Truly an Indicator that Depression is Disease

Yesterday, one of America’s comedic icons died, presumably from depression. I’m sure you’ve all heard of it by now. Not only about Robin Williams’ death, but about depression itself. If reports are correct, this true and tragic disease has murdered someone who made us laugh and cry with his life’s work. He seemed so happy in his ways of manic humor,  so devoted to his craft, so lively.

But many of us know that depression allows you to smile, if only to cover the sick turmoil its creating within. It may be asked why such a successful man, beloved by millions, would take his life. Some would say, “It goes to show that fame and fortune can’t satisfy anyone for long.” But Robin Williams was talented, and seemed to truly love his talent and used it as much as he could. I don’t think he was an actor or comedian for the money, but because he knew what he was good at, and he went for it. That’s an honorable and brave thing, especially for someone with depression.

I don’t know the inside details of Williams’ life, and no one will ever know the extent of his heart, and what thoughts littered his mind. I do know that if depression was the cause of his death, its likely that even if he could have seen the result of mourning millions, the gigantic waves of adoring comments across social media and the celebrity world, they wouldn’t have changed his mind. Perhaps they would have touched him, caused him to debate internally. However, depression is a disease that blinds our everything from reason, reality, and the deep sensations of love. He may have thought that no one really loved him, that all the fan responses were lies.

He really is no different from us. He and we are human, and humans face disease. He had a disease. We all have a disease of some sort. And we all need love to help our spirits survive the physical.

You are loved unconditionally, not by all, but by some, and that is enough. Take that love and give it to yourself. Love yourself. If you think you can’t, don’t surrender to the disease, even if surrender makes more sense.

 

Hoping I Puke

I’m jealous. The travelers, the first-apartment-dwellers, the newlyweds, the successfully employed. I’m in a rut of cabin-fever with no car, overbearing parents, no job, and little motivation.

I admit it.  I’m jealous. And a bit depressed. But that’ s what this blog is for, right?! :D

…Things could be worse, yes.

…I have a beautiful-hearted, wonderful boyfriend who loves me, yes.

…I have gifts, yes.

But I’m not feeling it. So I’m writing it, in hopes I can puke, figuratively, and feel better. Hopefully I’ll puke soon onto this virtual page and help you feel better too. Hopefully I’ll puke up something good, some brilliant, earth-shaking thought or quote. Maybe I’ll puke up kittens. Kittens for all. Don’t like kittens? I’ll try for a puppy. But it may get stuck. Puppies are a tad bigger in size.

Or maybe I’ll puke up words and music to actually finish a song. Mmm, but the stomach acid in my throat may complicate singing.

Puking money isn’t happening. It tastes disgusting anyway, like the hands of the greedy.

How about books? Ouchy, hardcover edges, though. Paperback might work, but all the paper would dry out my throat already acidic and not singing. And I’m not motivated to read the books I have, ones I spent feeble money on, feeble because I have so little and it was earned with over-work….

Seriously, though, everything I try to fight my depression is fleeting. I went for a bike ride this morning, the lighting making shadows and vivid the colors of summer wildflowers, corn stalks, soybean plants, and trees. Every bike ride this week has been provided with beautiful country landscape. Yesterday, my leg brushed with a swallowtail butterfly and I giggled aloud, hearing myself faintly through my earphones. Today, after my ride, I sat on the front porch reaching Richard Rohr, a Franciscan spiritual writer that I receive much insight from, nourished by the perfectly cool and warm breeze, the sunlight shadows of clouds, and lightly bobbing morning glory flowers in front of the porch. Beauty all around me. Yet, it does not dwell long in my consciousness. My spirit quickly dampens, and the flames licking me back to life snuff out and smoke.

Reading, writing, singing, crocheting, whatever I think I enjoy does not delight me, at least not for long. I am forced to think myself into enjoyment. A feeling I do not enjoy.

I think I need more fellowship. More company of friends, old and new faces. I need stimulating conversation. I thank the Creator for Ray, because I taste what I need when I’m around him. I love and am loved around him. And while I want to spend the rest of my days with him, he is not enough. I need to help the world. I need to come alive. And I don’t know how.

“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” ~ Howard Thurman

 

Group Photo Reflection #1

The following are photos I’ve taken in different spots I’ve explored. What are your thoughts? Don’t try so much to define the contents, but aim to share the emotions they evoke in you. Post your thoughts in the comments; I would love to hear them, and they may help others!

