Sunday, November 19, 2006

Sonnet Sunday; Picture of Kilobunny

First, a kilobunny sent to me by a rabbit fancier, Jennifer:

Now for today's sonnet:


I take so many medications that
I am a walking pharmacy, and still
I am no better. I’m suicidally fat
And anxious. I would delegate
My pain to someone else if only I could.
Jesus invites it, but could he name the pill
I am or am not taking that would put
A grin upon my face, laugh in my gut?
He is no pharmacist. He took my sin
Supposedly, but melancholy’s no sin
Unless it end in sloth. I’m in a rut.
When I was young religion took me in
And made me worse, but granted me a meaning;
Now I don’t know if I am sick or sinning.

It’s Sunday, Kathleen’s sleeping, and I woke up early enough to try a new church. But I didn’t, as in the state of depression religion merely heaps more guilt upon me. As I’ve before stated, I feel no relationship with God; I pray he has one with me. At 52 I’ve learned a number of things, but I think the most important of them is endurance. Sometimes you must simply hold on to the edge of the life raft and hope for land before hypothermia does you in. Sometimes that is your only choice. So I hold on, so I’ve held on before.

If circumstances dictated my mood I would be happy. I have an adequate income. I am married to the one true love of my life, someone whose sleeping face gives me joy when I am well. I live where I’ve always wanted to live: on the northern California coast near the redwoods. As much as my back permits, I have time to write and fish.

The fact that I’m depressed in the midst of such luck helps elucidate the difference between unhappiness and depression. Depression can strike when you’re on top of the world. It is no respecter of persons or circumstances. It is a failure of the primitive portions of the brain to sustain the necessary neurotransmitters that make a sense of happiness possible. Let me repeat that: It is a failure of the primitive portions of the brain to sustain the necessary neurotransmitters that make a sense of happiness possible. It is not a sin, it is not a retreat, it is not an avoidant behavior pattern from childhood, it is not a lack of courage, it is not a reaction to loss, it is a physical failure of the brain, better compared to a seizure than anything else. When in the grip of it you can only try not to hate yourself too much, avoid suicidal thinking, and continue to venture out into the world to stay in practice in case you return to it some day.

Underneath my skin I am sure people are angry at me. I think Kathleen must be angry at me. When I meet people I think they can see through me, but I know they can’t, and I fake normality with the best of them. How else did I get by as a doctor for 20 years? The depressive must pretend to be normal in order to avoid the sting of misdirected sympathy from those who do not know the difference between the blues and clinical depression.

There, I’ve said enough for one day. I hope I haven’t worn this topic out and that the reader is not angry with me for my not getting better.

At 2.5 Kilorats,



  1. First, that photo of the bunny is a hoot. I wonder if Bob would mind if I dressed him up in frilly pink dress and put a bow on his head. Hmmmm.

    It took me a long time to accept that actuality, CE, that my depressive nature/tendency was not an indication of a failure on my part. Love, happiness, depression, it's all about brain chemicals.

    I think I'm alive because I run. That's how I keep my head above the waves. That single hour every day during which I move my body through time and space is the only time I feel really free of it. I feel happy. Or at least, it's how I iimagine happiness feels. Don't get me wrong. I'm not down and out. You measure your mood in bunnies and rats, me, I'm more a color girl. This isn't blackness, thank god. Maybe not even blue. Just an almost unendurable greyness. A flatness, an apathy, a disconnection that if I can't shake except for that hour a day when I move my body.

    I fake it every day. I fake normalcy. I smile and nod and make small talk. But I always feel like I'm a million miles away. And I wonder if people can tell I'm faking it. And I wonder how disappointed friends and family are that I'm withdrawn, that I'm constantly withdrawing further and further from them.

    I felt okay today. The Browns played the Steeelers today. The Browns played with alot of heart...and lost.

    I exercised hard with a lot of heart....and maybe won.

    For an hour.


    Thanks for this post, sir.

  2. Anonymous6:13 PM PST

    Hi CE:

    Remember your Becker. Sin and neurosis are the same. Kierkegaard vs Freud. Different lexicon, that's all.

    Yes, this is no solace I suppose,

  3. of course we're angry at you, a grown man wallowing in self pity etc etc
    snap out of it!

    is that what you really expect someone to say?

    Silly man, I'm sure if you could snap out of it, you would.
    I personally recommend you just survive, not sure why, no one's given me a good reason for that yet, and i've only found a few personal reasons, but yes, you get one life, use it, however you want, but use it all, lick the plate clean!

    Well, so much for my attempts at positivity....
    I've sat staring at this for 10mins now, and still don't know wether to post it or not...

  4. Dear Craig Erick,

    Well, I think you ought to be counting your blessings. Some people confuse the blues with decade old panic attacks, which are closely related to the primal fight or flight syndrome. And there’s no cure for that, not without extracting the adrenal gland, which is vital to something or other, probably life itself – that’s what my Vet said, anyway.

    And some people get into the lorry, don’t know where they are headed or where they’ve come from; when they arrive at their destination, they don’t know whether to fly, swim or die but they choose to return whence they came anyway and pot black prevails.


  5. Anonymous9:55 AM PST


    I think your dual-vantage as a clinician and depressive is immensely instructive to many.

    You should compile this stuff as a self-help book.


  6. Thanks, all, and especially LKD for baring her soul. In deep depression you no longer have a soul to bare. You are bare all the time, constantly raw, a snail without a shell--which I suppose, deservedly makes us depressives into slugs.

    Norm, I do remember my Becker, and whatever it is within us that feels a failure constantly can be named a number of things. I put it simply: I have chronic self-esteem problems, and that covers most of it.

    Thanks for commenting, all.


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