This blog was born out of depression, so this is likely a topic I’m going to cover over and over. Depression has as many legs as a centipede and each one functions independently.
Dozens of moving parts all with the same goal.
To make you appreciate Morrissey.
See, I have a theory…clinical depression didn’t exist until the early 80’s.
Then one day, Morrissey and Johnny Marr got together and decided the best way to sell records was to create the soundtrack to an illness that they themselves invent.
It was so crazy that it just might have worked.
And it did!
Morrissey, with his tall slender frame and soft sad doe eyes, singing about how he’s only human and needs to be loved – just like everybody else does. Mixed with Johnny Marr’s damaged bad boy image. Dressed head to toe in black. Like the President of the anorexic arm of the Johnny Cash Fan Club. The band arrived on the scene at just the right time. The music world was still reeling from the cocaine induced euphoria of the late 70’s dance revolution. Christ, at the time the Star Wars Disco Theme ( and other Galactic Funk ) by Meco was burning up the charts.
I swear that’s a thing.
No, really it is.
….here, listen for yourself.
They knew what they were doing.
They surveyed the musical landscape. Held dozens of focus groups with local teenagers.
Hired statisticians and theoretical physicists. Calculated complex mathematical formulas…probably on a big white dry erase board…tried on dozens of outfits in your typical 80’s movie montage, until they found just the right combination. Then set about telling the world just how sad they were via good looks and catchy hooks.
It was brilliant.
Sun Tzu couldn’t have put together a better battle plan.
How else could they compete with all the other bands hailing from Manchester at the time? Herman’s Hermits were local heroes. Their song “I’m into Something Good” was officially declared England’s National Anthem and “I’m Henry VIII I Am” was on the hearts and minds of every citizen, young and old.
And it’s not hard to see why…
yea…try getting that out of your head
The Smith’s weren’t so much a band, as an algorithm meant to sell black eyeliner and books by Sylvia Plath. And it worked. By God….it worked!!
Think I’m crazy? Think I’m making all this up?
Yea, well, you’re probably right.
Prolonged isolation and months of celibacy have that effect.
….Christ I need to get laid….
Anyway…so what was I saying?
Oh right, depression….
Ok, so here’s where I was going with all this.
This blog was born out of depression and even though my particular strain of depression is mostly situational, it’s still no less debilitating. And in my quest to better understand it and myself, I’ve tried to connect with as many people who suffer as possible.
I’m not mining data, I’m simply trying to get a better handle on what this is and how others “deal” with it. And if I can somehow impart a little wisdom or perspective along the way, great.
The thing I’ve noticed however, is that it seems a lot people have become comfortable inside the walls of sadness.
I am in no way…NO WAY …saying this as a critique or to be judgmental.
Lord knows I am in no position to throw stones. My world is so fractured and empty all I can do is observe. And so that’s what I do.
But for me personally, I never understood depression because I never had it.
Or if I did, it lay dormant until something poked it.
…I could use a good poking….if you know what I mean….nudge nudge…poke poke…
According to my very quick Google search, depression can be hereditary.
And with the benefit of clarity and hindsight, I can see now that the darkness that seemed to loom around my mother was likely unchecked depression. She was an upbeat, outgoing and happy person – most of the time.
But there were days when the air around her was thinner. Almost stale. And her eyes didn’t have the light they normally did.
There was no rhyme or reason to the when and where. It just happened.
But she did seem to feel “safe” in these moments.
My parents were divorced.
I’m not sure when they split up but it was probably right before I was born. I have no memory of them ever being together. I never resented either of them or the situation. In fact, it made me appreciate the dynamics of a relationship very early on. These were simply two different people who really were never meant to be together. No hard feelings either way.
My mother was heavy.
She wasn’t morbidly obese, but she wasn’t at what would be called a “healthy weight”.
And when I was a child, I clearly remember her saying that my father had hurt her so badly, that she gained weight so that no one would ever hurt her again.
Think about that for a minute.
Think about the gravity of that statement.
And now realize that she never remarried and never, not to my knowledge, ever had a serious long-term boyfriend afterwards.
She died on February 1st 2014 at 1:28 pm at the JCC in Commack, New York – alone.
My father on the other hand has been married several times.
If that is not someone who found a small measure of “comfort” in the protection of depression, I don’t know what is.
And I see hundreds of people doing the same thing.
And every last one of them breaks my heart because I understand the hopeless complexity of that fucking web.
Now, to be clear, when I say “comfort”, I don’t mean to insinuate that these people, myself and my mother included, enjoy being in this place. And for right now, lets treat it as if it were a physical location. It helps to illustrate my point and allows me to indulge in my love of metaphors.
