DAMN YOU DEPRESSION

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!


 

a 1 a 1Written by Arthur Browne

 

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…


 

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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…”

19 thoughts on “DAMN YOU DEPRESSION

  1. Reblogged this on galesmind and commented:
    I always love your blogs both of you are very insightful. My mother was manic depressive the chic word for it today is bipolar. I tried for years to understand it. To not resent it. This really helped me. There is no understanding it. You just have to hold on when that boat is rocking and hope you don’t get swallowed by the sea.

    Like

  2. It is a biological reality that attempts to destroy will always create resistance. Whether it is to destroy pathogens or people. No doubt there are evolutionary reasons why this is so but it was something, when I first read it, that I pondered in the general, including in regard to mental illness and depression.

    We live in a world where science/medicine, sourced in materialist reductionism an a desire to dominate and control, demands that we see any dis-ease as a war and our body as an enemy, not to be trusted, always to be watched, designed to sabotage us at any moment.

    Now, if we treated a friend in this way what would happen? I am sure they would become frightened, upset, depressed, angry and confused. And yes this is what science/medicine encourages us to do to our body and our mind.

    The turning point for me was when I realised depression was not to be feared but welcomed and that it could be companion, teacher, guide – as it turned out to be.

    Everyone is different and I am not saying that it would work for everyone but I am certain that depression cannot be ‘killed’ or will away or driven out, at least not permanently, and so, if we are not to be at war with ourselves we need to turn our enemy into a friend. It is worth a try.

    Liked by 3 people

    • I noticed one day that the side of my right leg had started going to sleep, just numb randomly…it wasn’t right and doctors told me it was my weight…pinching a nerve in my back. Another doctor said maybe it was blood flow. I decided to make it my friend and live with it.

      It got worse but I simply tried to ease the problem by losing weight. Other than being a nuisance it didn’t really concern me.

      A few years later I fell on some ice and instead of a concussion a tumor was discovered in my brain. It was a part of me but it was NOT supposed to be there. Something in my body, the perfect storm (genetics, food, pollution, hormones, ???) created something that MEANT to kill me. OK it didn’t know it was going to kill me it was just a tumor…but it would have killed me just the same.

      I did not accept it, I did not make friends with it. I had modern medicine and good doctors get it out. Now, I still get the use of the right side of my body. Now I don’t have weird numb patches on my leg. And it happened just in the nick of time they say.

      I view depression the same way. True (deep down in a dark hole, mind taken prisoner, alien invasion) chemical warfare gone wrong in the body.

      I believe this because when I didn’t understand I wanted to be strong, to change myself…mind over matter…make your own happiness…meditate, eat better, exercise… the list is very long of things we have at our disposal.

      Depression and any other mental illness, is a brain anomaly that may or may not be preventable. No body knows…and everyone is different.

      My BIGGEST concern is for someone to believe as I did that they should be able to control depression by trying to make peace with depression and thinking they can control it. Depression CAN NOT be controlled. We need to learn to say, I can’t control what this is doing to me and take steps to lessen the pain it causes. Sometimes the steps are non-medicinal but sometimes you have to realize your body isn’t manufacturing something it needs. I just don’t want someone to wait until it is TOO late to seek remedies.

      I respect your voice, and your opinion…I just don’t agree. Depression is a KILLER…and I don’t think there is a cure. I do thing that once we realize it is there we can put a plan in place that could save us from succumbing to some of the most painful moments depression has in its goodie bag.

      I am a big fan of the medical community but I am also a big fan of researching everything before you just accept what you are told. Find someone you like, trust, and build a relationship with them. Whether they are organic or not…

      Sometimes…you need help outside yourself and I don’t want anyone to feel so ashamed or weak they don’t try to find help.

      I have been off meds for a year…I haven’t been depressed since…I have been very sad but not depressed. Why? I don’t know but I am super glad I got help and I had the medication to balance me back out.

      Liked by 5 people

      • You do not have to agree. There I nothing which says everyone must agree. I respect your experience and your conclusions but they were not my experience and they are not my conclusions.

        I have cured depression of the chronic kind and I have helped others, so I have been told, to do the same.

        We are all different. What works for one does not necessarily work for another. We all have to find our own path.

