Depression, were I not to have suffered from it my entire life, would surely fascinate me to no end as a course of study. But ask any cook: tasting the same thing over and over and over tends to dull the palate. Ask a bar-band if they still like playing "Stairway to Freebird". And so on.

As a student of Zen, I have the ability to approach things differently now than I did--say--twenty years ago when I didn't have a name for my depression, and it fit me better (all "gothy" 'n stuff back then, yaknow). This difference in approach has, more than anything, lead me to understand something about myself:

I ain't all that.

Now, that in-and-of itself sounds a bit depressing. Everyone likes to think they're at least a little special. But it's my opinion that we tend to take that a bit too far here in the west. We tell our children just how special they are. We tell young people that success is best achieved by striving to set themselves apart; to be an individual, to be unique. We see individuality as the pinacle of expression.

No one ever says "Learn to see just how like everybody else you are!" "Lots and lots of people have experiences just like you." "I've felt like this over someone before." None of those sentences get used with much success when it comes to making someone feel better about "themselves". Yet, what help is it to stoke a person's ego when their ego is the problem?

Lately, I've been feeling slighted. Un-valued. Hurt in ways that I haven't felt in a long time. One of the things that I used to use to help my depression was the value I had in a relationship. That relationship is now gone, and because of that, I'm trying to get my solo sea-legs again. It was easier when I was younger. I had more energy--physical and emotional--and more desire to keep going. It's very tricky, this depression thing. On one hand, I know perfectly well that I'm not all that damn special in the grand scheeme of things. On the other, I know firmly and deeply that the entire Universe revolves around me. Somewhere in between lies the middle, but it's so hard to know where to look. It's like asking the ocean to tell you where it begins and ends. I mean, what part of the ocean isn't the ocean? You either are the ocean, or you're not. You're either Enlightened or your not. You're either depressed or your not.

I'm either right about all this, or I'm not.

What a silly, deluded notion.

Off to sanzen. Maybe I'll ask about it there...