Wednesday, May 2, 2012
Grand Funk, Not the Railroad...
Depression is rage spread thin. --- George Santayana
In the films, actresses such as Garbo made melancholy and depression seem so...attractive. Almost glamorous.
Well, baby, that's only in the movies.
This is not a pretty subject, but it's a real one. It's not pleasant to discuss, but to try to silence it and confine it only seems to give it strength.
To voice it seems to lift the handle on its dark cage and releases it out into the light so you can see it, so you can face it.
If you ever suffer from bouts of---yes, say it---depression, you may just recognize some of the symptoms. Many of these feelings are continuous for some. For me, fortunately, they're only occasional. But even those occasions are potent enough to knock me to my knees.
Everyone hates you. Everyone is out to get you. Every bad thing that happens is your fault. Somehow---even though it has nothing to do with you or is a million miles across the globe---it is your fault. You cry.
Every nasty word spoken on the social networks, in groups, all over the world, is directed at you. A perpetual condemning finger is pointed in your face. You cry a little more.
Your writing sucks. You can receive a million wonderful comments on your book and you smile; yet even one mockery, one snarky comment sends you into fits of horrific insecurity about your talent. You cry even more.
The world plays favorites and you're the oddball left out of life's game of Red Rover, Red Rover. Nobody likes you. Nobody wants you on their team. You're nobody's favorite. Tune up for more tears.
You don't fit in anywhere. Being a square peg in a round hole, for some, is just wonderful individuality. For you, it's glaring, humiliating case of not being cool. You simply don't belong. Bawl fest.
Everyone's talking about you behind your back. Major waterworks.
Everybody's work is better than yours. If you can't be like them, write what they write, you're a failure. It's no matter that you have your own indivudual talent. You aren't happy with that. You want to be the other authors. Cry me a river.
You want to be alone, very alone, yet the 'aloneness' is unbearable as it leaves nobody in the room but you and the entity called depression. You crave support and a kind word but, like a vampire to a cross, you cringe and hiss when it's offered. Hell, you even bite the friendly hand sometimes.
As an author,you can't get recognized fast enough and not only are you angry at yourself for this, you're angry at those who are recognized already.
Mix all this together and you have one huge, boiling-over-the-rim pot of frustration and self-loathing. Like I said, such emotions are a regular state of mind for some. They have never been so for me; and, to feel them at all is intolerable.
And the worst part of it all---for me, anyway---is that this condition seems to be more powerful because I am a writer. I'd suffered with minor bouts of depression off an on for years; but their strength has increased since I began to write.
A little bit, I think, is 'post partum' depression from having released my first new work in over a year. I always say writing and book publishing are like childbirth. Well, they are---complete with the after-the-beautiful-high plummet into melancholy.
A lot, I know, is the loss of my son-in-law this year. Oh, there is so much unaddressed anger, grief, frustration, confusion inside me and it makes me so goddamn, crazy furious I'm afraid I'm going to self-combust soon. But I don't know how to address it.
Whatever the cause of my dark season, no matter where it comes from or why, it is no excuse to lose control and take the fear and discomfort out on others. And yet I have done just that.
I've aliented those who are usually there. Not even they are able to be the comforting rocks they usually are. I'm too angry to want a Rock of Gibralter, I want to flounder right now and lick my wounds. I want to feel sorry for myself, it seems the only sensible thing right now. See? Just another side effect---the sincere feeling that I deserve to flounder and sink.
It reminds me of my attempt at swimming lessons years ago. Upon my sinking in the huge, Olympic size pool, the instructor jumped in to save me. Panicking, I clawed at his head in an effort to push myself above water and nearly drowned him. I needed to be rescued but I resisted it.
This unsettled state causes resentment toward things where no resentment should be.
It's a state of pettiness, demanding attention. I look in the mirror and see a prima donna. Me, me, me. To most, I'd be willing to bet, it appears to be a severe case of narcicism. Yet, deep in my heart, I know the selfishness is merely a stubborn clinging---a realization that I really, really do not want to sink. And I'm screaming, shouting, hating, crying, loving, fearing, clawing so someone will notice that I am adrift. I'd probably, as usual, deny the helping hand. As Garbo would say, I want to be left alone.
Maybe I do need to be left alone. But I don't want to be left alone.
If you've stuck with me to the end of this diatribe, I thank you. It's not my customary type of blog, but sometimes that thing inside us gets too big and, unless it's addressed, it consumes.
And...well...I refuse to be consumed by it.