        I am not a big fan of Allopathic medicine but I am sure I shall be when eventually it is transformed into Integrative Medicine and leaves behind the delusional belief that the body is no more than a machine or bag of chemicals and that every symptom or condition can be reduced to that reality.

        I think at this point in history modern medicine does more harm than good. Its skills lie in the mechanistic areas of crisis/trauma and surgery, but even there less harm would be done and more healing would happen if methodologies like Homeopathy, Nutritional, Herbal etc., were used as well.

        I agree depression cannot be controlled. That was my point. That is why listening, accepting, befriending are so effective. One no longer seeks to control, one seeks to learn.

        I have also never said one should not seek outside help, quite the opposite. Medication can be invaluable in the short-term to get people over a hump, but given how quickly the body adjusts, it is never a cure.

        I am glad your path took you where you needed to go. That is all which matters.

        Like

    • By the way…

      I love the conversation, even the differing opinions and disagreement. Because all we have are our voices and our opinions and when we are respectful you never know when each of us can help someone who needs our voice.

      Thank you for never being afraid to have a meaningful discussion.

      Like

  3. I went through hell last year with hemiplegic migraines and depression to the point of sitting there with the pills in my hand. After seeking help thru the NHS and finding it seriously lacking I had a “fuck it” moment and decided to stop taking cymbalta as it obviously wasnt working. That in itself was a nightmare with withdrawal symptoms but I spent hours online researching, read a couple of very interesting books (did you know that depression and bipolar used to be one off events in a person’s life? It is only since the introduction of anti depressant drugs that they have become ‘incurable’)
    I went the route of using amino acid supplements to treat my depression. Neurotransmitters are made from amino acids. They worked. Even tho my mum died and I suffered a severe betrayal whilst taking the amino acids, I am still here and enjoying life again. You have to do your research thoroughly and carefully and it isnt for everyone but it is seriously worth looking into for depression.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Art is awesome. He comments on all my posts too, and I can’t phantom why.. ? As for that demon called depression, if I knew how to slay it I would have done so long ago that is if I’m not busy courting it…. Depression is like a complicated relationship status and a hell hole all mixed into one.
    And people tell you to just get over it and they just don’t get it.

    If you have ever been in an abusive relationship, you know how difficult it is to get out. People tell you just leave him, but you just can’t. And they don’t understand why not. Often times you need a lot of help to get away from the Abusive situation. And you blame yourself most of the time. Depression is like that, people who have not experienced it will never understand,why you just can’t free yourself from it.

    (hugs) to you Art this has given me new insight into the mind of yours. I think there is a lot more than crack squires up in there. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sometimes we just need people to know we have battles we are fighting and when they acknowledge our fight it feels like a positive force that has been added to our side. It doesn’t cure depression but it really does make a difference knowing depression can’t turn that person’s voice against us.

      I really do think many times we need to know how people feel and think. Otherwise we create their side of the conversation in our heads during our depression. I don’t seem to do it at all when I am not depressed. Which to me is so very strange.

      Liked by 1 person

      • That is what my shrink told me just this week, that I’m not supposed to create the persons voice or conversation, but if there is little to no contact it is kind of difficult to not do that.

        Liked by 2 people

  5. Wonderfully well written and insightful. But u’r right, words can pacify, but does nothing in the long run. Because of this “collective reality” we’re experiencing, depression is all but inevitable – for everyone. Depression is a product of the mind, so we need to address the issues of our mind. There are mind practices from zen meditation which help. Everyone has to find their own way out, the monster can be slain!
    Drugs and alcohol are not the solution, short term medicine for the ultimate existential problem… life.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Art this is amazing. So, so incredible, and I so completely relate to your frustration at those windmills of depression being completely untouchable, AND to your desire to tilt at them and knock them off their speggots. I wish that wishing was enough to make them tangible, and I wish that good intentions were sufficient to give them a thunderclap blow…but all we can do is love.

    We can be present, we can be consistent, we can be supportive, we can encourage…and we can love and keep loving beyond where it begins to hurt us, and then find it within us to love a bit more.

    That’s all. And sometimes even then, we get told that love isn’t enough. And that’s awful, but depression’s awful and that’s precisely how it operates – through lies.

    So we love and hold those razor-edged hopes that somehow our person remains on the right side of the divide.

    Like

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