….goddamn do I love a good metaphor.
Here’s some of my favorites…
I am stuck in the quicksand of celibacy.
I have traveled through the wardrobe into the land of Nookieless Narnia.
My sex drive has been in the shop for months.
I’ve forgotten what a naked woman looks like.
See? Metaphors. Grammatical gifts from God.
Anyway, like I was saying, the safety of living inside depression – or at least, the illusion of safety is an unbelievably comfortable thing. It’s the only part of depression you can control. Even though the paint is chipped and peeling. The lights don’t work. The windows are broken and the mattress is old, this is your place. The shades you draw are your own. So you cling to it. It’s the only thing depression can’t take from you.
But what you don’t realize is that this is a room depression built specifically for you. It’s the landlord and it will always be there to collect when the rent is due. Just like it does for every other secret hideaway it created. For every other person locked away inside.
Millions of people, together under one big roof, all living alone. Separated only by the walls this disorder put in place to give you the facade of security.
The false sense that you’re not just alone, but it’s better this way.
But it isn’t and you aren’t.
And I say this as I type out a blog post at 9:30 on a Sunday morning – completely alone – in a shoebox studio apartment – with my biggest plans of the day being yoga followed by a trip to the library. So trust that I know what I’m talking about.
The only thing I do know about depression, is that the more you embrace it, the more it pretends to be your friend. Depression is not your ally. It is your pimp. It’s only job is to fuel its own engine. It doesn’t give a shit about you. It wants you to be unhappy. It needs you to feel alone. Every time you allow it an inch, it will take a mile. And those are miles you will never get back. Depression will take everything from you under the cloak of honesty. But just like in real life anyone that has to tell you they are honest, likely isn’t.
The worst thing depression does, is rob you of life’s smallest pleasures.
Forget the big stuff.
Friendship, true love, Frankenberry cereal.
The small things that under normal conditions, are quickly forgotten.
A hug. A warm breeze. A favorite song. Puppies.
….ahhhhhhh, see what I did there?
I mentioned puppies in the title and I’ll bet you thought I would never talk about them…but you’re wrong….you were so wrong.
Puppies aren’t just little dogs….well, I mean they are. On the outside.
And I guess on the inside as well…ok, puppies are in fact, little dogs.
But they are so much more.
They are yapping little bundles of furry happiness.
Compact and compressed for managability.
Not fleeting or imaginary happiness.
Not frivolous or superficial happiness.
True, unequivocal and indisputable happiness.
Available over the counter. Day or night. No prescription necessary.
Side effects may include: joy, bliss, delight, exhilaration, peace of mind, a new found optimism, elation, uncontrolled mirth, loss of bladder control, receding hairline, uneven tire wear, crunch foot, uncontrollable laughter, excessive petting, joy ( did I say joy already? I did, didn’t I…well, more joy) slipped tranny and jubilation.
Need proof…..well than take a look at this and I dare you to tell me this doesn’t make you smile…
Seriously….look at that face…
LOOK. AT. IT!
If that doesn’t at the very least, alleviate your depression, even for a few moments, nothing will.
And that’s the point I’m trying to make.
Those few moments you’ve just spent thinking about puppies were moments you took away from depression. Those are moments you allowed yourself to have. I didn’t distract you. There was no misdirection. In fact, I made a very clear point illustrating how controlling depression can be.
But I said there was more out there and showed you a puppy as an example.
And you probably watched that video and smiled and maybe, hopefully, for a few minutes, you weren’t caught up in the fog of sadness.
Depression lives inside of us. That part will always be true.
But what you do with it is within your control.
No, not always. But the more you flex that muscle, the stronger it gets.
The more you allow depression and fear to control you, the more it will.
The puppy is just a puppy.
But it’s also a metaphor.
….and like I said, I love my metaphors…
These are the little things depression robs us of.
The simple joys.
There’s no easy answer and no catch-all solution.
But there are pleasures out there. And each time you allow yourself to experience one, you punch another hole through the walls of desolation. You let a little more light in.
And that’s the key.
Your life has worth. It has meaning. It has a purpose.
And that purpose is not be the bitch slave to abjection.
You’re reading this.
Your heart is beating. Your blood is flowing. Maybe you have a full head of hair…maybe not…who knows…the point is, you’re above ground.
You’re already ahead of the curve.
Now get out there and let this happy little fucker lick your face.
Cos in the end, it’s not how much money you’ve made or how many toys you’ve amassed…it’s how many dogs like you. Impress these guys while you can…Heaven’s full of em.