Monday, January 07, 2008

The New Year

It is way too easy to make grand resolutions, isn't it? I am going to work out for three hours a day, never drink again, cook more (obviously, not eat anything I cook), clean more, organize better, all of that shit. I'm going to do all of that.

But here is what I am really resolving. I am going to work against myself this year. I was fortunate, growing up, in that I wasn't prone to depressive tendencies and could always think myself out of any situation. My sister had it worse, as did my mother, and I had many friends who struggled with the dark side. I couldn't figure out why they couldn't rise above it, think logically about how very fortunate they really were and realize how self-indulgent they were being and just get forward with the business of better living.

This is hard to admit, but I caught the bug. In the last few years, I have had days where staying in bed all day seemed like a fantastic idea. I rarely indulged it, but I am more sympathetic now. There have been many, many days where I contemplated going on antidepressants, if only to know what it might feel like to not want to check the fuck out. Stubbornly, I didn't do it because I wanted to be in control of my brain chemistry. If I needed to check out, I could buy a bottle of wine or a really good book. Master of my destiny and all that.

I know this is situational depression (as opposed to chronic), and yet even as I type that, I think situational depression should be reserved to folks who don't have the means to eat for days. I have yuppie guilt about feeling blue. I really do. How do you feel depressed when you live in a beautiful condo, have loving family and friends, a well-paying career, a loving but neurotic dog? Answer: no fucking idea. Apparently, depression can be a luxury of living in America. And while I bounced out of this last round mostly intact, I have self loathing for having endured it. So very self-indulgent.

So here is my resolve for this year. When I want to have a couch party (my light-hearted term for vegging on my couch all weekend), I am going to do the opposite. I am going to live, not escape or check out, and I am going to live very fucking deliberately. I am going to get in touch with friends that I have failed or neglected and apologize. I am going to do the exact opposite of what my emo brain wants to do when I feel sorry for myself. When I want to drink myself in a bottle, I will go for a two hour walk. When I want to unplug the phones and computer, I will call an old friend and say hi. I will go on tremendously bad dates and live to tell about them. Life is better when it is lived out loud.

I will not be defeated by myself. I can and often am my own worst enemy. My goal for the year is to become my own best friend.


Emily said...

We seem to have very similar resolutions.

I have chemical depression issues and am on anti-depressants (I like to call them my happy pills) and have spent years in therapy. Here's hoping we can both make this year our own. I'll be thinking of you.

Norm said...


Talix said...

My goal for the year is to become my own best friend.

Sometimes being your own best friend means giving yourself a break for experiencing mood swings that are not entirely within your control. Yes, there are things you can do today to decrease the chances of depression tomorrow and there are strategies that, once you're in the hole, make the way out a lot less steep. However, you wouldn't be friends with someone who beat you up for falling in a hole you couldn't see coming, would you? Someone who gave you a hard time for not knowing how to immediately bounce right back out?

Tigger and Eeyore are both unlikely extremes. Aiming for the middle ground and living deliberately are not mutually exclusive.

And if you ever find yourself in the hole again, you've got my number.