The Goal of War

Depression has a funny way of making sure you don’t do anything but exist. You just kind of go through the motions of daily life; not really having passion nor drive to accomplish anything. You don’t see past that minute that you are alive. You are just focusing on living one more minute. Sometimes you can extend it to a half an hour, hour, a day. Having long-term goals always seemed so silly to me. I usually just chose cookie-cutter answers to placate the person who asked me to think of them in the first place: college, graduating, moving out, getting a job. If you asked me specifics, I had no idea: what did I want to major in? What did I want to do for a job? Where would I live? I didn’t care for the specifics. In fact, I never really thought about it seriously. Part of this came from not knowing who I was.

To be honest, I still don’t know exactly who I am. I could write out a list of things I know about me, like that my name is Tara and I like my name. I know I don’t like wearing dresses. I know that I like to write. I know that I love to read. I know that I prefer darker beers. So on and so forth.

So, I know quite a bit of who I am, but there are still things I’m figuring out. Like who I am among all sorts of different people. Am I a leader or a follower? Do I really prefer female pronouns? Do I really want to be a Cognitive Neuroscientist? What do I actually want out of a relationship? What parts of me are really me as opposed to what others have impressed upon me? Do I really like that music, or just that a person that I like likes that music? It’s all a matter of untangling a web of identity that I’ve adapted to have based in Borderline Personality Disorder.

Another part of why I didn’t care for the specifics of long-term goals, because I wasn’t sure if I would live that long. Battling with yourself day in and day out has a way of causing you to doubt just how long that battle will take, and what the outcome will be. This battle has culminated into a seemingly endless amount of battles, a war.

I barely have a memory of what it was like before the war. I’m not sure when it started. I know it didn’t start with an assassination of an archduke or a bombing. I’m sure the start was slow. One where young Tara was caught unawares, and so her family and friends as well. I knew of the battle long before anyone else. It didn’t start with the loss of my dad, but it was during that time that it escalated. I think it started in middle school. Either way, it doesn’t matter when it started.

These battles have gone on for years. Separated by possible short moments of peace or stagnation. But over those years, I’ve been battle-hardened. I’m a war veteran of my own mind. I now go into these battles knowing what to expect, rarely being blindsided or taken by surprise. Almost 8 months ago, I hired an advisor. She’s turned out to be a pro at strategy and tactics. She’s given me a lot of great advice, and I feel better prepared to face those fights. I no longer fight these battles alone, and writing about them here has expanded my support immensely. Being open and honest about these battles makes them a lot less scary to me and to others. Shedding light on a struggle usually shrouded in darkness is scary. It means having the courage to do so.

There was a time in my life that I couldn’t see past the next day. And now, I have long-term intangible goals that are real and specific in their own ways. The war is not over, but I’ve had many victories as of late. The battles are fewer and more manageable than ever. Thank you for your support. Feel free to send provisions.

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