Among the things I’ve learned in recovery, one of the most important things, is to acknowledge that I’m not okay. I have to do that now. I have to acknowledge that, despite the smiles and laughter and the love I’ve been feeling recently, there’s that voice in the back of my head that’s yelling “stop ignoring me! I’m here! Something’s wrong!”
I’ll admit, I may have gotten lost in the happiness recently. Gotten too absorbed by it. And because of that, I have overlooked one of the key tenets I’ve taught myself: self-awareness. Mindfulness. I’ve been unaware, or perhaps even replacing what it is I’m supposed to feel with positivity, of the negative thoughts in my mind that I have to face head on.
It has taken its toll on my craft recently. I still have a lot of photo backlogs that I’ve yet to post-process completely. Not for a lack of trying. I try. I process the photos the way I usually do, but end up quitting because nothing seemed right anymore. There I was in front of this very same laptop I’m writing this in with a photo in front of me that I’m working on. I do all my usual conversions and adjustments. I even experiment on the photos. But the outcome, God, the outcome doesn’t feel right. It doesn’t seem like it had a sliver of my soul in it.
So what’s been weighing on my head lately? Lots of things, really. Some major, some minor. Some not worth mentioning because I can handle those. I can easily control those. I can fix those.
Among the major ones, among the ones I’m having difficulty controlling, is…
…is something that’s been raging on since time immemorial. Good versus evil.
When I started therapy and treatment for clinical depression and anxiety, it suddenly unlocked doors inside of me that I thought didn’t exist. Untapped potential were tapped and opened, accessed. I’ve been capable of things that I never thought I was capable of. My life, for a lack of a better term, became normal. There were all these good things that came out, that I can suddenly do and feel.
It was actually one of my realizations before, one that I’ve forgotten: it wasn’t just the good that finally got out when I started the path to mental health recovery. The bad came out, as well.
I’m not talking about bad things that a depressive thinks about or does. I’m talking about the bad things that “normal” people think, say, or do. I’ve always believed, and I stand by it, that a millennia of evolution doesn’t change our human nature. Just look at the state of our world. Humanity’s been doing bad shit, killing, raping pillaging, maiming, for a million reasons. Anyway, I believe that evil is in our human nature. I think that’s why it’s so easy to do bad things than good things. It’s so easy to succumb to evil than to fight to do good.
And that’s what we do. We fight and fight to do good, to be good persons. That’s what I’m struggling with right now. How to be a good person when the continual lifting of the veil of depression is also opening the gates to my capacity to be a bad person.
My dreams aren’t helping, either. My unconscious state has been making things extremely difficult in my head as of late. I’ve been dreaming about things that I shouldn’t even dream or think about.
I had a singing gig recently and on the last song I did, a cover of Damien Rice’s “9 Crimes,” I messed up the ending. I lost my momentum. I attribute the fuck up to the dream I had the night before. In the dream, and I am NOT going to divulge the specifics here, I was heavily considering something bad. I was leaning towards it because I know that doing so would make me feel good. The dream appealed to my base instincts.
Those base instincts, along with a plethora of others, I’ve known all along that those were inside of me, even before my path to recovery. I’ve known that it was all inside me for years. It became my belief, after all. And even in my depressive state, even when I was knee deep in the murky waters of the darkness, I was always afraid that I was capable of such things. The depression was a blessing in that regard. It kept the bad in the deepest recesses of my mind, inaccessible to myself.
Now that the depression is being treated, it’s coming out. I can access all the bad.
It’s another war I’m waging against. I’m not only fighting against the depression, I’m also fighting against the evil inside of me.
Here’s the thing, though: I’ve mentioned in this blog that everything that once made sense to me doesn’t make sense anymore. Or I’ve had the need to adjust and integrate those to my new life. Living thirty years with undiagnosed and untreated clinical depression warps your mind in ways that you have no choice but to make sense of. My moral compass is skewed, I’ll be the first to admit that. I have a sense of right and wrong, a moral code, but one that’s been borne out of the depression. I have to reassess, reanalyze, and reconfigure my morality to fit in my current life.