Bruce Toews (masterofmusings) wrote,
Bruce Toews

The Pain Cycle

This may not be true for everyone, it probably isn't, but I've found it
to be true for me, so perhaps it is true for some others as well. As I
am about to turn forty, I've had a little time to observe this in my

Pain can be a feedback loop. Pain, be it physical or emotional, breeds a
desire for isolation. Isolation, even though it was desired, breeds
loneliness. Loneliness breeds more pain, which breeds the desire for
isolation, and so on.

Maybe this is obvious stuff and everyone else figured this out long ago.
Maybe I'm totally out in left field somewhere. Maybe I'm just a nutcase
who shouldn't be allowed an opinion of any kind for his own protection.
All possibilities, and I'm not dismissing any of them.

One thing I'm determined not to do is to respond to depression by
lashing out. I see it too often: people are depressed, and they feel the
only way to deal with it is to tear a strip out of everyone else with
string after string of curses, expletives, insults, and more expletives.
To me, such a response makes no friends and drives wedges between the
person needing friends and the friends they so desperately need. Some
will site freedom of speech when asked why they feel the need to react
this way. My response is that, granted, one has the right to respond
this way. But just because you have the right to do something, does it
mean that it's the best thing to do it? I say, in many cases, that it is
not. Rights are not obligations, responsibilities are. I have the right
to freedom of speech, but I'm not obligated to exercise that right if
doing so will do more damage than good.

I don't know why I'm writing all this down. I'm in a major depression
right now. We have a staff party over lunch, and I desperately don't
want to go. I'm not seeking validation from anyone either, in my not
wanting to go. That's another thing I see a lot of: people want to make
a decision, so they rant on and on about that decision until someone
finally comes out and says they think that was the right decision, so
the first person can then say, "It wasn't my choice, so-and-so told me I
should do this." People use this method to get what they want while, in
their own mind, not having to take responsibility for the decision. I
don't want to partake in event A, so I spend an hour giving excuse after
excuse for not going, making event A sound like the most horrific event
ever planned, until someone finally comes out and tells me I shouldn't
go. Yay, I'm off the hook. I don't go to event A, and it wasn't my
decision because I'm just following the advice of whoever eventually
told me not to go. And yes, I've done it too, but that doesn't make it
right. I'm as flawed as the next person, probably more so, and no one is
more acutely aware of this fact than am I.

All I can say is, if you've read this far, you're very brave indeed.

I have the best friends on the planet. To them I say, simply, thank you.

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