Currently reading: Sorrow and Bliss, by Meg Mason
My regular reading fare is crime and action novels, but I saw this book mentioned in a recent Daily Stoic email and I felt compelled to grab a copy. Partly because I felt like reading something a little bit different, and partly because it talked about how the main character struggled with depression and I figured hey, I think that’s something I can relate to – though I’m hardly Robinson Crusoe there. Why it appealed to me, I don’t know – it’s not as if reading a book will make me feel better.
I’m only about 18% in, so it’s really too early to give a book review but I’m enjoying it a lot. It’s punchy, perceptive and funny, and I’ve found it thoroughly entertaining, but also poignant. The author doesn’t waste words, and describes everything in a very matter of fact way that’s both refreshing and very raw.
The thing that made me want to write about it was early in the book, this quote struck me:
They could not tell that for most of my adult life and all of my marriage I have been trying to become the opposite of myself.
It smacked me in the face and almost made me put the book down because… that’s… in so many ways… me. Not in my marriage so much, but gosh… I feel like ever since my teens I have been trying to become someone else. Some deep rooted part of me that loathes all my mannerisms and habits and most especially some of the shit I do that reminds me of my parents that has been driving me for years to metamorphose and adapt and seek change and turn into someone else because god forbid I remain that person. That sentence summed it up so neatly that I wanted to burst into tears.
Don’t take this the wrong way, my last non-training related post here was pretty positive, and things are still generally going pretty well – but ‘pretty well’ is relative. Yes, I’m mostly healthy, have a family, reasonable financial stability and from the outside it probably looks like I’ve got stuff worked out, right? But on the inside… heh. I’m forty freaking six next week – I’ve been learning about myself, self medicating and experimenting with different ways to try and feel accepted by myself and others for almost half a century and only now am I begrudgingly forming a fragile peace with where I’ve come from and who I am. And it IS fragile, because there are days when I wake up and genuinely think to myself that I hate my fucking life and who I am.
The Daily Stoic email gave another quote from the book which resonated strongly too:
“We have to attack the day,” he tells her, which was a reference to a podcast they had listened to. In it, the guest had explained the need to attack the day, “so it doesn’t attack you.”
This is almost how I approach life these days – I’ve chosen to harness that inner self loathing and use it to drive myself harder, and I guess it’s stopped the day from attacking me. If I chose to drift through on life’s tides, I think I’d probably have ended up on the rocks before now – at least this way I feel like I’ve got some sort of grip on the tiller. But I’m dog tired – if I could stay in bed and sleep for a week, I probably would.
Is that what depression is? I don’t know.