I’ve fought depression off and on for a couple of years now. Despite the fact that when I look back on my life and realize there were moments when I was attracted to all things dark and sad, it seems as if some moments were more intense than others. I haven’t been able to pinpoint them but I’m not sure that I want to. I mean, why look that far back -- especially since I can’t remember -- when I can look at what’s caused me to surf the butthole of depression in the recent past?
So that’s one of the things I’m doing in therapy and I continue to journal and blog about them. Some I’ll talk about freely. Some are just way too personal and those stay with me. That’s how this blog was born, actually. Obviously, though, that’s not the only thing it’s for; why focus on the dark when you don’t want to or linger in depression when you don’t have to. It’s like an alcoholic going to A.A. meetings and drooling over another person’s experience and reliving that horror over and over again. Too many people use meetings as a cloak, or crutch. I don’t want to do that here. I just want to share so others know they are not alone in what they feel. And, regardless of whether or not those feelings are skewed, they are REAL.
Besides, I gotta pimp myself out somewhere and I don't think street corners are safe.
Since starting this suggested task of blogging and journaling on my experiences with depression, I’ve become aware there is really no one thing that sets me off. It can be anything from the state of the world, health insurance woes, lack of money (it seems the harder I work, the less money I manage to hold on to; and I don’t even spend it!) over-eating, which leads to being overweight, which diminishes the libido, and so on and so forth. The list is rather long and would make James Joyce's run-on sentence look like a cakewalk.
One very strong item that pushes me over is anger. I have, or so it seems, a lot of suppressed anger. The funny thing is that when I was 19 and took my required “Intro to Psych” in college, the professor said the belief among the psychological community was that depression was anger turned inwards. I laughed, naturally. I thought, how was that possible? But several decades later, I’m beginning to wonder if perhaps he didn’t have a point.
But there seems to be more and here’s where I’m now very fascinated with the subject. You see, since starting this blog journey, I’ve begun to notice very similar traits in other people; people I’ve never met; people I’ve only known through Facebook. These people are all creative. They’re writers and actors, living the grind and trying to make ends meet as they balance two separate worlds; one in which we must be practical and do what needs to be done in order to survive -- even if we don’t want to do it -- and doing that which we love most. Expressing ourselves.
And this made me wonder. Is depression a multitude of things? Years of incidents keeping us from doing what we love that only end in mounds of frustration? Years of anger, at not being able to tell someone to shut the fuck up or fuck off? Is it money worries and the fear that we’ll never be able to fully do what we love because we have to work? Perhaps we are with people who don’t support us or feel they don’t really care about what we do? Perhaps we lack that one person that REALLY listens when we need it most, even if there is nothing they can do about whatever we’re experiencing?
Is it part of the creative process? Are we being impatient with ourselves, our work? Is it the long moments of stillness in between projects, between successes, where nothing happens and we feel like we’re spinning our wheels? Perhaps it’s a really bad review or the fact that someone rates us a 1 or 2 out of 5 without bothering to explain why?
Are we unhappy with our lives, our partners, our children, our friends, ourselves?
I could probably go on but I won’t. Why go someplace when you don’t need to? Especially because sinking into depression, as I mentioned to a FB pal -- a fellow writer -- feels like you have Dementors hovering nearby. They’re not sucking out your soul but their mere presence diminishes us nonetheless. And dagnabit, wouldn’t you know it? That’s usually when our magic wands are in the shop and no amount of mind tricks can produce the Patronus necessary to get rid of them.
So, for those of us who suffer from the big D -- as opposed to wanting a big D of a different nature -- let’s see if we can’t take a look at recent events surrounding that first slip. Personally, I want to pinpoint what it is that sets me off because, frankly? I want to stab that bastard in the eye, kick it in the balls and tell it to get the fuck out of my head. There is just NO room in there; it’s already taken up by cobwebs, stray odd thoughts and very strange plots. Besides, I’ve got too many things to do, stories to write and things to enjoy before my time comes.