I've never been to a doctor about my depression (more on that later), so nothing I'm about to write has ever been vetted by a medical professional. This is just the way I think I work based on my observations and some books I've read about depression.
I have depression. I believe I have more of a dysthymia type of depression, in that the type of debilitating episodes most people associate with depression (can't get out of bed of a morning, et cetera) rarely hit me, and when they do they last for about an hour or so, but I have spent probably 80% of my waking hours over the past 27 years feeling terrible.
During that 80% of my time, though, the intensity of the self-loathing comes and goes. And for the past six months or so, it's been pretty strong. I realized a few weeks ago that I was winding down my social connections, and when I realized that, I didn't necessarily think I should stop it. I began archiving my social media posts as a preliminary step to disconnecting from social media. I stopped returning e-mails and phone calls from friends. I foresaw a future where I no longer interacted with my parents or siblings and I didn't see that as a bad thing. I wasn't making friends at church or at work and I didn't mind. I had allowed my blog to putter to a stop.
Part of my brain knew that concluding social relationships is something people do before suicide, and that part of my brain was a little worried, but I decided a few years ago that my wife and children would be very upset if I killed myself. See, even though I believe they'd be better off without me, THEY don't believe that, so their response to my suicide would be anger and pain, and since they would stop interacting with me at that point they would never come to realize that I was right and they were wrong, so they would just continue in anger and pain, and since I like them I don't want to cause them a lifetime of anger and pain. But once they realize that I'm a jerk and that they should hate me, this restriction will be gone. I believe, though, that my children are sufficiently spaced that, by the time the youngest is an angsty teen who wouldn't mind seeing me die, my eldest will either be past that phase or else have some children with whom I can start the process over again. But I'm not sure about this, because my youngest is preternaturally angry and my eldest might delay marriage and childbirth, and that explains most of my reasoning for wanting at least one more kid.
I guess some of my friends and family might read that I wasn't too distraught over ending my relationships with them and take offense, like I'm saying, "You people suck and I don't really mind if you're not in my life." The reality is I am saying, "I suck and they won't really mind if I'm not in their lives."
Anyway, my family went to my sister's in Richmond, Virginia, for Thanksgiving last week. We left on Wednesday morning, and the day before I had floated to my wife the idea of her and the kids going without me to help ensure everyone had a nice visit. She shot that plan down, so I went.
When it came to planning the trip back home, we wanted to observe the Sabbath. Our choices were to stay for Sunday and drive home Monday (I don't teach on Mondays), leave Saturday morning so we'd be home for Sunday, stay for church with my sister's family and then leave and drive all night, or try to fit church into the drive home. My sister didn't want us there Sunday night while her kids were doing their week-prep routine, it didn't seem worth the trip if we'd only be there for Thursday and Friday, and I didn't want to drive all night and ruin my sleeping schedule for several days. So we decided to go to church on our way home.
We woke up Sunday morning at 4 a.m. and dressed for church and left. We went to Raleigh, North Carolina, and stopped for church at 9 a.m. in the Beaver Creek Ward of the Apex North Carolina Stake. We could see that the two sacrament meeting speakers for the day were a companionship of missionary elders. The conducting bishopric member said the topic for the day was "it is not good for man to be alone." I thought it was ironically cruel to make two single young men talk about something that we normally associate with the commandment to marry.
The elders approached the topic from a non-marriage perspective. They talked about social connections and how a Zion people would not be an isolated people. And I realized at this meeting that I needed to actively stop this disconnection that I was watching happen in my life.
So here I am blogging again. And I'm going to return e-mails and phone calls, too. But it's hard, because I still don't want to do it.