even greater sensation that happiness.

Despite all this insight, I have not been able to eliminate this thing, this part of me called depression. Whatever it is I suspect it will be with me forever. I hope I’m wrong. I would love to be wrong about this. I welcome any information that would suggest that I am wrong about this because so far knowledge has only made me more knowledgeable, not less depressed.

What is interesting is that sharing knowledge does make me less depressed. Connecting my experience directly with other people who have similar experiences does make me less depressed. Helping other people move from conflusion or anger to acceptance and understanding totally makes me feel better. The sad irony is that when I’m depressed, when I’m angry and confused, the last thing I want to do is spread that energy into the universe. Connecting with other living, loving souls may be the best thing for me but it’s not the best thing for my fellow earthlings. Perhaps this is a functional and evolutionary aspect of depression. We know that depression leads to isolation and inactivity and for a time this may be for the best. Unfortunately, we also know of the tragic ends met by people who feel completely disconnected from life.

I am writing this in an attempt to connect, to share openly and honestly my experience. And because I can… right now, at this time, in this moment, I can write. It’s been months since I’ve been able to write anything of substance and even longer since I’ve completed and published anything. I’m publishing this regardless. I’m just enough pissed off at the world to not give a fuck and that has it’s benefits.

What I want to do is share my greatest fear at the moment. I’m afraid that I may have lost you in my absence. Relationships require some level of consistency and predictability. Unfortunately, the shit I deal with makes that impossible. I suppose I could present the face of consistency and predictability by lowering the bar to something reliably attainable but where is the fun in that? I prefer to act when I can and burn out when the fuel is gone. I know how fucking annoying this is to the people around me but I don’t know how else to do it. I choose not to act out of anger or fear but sometimes… like right now… that’s what I have to work with.

So my hope is that you won’t take it personally. This is my shit. I accept that I’m an asshole but I hope that you won’t think of me that way. I hope that you won’t take my absence as rejection. I’m still here. I’m working on me and doing the best I can. If you can’t understand what it’s like to deal with depression, consider yourself lucky. If someone in your life is dealing with depression, be patient. It’s harder than it looks. I’m sorry we haven’t talked in a while. Most of the time, I struggle to put words into sentences. I fight the choking feeling around my neck. But I know it’s just life… and life goes on. I’ll be back… I just want to know that you will still be there when I’m done doing this thing I’m doing. I want to know that you are taking care of yourself. I want to know that you are finding support where you can. The most comforting words I’ve ever heard are, “You can’t lose me.” Share them with someone you love.

HAPPY MOTHERS DAY

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a penny for your thoughts, a dollar to act them out

Imagine a world in which every single person on the planet is given free access to the sum of all human knowledge. – Jimmy Wales (founder of Wikipedia)

I’m going to try and make this a quick post. I’ve been looking forward to this day all summer and I really want to get on with it. I bought my ticket to see Gogol Bordello outdoors at the Cabooze the day they went on sale. I didn’t think they would sell out (and they haven’t); I didn’t know what the weather would be like (I feel like it was snowing when I bought the ticket), I just wanted to make sure that I put it in my calendar and committed to seeing this show. For the past five years I’ve seen them every time they were in town and it’s always an amazing experience.

I’m also just looking forward to getting out on my bike and having a lovely summer afternoon with nothing to do but ride and enjoy the day. A potential added bonus is that I may get to see one of my friends who needed to be removed from my life for a while. She contacted me Wednesday night wanting to know if I wanted to meet up. I’ve been waiting for that opportunity all summer as well. We’ll see how that goes.

So I’ve been doing some connecting the dots.

I heard recently on public radio that the government is changing the way that it calculates the Gross Domestic Product to include things like intellectual property that currently don’t have a clearly defined monetary value. I still think that we would be better off calculating Gross National Happiness but I this is a move in the right direction. Ideas have value and so why don’t we try to quantify it?

I’ve also been working on eliminated my possessions while maintaining my standard of living. I’ve become fascinated with the movement called Collaborative Consumption where instead of everyone having to own things that we don’t use 99% of the time, we share them so that we can reduce our individual consumption while still collectively increasing the benefit of those commodities.

I have a wealth of ideas but honestly I don’t have the time to use most of them. What if I could share them with people who had more time than ideas? Clearly, that is not an original idea. That is going on all the time, every day all over the internet. That is the driving principle behind conferences like TED Talks and the Aspen Ideas Festival. I’m convinced that collectively we have all the ideas we need to solve all the worlds problems. It’s just a matter of getting them into the heads of people that can actually do something with them.

So I have an idea that I want to share. It’s not going to save the world or anything but it’s a fun idea that I’m not going to be able actualize to it’s full potential. In my last blog post I introduced the words drunkonomics and drunkommunication. I feel like there is a book in there using the principles of alcohol and alcohol consumption to teach otherwise boring or confusing subjects. There could even be a chapter on drunkemistry. Alcohol is a solution after all. So feel free to run with that. Hopefully you will give me credit for the idea. Hopefully you will consult with me because I have many more thoughts on the idea. Actually what I want is a penny on the dollar so if you make a million dollars off my idea I want ten grand.

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