Skip to main content

Final library note

I also picked up a book called My Depression, a Picture Book by Elizabeth Swados. I think I need to own this book. I kept holding it up for my husband and we both just nodded in recognition. She's not us, but she's been there. That's been the hardest thing in my life--to be a depressive and to be married to a depressive. In many ways we haven't been good for each other. In many ways we've been the only one who understands the other.

"My depression begins with a little cloud at the edge of my vision. I only sense it's there.
"I begin to hear every word that every negative critic, professional or otherwise, has said or written about me."

When I'm sliding back I replay every dumb thing I think I've ever said from childhood on. I relive every time I was selfish or rude. I stage fights in my head with every person who's ever hurt me (and I don't even win then!). Really strolling memory lane tonight. This is one of the clearest things I've ever written about depression.

For Those for Whom the Ground Beneath Their Feet is Always Even

There is a moment, a moment of release as your tires unclench and lose contact with the road, when the car is free floating on the hydroplane, when nothing has happened and yet you and the car must be aware of the inevitable collision, and yet you can do nothing to turn away. In some ways I imagine it must be like the moment when a frayed rope unclasps and lets go its last gasp and the boat it has protected is released to shiver downstream towards the falls. After you are well, or at least stable, this moment becomes completely visible to you and almost more terrifying than a life and death moment, because unlike the car crash, which takes place in real time, and is therefore over, almost before your conscious mind can register, and the mind gently protects you by overwriting the memory by all that comes after--after all, the crash is external; the moment when you are aware that this medication is no longer working, or some trigger, as yet unresolved in therapy has been sprung, or that after a relative period of halcyon peace, something inside has shifted over and left you defenseless becomes like Trinity's leap in "The Matrix," frozen in digital perfection and examined from all sides, and what comes after will seem as nothing because you are examining that moment over and over again in your own mental time--in perpetual loop, and like digital, whatever is lost with time is repaired or replaced by the system, so that there is no fading, or skipping. And unlike the car crash, or the old tether, there is a terrible societal pressure and therefore, an internal pressure to believe that this was somehow avoidable. That you must not want to be well, when no one believes that you wanted to hydroplane.

I resist the overmedication of America, a vision of Soma doused generations, smiling benignly and advancing not at all, is horrifying, and resisted medicating myself for years, but the truth of the matter, and what is wrong with the Prozac Panacea is that if you are using it to be happy and not unhappy then you don't understand. We who must medicate don't use it to be HAPPY. By the time most of us have reached the point where we are willing to be chemically changed, to be dependent upon 24 hour pharmacies and some form of prescription plan for the REST OF OUR LIVES, happy is the furthest thing from our minds. We have come to believe that HAPPY does not really exist. We believe that we have more chance of going to Narnia or Oz than to Happy. What we are looking for is the ability to remain upright, to continue putting one foot in front of the other in our day to day lives, let alone to actually be able to be Unhappy pursuing our dreams and goals and taking all of the daily risks that most people encounter without feeling either happy or unhappy.

I eat sugar for the rush of madness on my tongue, a flash in some fleshly way like joy, and I am forever longing for that lost moment.

It isn't fair that joy is, by definition, so brief, but despair lingers for seasons, clinging like leaches or ticks, waiting for the bare foot in the warm grass, the bather in the soft water, pivoting that delicate moment of happiness. The grass becomes itchy and uncomfortable, the seaweed grabs at your ankles, and I have never learned to smear these lesser moments together into some form of contentment.

Perhaps, that is it, then. Despair requires nothing on your part, in fact, demands nothing on your part to thrive, while joy says, "Chase me! Do something! Do Something!" and the chase is part and parcel, but how long can a person run?


Popular posts from this blog

Adapting a book--The Prestige

I was completely blown away by the movie of The Prestige, and I thought then about reading the novel, but it seemed too soon. So I carried the author's name around with me for over a year (Christopher Priest) and then, finally remembered to buy it through an odd sequence of events. We watched The Painted Veil based on the novel by Maugham starring Edward Norton, and while I decided I didn't want to read The Painted Veil because of it's differences from the film (which was more romantic and tragic) it reminded me that I had wanted to read Fight Club (the movie version of which starred Edward Norton) and that reminded me that I had wanted to read The Prestige (which did not star Edward Norton, but was up against The Illusionist which did). it's all Edward Norton's fault.

The Prestige is a very good novel, and yet, the movie differs from it considerably. And I am still trying to figure out what exactly that means. The central premise is the same, AND HER…

The end of Cloud Atlas

Feel I must write this--promised it to myself, can I finish before midnight (when I said I would go to bed at 11)?

Where was I?

Oh, yes, section 5, where it gets interesting--because it's the future, at least 25 years, hopefully more. I say hopefully, because I don't want to be living in this future. The section is called "An Orison of Sonmi-451." An Orison (I had to look it up, proving I don't remember my Shakespeare) is a prayer, but in this future world where language has taken as many turns as in Orwell's 1984, it is more a confession or final statement. Sonmi-451 is a clone (as the name might suggest). The section is not entirely original. It owes much to Brave New World and Phillip K. Dick's Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (made into the film Bladerunner). I find it interesting that 40 or so years ago--when Dick wrote his book he believed that future slaves would be Androids, replicants. Now we are much more likely to presume they will be clones,…

Driving in Boston

Inching along in a log jam of traffic yesterday on the Mass Pike I watched an Audi a few cars in front of me weave in and out of traffic determined to find the lane that was "moving" and yet for the whole half an hour that we sat there he ended up still only a few cars ahead of me. Sure there were times his lane pulled ahead, but then mine would catch up and he would switch back. The only thing he accomplished was to make the line that much slower. There was a great article that a friend sent me years ago on the physics of traffic and it has been determined that weaving in and out of tight traffic will really gain you nothing and in fact cause the very blockages that you believe you are defying. (Sidenote--an unfortunately side effect of so much of interest on the internet is that it is impossible to store all of the articles that interest you over the years in the vague belief that you will someday want to reference them to others) The article also pointed out that if all d…