12 August, 2015

Polyamory and Depression

Nice writeup here about how polyamory is becoming more visible, marred only by the description of polyamory as "ethical cheating". Cringe. Cheating means breaking agreed-upon rules, not abiding by your own set.
That aside, though, it's nice to see generally positive articles in the mainstream media. USA Today is about as un-obscure as media gets.

Pity about that comment section, though.

It's really nasty: worse than most I've seen, and that's saying something. The arguments advanced against polyamory are the usual: we are all sefish, narcissistic cheating commitment-phobic moral degenerates and walking cesspools of sexually transmitted diseases.

Ugh. So many willful misconceptions. As usual, I've waded in to try and set some things straight. I doubt I'll get anywhere, but the person I am demands I try.

The person I am right now is depressed, and I got to thinking I should set something straight here in the Breadbin as well. The depression I am currently being treated for settled in on me right around the time we embraced polyamory publicly.  I'm sure some people may be thinking that's no coincidence.

Correlation does not imply causation.

I've been depressed off and on, mostly on, for a little more than a year. As I have said several times, I have been poly far, far longer than that. Being poly, incidentally, does not mean having more than one partner, any more than being bisexual means you must date a man and a woman at all times. Check out the official definition, bold mine:

Polyamory means "loving more than one". This love may be sexual, emotional, spiritual, or any combination thereof, according to the desires and agreements of the individuals involved, but you needn't wear yourself out trying to figure out ways to fit fondness for apple pie, or filial piety, or a passion for the Saint Paul Saints baseball club into it. "Polyamorous" is also used as a descriptive term by people who are open to more than one relationship even if they are not currently involved in more than one. (Heck, some are involved in less than one.)

--from the alt.polyamory FAQ on USENET, first published May 29, 1992: I was a tiny, tiny part of that FAQ's vetting process. I and my then-girlfriend became regulars on that discussion group.

There have been ups and downs since I came out for the second time. Some of the downs have really stung...and may well have pushed me down a little further than I might otherwise have gone, at times. But being true to myself (and learning how best to model that authenticity) is a lifelong process having nothing to do with depression. Actually, I can state with confidence that publicly proclaiming who I really am has been a huge net benefit in many, many ways...and those ways will only multiply, like love itself, as time goes on.

My doctor: "So what makes you think you're depressed?"

"Well, I'm no longer thinking about suicide," I shot back, daring him to press his point. What makes you think is such a confrontational phrase. There are so many better ways to ask that question. Why do you feel you are depressed? Tell me about your depression. What are you experiencing, how are you coping, describe your symptoms...any of those sounds much better than what makes you think.

He didn't flinch at my short-lived venom. He's unflappable, for one thing, and for another I just don't have the energy to maintain anger. Or much of any other emotion, including sadness. I've had a joke response to 'how are you' for about ten years: 'alive'. For the past year, that hasn't been any kind of joke. I've just been...there. Sort of. Explaining this to him evidently convinced him that I don't just think I am depressed, I am actually depressed.


I am taking an antidepressant for the first time in my life. I feel no shame in this at all: it's far too common, and if I can deal with people criticizing me because I love too much,  people criticizing me for addressing a chemical imbalance can go suck lemons.  It's early, early days yet, far too early to draw conclusions.  Along with some expected nausea, I've had a small uptick in mood owing, I think, to the fact I'm finally doing something concrete about my mental state.

Oh, I've been trying to write myself better for a year now--look back on this blog and all the tools are there to make my feel good about myself. Reading them even works, for a while. just as the heartfelt love and support I have been given works, for a while. I have noticed over the past month or two that the effect lasts for an appreciably shorter and shorter period of time. It is precisely because I am aware of nearly boundless love and support that I have sought medical aid in adjusting my state of mind to better reflect my life's circumstances.

I'm not going to give you a blow-by-blow account of my healing process from here on out. If it turns out this pill does not work for me, I will try another, and so on, until I feel more in tune with the world, more deserving of the love I receive, and much less clingy. You don't need to see the nuts and bolts of this process: I figure it should be self-evident in the kinds of things I do write about, and the (likely reduced) frequency at which I imagine I'll be writing them. The Breadbin is not going away, trust me on that, but I hope within a short period of time it will go back to what it was before June of last year: a pleasure cruiser instead of a life raft. 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks you for sharing. I just stumbled across this article, but the fact that you have been able to make forward progress in helping yourself gives me hope for dealing with the depression lurking in my home.