Tuesday, October 24, 2006

More on Depression; Sonnet, "Resisting Melancholy"

I wrote a long blog entry this morning then lost it as my connection disconnected. I should know better, as this has happened before. Best to write your blog entry in a word document and afterwards paste it in.

Like this minor stupidity, we too easily forget the dangers of the past unless forcefully reminded again. It's human nature to need a two-by-four on the forehead to get our attention, why Jesus called us “sheep.” Why didn’t he call us pigs? Pigs are smarter and better symbolize our fallen nature. And why not cows? Because sheep are renowned for being dumb, dumb, dumb. How they survived for domestication is a question for previous predators incapable of herding.

I also rattled on about depression, talking about the 10 Kilorat variety where one is reduced to a microscopic dot of pain, self-despite and self-loathing, with an unquenchable thirst for self-annihilation. In that state you are truly better off dead--without others around to remind you of the possibility of a different outcome (in which you cannot believe, they must believe for you). After today’s sonnet I’ll post a poem that comes from a much deeper depression than that with which I am now afflicted.

One does not beat depression, one survives it. If you have any thought in your head about your “triumph” over depression in the past, it is a dangerous illusion. The wolf is always at the door. Don’t mock the Devil, he’s listening. Keep passing the open windows. (I speak only to serious depressives when I say this.)

I always thought it ironic that when I went to AA for a time, it was all about not drinking or taking drugs. When I attended DMDA (Depressive and Manic-Depressive Association) it was all about taking drugs.

But here’s another thing: About 60% of bipolars also have a substance abuse problem. So it’s about taking the right drugs, but this statistic shows that the right drugs are often not enough. And if bipolars use common drugs like alcohol or marijuana to partially ameliorate the pain of depression or the excitation of mania, who can blame them?

Alcohol worked for my father until he was 62; when it quit working he killed himself. He would not or could not face the diagnosis he’d received while hospitalized in the Air Force as a young man. And so it goes. But even more so.

Here’s today’s sonnet, followed by another poem written in deep, deep depression.

Resisting Melancholy

You are a mailed fist around my heart.
Metal against flesh; now who will win?
I am forsaken by the healer’s art.
My medications multiply like sin.
It’s only by acceptance I resist;
To struggle is to fall into your trap,
Mistaking us for equals. In the mist
Of madness I would lose you like the clap
But it is not that simple. No infection,
However terrible, could freeze my soul
And sand my skin until there’s no protection
And make a million fractions from the whole.
Through infinite divisions I endure.
You’re not the power that you thought you were.

At 3 Kilorats,

The Usual Suspect


  1. Craig Erick,

    Thank you for sharing these excerpts from your life. Many manic-depressives do not possess the eloquence to adequately express this awful bugbear of an illness. Some depressives withdraw into their shells and their nearest and dearest can only glimpse the devastating results of a depressive episode without a clue as to its mechanics. By posting these beautifully crafted sonnets, poems and essays here you allow your fellow bloggonauts to empathize with you.

    I would like to quash the theory that it is the work of the Devil. There’s no such thing. The Devil was created by Man to keep him subservient in his hierarchy.
    There’s only one God who goes by different names. He does not work opposite the Devil. In the beginning everything was created – the good, the bad and the ugly. God gave us complex brains to work out solutions that already exist on Earth.

    Peace to you. Sleep well.


  2. I only used the Devil metaphorically above, though I do believe in one. There is actually a passage in one of the letters of Peter that tells us "not to revile angelic majesties." So we're not supposed to mock the Devil, although Luther endorsed it, saying "He can't stand it because of his pride."

    I'm happy if I'm able to communicate the ravages of this disease for others. It is, fortunately or unfortunately, the single most defining aspect of my life. My wife is deaf; she says, "My deafness made me." And she adds: "Your manic-depression made you." Indeed. Our faults are more important than our gifts in forming character. When this whiz kid ended up with electrodes on his head at the age of 30, it was quite a comedown.

  3. This post makes me wonder what you think of this (and perhaps you've posted of it before): My manic-depressive friend, who is medicated in a manner that has kept her relatively stable for the past three years, claims that she cannot write anymore because she needs her insanity, her depression, to write. I'm not sure what she means by this - sometimes it seems to me that what she's saying is that the meds simply level her out in such a way that her creativity is deadened, but at other times it seems she believes that without the crisis of depression in her life, she is not inspired to write. I often argue with her about this as I think it's a misperception that a writer must be depressed/miserable to create...what do you think? Have I gone to far off-topic here? Sorry if I have.

  4. You shoud know - nothing's really good or bad, becouse you can often look at it both ways, and if not - think if it couldn't be good for someone/something else, that you maybe don't know, and that you'll never be supposed to know..


Please share your opinion!

Unexpected Light

Unexpected Light
Selected Poems and Love Poems 1998-2008 ON SALE NOW!