Depressive State

July 22, 2002

I have a depressive tendency to my personality. I think I have always known this subconsciously but I have only recently started to consciously think about my actions. I am not clinical, but I could slip down to that level should I stop trying to fight my inner voice.

There is listlessness to my actions and feelings most of the time. I have periods of happiness and joy, but they are not, in geek terms, the default. I am not sure if I can re-program myself to default to happy or even neutral feelings. I just know that I am tired of always fighting off depression.

I think that my depressive nature is one of the factors in the relocations my wife and I have made in the past 5 years. Being married to my best friend gives me great joy and happiness, so when the darker side to my nature starts to exert itself I want to make the cause something outside of myself. I have abdicated responsibility for myself in the past by making my job situation responsible for how I felt, rather than the other way around.

It's like this; I get a new job and move to a new city. Everything is new and exciting, fresh and rosy. The excitement and happiness of new discovery allow me to mask my inner depression. For a time I can act and feel as happy as I want to be, and as happy as my relationship with Michele can make me. However, after the new has worn off and I realize that this new job and city are just the same as the last one I spiral down into my funk once again. So far we have moved cross-country three times in 5 years. In each case there was an alternative that would have allowed us to stay where we were. Choosing that alternative would have meant owning responsibility for my emotions. It would have meant taking a very adult stance in my personality.

Until recently I wasn't capable of making this stance. I am faced with a decaying job situation once again. And once again my thoughts are turning towards leaving as a solution. However, I am struggling to face my inner depressive nature and find a way back to the light without having to leave. Leaving here means temporary relief only, and when the depression returns it will be even worse. Eventually, if I were to run enough times, the depression would become clinical and require outside intervention.

There is a pattern that occurs in addictive behaviors and I am following that pattern. You start by alienating family and friends then you run afoul of employers and non-criminal services. Eventually you are forced into mandated solutions. I have distance from my family, and few close friends as confidants. I have nearly reached to first stage of "losing it all."

I want to keep it all. I want to be happy, and not be afraid all the time. I am tired of the weight of my moods and feelings. I am going to expose my process here for a very selfish reason: it prevents me from sweeping it back under the rug where it can be ignored. Also, it may help someone else who is struggling with his or her own demons.

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Mark H. Nichols

I am a husband, cellist, code prole, nerd, technologist, and all around good guy living and working in fly-over country. You should follow me on Twitter.