Today I am very happy to have Arthur Browne from Pouring My Art Out as my guest blogger.
Arthur is known for having a happy go lucky sense of humor and has built himself quite a large family of followers. He was one of my first bloggy friends and if I ever had the chance to visit him I wouldn’t think twice about it.
I created this blog from plenty of dark places I found inside my head and he was always there to comment on EVERY SINGLE ONE…or so it seems. He has become someone I can count on and for that I will always be grateful.
So… when I received this post in my email I was, for the lack of a better word, shocked. Why? Because it is a very serious post. It comes from a place I don’t often see. It is beautiful, and heartfelt, and I happen to love it.
Thank you Arthur Browne, for writing for me!
Depression… it’s just so… depressing…
Okay, so the thing is… and if you know me, you know there is almost always a thing… but the thing is, I hate depression. I actually have quite an extensive history with various mental issues. Yes, thanks for asking, some of it is indeed first hand experience. I am manic. I might even be manic depressive, but the focus is on the manic. I mean, I have never been a particularly happy person. I like to think of it as a dark, brooding quality that makes me an edgy writer. The manic part is pure crack squirrel… which is where my running gag about having a head full of crack squirrels came from. The depressive part is just too borderline to call suicidal.
Anyway… enough about me. I should probably start off by saying that I am not going to have any deep insights to share with you. I have no answers. I have no help. I am just letting the crack squirrels tell me what to type on an empty page and hope something that ends up here has some meaning to you. Maybe the best I can accomplish is to make you laugh for a brief moment, and I will gladly settle for that. Because I literally have no idea what I am going to type next after any given word.
My expertise in mental fluctuations goes back to my early teens. I was born in 1960 in San Francisco and grew up across the bay very close to Berkeley. There was a lot of drug use in that place and time. I have lost a lot of friends because of that. There have also been some that succumbed to the stress of modern life with no artificial help at all. And I also have this habit of collecting broken people. I like misfits. I fit in with misfits. I also love to stand up for the weak. I have a Don Quixote complex that leads me to jump into fights when someone is getting bullied… even though I occasionally ended up getting my ass beat while they scampered away to safety.
Now it is horrible when a friend goes off the deep end because of one too many hits of acid and they are still walking around looking the same but they are like a zombie that has been possessed by a ghost who is a total asshole. Let me tell you right now, the odds of ever fixing people who are that broken is not good. Trust me. It took a long time for me to learn that. But even just taking the slightly bent people under your wing is not a task to undertake lightly. They say if you ever start feeding the birds in your yard and do it long enough, new birds are born that don’t know how to find their own food and they will die if you stop feeding them. Lonely and sad people can be like that. You can’t do it on a whim and then desert them. They can end up much worse off than if you had never tried.
Another sad truth is that words can vary rarely fix things of this nature in the long term. You can make a person feel better for a while. You can’t make them feel better forever. So what does that leave us? Drugs? I keep seeing this commercial on TV for an anti-depression medicine and among the other horrible possible side effects they warn you to call your doctor immediately if you have thoughts of suicide or worsening thoughts of suicide.
Are you fucking shitting me? Your anti-depression meds can make you either start wanting to kill yourself or if you already do want to, they can make you want to more…??? That makes anal leakage as a possible side effect seem like a pretty good deal.
So the thing is… sorry, I already did one thing, didn’t I?… but still, this is a thing, so here is what this new thing is; Depression is a bully I can’t fight. I can’t get a grip on where to attack it. It is a dragon that can hide for weeks or months and then come back. You can think you killed it and it is still there. It wears too many masks and hides in too many shadows. And that pisses me off. I feel helpless and as a large guy, I do not like that feeling.
And people do not really understand depression. They think people should just get over it. And then Robin Williams kills himself and what can we do with that information? If a rich and famous and well-loved person can give in, then what chance does anybody have? Psychiatrists can talk to you for hours… at some pretty well-paid rates… and offer you meds that haven’t been tested for nearly long enough, made by pharmaceutical mega-companies that don’t give a crap about you as an individual.
And depression seems to be getting more common. It isn’t a disease we are beating. My 15-year-old daughter has already been involved in three suicide threats from people she knows. Somehow she seems to have inherited my knack for not only feeling drawn to people who are on the fringes, but she also feels compelled to help… so she gets phone calls from friends saying some other friend has texted a threat to do something drastic and my wife ends up having to call some parents we might not even know, or my daughter has to tell the fiend that called to contact the other kid’s parents or something, and so far, nobody has carried out the threat… but guess what… the people who made the threats end up mad at my daughter and the other friend for violating their trust.
And at last we come to my friend, Hastywords… whom I love! I can’t help it. I read her words. I even have had the honor of writing poems and stuff with her, and I feel like I know her down to her soul in some weird way… also, I did a bunch of funny Photoshop pictures with her face and I kept looking into those eyes while I was working on the pictures… and something I saw there… just got to me.
How the fuck… (sorry… worked up crack squirrels)… can someone so sweet, so sensitive, so awesome, so beautiful, with such a lovely family… be so troubled? And with her, while there might well be an interior component to it all, some loose wire or chemical that isn’t being made in the proper amount… but it also seems, putting all her words together… that somewhere life and the people in it just hurt her one too many times. And she can’t get over that. And worse… she seems to feel in some way that it is either her fault or at the very least that she deserved it.
And I worry about her. She does this blog… even though I think that sometimes reopening the wounds can make them better but that after a certain point it just keeps them from ever healing and even makes them worse… but she does this because she knows that she is helping people out there. People who are struggling with the same demons, or a thousand different demons. And I just want to hold her and hug her… or maybe shake her… and look deeply into her eyes and say… we care… you are special… and that ugly voice inside you has nothing to do with the way you are, or who you are, or how people see you, and you are a light in the darkness to so many!!!!!
And I know it probably won’t help… not for long…
Damn you, Depression, you foul, evil stain on the world… take shape… assume a form… for just one moment… be a windmill that I can drive my lance into…
Visit Pouring My Art Out to learn more about Arthur Browne.
He isn’t really a bio kind of guy.
When I asked for his bio he had this to say, “Bio? I don’t got to show you no stinkin’ bio… my whole blog is a bio… my about page says it all… and I have crack squirrels in my head…”