Posts Tagged ‘depression’

Oh, boy

Well, Gentle Reader.  WELL.  We’re embarking on yet another journey of exploration of a previously unknown circle of hell.  Which is to say, expanded promotion of self and skills.  Again we find we don’t have a picture of ourselves for yet another profile, and coming up with catchy tag lines can be a bit of an endurance test, but needs must to keep moving forward with the demands of keeping bodies and souls together.

Things are getting clear on some levels, and not others.  Lately I’ve been reading bloggers on depression and what not, and finally, FINALLY, was able to connect a few dots.   I’ve been clinically depressed my entire life, is what I realized.  (Not a minute too soon….) It is a difficult row to hoe, let’s just say.  But one thing it has done is allowed me to develop an almost super human ability to pick myself up by my shirt collar, walk myself around the room til I come to, and then go and do something.   (Which lead, basically, to my extended tussle today with gravatars, avatars, skill sets and all the rest of it.  Wheel spinning, or? Time will tell. ) This may account for the largish variety of things I’ve done, the incredibly largish variety of mistakes I’ve made, and also perhaps for the quotidian challenges of the Now.  Years of therapy! Years of work! It came to seem important to me to know who I really am, really was, what I wanted.  The layers of rubble and numerous flesh wounds it took to go through to find that out probably made it seem to some that I was a complete waste case  (albeit a High Functioning One) adrift forever.  Then, once I did start to see some light, recognize my own image at last, it seemed that I hadn’t done myself any favors.  All the things I thought were important were not things that lent impetus to success in this world.  I also came to see that over the course of time of divesting myself of unneeded attitudes, beliefs, values, that a) it’s pretty much a miracle I survived, and b) I had no idea.  Simply.  No idea.

So now, after all our adventures and realizations, we confront maybe the biggest challenge ever.   In this effort at understanding, at survival, at progress, I found myself staring out at a huge horizon wondering if I’d totally missed the point, again, and altogether.  All the things that helped me walk through all those dark places all those times didn’t seem in the event to be doing much to support the exchecquer.  Not to put too fine a point on it: We’re on a quest for funds, along with a sizeable portion of the rest of humanity.  While I know luck plays a huge part in things, and I take baseball as a helpful Zennish metaphor about slumps! and streaks! and, knowing too that many close to me feel I have “unlucky” blinking repeatedly out from my forehead, I realized the other night that in fact, I have no complaints.  So it was something to get to that point, be able to just put it all down and go, whoa! How’d I get HERE???  A lovely feeling of simple joy at being alive! Yes, please.

Still, it came adjacent to a sobering birds’ eye view of the current picture.  I saw a posting on facebook last week that said, essentially, by all means! reach out to others when you need help.  That way you’ll find out who really, really doesn’t give a fuck about you.  So I did that and the ensuing rejection of my request came as a devastating, nauseating, total shock.  To me only of course.  Everyone else was all, will you ever learn???  But it gave me a seriously up close and personal look at denial.  Which, me being me, I thought about how that dynamic affects people’s health and lives, and how one might best approach someone in that state.  Because I think we all know when we tell someone, well, yadda yadda, you’re in DENIAL, the result most generally will be hearing that thank you very much but neither you nor the person you’re addressing is in Egypt.  But denial is a powerful, powerful thing, especially when it springs up from a need to survive.  Personally I was astounded at the depth of mine, and in a critical moment thought it might be sufficient to keep me on the crazy train for ever.  At present, hard to say, given the temper of the times.   But I think not.  Eternal crazy train, that is.

NONETHELESS.  What I’ve learned so far:

1)  You can do it.  It’s scary! but you can do it.  At least I think so at present, waiting for further evidence to firm up a conclusion.

2) When things look impossible, sometimes it really IS time to click your heels a few times, spin around, and see how it looks then.  You may have to try this several times, and stop before you make yourself throw up.  The profile picture was it for me, today.

