How long have I been depressed?
This is a question that comes up, A LOT. IT's a natural one, of course. You meet someone and they tell you, or someone you've known for years shares with you, that they have an illness, a disease and I think it's only natural to wonder how long they've been dealing with it. It's human nature to be curious, all the time.
Maybe you wonder if they've only just found out and that's why they are sharing. Maybe they are telling you because they've come to a sort of peace with it. Perhaps they've been dealing so long that they've reached the end of their road. Who knows, but I'm quite certain you do. As I would.
This has always brought up the question, in my head, of, "Does it matter?" Does it matter when someone's prostate turned into a ball of cancer? To doctors and scientists probably. To me, the listener of the story, really it doesn't matter all that much.I'd argue it's the today and the tomorrow that matters, not the yesterday in these situations.
Sure you sometimes find out someone has been battling some god-awful disease for years and you're impressed with their strength and drive. These stories can inspire.
But most often we're told someone has been dealing with their particular brand of illness (honestly, don't we all have some ailment we've been dealing with for years?) for a meaningless amount of time. 1 year? A decade? since last week?
Without having personal experience with any specific malady how long someone has had it is meaningless, to us. It's likely that more men over the age of fifty are walking around with un-diagnosed prostate cancer than not. And they'll die of old age before the cancer really matters. Have a nasty case of a noro-virus and you're likely to become religious and pray for help the first day.
My point here isn't that some illnesses are worse than others. Those type of value judgments are impossible for me to hold privately, much less publicly. Value judgments of any kind are not something I'm particularly good at anymore. The point is that simply attaching a start date to an illness is not particularly valuable to understanding someone's personal battle.
Yikes, let me put this soapbox away.
Back to when my depression began. The current timeline I'm working with right now with my therapist, Alex, is that I've no idea.
As I try to retrace the steps of my life, like most people I presume, the further back I go the fuzzier it gets. For me "further back" is generally anything over 3-4 years ago. The joke is, if I closed my eyes I couldn't remember what color shirt I'm wearing. (Credit to Ray Ramano)
The thing that is rather pertinent to my brand of poor memory (I think) is my current inability to discern any emotions. Alex will often ask me where do I "feel" certain thoughts or drives. He'll point to his chest or gut or head. I always answer the head. It all seems so cognitive to me.
When I'm struggling with not being with my girls, it's in my head.
When I have the urge to maintain the house, for Nora, it's in my head.
When something is clearly wrong...you get the idea.
I don't know if it's always been this way. The two ways I see problems in figuring that out are these; either I used to feel feelings and I simply can not re-feel those feels or it has always been cognitive and my horrific memory stunts me from recalling how it was the first 4 decades.
I want to know, to figure this out. I wish I could say, "Somewhere around college something changed." And then explore that time to see if we can discern if something may have triggered the change. I want to know more.
But I don't at the same time. The "I hate myself" mentality keeps me, so far, from researching my past self. I could reach out to friends of days gone by and ask them what they remember of me, through the years. But to do that, in my mind, is to open the floodgates of how pitiful a person I've always been.
How long have you had/been (insert your own story here)