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Blog: Journey back from depression
by woodlawn

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Thursday thoughts.

Date:   4/21/2005 6:55:02 PM   ( 9 y ) ... viewed 1644 times

Thanks to all the commenters! You guys are so nice. Your responses made me smile, laugh, and even cry a little (for good reasons). I really didn't start writing with the thought that anyone would read this, but it's just astonishing to me that not only does this exercise have purely personal benefits, but that other people take the time to say supportive things. It's totally unexpected, but really great.

I've been feeling so good the past few days. Perhaps I wasn't headed into a new depressive spell after all (PMS is tricky that way), but regardless, I am thankful for the current clarity. I have to attribute it at least in part to journalling, though. Whenever I feel obsessive thoughts cropping up, I just think about writing them down (or actually do it) and then I feel much better.

There have been some difficult ripples the past two days, however. I finally talked to M about some challenging parts of our relationship that stem from both of our mental issues. When M and I first started dating, we were in terrible shape (each on our own). I probably wouldn't have been capable of entering a relationship with anyone else, but I dated him years ago and we had lost touch in the interim. Since he was a known quantity, I went ahead and began a relationship with him, even though I was very unhealthy. Together, we have been able to make a lot of progress. I haven't had a full-on breakdown since we've been together--I've remained fairly functional the whole time. But I think I've been working with some low-lying depression pretty consistantly throughout. Same for him. At first, just surviving functionally marked a bit imrpovement, but it's time to stop congratulating myself for inertia (I dont' need to beat myself up about it, but I do need to start moving again). As I've made a more concrete commitment to a full life, I've had to come to terms with the fact that we are both in an extended period of semi-recovery, semi-denial. It's time for me to move on. And unfortunately, at this point, I can't stay with him unless he is committed to moving on as well. Otherwise we will both sabotage each other.

At present, M struggles with addiction to alcohol and marijuana. He has moved away from alcohol and now has a glass of wine rarely (once or twice a month) with a meal. I am very proud of him for making this change (he went through endless six-packs and entire bottles of whiskey in short periods when we first started dating), and I think he's found a level of coping with his alcohol addiction that I am very comfortable with. He has also cut his smoking back very greatly from where it once was. However, it is still problematic. Since I do not smoke (and have never smoked regularly), he has always hidden it from me. (We established this pattern when we dated a decade ago, he hid it then as well--we were very young at the time). This has been a consistant problem for us. At first, I was not bothered by the smoking, only by the secrecy. We talked about this, and he agreed to be more open. That did not happen. We talked about it a few more times, and I eventually just accepted the fact that he was going to smoke in the bathroom and I wasn't going to comment on it.

Now it all bothers me. I grew up with parents who smoked regularly and I have a long-standing hatred of the personality changes that marijuana brings on in someone I am very close to (though with people more distanced from me, stoned-ness doesn't bother me at all). But I have had people choosing oblivion over me since I was a kid, and I am not willing to accept it as a regular part of my life. M is caring, sensitive, and supportive, but I refuse to be around habitual drug use, even something as "harmless" as weed. I know it offers a release that is valuable for many people, but for me, it is not harmless. In part, this is because of my past. But I think it is also harmful to those who are addicted to the sense of escape. I have no problems with occasional drug use, even overindulgence. A few times a year, I think it might even be beneficial for some. I know I have had lasting rewards come, both on a personal and relationship level, from nights spent with friends and drugs. I am fine with recreational drug use. But addiction is not ok with me. We cannot both move forward if he continues to feed his addiction.

We had an emotional talk about it yesterday. I told him all of this. I also told him that I could work with him to make a plan for both of us, but that the lying and secrecy really had to stop immediately. He has said he understands and that he is willing to change, but I have a hard time believing it. I want to be able to trust him on this issue, but the years of secrecy (and of my silence) make it really hard. Obviously, this is something we will struggle with until it is resolved one way or the other. Honestly, I cannot fault him at all if he is not ready to make this choice for himself. I told him he will always have my support, no matter what he decides. But I really think that now is a precious time for me. I need to take advantage of my motivation and my place in life in order to grow. With our lives entertwined as they are, I cannot do that if we stay together and he continues the way he has been.

He did not smoke yesterday or today, but I got a little nervous when I saw him pick up a box of matches on the way to work this evening. I hate talking about this with him--I hate it almost as much as I hate feeling suspicious. However, later tonight, I will try to engage him in open dialogue about how he feels today. Why is it so easy to talk about everything but those things that matter?! I guess the answer to that is right there in the question...

I got a great email from my mom today. Her toxic boyfriend has left for four months on business! Gone, for four whole months! No visits in between, just gone! I could not be happier or more relieved. She emailed me today asking about Kombucha tea, and I recommended it heartily (I had mentioned it to her last year, saying I thought it might help her joints, and maybe her weight). She was also telling me about her reactions to him leaving, namely, that she missed him, but that she felt this was her "rescue" that had come "just in time." I was just so overjoyed to hear it. She has been in really bad shape for some time--she struggles with many problems on a regular basis, but his presence has really pulled her down deeper. She said she wasn't really aware "just how dark" his personal problems were, and that they had "sucked her in" too deep. No one close to her has been able to understand why she has been willing for him to remain in her life all this time, while her financial, emotional, spiritual, and physical well-being have plummeted dangerously. She has made the choice to stay with him. But this is the perfect opportunity, because she hasn't had to make a choice to break it off, but he has been removed from her life. In four months, I think she can recover so much that she will be able to stand up for her health by the time he returns. It is very good news.

It is great--she was on her way to an exercise class (by bike!) when I talked to her, and is planning to go on a fast to help become more in tune with her body's needs. I don't think I could have gotten better news today.

I did have a minor period of panic and anxiety this afternoon, though. I received a less-than-favorable rating from a client at my job. While I felt the nausea and the hyperventilating set in, though (my response to criticism, particularly at work, is extremely overblown--this is my typical response, and it can last for days), I refused to let it drag me into a persistant negative state. I called my supervisor to establish an avenue for discussion and to let him know that I would make any amends necessary. Imagine that! And then I actually felt better. This also provided motivation for me to look into other professional opportunities. I don't want to quit my job, but I have known for a long time that I do want to find other avenues that will leave me less dependant on it. So I followed up on a few contacts I have made. It felt good. These actions didn't remove the panic or nausea, but they did lessen them, and when I refused to give in to them, they eventually went away. It was awesome.

Speaking of which, though. Now that I have cleared my head a bit, I need to get back to work.

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