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getting happy

Not "getting happy", really, but "getting not unhappy". When did it start? That is, when did it start for me?

I trace my thoughts to the day I was driving down Higuera Street, heading toward the freeway entrance at the intersection of Higuera and Marsh, and I was listening to public radio. It was Mental Health Week.

I was deriding the whole idea of mental health week, to tell the truth, and I was close to turning it off. The earnest well-meaning conversations, the assumptions that had somehow turned into facts. I knew so much of it was simply not true. But I also knew I was still hanging onto the bouts of depression.

The interview was with some kind of therapist. A woman. The interviewer asked the therapist what she offered her clients, what she had to teach them. The therapist said they needed to learn how to live as an undepressed person. I am sure I don't have the words exactly right, maybe even the question isn't exactly right, but I know I grabbed onto that idea, of learning to live as an undepressed person.

I looked at my own life and how I had flat-out defined it in terms of depression, how intimacy for me began with tearful confessions of how bad I felt about myself, how I subconsciously measured the response from others, in these deep, dark times. I got close to others through my depressions. It was that simple. And I did not know how to get close without them.

This may have been the turning point for when I really put my skills and tools to work. For I had been gathering them for years.

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