Welcome to the web site of JJ Sheahan
May 24, 2017

I wasn’t born depressed –
I was born free.
Somehow, I picked it up, or learned it,
or caught it.
Maybe the could-be-crack in me faulted under stress.
Maybe it was a virus, like the one that causes stomach ulcers,
or a cancer-like cell that hides in us all.
Maybe I looked down once too often and the fear stuck.
It doesn’t matter now.

I was a happy, cheeky kid, beloved and smacked often enough.
I was a leader, confident and unaware there was any other way to be.
It didn’t last.
By 14 my teacher thought I was overly serious.
At 19, paralyzing grey days strung together into months.
Thirties and forties – spiraling into bottled oblivion.
At 43 I was diagnosed chronically, clinically depressed and started meds.

I was ashamed.
From pitying judgments, I hid my incapacity.
A temporary measure? No.
But years later I was sharing my story
with other sufferers.
In a new land, after a new start,
then I started telling certain other people.

A psych gave me ‘You weren’t born depressed.’
She was right.
I remember a childhood shot through
with confidence, curiosity, adventures of our own discovery.
We were a handful, my brothers and I,
tales of our mischief are family legends,
told with delight.
No malice in us. We were fierce little explorers,
oblivious to danger.
I still can’t pin down the fracture point.
I don’t need to anymore.

Sixteen years now, officially, and still I hope
to be doing it on my own one day.
The meds are no guarantee of
or well-lit days
or happiness.
Some black patches have nearly taken me.
Always there has been the shadow of
a wish that I could be like other people …
a shame that Life has found me not quite up to the job.
And, anyway,
the laughter has felt forced or somehow too loud.

Now, at 59,
as from the corner of my eye,
as from a whisper partly heard,
I have put down or unlearned,
left behind, shrugged off or forgotten
the root of my depression.
Whatever it was, I feel free of it.
Could it really be this simple?
Could it be only the failing habits that remain?