Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Mock Turtle Weeps While Fishing

Yesterday was a tearful day, tears without reference, just a chemical sadness. Knowing that it's chemical doesn't make it any better, although it does help with intellectual hope.

I had made up my mind that when Kathleen got home from work I would go fishing. I am the world's unluckiest fisherman, and I never catch anything, but I like the process. So there I was, above a beautiful blue cove on a bluff, tossing my bait--and I teared up and started crying. I've never cried while fishing before. It's some kind of a low mark, I think.

I recall the thought I had before I started to weep. I had thought of God briefly, and began to offer a limp prayer when the idea of contact with God made me unutterably sad. Given the Christian conception I've inherited, it makes sense, because often the most painful thing in a serious depression is contact with those closest to you; there are no words to express the depths of worthlessness one feels when confronted by love, because one can neither appreciate love nor reciprocate.

I didn't cry when I woke today. I attribute this to the increased dose of Zyprexa I took last night. The bad thing is that I didn't move in my sleep because of the dosage, so I woke with pain in my left hip and the capsulitis in my right shoulder was intensely aggravated. But I would much rather endure physical pain than emotional pain. In my deepest depressions I have always been grateful for any physical pain able to distract me from myself. Since I suffer from chronic pain, my back can actually be a blessing in this dreadful state.

The self-absorption of depression is definitely narcissistic, but constitutes a very unhealthy, regressive narcissism: the narcissism of abandonment, of being abandoned to oneself, encased, enbalmed, encorpsed in an awkward body with all its fluids and needs. One feels as vulnerable as a white grub on asphalt; the birds are sure to come, all the birds are looking. And the fear of the predator extends to all; I am literally more afraid than glad when Kathleen gets home, the person who most loves me. Tears streamed down my face when I told her I was going fishing. Still, I went. It was a good outing because I only lost one lure.

I'll close with a link to another great poem on depression. I've already posted Coleridge's "Dejection: An Ode," and Jane Kenyon's "Having It Out with Melancholy." Today's link is to Gerard Manley Hopkins' "No Worst, There Is None."

Who am I to put a kilorat value on my condition?

In the Belly of the Beast,


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