This is an emo post, and has nothing to do with writing. I’m not writing it for sympathy or pity. It’s more a writing therapy thing.
This is the other end of my EFT cogitation.
I’ve been depressed for forever, on and off, but mostly on. I’ve spent the last year or so trying to learn what ‘normal’ should be for me and I can’t work it out cos it still goes against who I believe I am.
See, when you have some kind of mood disorder (bipolar) throughout your teenage years it affects the way you develop.
For me, everything was seen through a fog of apathy or sadness. The world image that got imprinted on me was in black and white, and most of it black. There’s no middle ground. Happy was a lie that the world insisted was real. But the closest I got was to pretend. Then I’d get thrust into hypo-mania, which just emphasises how crap the world seems most of the time. Add that to an environment in which I was never good enough–not even 100% was enough if I only got it once. I didn’t have a chance to learn about happy for myself, but I read a lot, and watched people a lot, and learned to convince everyone I was fine. (This later backlashed when I tried to explain to people close to me that I had bipolar and not only spent most of my life depressed, but still was).
There was no hope of better, and even now, medicated and therapied, most days hope eludes me. I learned that actually ‘normal’ people know happy, that it is a real thing. There are moments light comes in and shows me some of the colour in the world, and I love it, but I lose it because that’s still not my ‘normal’. I still habitually act good. People are over ‘depressed Fran’, she’s boring and needy and unproductive (I’m over ‘depressed Fran’!) It’s easier to be good, whether genuinely or not.
For me, negative emotion is what I feel all the time. Anxiety hangs on me like a jacket I can’t go anywhere without. Sadness hovers under the surface. Anger and frustration are easily sparked. I am slow to trust cos I’ve been hurt beyond counting, and I expect things to end badly cos that’s what happens.
So, if you take all that negative emotion away from me, what is actually left? I still haven’t worked out this ‘happy’ business. I don’t believe that the void negative would leave would just be filled with positive. And would I rather feel nothing? I see my husband, who’s got apathy down to an art, and get so frustrated. With ADHD comes this tendency to feel emotion more strongly (because your brain doesn’t inhibit it to an ‘appropriate’ level). The idea of having a void of emotion seems as crazy to me as the idea of being level for more than a few months does.
I know you psych people (Beaulah 😉 ) will read this and be all, that’s not how it works, Fran. And I’m not saying it is. Rationale is not my strongest point though, but more and more the world seems to be less rational anyway. All I’m saying is, negativity is all I’ve known, it’s what I know, from where I’m standing it’s who I am. Take that away, and what’s left anyway? (Rhetorical question).