Now: Just read Lisa Romeo’s brilliant essay on postpartum depression on her blog here. Synchronicity rules the day, evidently: I had written about depression this morning to be less depressed– hah– and now feel better about my post.
So… here goes, and meanwhile, please check out the wonderful Huff Post piece on yesterday’s live healthcare jam here … Write on, fellow cyber brothers and sisters….
Before I indulge myself in continuing to write the story of a trip I took many years ago, a writing project that is uplifting and exciting for me now that many moons have shone and withered away, I am compelled to address yet another tough subject: depression.
I was watching some commentary this morning on the suicide of a former child actor. An opining psychologist made the point that sufferers of acute depression become cut off from their own gifts and accomplishments, often saying that it feels as though those things were done by someone other than themselves.
This statement illuminated what has long been my own bewilderment and that of people close to me regarding sustaining a writing and publishing life when I had such a great start in my twenties and into my thirties.
I inherited depression; it is an old friend and an old nemesis. I believe in fighting it. I do it every day, pushing myself on when I don’t want to. I make myself accomplish some small thing and lately have been graced by daily visits from the Muse, so that I am motivated to write and begin to reconnect to the artist me.
I have written about my depression at its worst in one of the vignettes or flash memoir pieces I hope to one day pull together in a complete manuscript, but I have been reluctant to post it here; I’ve already mined heavy subjects that address it albeit obliquely.
I will say that I know first-hand that when you sink to a certain level, no one can make the surface-dive to bring you back up from the bottom but you. It doesn’t matter how many kind and wise people you’ve seen who have gotten out a prescription pad, or helped you understand yourself. It has to come from within.
I took a moment this morning to honor the young man whose body was found in a park in Vancouver. I wish he had checked in somewhere, or in the penultimate moment, found some way to lay his hands on life and keep going.
Emotional weather is in flux. Times of grief, sorrow and emptiness pass. It is a grave mistake to move into one of those rooms and furnish it and take up a life in it. It invites disaster.
My depression has pulled me under numerous times. It is the amok orca grabbing me by the hair; it wants me dead or alive. I had a therapist once who said that I should let my feelings move through me and not try to stop or control them–good advice, but sometimes I have to kill the darkness within or be killed by it.
I also believe in help– the help of anti-depressants and therapists, and I have that help.
But lately, there has been no help as powerful as the comment left on my blog yesterday by new writing friend Sweepy Jean, or the letters I receive daily from my new friend Patti, who blogs at Fools Like Me, or the support of my companion of two decades, my “wasband” Doug, or that my own brother with whom I share the dark genes, paints, skiis and otherwise lives on…Thank you for pushing me down the slalom course with your love when I don’t think I’m up to it.