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Standing Empty

“Verily you are suspended like scales between your sorrow and your joy. Only when you are empty are you at standstill and balanced.” ~ Khalil Gibran

 

I flipped to this quote in Gibran’s The Prophet, a book given to me by Ray, and one we’ve been slowly reading together. I shared the quote with him during a rough morning he was experiencing, and he told me that evening that the thought worked well to improve his mood. The night previous, when I first read it, I was going to sleep. I imagined sitting in meditation, my open hands upon my knees. I want to practice this image in reality, my hands as the scales, balanced, because I am empty.

I want to deepen the inner stillness of my soul by standing between my joy and sorrow. I’m not sure how to describe what that looks like, because I’m uncertain if I’ve experienced it, or if it’s attainable. I choose to believe it’s attainable, and that I will experience it, though it may not be soon. What does standing between joy and sorrow look and feel like? What can be learned? What experiences will come and what will my perspective be?

I’ll begin exploring with a simple sitting, hands on my knees, open and upward, the mists of my mind settling.

Inadequacy Remedies

In the past week, I’ve cut my dosage in half because I’m running out of meds and live in an out-of-reach place, where, about thirty minutes away, Walmart is the only thriving shopping center. Granted, the less-commercialized side of the town, the less-pagan side (a joke formed between my dear and I when we were trying to eat out one Sunday and all the restaurants in historic downtown were closed because of those “Damn Christians”. Before anyone is offended, we are of the Christian influence in part) provides shops of personalized and local variety. Anyway, I’ve been running on 10 mg per day instead of 20, and my dear (who I will now reveal as Ray, and not William) told me last night on the phone that I must take the 20 mg today. He reassured me in ways I never could reassure myself how adequate I actually am, saying that I am, in fact, “overqualified for the position” of his significant other. Thank goodness he knows me better than me, though we’ve known each other for only nearly half-a-year.

Confidence reassured and 20 mg of Prozac now in me, I enter here some goals and aspirations to boost me.

Games I want to learn/master:

1. croquet

2. badminton

3. chess

4. Tzaar

5. Bocce

 

Childhood interests I am revisiting:

1. dinosaurs

2. outer space

3. the Titanic

4. butterflies and birds

 

I didn’t pursue these interests in full when I was a child. I am quick to regret this, but I know the depression hit early, perhaps preventing me from staying true to my personal studies. Maybe it was just childhood indecision. Regardless, I make the decision now, as an adult, to more fully pursue these interests. May I maintain a child-like heart in these endeavors.

 

Write Away

I’m writing tonight just to get my fingers moving, so my mind will tag along. I’m trying some fiction writing, but without burning myself out. I tend to think I need the entire story plotted when I begin writing, but I realize I need to just write now, organize later. Write whatever comes to mind. Just to keep him off my mind.

I love thinking of him. He shines in my heart. His spirit kindles my spirit. But anxiety of what may or may not happen droops heavily on branches spread through the forest of my mind. Last night, I dreamt my grandfather drove up (unrealistic, because he should not be driving) to my dad and I. He said, “You know your friend, [insert my man's name]? He died.” It was of a corroded artery or something. I fell in front of the car, sobbing, asking why repeatedly, after a short period of denial.

Thankfully, I awoke. I called him, despite my inner conflict, because he said I could call at any time, even 3 a.m. I was around 5 a.m. I apologized, but he insisted not to, assured me it was just a dream and if that happened, he’d be fine. We talked for over an hour, and he thankfully had another hour before rising for work.

The dream shook me, shakes me still. I confess I don’t know what would happen should I be left without him. Much has been said between us since I last reported here. I am part of his beauty, and he mine. We have agreed to set the pace slow, but he does not want me to linger. A calling draws him to help many, and with his job mixed in, he feels he would not give me the time he thinks I deserve. I continue to tell myself that if it is meant to be, it will be. I also know that a relationship takes work. He suggested we continue to communicate, and I have agreed. These terms were discussed previously, days before the dream. Unfortunately, my brain took me to the place of departure that neither of us could stop. But what will be, will be.

His heart sings to me. I stretch to hear him always.

That is all I know for now. So, I attempt, for now, to write away my fears.

Dreams Not Made

I regret that I did not seize my former days. I lament that I still have not learned to seize the one I’m dwelling in. I fear that my days to come will be left empty.

