Chapter 36, Part I

“A question that sometimes drives me hazy: am I or are the others crazy?” -Albert Einstein

I have a tendency to live on the depressive side of life.  It's in my genes.  Between both sides of my family, at least 95% of us are a tad, well, 'off.'  We have a couple of full-blown schizophrenics, one with schizoaffective disorder, one with bipolar disorder, several with serious, clinical depression, even more with shades of OCD, a host of anxiety disorders, and a few eating (mostly overeating) disorders.  So the fact that I get a bit blue at times is no real shock.

I find that I am a bit depressed lately.  There's no "why" - which is hard for Matt to understand.  It's just how it is.  I have been horribly depressed in my life.  I've had the bell jar descend.  This isn't what's happening now.  I'm just a little down.  But it's enough that I find I don't have much energy to do things.

I have no real desire to write.  I have no real desire to even leave the house.  So I've been thinking a lot.

I am older than Mozart when he died, older, too than Janis Joplin, James, Dean, Jimmy Hendrix, Emily and Anne Bronte, and Sylvia Plath.  Who would they have become had they lived longer?

I am eligible to be President - not that I want to be, but I could be.  That thought, though, brings up a lot of things I could be/have been.  And that brings me to all that I have been:  All of the renditions and editions of me that have passed through the world.

I have left parts of myself - pages, chapters - all over the country, balled up or ripped out or just forgotten in a diner booth somewhere.  I have picked up new pages, written new chapters, added paragraphs, too.  I have cobbled together a whole identity, with the additions and subtractions evening out over the course of my life; these amendments being made in an effort (though not always successful) to improve myself.

I don't know why the idea of identity and labels  have been on my mind so often lately, but they have.  I've thought  of how we present ourselves, how we remember ourselves, how we change personae to to fit situations.  It fascinates me.

Can we change at will?  Some of us can, I think, and sometimes.  Mostly, though, while the potential  is there, we don't want to change.  We can't imagine  being other than what we are.  Which is why so many of us become trapped by our own limited vision of ourselves.  Addicts cant let go of addictions, we can't put down  old, worn out dreams that belong to past lives, past selves.

Not that it's an everything-must-go situations, but as I think about where I am, I realize that, at any point, I could have become anyone.  And it makes me feel a little better that I still can become anyone.


Yolk E said...

Nice. I've been thinking a lot about those labels, too. (It doesn't help that the DSM is available for free online ;-P) Such a careful balance needs to be held... those labels can offer clarity, but too often they become shackles we return to notice again and again.

Dorothy said...

Labels really are almost equally good and bad. I think it has a lot to do with the idea that we *are* things permanently - the " I am what I am and that's all that I am" approach is hard to shake.

Yolk E said...

Nice. Imagine, getting a "diagnosis" that You Are Borderline. Hope at having a normal life? The end.

But if all stress originates in the mind, things like yoga, meditation, prayer, neuroplasticity... there is no reason to stop moving forward.

/end rant ;-)

Dorothy said...

I definitely think having "professionals" put labels on us is hard to deal with for most of us. Which is why I feel like Western medicine is lacking in so many ways. It's so oriented to labeling health problems as opposed to finding a remedy so that people walk around with these ideas of themselves given to them by relative strangers that color so much of the rest of their lives - and not in a beneficial way. And the sad part is that so many people never find their alternative path.

There is no reason to stop moving forward, indeed.