This afternoon, I referred to a specific memory of a Friday when I was five or six years old. I thought about telling the story tonight, but I don’t think I can or should. The upshot of it is that my parents, who I know loved me and who I loved deeply, infected me with their depression. I want to make it clear that this is my personal experience and not a professional description of the illness.
I think many people blame loved ones for the behaviors that they express as a consequence of their parents’ behavior. With my parents, that included alcoholism and other self-sabotaging behaviors. From a very young age, I was sensitive to their emotional states. I heard ideas, plans, dreams — ones that they actually had opportunities to act on. I watched them pass on the possibilities. I sensed the creeping resignation and the deepening depression.
Did I think all this when I was little? Obviously not, but as I said, I knew things weren’t right. I watched my dad come home from work and sit listlessly for hours with a book open, usually a western, the television on — which he really didn’t like but since we had a living room and a kitchen as living areas, he had no choice. The stuff I heard him talk about when he was younger, the ideas for businesses, inventions, just died. In like manner, my mom sat at the kitchen/dining table — just a junk heap of random papers mostly — and play solitaire endlessly. Until they both would start drinking and all associated with that.
That infected me, and my sister, too, for that matter. We responded differently to it, but we were both exposed. Here’s the thing: I know my parents must have been deeply hurt at some point to live as they did, to not have any emotional means to pursue their dreams, to act, to do something. What I was affected, infected by was not alcoholism, per se, but rather their depression that resulted from some unknown, deep-seated hurt.
Here’s another thing: I know actions can be taken based on beliefs that can be changed to make myself immune to the disease. I don’t reject it or deny it. I simply need to do the work of facing the hurt, the pain, recognizing what my behaviors are that result from that, determining how I want to think differently, and then do something. Doing something is always the best, especially when it derives from cognitive change based on seeing and acknowledging cognitive dissonance.
It still affects me, and today has not been an easy day, nor is tonight an easy night. I have chosen, though, to not give up on my Heart purpose, that which I have set for myself, created for myself. And I will tell you this, anyone who happens to actually read these words, following my Heart has been costly in one way, and I do not know how long that will last.
I determined to write, am a writer, but I have to be realistic and classify myself as a hobbyist. I don’t want that to be the characterization; however, part of the infection of depression that Ego uses so effectively is the major hit to self-confidence that occurs on days like today. I am hopeful to have one small book up for sale in a few weeks. The negative thoughts about selling only ten books, about admitting failure and defeat, about resigning to some existence of minimal meaning flood me as Ego plays on my soul and mind. My Heart, though, will not let me dwell there.
The proof is I write this. I wanted to address two updates about the theme of environmentalism I have discussed this week, but today happened. I hope to do that tomorrow, because the two articles I saw are not serendipity. They apply directly to my articles.
So, I will close this evening, hoping that if you have read this far, you will send blessing my way.
Blessings to you, my friend.
Questions to consider:
How many times have you asked yourself or simply thought about the following questions?
Who am I, really?
What is my truth?
How do my actions reveal what I really feel and believe?
What would I do with my life if I could do anything?
What is my passion?
Why am I here?
How can I discover answers to any of these questions?
If you have considered any of these questions, I hope that my experiences and writing will give you some guidance. Please read my blog and comment and share your thoughts. I would love to hear from you!