Tough Summers 6/1/22

Depression with Richard Bleil

My long-lost friend Linda would explain my depression around April as “birth trauma”. The idea is that, subconsciously, we remember the pain and difficulty of birth, the discomfort, and the trauma. As we remember this, even subconsciously, it leads to depression around our birthday. Frankly, I didn’t put much stock into the idea when I knew her. Today, well, I’m still not convinced, but maybe.

As we enter into June and July, I tend to hit a terrible streak of depression. Today I’m okay. I’m looking forward to my home Ren Fair coming up this weekend, but I’m also aware that I could easily be sinking into the depths of depression soon. I was born in April, but I’ve also had a lot of bad things happen in these two summer months.

In June and July, I was separated, divorced, my mother died, my father died, my dog died and so much more. One year, I had had such a string of crushing events that it became almost comforting, feeling as if nothing else could go wrong like when you suddenly feel warm just before death by hypothermia. My friend will, no doubt, remind me that I was also married in these months, but as tragic as the marriage was, I’m not sure I can even put that into a “plus” column.

So, if I anticipate this seasonal depression, the obvious question is what I intend to do about it. The answer, quite simply, is nothing. I’ve been told to just not be depressed, as if that works. The only people who say that don’t understand the nature of depression. I’ve tried to put time limits on it, as in “okay, I’ll be depressed for one day and then…” It doesn’t work. In fact, I think it makes it worse, because I’m adding the stress of my own personal goal on top of the depression, and become self-critical when it fails.

My friends are all concerned about me and want me to live a higher quality life. I don’t know. This is just how it is for me. They’ve been insisting that I need to medicate, but the reality is that I’m a functional depressive. Even with all of the guns in my current armory, I’m not a danger to myself or others. Yes, thoughts of suicide do periodically cross my mind, but I won’t act on them, and honestly, I’m not sure they cross my mind more than in others. It’s actually quite common for people to think to themselves that maybe they should just end it, so, no, that won’t happen with me. Honestly, the primary reason I’ll never take my own life is because of my friends. Suicide will, inevitably, end whatever temporary problem I might be struggling through, but it shifts the burden to my friends who will be stuck with the memory, the pain, and the suffering caused by my decision to end it. That’s not fair to them. And that’s why I’m not a suicide risk.

Travel would definitely help. I call it “replacing memories”. By traveling, I could create a whole new set of memories, happy ones, that I can think of when I’m feeling blue. The problem with that is that my depression is caused my loneliness, and I have no travel companion with whom to create these new memories. I would love to travel to Europe, and see the homeland of all Bleil’s in the US (according to my very distant cousin who has researched the Bleil lineage extensively), Erligheim, Germany. It would be very nice to be surrounded by people who at least know how to pronounce my name, but I would have to travel alone.

Of course, being alone does have its advantages, few though they be. In paying for a single ticket instead of two, I would be able to fly to Europe first class. I’m not the kind of guy who would want to fly first class routinely, but like jumping out of a perfectly good airplane, it’s something I would like to experience at least once in my life. And I could never have purchased all of my guns with a spouse talking me down all of the time, but I would gladly trade them all for one loving life partner.

So, this summer, my adventure, I’ve decided, will be zip-lining. There are certain things I’ve wanted to try. I’ve taken pilot lessons (but because of my medical history I would not have been able to get a license), I have a scuba license, wrote a book, started a blog (could you have guessed?), and as of last year I went skydiving. This year my goal is zip lining. In the future, I’ll go white-water rafting, and parasailing. Maybe these will be my new memories.


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