Christmas 2013 letter to mum

in family


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December 25, 2013

Mum,

I’m sorry for all of my silences-the missed calls, the requests ignored, the glares, the tense, snappy answers. I really, truly am; I have a veritable walk-in closet full of skeletons, and every time we talk it feels like you inadvertently me about one or another in just the wrong kind of way. It hurts, I snap at you, I get guilty about lashing out, and the whole cycle repeats another day.

I tried to explain my situation and issues on more than one occasion, but it never feels like I have the right words to paint a picture of an invisible illness. When I have, you seem to be left with completely the opposite impression of my depression-you tell me to shrug it off, to get a job, and simply to get better. I’d love to get a job. I don’t enjoy living hand to mouth, week to week. There are so many things that I would buy, see, and do if I had the disposable income; I’m surrounded by friends who look up to me for my intelligence and ability to learn when I apply myself, I have a housemate who is constantly putting work opportunities in my way should I choose to avail of them.

All of that, and I consider it a good day if I can leave the house and interact with real flesh-and-blood people.

There are two sides to my depression:

1. The chemical imbalance in my brain that makes my susceptible in the first place.
2. Every event to day that has led me to have such a low view of myself.

The first thing I can manage with antidepressants. The anxiety and apathy and sadness can be controlled by a pill. No matter how hard Lexapro has hit my sleep pattern, I haven’t had a single bad anxiety attack since I’ve begun my prescription. It is the other part-all the stress and fighting and horrible things that I have been through-that I wrestle with daily.

There is a thing called cognitive dissonance, which is caused when you hold to heart two opposing concepts simultaneously, or an idea that you know is at odds with objective reality. For me, it is the sheer hurt that I’ve both dealt and received whenever I have committed myself to an action, and the fact that despite all the people who look up to me in some way, those who ostensibly know me the best, or are closest to my heart, have the lowest opinion of me.

Case in point: I called the kids last night to wish them a Merry Christmas. Garrett greets me with “Dad, you’re a bad father.” Caira dutifully bid me a merry Christmas, and then immediately hung up the phone. Even if I have know the source of the poison it is remarkably disheartening.

So yeah, I try and get slapped down hard, so why even try in the first place? That’s the crux of my problems, the reason why I duck and hide.

What it comes to you and the Grealishes, I always feel pressured because you want exactly the companionship that I don’t. You’re alone and I’m alone, except I’m at my happiest when I’m alone. Ad on top of all this I completely abhor your smoking. As an adult I can choose to not be around it, so I did.

As for as Christmas goes, you wanted me at the house for more time than I really felt able to be there. I’m sorry, sorry again for the silence and the absence. I felt the least I could do for Christmas would be to try and explain just what is going on, and why it is going on.

I love you, Jenn, my kids, and all the rest of my family even if I aren’t often the best at expressing it or appreciating you all.

Merry Christmas,

Mark



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