05 March 2007

Now that you mention it...

The major reason I haven’t had much to write about recent weeks is because I have bloodied by a major bout of depression for the last couple of months. I will spare you the grimy particulars, except to say that I have been painfully reminded of my own brokenness.

I have spent virtually my entire adult life trying to be as emotionally independent as possible, largely because I am convinced there is no real alternative. (I claim no insight into “the human condition” so I speak only for myself.) Over the last few months, I have been struck with the force of a stout stick over my head how I have failed to achieve that independence, by which I mean a sense of self-worth that does not depend on the emotional support of others.

Before dismissing this stance as pessimistic or pathetic, there are traditional expressions of faith that also place the highest priority on that I am calling emotional independence. Many monotheists, for example, believe that a devoted relationship with God should exceed the importance of all other human relations. For some Buddhists, this means a radical detachment from the ego and its ‘individual” needs in favor of a love that is wholly indiscriminate.

My current state might also indicate I have simply lost the relatively high degree of emotional independence that I was so convinced that I once had. Either way, I have felt an emotional neediness—call it a desire for intimacy—that scares the bejesus out of me. That fear pushes me into reckless behavior, even crazier thoughts, and I become arbitrarily angry because I can’t shake the weight of paralyzing despair.

And lest I try to bullshit you or myself, I am very reluctant to confide my madness with anyone, even the best of my friends, though that is a comforting option even when it isn’t exercised. At the risk of whining, that alternative doesn’t exist here, so I withdraw into a self whose company I don’t appreciate. A couple of days ago I paid a psychotherapist to listen to my sorry-ass story that I am alone and, for good measure, at the end of my fucking rope. And today I am writing into the ether. Hey, no one said the truth had to pretty.

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