3) This whole business of keeping depression or illnesses or…. or whatever it might be secret is ridiculous.  There has to be a happy medium between boring the bottoms off people with Your Very Important Story and keeping yourself on lock down in case Someone Finds Out That….that what?  Your chemistry is off? Or something else isn’t straight out of Advertising World?  None of us will ever heal if we continue…well, denial, there it is again! of what is really happening with others and ourselves.  Judgments are not perhaps what we humans should be overly preoccupied with, especially when it comes to pain.

4) So I’m working on deep breathing, unconditional love, and Trusting The Process.  Which I haven’t quite worked out yet…..

Meanwhile, it’s been strange times up here what with smoke so thick you can barely see out and the mountain lion family that dispatched three llamas across the ridge from us this past week, including the baby who was, arguably, the cutest thing ever.  Well, except for the new donkey Silver.  We saw two spotted fawns springing through some trees one day; the next we saw two dead ones by the side of the road, hit by a car.  Life in the country! It ain’t for sissies.

Forest? Trees? Gratitude

It seems I’ve decided to save the world in my nightgown today since I’m still padding around in it.  Yesterday’s swirl of thoughts and synchronicity has left me temporarily beached; and there is still the day’s work to do around the yurt.

I thought about so much stuff yesterday I gave myself a headache.  In a good way for a change- just too much information blitzing through the synapses.  (We also discovered the hard way that neither the Partner nor I can stand anchovies, in the radical spirit of experimentation yesterday had.  For the first time ever I made something for dinner, containing the aforementioned ingredient, and neither one of us could eat it.  Live and learn, Gentle Reader.  Live and learn. )  We’re meanwhile working on some new offerings for the website, which are going to need some cogent explanation,  and in the process of thinking about how to do that, and about modern physics, and about how really overall a spirit of neutrality or non-attachment to outcome is crucial to developing understanding of almost anything- apparently the small but active mind of this bear got whipped into a froth which precipitated an unpleasantness that resolved into some important understanding.

I woke up from a dream this morning in full possession of a massive headache and an anxiety attack.  The dream, you may infer, was quite frightening but once I got over the physical reaction to it, pain and nausea, it led me to quite a fantastic revelation.  Seeing in the mind’s eye a string of events that seemed unrelated to the dream material I understood at last how it all fit together- the events in the dream and the real events the memory put forth to go along with it.  It made me think about the fear people live with, how it is fomented culturally to a large extent, and how one can rise above it instead of being crippled.  We have our histories with us like a gigantic set of luggage.  It can be hard to piece things together from this Historical Set of Things, especially when we have a theory or position we’re attempting to maintain.  Sometimes a suitcase pops open and stuff empties out seemingly willy-nilly, and we wonder why in the heck we brought THAT with us.  Then, perhaps THAT shifts into something else and we may wonder about that thing too.   Memory and reflection can haunt us or help us with this sorting task, getting rid of stuff that really belongs to someone else, for example.  Naturally we often don’t know we’re lugging someone else’s baggage around with us, but when we do realize that?  The liberation that comes of it is like being covered in light.   A completely different feeling than that of being covered in suffocating yuck that can accompany such suitcase-openings when all we actually do is attempt to cram everything back in and shut it away.  We might ask ourselves why we end up carrying all this crap around and really there may be no answer except that we put it down when it is time.  In my case, and in this dream, it was being able to finally recognize the seed of the negative that was planted so long ago, and which I internalized (as humans do! such fun we have!) as something that had actually to do with ME and was a tangible part thereof.  When in fact it was really about the person who planted it- and however damaging this seed was to me over time, they were only doing what their own luggage was prompting them to do.  Not to excuse bad behavior, but until we understand things they have often got more control over us than they should. Anyway, today things lined up in the sky and I saw my world in a new light.  It also made me think about a friend who has a Situation with which she deals in total brave honesty, and truly not in fear.  If she can do that, I thought, I can also put this….this suitcase I never bought….down.  It was peculiarly like a rebirth, because it also had to do with facing death in all its many guises.

