Tuesday, May 02, 2006

back from Massachusetts

My daughter liked Concord Academy a lot, and there was more structure than I expected (my main worry). I did fine. What hit me most was the theater, which hasn't changed since I was there. I stepped back and leaned against the wall and concentrated on my breathing, but no one noticed. The chapel didn't affect me the same way, but I was distracted by the fact that our tour guides were talking about the importance of the chapel talks given by seniors and I have no memory of mine. I didn't exorcise the ghosts; I still dread setting foot on the campus. When I try to write about what I remember a lot of positive memories come out, but I succeeded academically by repressing the pain inside and that pain is waiting to ambush me.

I was amused Sunday to read an article in the New York Times about resilience. After a close friendship with someone with terrible depression I understood depression better and started saying that it feels like I am chemically resistant to depression (I sometimes feel very depressed but I pop out of it whether I want to or not in a few hours or days). I always felt that when I said that people didn't think I was talking sense. But now there is research showing that different versions of a particular gene can promote or protect against depression. I'm sure I have the most protective version. That is probably why I was so successful in repressing the pain as a teenager. The key that the author doesn't understand is that resilience doesn't mean that everything is fine, it only means that the person is able to keep going despite the pain.

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