Friday, December 02, 2011


A dear friend has blogged about depression a fair amount lately. And it has gotten me to thinking about my own struggles with depression.

Sometimes I'm just depressed because of a situation I haven't been able to reconcile.

Most of the time it is a general feeling of not belonging...anywhere. I go to work and feel I'm incompetent (it doesn't help that my new "boss" agrees with that assessment and reminds me regularly). It doesn't seem to matter how many mountains I scale and good deeds I accomplish there. I still feel like I'm pretending to be a grown-up. I'm really about 6.

I go to a gathering of friends or to someone's party and am convinced I don't belong there. They only invited me to be nice but they don't really care if I'm there or even want me to be there. I'm an embarrassment to everyone there because I just can't do or say the right things.

It isn't just once in a while. It's pretty much all the time.

One thing I do to combat this overwhelming sense of inadequacy is to knit. I knit pretty well. I'm not confident enough to make a whole sweater. Too much money for yarn to just waste it on my knitting. It probably would be too big, or too small, or disproportionate, or fall apart. But I knit smaller things because I can do them pretty well. Hats (they usually fit), mittens and socks fit me and my girlfriend. Not so much for bigger feet. I made one pair too big and I don't know about the others. I ran out of yarn so they ended up being anklets...for a guy.

I also practice a LOT of tai chi chuan. If I can't physically do it, I do it in my head. I visualize myself standing in the school room starting with the preparation and opening posture. I know a dozen or more forms made up of many postures. It's relaxing and I believe it really do know what I'm doing. It keeps me from thinking of any other things. I have students to act like they like me and I choose to believe them. My teacher seems to like me as well. That's a blessing.

Knitting and tai chi chuan help me achieve being "centered" which is a phrase I read about repeatedly in a 12-step group for "adult children" and I never understood what it meant. I think I know now.

I pray a lot, too. God, I believe, kept me from killing myself several years ago. There's no other explanation for why I didn't carry through with it. But I struggle to believe I really have any value to God. But I continue to struggle and pray and listen to the life lessons given at Eagle Brook Church.

The rest of the time, I just grit my teeth and endure.