depression

The Importance of Hope

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I try not to think about how much of my life has been focused on my brain trying to kill me.

It’s depressing to think about the waste of years.

It’s been decades of my brain urging me to do destructive things to myself and me trying to hang in there because hanging in there is what we’re supposed to do.

The problem with hanging in is that it becomes more and more exhausting as time goes on.  The strength you relied on in your early years just isn’t reliable decades later.

It gets harder to hang in and even harder to want to. (more…)

The Problem with Depression: Again. And again.

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I was on Amtrak’s Northeast Regional from DC  to Baltimore when I got the alert that Kate Spade had ended her life.  I couldn’t believe it and I desperately searched the internet for posts that proved the news a hoax.

But it wasn’t a hoax and the horrible news was confirmed immediately by credible sources.

I texted my sister-in-law.

Kate Spade killed herself.”

Knowing she would be pressed for the best way to respond, I added “I can’t un-know that.”

Kakki, the sister I had always wanted, texted back.

oh no,” she said.

(more…)

Learning to Live with Life.

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Glenn Fleishman sharing the New York Times on Tom Brokaw just popped up on my Twitter feed. 

Now I’ll get the info in sets of three since I follow all three sources.

I like Tom Brokaw. I like him in all of the basic ways – as a professional, as a journalist, as a man, as a human. He’s a good egg.

I’ve followed Mr. Brokaw’s journey through his diagnosis of multiple myeloma at the age of 73.

I like people with issues, especially medical issues and major life crises.

I like watching people confront struggle and triumph over life’s bad badnesses.

I like witnessing the humility of life’s constant reminders that we’re SO not in control when it all comes down to it.

I like when good, reputable, professional, accomplished, successful eggs like Tom Brokaw share their experiences of real life’s ongoing struggles.  It helps me to know that I am not alone in feeling alone.  And it helps to give me words to define my own struggle…and ways to understand my own struggle.

Specifically, I’ve been working lately to come up with my own “take” on my message. For the first time in my life, I’m sharing the stories behind my art, none of which are lovely, upbeat or positive. My art is dark and morbid and depressing.  My art is the art of depression, which is dark, morbid and depressing, at least for me.

So basically it goes like this:

I’ve spent a lifetime living with depression. I’ve created a ton of art inspired by my dark experience. The art is dark. And now I’m sharing.

The thing is that darkness scares people. They assume you’re in the dark place at the very time when they themselves experience the darkness you’re sharing, even though the darkness you’re sharing could have been inspired by experiences from ages (or hours) ago.

So I like the idea of “Learning to Live With“….because it reinforces the reality that when you experience anything difficult, you experience it on a continuum.  You experience the discovery of the difficulty as you define it and identify its scope.  You experience the difficulty as you have it, hate it, fight it, embrace it, and own it. You experience the difficulty as you fix it and then move on to recovering from the fixing phase.

And then you clean up.  You experience the cleaning up of the odds and ends that invariably result from any life disruption.

And then, just when you thought you’ve cleaned everything up and put everything back into its proper place, you experience the fact that your normal is no longer the normal that other people experience.

And, if you have a chronic condition, the cycle repeats.

And repeats. And repeats. And repeats.

I suspect my next essay will be about the stages of living with depression…. or whatever difficulty, struggle, condition or other life reality you’re living with. Because yes, we are all living with something. And yes, we are all somewhere in the journey or process….somewhere in the stages.

And it’s life.

It’s just life.

So go live it.

And help others live it if you’re lucky enough to be in one of the easier stages today.

xoxo, d

The Trivial I.

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The Trivial I.

I chatted tonight with a friend from forever ago.

I can talk about our conversation here because he doesn’t read my blog.  He won’t know I spoke about him publicly… for however public this blog is.

But he wouldn’t mind me talking about him anyway. He’s engaged in self-discovery and committed to the value of transparency.  And our conversations count as that for him – since everything counts as that for him.

This friend is a former love interest, a former partner-in-crime.  But it was so many lives ago that it doesn’t even seem like it was us.  I remember those years like it was something that happened to two other people.

I wonder if that’s how others my age view their past lives.

It’s just that life has happened over and over again since that time and now we are completely different people.  We are the same, of course, in essence, in character, in personality, in spirit.

But we are different.

Different people with a shared past that is so remote.

So he told me about his journey in meditation.

I was happy for him. I’ve been meditating much longer and I know how it can change a life for the much better.

He told me about his work on self-discovery.

I was cautiously happy for him. I realize his self-discovery is occurring within his very narrowly established view of the world.  His discovery, like mine, will be limited to what we already believe to be true.

Then he told me about his morning meditation.  An inspired, hopeful, committed and dedicated affirmation about his life.

And I tripped.

It was an incantation where every sentence began with “I” or “my” – I will be this, I will be that….my life is this, my life is that.

And I realized that I’ve lost my connection to the world of self-discovery.

I used to be all about finding my true self, being a better self, and changing my self from what it was to what it can be.

I even used to motivate others to do the same.

But I’ve changed.

I no longer believe as strongly in the focus on self.

And, to be honest, I’m a little worried.

About myself.

Maybe I’m doing it wrong. Or missing out. Or skipping a step.

If this is too vague, I’m sorry. I’m trying not to rant.

But I did some research into the morning meditations and they overwhelmingly seemed very “I” focused….at least to me.

I want a morning meditation that starts with “The world around me” or ‘we’ or ‘us’ or something like that. I don’t want to focus on what I am or what I will be today.  I want to focus on what the world needs today.

I’m not able to give the world too much of what it needs today.

And I certainly won’t be selfless today.

I will be selfish today, dogmatic, stuck in my schedule and married to my routine.

But I’d like to think, at least, that I’m thinking about the world.

Find me a meditation that reminds me I am small and that my thoughts are small.

Find me a meditation that says my gratitude is not the goal…just a tool in my efforts to meet my goals head on.

Find me a meditation that says today is all I have… to do things different and perhaps make a difference, however trivial.

What is your meditation?

And if it’s focused on I, it’s okay.  I won’t yell at you or judge you.

I’ll learn from you.

Because seriously.  It’s me, not you.

Happy-ish Monday-ish.

xoxo, d