This morning, I jumped into the ring with dysthymia. We took turns slamming each other down on the mat, and then leaping off the ropes to smash each other with extra force. The chronic, more subtle version of “regular” depression, dysthymia is a true bully and bitch. The duration of its lingering makes it a sly master of eroding one’s stamina and spirit. I was a bit disappointed this morning that my depression (dysthymia) isn’t necessary a recognizable depression by most people that loosely interact with me… and, thus, it doesn’t feel ok/acceptable to lie around the house on regular occasion in my pajamas, binging on podcasts or Netflix. I’m not generally drawn to that behavior, but often my energy level could partner with that agenda and feel right at home. I, and countless others, push through the sluggish, heavy feelings that exist as a sort of norm, and we learn to adapt and behave as regular folks… until we can’t. There are many tricks and treatments that allay the symptoms, and I have spent years building a program that allows me some reprieve from the harshest of these. I don’t choose to medicate, and that demands a more thorough schedule of natural remedies… occasionally, I wish keeping the blues at bay was easier, or over. I do accept completely that this is part of my (and so many others), story. I’ll keep digging to uproot the causes, as this last year has been deep in the ditches and productive. I am grateful that I have loved ones around and that mine is not nearly as crippling as that of the millions who suffer from much worse states of depression. It’s been nearly nineteen years since I quit using drugs and alcohol to escape… I am now looking at my art practice and how that has long served as a sort of addiction, assisting in my escaping things. Fun times, indeed… Life is beautiful.