I have posts to write about healing out of depression. About dealing with depression. I’m behind here. You’ll have to forgive me the order.
I’ve been getting depressed at home. I’m lethargic in the morning. If I’m there in the afternoon, I crawl in bed sometimes. It’s all I want to do. Good for getting reading done, but not for much else. It’s hard to leave in the morning. And when I walk home, when I am that block from the door, I don’t want to go home.
The other night, out walking in the cool dark after an argument, against the wall of my vulnerability, when he texts me asking to come home, I say I will. I purposefully don’t look at street signs, knowing I’m closer to home than I want to be. I walk slowly. I walk towards home–I said I would–but I follow the letter of the law. Back up this way, even though the other way would be a little quicker. On my block, I walk slow as a crane. I pause outside for a few minutes, finishing the conversation on the phone, not wanting to go in. I went in for him.
I know what this depression is. I can trace it. I have traced it, simply by being with myself, watching what is happening.
I am trying here. I am doing the only thing I can do: telling my truth, saying what doesn’t work for me, saying and asking for what I need. And asking him what he needs, trying to do what he needs, trying to divine what he needs and how he feels–
And it doesn’t work. It is not working. I am still not getting what I need. He still does things that are just not okay with me. I can’t give him what he needs, because it goes against my needs, or because he doesn’t know enough to tell me, and clearly divination is not my calling. Or my damn job.
And so I feel powerless. I am ineffective. Not as a state of being, but here, in this relationship, at home. I am ineffective. Doing what I can do isn’t affecting the change I need.
And that lack of power, that lack of agency, influence, makes me feel helpless. And depressed.
And I think: no wonder I was depressed as a child. My childhood was a state of powerlessness. I was powerless to meet many of my own needs, emotional, relational, physical, educational. And the people around me weren’t overly concerned, or attuned, or noticing me. I got what I got, and I had no agency in it.
Or maybe I would’ve if I’d tried. If I’d felt allowed to say I needed something, or complain in a serious way, or ask for something. By the time I can remember, I had learned not to.
I tried to stay out of trouble. Not to earn love, but to avoid humiliation, and more shame. I did more or less stay out of trouble, but. But. There was nothing I could do to make them love me. That was clear. I felt for a long time, in some implicit way, that that was my own flaw, but I still didn’t have any sense I could do anything about it.
I notice that when I work on the timebank project, I’m energized. I’m passionate about it, and I think I can pull the damn thing off. It is not just the passion that is energizing, but the sense of agency, the sense that I could achieve something great if I work at it.
I hate the term “empowerment”. Empowerment is a feeling–you feel empowered. This is different than being powerful. And I wonder, empowered to do what? There’s no answer because it’s about feeling, not action. I am not interested in empowerment. But I need power.