Depression is a terrible thing, but a sputtering depression is new to me. Usually I rise out of the Slough of Despond all at once, spread my wings beneath the sun to dry, and take off. But this depression, which I date back to April Fool’s Day (how appropriate), has been sputtering. I get out of it, my record being ten days, even have a day or two of kilobunnies. But I descend again.
Manic-depressions are the hardest of all depressions to treat. I’m on six medications. If I were still living in Long Beach I would have opted for outpatient electroconvulsive therapy by now. But without medical insurance, and here in the boonies, it is not a possibility.
Many mystics talk about “The Dark Night of the Soul.” No doubt those more spiritual than I have come through darkness to a new understanding of light, but my experience with depression since the age of 13 has taught me that it is a serious illness which must be treated aggressively, and that each time I suffer a depression it seems another part of my soul has been taken. The great insights I get from depression sound like this:
You’re worthless how could you be on disability you should be practicing medicine you’re a leech on society your poetry is of no account you will never be recognized your life is a total waste why are you even alive you stink up reality with your narcissistic pre-occupation how can anyone say they love you it is all a lie you are a living lie you call yourself a Christian but you don’t go to church and you drank too much last nigh besides you waste time watching TV you have no plan for retirement you live hand-to-mouth you’re pitiful why does God even allow you to stain the earth?
Except it’s much worse than that. That’s what antipsychotics are all meant to treat, the psychotic inner babble of the depressive, a faucet that cannot be turned off without help.
I’m not saying I haven’t had to have treatment for acute manias in the past; I have. Yet for most manic-depressives the ratio of depression to mania is at least three to one. And manias are almost always followed by severe depressions if left untreated.
My crying jags began while visiting my daughter and grandson over the weekend, and per usual they came in the late morning and late afternoon. Weeping while depressed does calm the system temporarily, but I find it actually increases depression since there is nothing real to cry about, thus crying reinforces the black mood instead of ventilating it.
Having said all this, territory most of you have traveled with me if you have followed my blog, I refuse to give in to depression in any ultimate sense, the subject of today’s sonnet.
You are the demon that I know so well,
So intimately even my wife can’t know.
I’d tell her if she could. She knows your spell
And how you turn a living man to wood.
Mere wood is better than your torturings,
The way you saw me always against the grain
For the most friction in your butcherings
Leaving a raw vacuum of pain.
There’s no negotiation, nothing to mend.
My resin bleeds for no one; I am lost,
Lost in the darkness of your great pretend.
A terrible joke it is, and at such cost.
But you won’t master me; I master you
By doing nothing more than getting through.
At 3.5 Kilorats,