Sunday, May 17, 2009

an excerpt

I'm writing from depression-space still...I have ok moments and terrifying moments; in this moment I'm ok.

I'm doing some writing -- certainly capturing the 100% gen-u-ine depression experience. Hard to tell what is valuable at this point, whether I'm asking a reader to spend too much time in my head.

Below is a small piece...where I just might find some meaning in what is happening to me...

*** move out of crisis mode, I have to tackle all fronts: new doctor, new meds. maybe a new diagnosis. But clearly, this depression is not just chemical; it’s structural. Structural in terms of needing structure in my life, but also structural in that depression is the frame much of my life hangs upon; it is a stable part of my identity, regardless of how much I hate is devastating effects. To recover from depression there is a certain amount of dismantling that I need to do – and it is in the deeply depressive state that I fall apart most completely. Ironically, this collapsed state offers hope that I might alter how I function in the world. I have something to learn from this place: fragile, permeable, and inescapably dependent on others. My myths of separateness and individuality fall away. I am staying with my parent’s for a few days, and the relief of not being alone is seismic. My mother and I go to Starbucks and we both work on our art – I write, she paints with her colored pencils. This is the creative support I need – two artists, generating focus and energy working together.

So how to do I use this time to move towards health and wholeness, when I’m clearly in survival mode? In between free-falls, I can watch out for what feeds me and what sends me hurtling into negative space. I am deeply frightened by how I am feeling; there is no possibility of ambivalence towards my current state of existence. If I don’t make plans to meet with someone each day, the results are terrifying. I have no other option than to break my day into the smallest possible increments. I wake up and get out of bed by bargaining with myself: take a shower. After your shower, you don’t have to do anything else unless you feel like you can. Take your meds. Brush your teeth. Put your clothes on. Asking any more of myself is asking too much.

I knew you were depressed, says my friend Chris, when you told me that your goal was to get up, take a shower, and get dressed before I came to pick you up for lunch. Usually that is not a goal so much as it is just what you do in the morning. This is true; but the minute nature of each step is also keeping me firmly grounded in the present moment, a discipline that most religious philosophies concur is an ideal state of being. It is when I imagine a future based on my current desperation, or look at the past through eyes glazed by depression, that my world becomes uncontrollable and I lose myself in despair.

No comments: