Tag Archives: depression

Depression Sucks

That is all.

Just kidding.

I think it’s been too quiet around here. The transition from the busy summer to the busy school year which hasn’t really ramped up yet has left me bereft and with too much time on my hands. Well, maybe not too much time. Too much solitude. Too much time alone without speaking.

So much time to do all the things that need to get done. Time to organize. Declutter. Volunteer. Exercise. Write. All those things!

They say if you need something done you should give it to a busy person. My experience is that is true. I get much less done when I have fewer demands on my time. On the other hand, sometimes when the demands are mostly little nit-picky things, or maintenance tasks which just keep things on an even keel, the demands can be de-energizing.

At this point, I’ve been blogging daily since mid-January, but depression snorts, “to what end?” Every writer feels sometimes like what they write is useless drivel, but depression says they don’t share the useless drivel with everyone else. I like blogging, even when it feels like useless drivel. Maybe I should change the title to Clearing Space for Useless Drivel. Haha. I think the truth is blogging is pretty much a lifesaver for me. Knowing that I am creating something every single day, and that the things I write can be encouraging or can be things that others identify with or can just be interesting to readers — this knowledge reminds me that I matter some little tiny bit in this world that doesn’t care that I emptied the recycling bin again, or even that I recycle in the first place.

Here are two quotes which I find germane to the topic of depression. The first is by Rainer Maria Rilke:

“Why do you want to shut out of your life any uneasiness, any misery, any depression, since after all you don’t know what work these conditions are doing inside you? Why do you want to persecute yourself with the question of where all this is coming from and where it is going? Since you know, after all, that you are in the midst of transitions and you wished for nothing so much as to change. If there is anything unhealthy in your reactions, just bear in mind that sickness is the means by which an organism frees itself from what is alien; so one must simply help it to be sick, to have its whole sickness and to break out with it, since that is the way it gets better.”

The second is from T. H. White’s The Once and Future King:

“The best thing for being sad,” replied Merlin, beginning to puff and blow, “is to learn something. That’s the only thing that never fails. You may grow old and trembling in your anatomies, you may lie awake at night listening to the disorder of your veins, you may miss your only love, you may see the world about you devastated by evil lunatics, or know your honour trampled in the sewers of baser minds. There is only one thing for it then — to learn. Learn why the world wags and what wags it. That is the only thing which the mind can never exhaust, never alienate, never be tortured by, never fear or distrust, and never dream of regretting. Learning is the only thing for you. Look what a lot of things there are to learn.”

I find it to be true that learning things helps me through the dark times of depression. I find it to be true that embracing the experience can be more positive than trying to fight it off. It’s just that Depression isn’t neutral. At times, Depression weighs 1000 tons and is bigger than the tallest tree. How can I focus on anything else when I’m simply trying not to be smooshed down into the earth? Maybe it’s in the acceptance of the smooshing that I cleverly slip out from under the weight and crawl forward a step or two.

Remembering to be curious about this experience helps, too. What would the Universe have me learn today from these experiences and feelings? What might the Universe be offering me here? These are questions I can ask even as the 1000 tons presses down on me. And I believe the answers come when I ask the questions. I just have to remember to ask them.

Eli Writes

(Note from Susan: I am completely ok with profanity on my blog, but I wanted to just put up a note here to let readers know that today’s post from Eli is from the heart and contains profanity.)

Lately I’ve been feeling depressed and weirdly optimistic in almost equal measure, though not at the same time. My unending slog through my county’s (and the neighboring county’s) justice system inspires a nice big dose of anxiety and despair every now and then, usually a few times per day, and then the fact that I’m not in jail right NOW makes me feel great for a few minutes. These pesky emotions are not only unpredictable but wildly oscillating. It’s as if my drug consumption gave me artificial bipolar disorder for a time. From past experience I know it eventually gets better, but the road there is pretty long and daunting. Especially right now.

I was actually going to write down all the stuff I have to do in this blog post just to keep track of it and it was so fucking overwhelming that I deleted everything and started over. There’s so much going on and I feel like I’m falling down a waterfall without any control over pretty much anything. I have fines and bills to pay – more than I can ever hope to pay in the time allotted – and no job to pay for them. I can most likely get a great job, but then I’ll probably just lose it in less than two weeks at my next court date (if they do indeed decide to ship me off to a locked-down inpatient rehab). I do yard work to raise money for my fees, which are monumental and will remain while I am in inpatient. To get out of inpatient you have to have a full time job and a place to stay – which requires transportation and a good amount of money. But if I get confined to inpatient, I’ll lose my job, my car, and get my credit absolutely fucked for good measure. How is that going to help me? Am I expected to go out into the world (like the people in their late 20s and 30s I go to Outpatient with) without a car, living in a halfway house and taking a bus all over town to go to my shitty minimum-wage fast food job while every spare cent goes toward bills, fines and food? How the fuck is that setting me up for success?

Today I feel trapped. I feel trapped by time, which marches relentlessly forward to my dreaded August 14th court date. I feel trapped by the court, which demands my compliance with every rule without ever extending grace. I feel trapped by my addiction, which continues to tell me literally all goddamn day every goddamn day that since I’m probably getting taken away anyway I might as well take narcotics until I forget my own fucking name.

