Monday, July 13, 2015

Observation #4

Observation #4:

One of the worst things about long-term depression, especially when compounded by anxiety, is how hard it makes it to be a decent friend, relative, and spouse. When so many internal resources are used up simply by getting out of bed and trying to get through what needs to be done for the day, very little is left for being emotionally available to people.

I hate how infrequently I reach out to the ones I care about. How much effort it takes to respond to an email or a Facebook message, maintain a phone conversation, or even ask someone, in all sincerity, how they're really feeling that day. I count on people to initiate contact, because it probably won't happen otherwise, and I wonder how much longer they'll put up with always being the one to make the first move. How much longer before they're tired of it.

I'm not sure about this God business, but my faith in the existence of the soul remains strong, and I feel I have a moral obligation to be a point of light in a dark world -- to step outside myself and wade through the necessary garbage it takes to make lasting, meaningful connections with humanity. When that seems like too much work, I worry about the spiritual damage I'm inflicting on myself by remaining so detached.

It makes me wonder if I'm just self-absorbed and lazy, and depression is the crutch I use to avoid taking responsibility for these flaws. After all, I haven't been officially diagnosed, because paradoxically, that requires more resources than I'm currently able and willing to set aside. This is just one of many insidious half-truths that feed the beast, keep the cycle going. Of course I'm self-absorbed and lazy. It's inherent to the human condition. Life is harsh and unfair, and as we fight to cope with that, we're all at risk of getting lost in our own subjective reality bubbles.

But I know myself. I've researched enough and experienced enough and spoken with others enough to know that what keeps me in a self-destructive war between restlessness and lethargy, all-consuming worry and crippling indifference, is outside the perimeters of typical human experience.

Regardless of this, how long can I afford to remain self-aware of my shortcomings without making any real progress on them? At what point does withdrawal for the sake of self-care become selfishness?