Saturday, January 29, 2011

Should I Stay or Should I Go, The Remix

Funny thing happened on the way to the Blogger Dashboard.  After I posted part one, (which is not titled as such 'cause I didn't know there would be a part 2 at the time but I digress), I discovered a remarkably similar post from Etta over at Depression Marathon.  

It was extra-remarkable for me as I not only had just posted about depression triggered by social situations in part 1, I had also posted about church recently.  While I found myself longing for the kind of fellowship and sense of community that something like church can provide, Etta found herself experiencing negative feelings following church services, and thought she might be unique in feeling that way.  Etta was quickly reassured that she was not, and that many of us experience similar feelings upon leaving social gatherings, family events, and the like. 

Then, a new reader, (hi Nas!) posted something here that really turned on the light for me. 

Said Nas (in a double quote comment here), "When I started blogging back in August, I did so because a friend of mine once said to me, 'share your thoughts and reflections with other people who may be going through the same thing as sharing your happiness increases it, and sharing your experiences and sorrows helps you deal with them better'."

Well, as it turns out Nas's friend is dead on.  Etta posted a followup thanking commenters for sharing similar experience, and I have already been immeasurably helped by putting my feelings to words in this space.

How about that.  What a great sense of community.  What a great group to be a part of.  I am, like Etta, reassured and heartened by the support shown not only to me, but to others who live with mental illness and choose to write about it.

Now here's more good news.  Got an invite to a social gathering this week.  The invite was from a friend, but the gathering was to be at the home of someone else, who I didn't know, and there would be others there I did not know.  I could feel the spiral start early this time in preparation for the emotional trauma to come.  Then, quite unexpectedly, my friend said to me privately, "I know you aren't too comfortable with this sort of thing, but I think you will have a really good time."

And that's all it took this time to sidestep the Black Dog from getting me down.  Acknowledgment and support.  It's like a great weight was lifted.  I went to this person's house for the scheduled activity, was somewhat outgoing and social, and managed to drive home without getting the sad urge to detour to the ER.  

That, my friends, is real progress.

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