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Should I Stay or Should I Go?

This morning I received notices for what sound like two really fun events happening in our town on Saturday night. One is dinner, dance and celebration of the winter carnival. It’s a week of mostly outdoor events that encourage participation, trying new things, social time and some much needed outdoor time in what is truly a long winter environment. It’s a beautiful breakup to the middle of a cold, dark time in the year.

The other option is the community is the Home Routes concert, going on at a warm and welcoming home in the heart of town. Its a few hours of warm beverages, good music and intimate enjoyment of an artist at work. There will be people there that enjoy live music and art, and it will be a really nice time.

There is a kind of magic at these events, where you understand that a performance is really just a barometer for how well an audience and performer co-create. We have witnessed some beautiful collaborations in the past here.

These kind of community initiatives bring great rewards to the people who are motivated to take part. The value they create is really worth considering. In my first winter here, we gladly took part in most events of the carnival, and enjoyed meeting people. The auction was fun and we all had a really good time.

Since we moved here 2.5 years ago, these kind of regular events throughout the year have helped my stability when cold dark days threatened to keep me holed up. They provided much needed opportunites to socialize, and to exercise out in the fresh air when depression was starting to get out of hand. Opportunity and necessity are good collaborators in times of trouble.

Eventually my depression won, and I stopped attending these events.

I really would like to attend this event. I want to do this very much, but I hesitate to do so. I am afraid I will find it hard to be polite. I am afraid I may not feel overly friendly with people. I am afraid the evidence of many months of isolation will leak out onto other people and cause them some distress.

I am afraid the people here might think it is because of them. It’s not. It’s me. I know it. I have done it many times before. It’s good practice not to take anyone’s behavior personally, a fact I often remind myself.

My mental health has enjoyed its share of ups and downs in the past several years. I don’t believe it’s that much of a secret. I have had 3 psychiatric emergencies since 2014. In hindsight, access to therapy, interventions and medications would have improved the situation greatly. Most of the professionals I saw were overworked, underpaid, scantly trained, physically depleted and emotionally unavailable. I cannot imagine showing up daily to a job where the resources were so minimal, stretched so thin, over such a huge population. I learned early on to get alone, be calm, and ride it out, rather than risk being sent to a hospital to be assessed by someone who knew less about psychiatry than I did.

Situations crop up in life that can create some very unusual adaptations in humans. I would be happy to discuss this interesting topic with you, but not at a community event. That’s not the right place. What I will say, is that I apologize for any behavior you have witnessed that was unpleasant. I’m trying my best to improve the person I am every day. I can’t take back things I’ve said, or done, or any number of descriptive looks I may have directed in any general direction. All I can tell you, is that in my mind, at the time, there was a reason. Even if it was a stupid one. Or a delusional one. Or a petty one. Or a legitimate one you didn’t understand.

For the times my behavior has confused you, or hurt your feelings or caused you anger, I apologize. I don’t want to be a source of unhappiness.

If I could ask one favor from you, it would be not to judge me before you know me. You don’t know me.

I really like your beautiful town, and its history, and the energy of the ancient things that have moved over this area. I feel lucky to be here. I think we are all lucky to be here.

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