Posted by Pali on July 2, 2012, at 23:47:10
Since high school, I've been... sad, I guess: lost, generally uninspired, occasionally hopeless. A college counselor once thought I had Cyclothymia, but I now believe it's actually Dysthymia and I was suffering from Double Depression when I was driven to see her. So, my case history:
(it feels really good to be invited to type this. i hope it's well received.)
I'm 29, female. I was in accelerated programs at school starting in first grade. I cried when I got my first B. I preferred to be alone as a child, doing art or music, and would sometimes hide from other children I was supposed to be playing with. I loved dance classes. I asked my mom if I could stop going to church when I was 8ish because the Sunday school class was really disconcerting to me, and she agreed. My 3rd grade teacher cornered me in the bathroom and told me not to tell my mom about her scolding me. I finally admitted it to my mom and she nearly took me out of the school but ultimately didn't.
My family and I moved to another state when I was 10, then from a rural area to an urban area when I was 11. Other girls teased me, then boys too. I realized that I didn't look like a ballerina so I stopped taking dance. I was never fat, just wide-hipped and thick-legged. I did manage to have a few friends though they were distant and the relationships were short-lived. I dove into schoolwork. Some teachers encouraged me to explore class material in my own way and gave me extra credit; I loved it. I read Sartre (picked it up randomly at a book store) to try to understand people. I read the Tao Te Ching and felt a faith that made sense. My younger brother resented my academic success and seemed to do everything he could do to make my life miserable (I've since learned he was sexually abused, but I don't think it was by a family member). My younger sister didn't seem to exist. My parents divorced. My mom was too busy to police us. I hid in my room. I got a boyfriend. Suddenly I felt a connection. It became overwhelming and I pushed it away. I began to long for death. I dove into text-based fantasy games on the internet. I experimented with drugs. Suddenly I could be with people, but only sometimes. I went to college. I practiced meditation for a time. I finished my BA and pursued but quit just short of my Master's. In a (perhaps classic) episode of decompensation I fled the university to travel the world with a cult celebrity.
Back in the states now, I work because I must in order to survive, but I can't seem to build a career. The mindfulness practice (meditation) has given me great tools for dealing with small daily stresses and I'm generally pretty happy, but there is a major issue: I can't even imagine what I want to do with myself. When I get an idea, take teaching writing for example, I point out the problems with the institutions that control it and shut the idea down. Sometimes I get so sad that I just want to distract myself. I don't want to see people. I don't want to listen to their stories. I don't want to answer their questions. Why do they keep bothering me? Why do they always think I mean the opposite of what I say? I gain weight. I buy diet pills.
I'm almost always in a monogamous relationship but I can't seem to progress into real commitment. I think it's quite possible that I abuse relationships and this is the real source of their not progressing. I say too much. I should explore my feelings alone, apparently. I want to disappear.
I spend a lot of my time reading and thinking about ideology, ontology, epistemology, semiotics, cognition, sociology, psychology, physics. I fantasize about solving the puzzle and figuring out why, if you'll pardon my language, sh*t is crazy.
In moments of despair I wish I was like everyone else but most of the time I realize that everyone's different, and I believe I have a great strength that I haven't learned to harness yet. I want to believe in the power of my awesome, but it's hard when the world keeps demanding things that I don't know how to give it, especially when it seems to shut me down when I ask for help.
I want to make a change.
-- Fin --
Thanks for reading. I don't expect anyone to diagnose me or prescribe me anything. Hearing that anyone has gone / is going though something similar would shock and please me beyond words... not because you're suffering but because I'm not the only one.