Downdowndown

I am down.

I'll start by saying that what I'm about to post doesn't really sound good, doesn't really match up, that I've got a lot of great things in my life and I know that.

But I am down nonetheless.

I've written some, somewhere, about depression. Depression can be circumstantial (like a breakup, or a lost job, or a dead pet, or whatever). It can be clinical and chemical (some kind of serotonin fuck up or hormonal imbalance or whatever). It can be mild like a cold, it can be moderate like seasonal allergies, it can be severe like pneumonia. It can start off as a cold and work it's way into pneumonia.

It is painful, enervating, and it lies to you. It allows your brain to shift so that regular good things look blah, and bad things look terrible. It tells you that you are crap and why bother. It just feels like hell.

So I have depression issues. Hey, I'm outing myself for National Coming Out Week. Mental Health is a big closet people hide in and so while I am not coming out here in any other way that I could come out as, I'm choosing this cause it feels most fucking pertinent right now.

I believe that my depression issues are primarily hormonally related. It is not uncommon for women to have a very dramatic dip in how their serotonin etc gets reuptaken or not, during the fluctuating oceanic shifts of estrogen and progesterone.

I've had ranges of experiences with this, mostly worse in my 20's, and sometimes manageble with certain birth control pills, but mostly through a self medicated process of exercise, vitamin B, chinese medicines and occasional therapy.

I mean, come on, I had some wack shit go down in my childhood so I can believe some of my issues are scar tissue, and some are chemical. And like, if I get ill? That's the first symptom is extreme weepiness which is bullshit, cause I know all kinds of people who get sick and just feel bad physically, but I wind up caving.

After I had both babies I had post partum depression pretty badly. Far worse with Evan actually. Really bad. I took meds and that made a huge difference.

Now that I am 41 I am starting to wonder if I'm not actually having another hormonal shift. Perimenopause may be around the corner and while that's just fine, I don't want to have migraines and insomnia and feeling like ranting and crying every month. No good.

So I got a bench mark blood test to see where the fuck I am with that.

Anyway, all this to say that I don't always know when I'm down cause of something not really real, or down cause there is real shit to deal with or when it's both.

I think it's both this time.

Reason 1) Monday I went to see mom. Long story short, she watched me as I left and waved at me and I just got in the car and broke down crying. I had this image of me, by her bedside with her passing, and I realized I had no idea how I'd let her go, even though I wish for her to go be in peace. It's like...I've had her with me now for (if you count the beginnings with her nearly fatal pneumonia) 7 years.

Seven years of worrying about her, dealing with her, being afraid of her, for her, watching this. What would it be like for her to be gone? How would I define myself without her there as a....as a burden? A weight? A guilt? It terrifies me in a way, that I'll get hung up in some kind of weird mourning thing, or I won't, or I won't know what to do without her there.

Reason 2) I had a realization that I've followed a very unproductive pattern in my life, one that I'd like to be able to put off on anyone but me, but really the fault is mine. It's that thing I've mentioned about wanting to be onstage but not wanting to be seen. It's this thing about action and fear. I got my degree in theater. I moved, not to LA or NY, but to Seattle (which had great benefit) and I did not audition at all and didn't perform at all (maybe once or twice) the 8 years I lived there. I took a back seat in many ways-did costuming, volunteer managing, assistant directing. I longed to perform, but I couldn't find it in me, or wouldn't, to do what it took to take that risk.

Then I got a degree in (for lack of a better term) consulting. Amazing degree. Lots of personal growth. We moved here right after but I didn't do anything with the degree itself, meaning while I used the skills on a day to day basis, I didn't really work it. I didn't get jobs based on that skill set.

I had kids. I got a job that was a perfectly good job to have for a few years but not a career maker. I lingered waiting around. I did not advance my career because in many ways I had no idea what that was to be. It wasn't Acting. It wasn't Consulting.

I've taken the back seat in a number of artistic projects, both onstage and off. My boss has often told me that my skill for collaboration is strong, but I need to actually take the reins and direct. Own. Make things mine, for real. Things I've assiduously avoided for 20 years, consciously or not. Because of conflict, failure fear, habit or whatever.

Lots of time wasted? Ironically, dealing with my mother has been a turning point in a way. I wanted terribly to rely on family. I wanted to rely on Chris. I did. I did myself and all of them a disservice in how much I avoided the mantle, and there is little way to make that up. I have finally taken it on. Done the paper work, dealt with banks, placed her in her little prison. Mostly broken up with my family over it all. I am kind of all in, all it. And again, it's because of her and it's weird weird weird as fuck.

Now, I'm here and I've sort of realized some major things about career/art/activism intersection. Some of that intersection has happened at my hand, some has not (fate or timing).

I have a pretty damn clear vision of who I am, who I want to be, what I want to do and where it merges with career. What will happen next? Will I give it up? Will I ask someone to sort of lead the way for me? Will I chicken the fuck out if things in my life change?

I don't post this to get affirmation or nice comments. I know that I am a strong person. I have worked hard and earned successes. I am a kind person yadda yadda etc etc. And I know that if I were being more gentle I'd say well, the teens and 20's were for art, the late 20's early 30's were for consulting-esque work, the late 30's were for activism and now it's time to tie it all together in a pretty bow and stir up some shit into my silver and golden years, but I"m not feeling all that gentle to tell the truth.

I feel pretty rough today.

It's all good to say that. But I have to DO it. I. Me. I've got to let myself be seen and deal with the outcomes of it, good or bad, conflict or not, and I have to find a way to keep working even when I feel like death on a cracker.

So that's where I'm at today.