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Shiver Now, 'tis Nothing New


I've mentioned in passing on social media recently about how I've been fighting a depression. It's true, though hard to admit. It can be seen as a sign of weakness, and that's never something one likes to promote, especially if they're in a leadership position, with many eyes looking to them for stability and decisiveness. Still, I am who I am.

As a matter of fact, this morning, I didn't want to get out of bed. The weather wasn't bad (for once), I wasn't feeling ill or otherwise in poor health, I felt refreshed from a good night's sleep. There was, simply put, a dread about having to face another day. There wasn't a specific issue resonating in my brain that was pushing this feeling, yet, it was there.

After some serious thought, some 'real talk' with myself, I can't escape the possible reality that some of this has come about since I began serving on city council. It should be made clear that the act of serving on council, itself, isn't necessarily the issue, but how I deal with serving on council. There's pressure (self-induced) to try and please everyone, which is almost certainly a recipe for disaster. There's the fact that so many things become political and hyper-sensitive.

The aforementioned hyper-sensitivity of things (social outings, phone calls, text messages, etc.) becoming politicized has made me much more attuned to the concept of lines blurring between social and political worlds. There are people who have come out of the woodwork wanting to friend request me on social media that, I suspect, wouldn't have bothered giving me the time of day had I not been elected to city council.

For someone who already suffers from self-worth and self-esteem issues, that's a bad, bad thing to have happen. Difficult to grapple with, it can create unintended consequences. Ultimately, I want someone to be my friend because they like and appreciate me for who I am, not the position I hold. I want sincerity, not ulterior motives. I know that some folks may not intend to come across that way.

In general, I tend to loathe discussing politics too much. It can turn negative very quickly. I serve in elected office to try and make the community a better place, but so often that aspect seems subsumed by more malevolent intentions. I want to see people as people, not as Democrats or Republicans, 'them' vs. 'us' or anything else antagonistic.

It doesn't help matters that one of my best friends -- a purely non-political friend -- moved away a couple of weeks ago. On a friendship level, he made a move that is good for his life, and I am happy for him. On the selfish tip, it has left a great void in my social life. In truth, it has been a major part of my recent sadness. Yes, friendships can be maintained across distances, but it's still not the same.

On the one hand, I could (and probably should) look upon 2015 as a banner in the life of Matt. I've had the same nice, comfortable job for eight years. I earn more than I ever have. I've celebrated 15 years of a relationship. My mother is still living, and I get to see her on (at least) a weekly basis. I own a car and a house. I have nice things. I was elected (granted, uncontested) to a four-year term on Champaign City Council. I am five years cancer-free. The glass is definitely half-full.

Unfortunately, through the foggy window pane of depression, all I can think of is: I'm turning 40 this year. My dad died at 52, and his dad died at 53, so I've got maybe another 12 years or so. I'm overweight, and don't seem to want to do anything about it. I could be better at my jobs. My friends keep moving away. And, of course, there's the fact that I feel down for feeling down to begin with.

I'm so tired of dealing with depression throughout the years. Medicine helps, sometimes better than others. It is truly like a war that never ends.




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