|Photo by Kristaps Bergfelds|
As long as I had been aware of my parents as real humans, I had begun to know the story of my dad’s depression, begun in childhood and most severe in his early thirties. I had come to know it as a story of the past, for it seemed, both in the way he spoke of it and in my own experience of my father’s humor, joy, and energy, that it was completely healed.
Funny—that is how I remember it happening. But going through emails, I discovered recently that this is what really happened:
I think part of me wanted to get help, find someone to talk to, explore the idea of therapy. But the other part told me that it was self-indulgent to go to a counselor when (according to the internet) I wasn’t even depressed.
We moved to Durham, and I started anew, and I hoped those feelings would depart with new routines and new friends and new purpose. And although slowly built a network of people I desperately love and trust, yet still I would leave the library each day angry at myself for not trying harder. Still I would end up at home feeling sad and lonely, unable to focus or even get off the couch. I would panic as I looked ahead to a weekend without social plans.
My second summer in Durham, I interned as a chaplain, an experience full of meaning and friendship. And then one day in a group meeting, pressed to explain my emotions, everything all seemed to collapse around me and I found myself crying under a table, begging to be left alone, my mind repeating over and over "I just want to not be me. I just want to not be me."
To be continued. In part 2, coming Friday, I'll share more about how going to therapy has been so vital for me.