22 February 2011

role-ing around

So, quick background to what brings me to this post:

after a year of struggling with depression, I finally decided to take anti-depressants, and so far the results are AWESOME.

The first two days I took my new bitty pills, I was having a REALLY hard time. I thought it was a reaction to the meds. An hour after I took the first one I was spacey, panicky, and generally not a happy camper. The second day it was the same. By the third day I realized it was not the pills, it was my mental reaction to taking them. In that week I came to terms with the fact that for a long time I had ignored: I had Depression. It wasn't simply an illness like having a flu, it was like having diabetes. Or, really, it my case, it was like having Asthma.

See, I have Asthma. I've had it since before I can remember. I have had to tote around an inhaler for always. And I probably always will (even though I don't use it much anymore)

My mom reminded me that I used to be very mad about this as a child. I hated having to carry my inhaler, I hated having to stop playing tag when I couldn't breathe, I hated not being like everyone else. It was something I eventually got over - I mean, after you finally accept you can never have the puppy you've dreamed of, there's not much else to DO but get over it and avoid playing tag. (exercise induced as well as allergic to fur, superawesomefuntastic)

I now have to accept my depression as something that I will always have. Like my asthma and non-often-used inhaler, I won't necessarily always be on meds, and I assume I'll eventually get over it, but accepting myself not as "Me, who happens to be depressed" but as "me, who has Depression" was really REALLY hard for me.

There's something very scary about having a behavior be not just a behavior but a facet of yourself. It's scary because I feel like the terms are less mine. My "just feeling depressed" was something I defined, in a sense. "This is me depressed" is something I could observe and control. "The girl with Depression" (always a capital D on that one) was something that a large group of people had and now I was one of them - and I no longer controlled it and it was no longer mine. It was ME, not MINE, and suddenly doctors are involved and I'm altering brain chemicals and it's never just going to go away. I'm stuck with it. It's me.

I think when one has a new role or facet of one's self, there's always this period of submerging one's self into it. I wanted to talk about my depression. I wanted to talk to other people with it. I wanted to find my place among this club I was suddenly a member of. It was both scary (like being invited to a party where you didn't know a damn person) but also comforting (hey, I was invited to a party!)

There are other parts of myself that I'm discovering that are becoming facets of myself rather than behaviors: my sexuality and love life is, at the moment, quite fluid. (also, a LOT more fun then my Depression, just sayin') and having that fluidity be more then just behavior is helpful to me as a whole.

I want to tie things together, but I think I kind of suck at that, so I want to throw some thoughts and questions about this out there:

what are behaviors in your life, and what are roles for you? are you a picky eater or a Picky Eater? For me, I do not cook. And I always defined myself as Someone who Can't Cook. And I took that as a role. But I realize now I CAN cook. I'm fucking capable of cooking, I simply don't do it much, so I don't have practice. Having that be a behavior and not a facet of myself is relieving. That behavior as a role was confining - now it's a thing that can be changed. I have control of it.

What roles in your life are fluid and what roles are permanent?
Are you a Student? or are you simply going to school? Are you Broke? or do you just not have money right now? Do you have Depression? or are you depressed?

What roles hurt you and what roles help you?
Does being Gay bring you comfort or would you rather just not talk about what gender you'd like to bone? Does embracing your illness empower you or does it make you The Victim?

If a certain role hurts you, can you change it to behavior so you can take control of it?

For me, embracing Depression as something I am is simply a truth. I am getting comfortable with it, and it helps tremendously that I am feeling better. But, like asthma, I will have to deal with this for a long time. and It will require care and sacrifice.