Why I Value my Depression

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Harvard university logo image   Google Search Some self-disclosure, it seems to me, is overdue at  this point, and blogging’s purpose is largely what you  make of it, yes?

Clearly to those few who have followed this blog  from its meager onset, my on-line activity so far has  come in waves.  A surge out of the blue a year ago, a  pause, and now another surge.  What does it mean?  Not entirely sure myself, I can say from years of  experience being me that I suffer (and learn) from  Major Depressive Disorder. It informs everything I  say, write, and do.  But for it, I’d be A Harvard  Medical School trained physician somewhere now. Instead, I dropped out after two and a half years despite well above average Boards scores, due to recurrent depression in training that I now attribute to sleep deprivation and the culture of medical residency.  That was in the early 1990s, and I have only just now gotten over the blow to my pride sufficiently to make such a statement publicly.  That kind of prestige is not easy to resist or give up, trust me.  I never really sought it, but I sure as heck got caught up in it for a while. Intoxicating stuff, ego is, truly.

I’ve gotten better over time managing my response to these experiences, so the lows come less and less often, and far less deeply than they once did. I’m happily married, have without any doubt the best 8-year-old daughter who ever existed (Don’t doubt it!), and I have an exciting and really rather fun professional life, this all despite my ups and downs.  Last time down was last summer: crappy, demoralizing but livable, and I could even work though it. There are also periods of somewhat increased energy and creativity – imagine that? – that last as long as they last, and I try to squeeze in what good stuff I can when I can. Maybe this time is different, will never end – of course, unlikely but still an attractive vision of heaven. Life will go on in any case, as it must.

For those with the savvy to ask this specific question, no, I have never been manic, and mania does not concern me personally.  For those uninformed about such things, mania is one part of Bipolar Disorder.  Mania roughly involves such sped-up though processes and energy and confidence as to become dangerous and self-destructive.  Hypomania, where I’ve been told by some, rather plausibly, that I live occasionally, involves a mild enough form of mania as to avoid the danger.  The risk for me with hypomania is overworking and crashing into depression. I’ve ruffled some feathers here and there as a result. Live and learn! It is best to distance from negative influences in any case, yes?  Have I ever mentioned that you can profitably use general statements to give useful information while saying nothing personal?  It’s true!

See, I learn from experience at least occasionally, and I sure try more often than that. It’s a major part of what makes growing older more enjoyable than not. I don’t miss being young, cocky, strong, and ignorant of Oh! so, so much.  Life is good.

Any questions? Comments?  When I say I learn from others, I mean it, and I live it.

Please indulge me. I appreciate your time and consideration.

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