I fear being mediocre, in others’ eyes and my own. I fear I will never improve. I fear that I will always be average. I fear that I will always be a dream-chaser without any drive and without any results.

This infuriates me. Yet, I don’t know what to do.

My dreams are tall, and not all are unreachable. “You’re so young,” they say. But that will all fly by me, and I fear that in that small window of human-organized time, the small frame of years, and in the finiteness of human life, I will not accomplish something that satisfies me.

I try to exercise bravery, to press on and do things regardless of fear, so that someday soon the fears will be dissipated by experience. How am I to be brave now, today, when everything feels worthless? Small actions that accomplish small things, such as laundry or reading a chapter, feel like nothing. Surely they are worth something?

Why won’t my dreams propel me? I’m treading the snow outside, feet deep in my winter of discontent.

Alone, but Not Lonely

Yesterday, I performed an exercise.

Nope, it wasn’t athletic, though I stretched a little. Does watching figure skating later count? Anyway, I exercised being alone. But not being lonely.

My parents were out working for the day, so it was just my kitty and I. Unfortunately, I slept too much in the morning, but by the afternoon I stayed awake. I declared it a tech-free day, with the exception of texting on my cell phone. No television and no internet/computer, except later that evening. It was refreshing to not use these, because I too often use the internet when I’m feeling lonely especially, absent-mindedly thinking that social media sites will fill the void. They won’t. They can make me more depressed and stressed.

What did I do with myself, all alone without internet and the racket-making telly? I watched the rain with Arthur (the kitty), lit a candle lamp, brewed some coffee, read a little, crocheted lots, danced to the banjo-induced jazz of Béla Fleck and the Marcus Roberts Trio, dressed in one of my favorite dresses, and made myself dinner.

Later, I wasn’t alone. My parents were back in time for me to catch a ride with Dad to see some friends who live about 30 minutes away. Sadly, my car is being a stubborn little girl and not starting, so a ride from Dad was necessary (also necessary was the ABBA disc we played on the way). I promised him a coffee, since Starbucks was were I was meeting my friends. He got more than coffee, he got conversation, too, as my friends, good as they are, assimilated him into our group. We talked for hours, and my time with them was fun and enlivening.

So my day alone wasn’t so lonely. I ended it with real social time with friends, face-to-face, cup-to-cup.

Being alone is not so lonely after all. We shouldn’t isolate ourselves, no, social time is essential, but we need to learn to like ourselves unconditionally during those mandatory solitary times. In turn, if we enjoy our time alone, our time with others is very likely to be enhanced.

 

Post-V-Day

This year, post-Valentine’s Day, is more difficult than the actual Valentine’s Day. Last night, I had a great time seeing a friend in the Vagina Monologues, a roaring, necessary dramatic dialogue in feminism. Following, there was late dinner and hanging out with she and her roommates. It was a fun diversion.

In the back of my mind, however, was “William”. Remember the significantly older guy? He and I have been texting more and more, and have talked on the phone twice for more than two hours. Of course, I see him frequently, as always, in the coffee house. I told him it would be nice to hangout before I left for camp (more on that later). I texted him last night about a park he mentioned for us to visit, because I was an hour early to the show, and was going to research the park on my phone while I waited.

He still hasn’t texted me back. Even last night my thoughts became rowdy, thinking that “he got some” last night (without me, ha!), and now, with the morning after here, I can’t help but wonder more.

So I’m trying to forget him. Shove him out of my mind entirely. ‘Tis my defense mechanism when potential romantic relationships begin to sour, then rot, in my mouth. Now insecurity threatens, despite this defense. I see the Facebook posts of ever-happy people gushing about their Valentines. They all have a right to gush. I want to say I’m happy for them.

I look forward to camp, my new job starting on the 26th. I’ll be teaching kids about nature, and it’ll be a much more brain-stimulating, life-propelling job than the coffee house. I’ll move away from the coffee house, at least for three months, and live in the camp staff house, about two hours away. Then I begin summer classes in Russian.

I am strong enough to maintain peace during my singleness. I must not doubt that, or I will falter. I will continue to pop Prozac and pray that the diversions continue.

 

Let the diversions continue. Please, Lord, have mercy, and allow the diversions to continue.

Please: I want to be joyful within myself, by myself, at last.