Since I was a teenager, I have been involved in some kind of therapy. I have taken many paths in an effort to try and make sense of my distressed mind: prescription drugs; self-medication with illicit drugs; psychotherapy in the form of supportive counseling, cognitive therapy, problem solving therapy; spiritual immersion; electroconvulsive (ECT) treatments; and social isolation.
Nothing has worked long term, though each type of therapy kept me going for many years. I was a highly functioning, mentally ill statistic. I graduated from high school and then college and then graduate school. I married twice and raised two daughters on my own. I was a homeowner for a short time. Since I was 12 years old and started babysitting, until the age of 48, I worked and was able to fake it. No one really knew what was going on in my head or how I survived in the real world. I was the most mystified of all by my accomplishments.
How did I manage? I existed in third person, always an observer, living on the periphery of my environment. Somehow I managed to keep most feelings from rising to the surface. I also had a recovery strategy after each day in the real world. I put myself to bed and rarely emerged until it was time to go back out there.
My children suffered because of this, as did all my relationships. In fact, I do not have one friend or contact that I could list as a reference because there is no one I have remained in touch with or pursued as a possible companion. When I try to apply for a job, who can I list as a reference? They all want references, but I have burned my bridges or cut off all ties with anyone I have ever known or worked for. I speculate that most people with whom I have shared some time on this earth believe me to be dead.
An entire lifetime of not being there… My memory is like a sieve. Some might argue that is a result of ECT. However, I know I could not call to mind huge chunks of my life long before I allowed the Carrier Clinic to place those electrodes above both temples (bilateral ECT) and pass the current through my brain. Being present and accounted for was not part of my existence. Had I not been able to divest myself of the stimuli that surrounded me all these years, I would not be here now.
As I write this post, I am not here. I am an author trying to convey to her readers a complex character who is intelligent, witty, and separated from all that is around her. I do not allow stimulus to enter my realm and, therefore, I do not have to feel. I am as objective as one can be when indulging oneself in the need to be entirely self-centered and selfish.
Depression is self-centered and selfish, along with everything else it might be.