When I first started this blog, I said I was going to post everyday, which I have more or less done. As I explained it back then, if I only posted when I thought I had something to say that was interesting or valuable to other people, after half-a-dozen posts this would quickly become another zombie blog. So, I more or less accepted that it’s okay to be me in public, even when I’m not feeling especially witty or clever, or even strong. This isn’t a c.v. I’m not trying to impress anyone.
One of the lousy things about having had a clinical depressive episode, is that you no longer feel blue for more than a day or so without worrying whether or not you’re falling back into a depression. I’m still having the emotional fallout over the online near-argument that I wrote about yesterday. I moved away from New York City a few years ago and I don’t really have much of a life down here, which is one of the reasons I have the time to blog so much in the first place. Perhaps it would have been just as bad had I stayed in New York. Ironically, my closest friend fell into a bad depression about a decade ago. What happens when people get depressed is that they become protective of their own emotions. When they feel that there’s something that could trigger a bad episode they withdraw. So, he’s not always available when I need to talk, even if he’d like to be. My next closest friend lives in Germany and he also suffers from depression. In his case, he hasn’t had a bad episode in years and he’s much more stable. Yet, he too can be unreliable. If I write and tell him it’s urgent, he’ll write back, but I know it will take a toll on him emotionally and I try not to do it too often. I just did it last week, so I’m resisting the urge to cry on his shoulder so soon again.
I’ve always been an intellectually engaged person, with a particular interest in what we can broadly call current events, and, yes, when I read about things I acquire facts and form opinions.
Some people enjoy fights. I don’t. I never did. Even when I was emotionally healthy I didn’t enjoy it. It’s probably one of the things that has kept me from being more engaged in the issues I care about. It’s even worse now. Like my two depressed friends, I need to protect myself emotionally. I can’t put myself in a place where something might occur that will trigger a depression. If you haven’t been depressed, you won’t understand and you’ll think it’s melodramatic. If you have, you know that it’s a matter of survival. So I find myself continually plumbing the depths of my emotions, asking myself, “Are we in too deep yet?”
Perhaps if I had been less intellectual in the first place, less ethical, less of a, frankly, a prig, this might be less of an issue. One of my sister’s first clients when she started working with the intellectually disabled was a former engineer who had suffered from a closed head injury. She said working with him was far harder than working with people who had been born developmentally disabled. He was angry. He lacked the coping skills that someone who was born that way would have had. He could no longer do the things he used to enjoy. His hobbies and past times were no longer within his grasp and he didn’t have any new ones.
So, if you’re an emotionally vulnerable person, do you stop ever disagreeing? If someone lies, do you just smile and nod? Should I turn this into yet one more blog about recipes and cute cats?
In the past, I’ve wondered why so many internet atheists are so damned contentious. Back when I used to frequent Atheist Nexus, another woman who had also been raised in an irreligious environment and I had a private conversation about that. My guess is that if you don’t enjoy arguing, you just smile and nod. I think there are tons of secret non-believers out there who don’t have the wherewithal to have that particular fight.
Although I never enjoyed it, I once had the wherewithal for issues important to me. I’m no longer sure I do. What to do?
Sometimes, I intentionally don’t tag my posts because I don’t want to attract trolls.
Worse, sometimes I don’t write about certain subjects.