These rebirths, if we may call them so, are what happen each time we can release our attachment to how we think things are and see them as they actually are.  It’s the process of becoming alive, being human, being ourselves.  They can be small or large, fun or earthshaking.  We always have what we need- we’re just not always able to recognize that because of fear and resistance.  It really is, though, a constant process of motion, and light, and change.  So even if a bit flattened, today I feel so incredibly lucky and grateful.  Maybe I’ll even get dressed!  Or not.  But one thing is for sure:  there will be no anchovies in this picture!

The Empty Balloon

That’s what my cranium feels like today:  a balloon that went all over the room expelling air and then flopped down on the couch.

Partly it is sort of a new pattern here, of frantically working on a project and completing it (or whatever passes for completion in the moment) and then, THE VOID.  Perhaps it’s just shock.  I did my taxes and for the first time in…well, years, anyway, I’m getting refunds.  Which once again reminded me that the massive worry-thons that get launched around here are generally total wastes of time.

For some reason anxiety and depression and worry have been floating around in the the topic bowl.  It’s pretty clear that worry and fear become habits, not that they cannot be shifted but the responses become so “normal”  you don’t necessarily realize that you’re essentially “praying for what you don’t want” as I heard a musician say on the radio a few days ago.  William Styron’s DARKNESS VISIBLE addresses this as well.  His memoir of a descent into profound clinical depression, this book is quite riveting in its lucidity and in the accuracy of the descriptions of almost indescribable mental states, of the unbelievable pain people suffering from depression experience.

These difficult mental states, disorders, illnesses if you will, what are they?  We are learning more and more about the chemistry involved in them, how life experiences affect that chemistry and our behavior.  There are many options now for dealing with such a state of things, and one thing they all take is time.  And attention, of course.  But we can shift our behaviors by paying attention to them and not continuing in the ones that don’t serve us.  This behavior change can restructure neural pathways, and ultimately old pains may, and do, recede into the background and are no longer in the driver’s seat.  Sometimes it takes more assertive intervention, of course, and sometimes even Western Medicine, that thing we love to hate, can be helpful in balancing brain chemistry- as long as it is done consciously, and not with the intent to mask symptoms and continue on in the same old ways.

In essence, and as usual, we have to want to let go of this constellation of feelings and thoughts, as we have to want to let go of anything we wish to change.  So often it seems that people want to stay the same but be more comfortable there.   Our socialization leads us to view life as a continuing dance of pairs of opposites.  The duality doesn’t leave much room, and it is easy to feel stuck in such a paradigm, swinging between poles of artificial distinctions that don’t ring deeply true.  So, liberation, which is ultimately the goal in every endeavor I think, is a movement toward unity; toward a consciousness of expanded awareness.  When we stay stuck in the pairs of opposites, it can be overwhelming.  Those poles loom large and absolute, and this can make us think that we can never “get better”/”recover”/move on/whatever it may be.  It seems easier to stay as we are, perhaps.  To my mind, liberation is a process of education.  This education leads us to see much larger horizons than those simply of our pairs of opposites.  These larger horizons contain all sorts of questions that lead to answers, and those answers can really help us be happy where we are, which is the essential first step.  Letting go of the perceived loss and pain we can see where we are.  Then we can begin again, and begin to truly live our lives.

There are all sorts of things that happen in life, catastrophic and terrible things, happy things, innumerable and perhaps unnameable things.  Perhaps part of really being alive is finally being able to step past all the “things” that have “happened”, without judgement but with acceptance and honesty.  Then we step into World, and it’s quite a different experience.  It isn’t necessarily easier, there’s still pain and joy, but there is a majesty and light to it that seem to help with the basic guidance.  So there’s less crashing into unseen mountains, less fearing them.   In short, it does get better.  But I think you have to be willing to put everything down before you can pick it up properly and go on again, into your life.