Another difficulty in finding friends is that I am extremely intelligent. (I left it out of the first post because of being afraid I was bragging.) I also happen to be well educated, but my two best friends are very intelligent, though their education was not Ivy League. Because of the trauma and my parents’ alcoholism, I started questioning things very early. This means that I tend to ask uncomfortable questions and express uncomfortable thoughts. I’m not good at small talk, except with people I’m comfortable with. On a recent visit to my family, I couldn’t participate in the conversation which was almost entirely about shopping and TV shows. I don’t shop, I hate shopping, and I learned very early that buying things in order to boost self-esteem doesn’t work. I don’t watch TV, though I do have a small TV and VCR so I can watch the occasional movie.
I’m also caught in the “Demoralization Box” described by Bruce Levine in Surviving America’s Depression Epidemic. Once you are demoralized, you don’t have the energy to remoralize yourself. You need it to come from outside. How can I arrange for that? I haven’t a clue. Dance events usually help. Certain friends almost always help, but sometimes they’re busy or away. Sometimes I feel better as long as I’m with them and drop back into depression when they’re gone. The biggest difficulty, when I start feeling depressed, is it gets harder and harder to call friends for help. That’s the Demoralization Box.
Reminded about the social causes of depression, I see the faces of traumatized people from Dakota 38. There were faces of soldiers in Vietnam, and faces of Natives taken in black and white. Both have the same flat look. I’m tempted to say “stunned” but there’s not that look of emergency, of something having just happened. They don’t look unconscious, but what they are conscious of is a black hole of disbelieving hopelessness and helplessness.