Communion Of Dreams


What it’s like.
July 28, 2010, 6:06 pm
Filed under: Bipolar, Book Conservation, Depression, Failure, Gardening, Health, Press, Publishing

I mentioned last week that I was somewhere in the downswing of my bipolar cycle. It’s sometimes hard to explain what that means. For those who haven’t ever experienced a true depression, here’s perhaps an insight into what it is like.

This morning I got a lot done. Errands ran, exercise in, seeing to a lot of annoying administrivia for my (soon-to-be-over) position as president of our Neighborhood Association. Then this afternoon a nice young woman reporter came by for a long interview for Vox Magazine – a profile piece they wanted to do about me as a book conservator. She was well prepared for the subject, asked a lot of solid questions, and gave me plenty of opportunity to brag on my profession. Then we got into some other personal things about me, and by the time she left I knew that she was quite impressed with all I have done, all that I have accomplished, and the successes which are currently in process.

She left, I got some conservation work done. Then I went out to the garden and harvested the first couple of ‘Lemon Boy’ tomatoes and green bell peppers – which I just chopped up and added to a nice tortellini salad waiting for dinner.

Sound good? Well, yeah, it should.

Know what I was thinking? That I had waited far too long to take care of the administrative tasks. About the client who called me during dinner last night to check on a conservation project which I didn’t even remember having been told to proceed on, and how I needed to scramble to get that done. And that the tomatoes and peppers are late, and an indication that this year’s harvest from the garden was going to be waaaaaaaaaaaaay down – perhaps only a quarter of what it usually is, and that was clearly due to some kind of ineptitude on my part.

This is not a major depression. I can function just fine. I am able to motivate myself to get things done. I can recognize my accomplishments.

But I take little joy or pride in anything I’m doing. I feel like I am constantly trying to paper over the cracks in my world, to hide the screw-ups I make lest someone figure out just how incompetent I am.

Don’t misunderstand this as a whine or a plea for “help”. I’ll be fine – I have been through this more than enough times to know the path out of the valley. I just thought I would share a little perspective on what it is like to be where I am.

Jim Downey


3 Comments so far
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Given the reports on weather in mid-Missouri this past spring, the growing season is definitely NOT your fault. I kept telling you to plant rice and cranberries, but you insisted upon planting things that need DRY weather to survive. And given the weather, the lateness of the crop is hardly your fault.

Comment by ML

Here’s wishing you a quick trip out of the Valley of Shadow, from one who’s visited it far too many times herself.

Comment by Karen

Thanks, Karen.

Comment by James Downey




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