I won’t pretend I have a better answer to drug addiction, necessarily, than what my local county offers. All I know is that being treated like a defective criminal is one of the most likely things in the world to turn me into a defective criminal. I don’t want to turn into someone who is 26, works at Taco Bell, and alternates between struggling to catch the bus all over our ghetto of a downtown and relapsing on heroin. But that’s what I see in my treatment here. I was locked up with THREE other guys from my intensive outpatient, for christ’s sake, who all got high too. More are getting high and just aren’t caught yet. Relapsing is rampant, and if it’s not the simple fact that we’re all drug addicts, it’s the simple fact that a tone of hopelessness pervades the entire experience.

I know I need some of this stuff. I just wish I knew which I needed. I’m trying to make the best of it but it’s like I get cut down at every turn. If nobody else wants to cut me down, I often take the reins and do it myself. I remember when I was in high school and I just didn’t give enough of a shit to bring a pencil to a makeup test in my AP English class. The teacher obviously took the subject seriously, and she sighed wistfully, watching me with a sad look on her face as she asked me, “do you always self-sabotage like this?”

I told her yes. And that was the first time I realized it was true. If it’s not self-harm, it’s drugs. And if it’s not any of that it tends to be apathy. Being in my head, at this point, is tortuous, constantly demanding me to ruminate over all the fucking ridiculous shit in my life that was NEVER supposed to happen, and this thing I’ve awoken inside me that refuses to be vanquished. I used to love being so different. Now I wish I was normal. “But Eli,” you frantically stab your keyboard to drive the point home. “There’s no such thing as normal.” Yeah, I’ve heard that and I raise you a heroin addiction and a complete squandering of intellect while literally EVERYONE else my age goes on to college to actually continue their goddamn lives, keeps their fucking jobs and doesn’t get arrested.

Today I’d rather not be me.

N is for NOT Taken Down by Depression (BONUS POST!)

****ing depression.

It nags at me. Gnaws at me. Nips at my heels. It’s a rock in my shoe. Fingernails on the chalkboard of my soul. An Excedrin-sized headache. Depression is a backpack full of rocks that I do not wish to wear.

My posts this month are about acceptance. So I suppose there is something to be said for being accepting of the lessons I have the opportunity to learn through dealing with depression. But, depression is not my friend, and I hesitate to allow it to have more than the slightest attention as the thoughts that go along with depression pull me down, down, down.

Until I have a solution to the challenge of depression, I intend to stand against allowing it to overtake me more than it already does for short, although always way too long, periods of time.

Considering my posts so far this month, I acknowledge and accept that I am probably all wrong, mostly mistaken and somewhat short-sighted when it comes to how I think about depression. Which is to say, there are no doubt new and improved ways to think about this experience. I acknowledge and accept that the compassion I have developed as a result of having children is the exact kind of compassion I want to extend toward myself always, especially when depression is getting me down.

In my post The Discipline of Determination, I am reminded that it is not the fact of having depression and working on it, but being aware of what the experience is doing to me, to my character. I suspect the piece of Enlightenment that is relevant here is to begin to intentionally listen to my own intuition about depression and my experience of it. For Feast or Famine, I daresay it’s time to embrace both the ups and downs of depression and allow the natural ebb and flow to be part of the experience of having it, and hopefully overcoming it.

Along the same lines as I wrote in Giving Advice, it’s time to get quiet and look inside to see what I might be thinking about being depressed, and allow me to give myself some advice about next steps. In Humanism, I ask the question of what might be possible if I am willing to see the good in others. Is there an application for me regarding depression, I wonder.

Thinking about Randolph Junuh from The Legend of Bagger Vance, how might the burden of depression be part of me stepping into what I am here to do?

As I walked this morning, I noticed an Annie Lennox song running through my brain. Aha, I said, take note and see how this relates to what I am thinking about here. Sometimes it’s a whole lot more important to live with the questions for awhile than to rush toward an answer. At least for now, I accept this part of my life and I look forward to seeing what comes of these juicy musings.

“Dark Road”

It’s a dark road
And a dark way that leads to my house
And the word says
You’re never gonna find me there oh no
I’ve got an open door
It didn’t get there by itself
It didn’t get there by itself

There’s a feelin
But you’re not feelin’ it at all
There’s a meaning
But you’re not listening any more
I look at that open road
I’m gonna walk there by myself

And if you catch me
I might try to run away
You know I can’t be here too long
And if you let me
I might try to make you stay
Seems you never realise a good thing
Till it’s gone..
Maybe im still searchin
But I dont know what it means
All the fires of destruction are still
Burnin’ in my dreams
There’s no water that can wash away
This longin’ to come clean
Hey yea yea….

I cant find the joy within my soul
It’s just sadness takin hold
I wanna come in from the cold
And make myself renewed again
It takes strength to live this way
The same old madness every day
I wanna kick these blues away
I wanna learn to live again…

It’s a dark road
And a dark way that leads to my house
And the word says
You’re never gonna find me there oh no
I’ve got an open door
It didn’t get there by itself
It didn’t get there by itself