Wednesday, January 1, 2014


Did I say I've been busy?  In truth, I've actually been thoroughly depressed, but that's not something people like talking about.  This is a problem.  Most people I know who have dealt with some kind of mental illness, believe or believed at the time that they were completely alone.  Nothing could be less true, and since there very well could be someone reading this who is dealing with something similar, I am going to write about it.

I've dealt with depression on and off for a big chunk of my life, and like most people who have it, I dealt with it as best I could.  This was enough, until I was 16 and I started noticing shadows in every corner.  I was in the youngest student in the Basic Climbing Course at The Mountaineers that spring, and I was doing great and loving it, but suddenly on the Nisqually Glacier, I couldn't handle how quiet and still it was.  The worst part about dropping out of the course was that I couldn't explain what was wrong or what had happened.  I had my first panic attack the following October.  I'm still not sure which was worse, the actual episodes or never being able to be be completely calm, not even for a moment unless I was asleep.

I haven't had a real panic attack in a very long time now.  They taught me how to handle fear in a way I probably would never have learned otherwise, but I'm glad they're done.  However, nowadays, if I am depressed, that depression has teeth.

We got this boat last summer, and she has been wonderful.  The work and planning have been a huge source of inspiration and creativity.  But in the last few months I've been trying to find excuses to keep from going and working on her with Ben.  Only now am I realizing that recently while on the boat, I've been feeling the shadow of what I felt on the side of Mt. Rainier, almost ten years ago.

Depression is the unfortunate sister of Creativity.  I have found it extremely hard to have one without the other and as unspeakably shitty as the former makes me feel, I think that occasionally, maybe, just maybe, the latter makes it worth it.  My favorite episode of Doctor Who actually covered this, oddly enough, when the time-traveler swung by 1890 Provence to meet the under appreciated and manic depressive Vincent Van Gogh, and brought him to a museum in the present where he could see how beloved he is now.

From "Vincent and the Doctor."  Season five.
Later in the episode, the Doctor goes on to say, "The way I see it, every life is a pile of good things and bad things.  The good things don't always soften the bad things, but vice-versa, the bad things don't necessarily spoil the good things and make them unimportant."

Through a tremendous amount of luck, given my bare minimum health insurance, I've been able to get back on anti-depressants, and the difference is night and day.  I'm not totally a hundred percent yet, but I'm getting there, and I can go work on the boat without fear and poisoned thoughts.

Here are a few things we've been up too:

Ben cutting away at the first water tank in the fo'c'sle.

Here is the finished compass cozy.  I'm very pleased with how well it came out.

Earlier in December, I zip-tied a little christmas tree to the mast.  It took two attempts.  And while the picture doesn't show it, there are lights on it.

The poor little Doug Fir actually looks kind of bewildered.

I hope everyone has had wonderful holidays.  :)