Something I hear pretty often at support groups is the idea that deep depression strips us of our identities, and each time depression subsides we have to build ourselves over again.
I found this to be somewhat true with this last go-around of depression, and between the strong feelings and opinions I had when I first starting going to the group and the fervor with which my initial journal entries were written when it began I know that there were things that I believed in. There were ideas and actions that were important to me.
And then I watched them slip away.
It’s much like wiping a slate clean, and in the throngs of deep depression I kept asking myself, “what do I believe in? What is important to me?”
“Nothing,” the slate replied, and the dust from the chalk settled back onto the slate, mere microscopic fragments of what was there before.
Once after depression I reinvented myself with elaborate bells and whistles, a creature not unlike Lady Gaga before her saga had been birthed. I left out some of the pieces that I’d had before, like obsessive behavior over my grades. Hypomania allowed me a few drops of overconfidence, and I rode those drops like a wave.
Another time I was a free spirit, allowing myself to fill in the small divots in other people’s lives. I was married to the river, I rode a bicycle everywhere, and my attitude (though breifly) was that all I ever needed was love.
The time after that I was born as a student and moved to the city. Between diligence and attempting to care as little as possible about social relationships they managed to form around me naturally.
And then, after the next round of despair I rose vengeful. With more self-love than I have ever experienced, I created an army and let each in turn kiss my feet.
From there, I was immersed into a conservative world but it didn’t take before the depression came again.
The hardworking physical laborer appeared and was respected until hypomania drove my body of a vehicle into a wall.
Born again this year, not in the religious sense, but in finally feeling my head re-emerge from the water. Taking in a good, deep, breath of the air that had been kept from me.
The pieces I’ve used this time around for rebuilding include a part that is not unlike the concept of a housewife. Also, the desire to turn art into art and art, and then into work. More empathy, more listening, but more awareness in regard to what pushes my emotions around.
I’ve always liked building things, I’m sure that’s one of the reasons I went to school for architecture (and fashion design). Create, create, create. Our society is so focused on consuming, I guess I’d rather give than take.
I wonder how many more times this will happen in my life. Really, the concept of creating a new self for me to embody isn’t as taxing as knowing that each time it will be wiped away. But maybe that’s comforting, in a sense. I do not worry that I will ever become stagnant, and if you have complaints -hey, write them down! We might be able to fix that in Sarah version 2.0.