Fuck Depression

I just wanted to express my hatred for a condition that people I care about suffer from all too often. It is a dark force that I did not come to understand until I married someone who suffered from it. While I can only look at it from the outside, I have come to know it fairly well. I can pretty quickly sense when someone is suffering from it. It has patterns that I have come to intuitively recognize.

Its sheer irrationality is especially vexing and cruel. Depression doesn’t care about facts or reason. Depression is like a dark lens that can turn anything into a menacing shadow and defies all reason. Depression generates its own hateful doom-ridden truths. It manufactures menace and fear. And for many, it literally speaks to them, sometimes in their own voice, sometimes with an alien one. It cannot be ignored, it cannot be denied, and it cannot be convinced. Even when the sufferer is fully aware of its influence, they are still just as subject to its feelings and demands. And what it demands most is destruction, especially of self but sometimes also of others.

But that is not the end of its fucking evil. No, because it is not some alien possession or a demon, it is part of the person who suffers from it. It demands to be part of their identity, a self-hating, self-destructive force that you can’t blame on any outside force or origin. It comes from within. Not some willful choice, just a fact of nature, of the essence of a person’s mind and its function gone terribly awry. It is a kind of psychic parasite that co-opts a person’s normal insecurities, fears, and feelings and drives them into a frenzy of negativity aimed in every direction, but most prominently at themselves.

And while it may be anecdotal, my experience is that it seems to strike at people who are creative, kind, and sensitive to the world most often. The kind of people I especially like and admire. And there is almost nothing I can do about it. Encouraging words may make a person feel good when the cloud has gone, but they don’t really do anything against depression itself. The best I can do is to encourage them to seek help from someone who might be able to make a difference. And even then, the outcomes are never guaranteed. The only real place I can do anything is to help my wife when she suffers from it.

I have learned a lot about that over the years. Patience, understanding and unfailing support are really the key. Reason is useless. Too much empathy can actually be dangerous. My tactic is to ride it out, and provide opportunities to break the spell. Positive, joyful experiences can fight depression but it is a gradual thing and not a cure. It’s more like keeping a door open to the light and waiting for a chance to use it. And then when it has passed, trying to keep it at bay by avoiding hooks for it to latch on to. Bad experiences or emotions that re-enforce the depressive thoughts and feelings. Love is essential, as is seeing it as something apart from the person you love in some way. You cannot hold the person who suffers responsible for the thoughts that it engenders. You have to protect yourself from those thoughts and the actions they can engender, but you should not punish the person for them because again, it simply doesn’t respond to any kind of reason or conditioning. It is a thing to be endured and the reward is the love of the person who suffers from it.

And of course there are drugs, but anytime you are going to change your brain with a chemical, there are consequences. Often those consequences are better than the depression, but it is still kind of punishment handed down by the condition even when it is not directly acting on its victim. Evil often works this way, causing pain merely in the act of staving off full destruction. And of course, if the defenses slip, whatever they are, its very nature undermines further attempts to stave it off. It will tell you that you don’t deserve to be free of it, that this suffering is just and deserved.

The enemy you know and can battle is one you can come to live with in a way. But when I see others suffer, others I can’t really help, it makes me angry and sad. Especially for people who don’t have someone in their life that can be there for them to see it through and wait out the storm. I have no power over it, I can only watch, I can only hate it and write about how I hate it. So Fuck You Depression! Leave my friends be!

I also wrote a poem about it when I was first coming to grips with it…

Dark circle
Dark circle, round and round
One continuous hallway without end
No light at the end, just more of the same
Each step echoes the last
Hand on the inside moving forward
Looking for the end of the trek
It’s easy to miss the door on the outside wall

Outside that door is the world at large
Light and noise and voices of life
Vast horizons and limitless space
Dangers and Pleasures without end
There you have built your home and hope
There we spend most of our lives
But there are plenty of doors to small dark circles

They take you by surprise these doors
No need to knock you just fall right in
When someone you love opens the door
You get to make a choice…

You can wait outside hoping they return
You can go inside and walk the hall hand in hand
I choose to go inside and walk the hall
I just need to remember where the door is
That way I can show my love the way out
And if I should get lost at least I’m not alone
In the small dark circle in my mind

 

Sigfried

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