Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Best of, cont'd: Depressed People Are Boring and Irritating

From 7/17/06:

I actually woke up depressed today, despite two nights on the antipsychotic (Zyprexa). Usually there's some attainment of consciousness that precedes the leaden feeling, but within fifteen minutes of waking I began to cry. About nothing. Just sadness spilling over, sadness not attached to any particular loss.

Depressed people are boring. Their loved ones, ultimately, can't help being irritated by them. Here's what happened yesterday:

We took Kenyon to a nearby beach to swim. When we thought he'd had enough he began to shiver and Kathleen took him to the car to escape the wind, as she was getting cold, too. She told me "I'd like to leave in a little while." I wasn't ready to leave. Lying in the sun by a chorus of waves I found soothing, and I prefer open vistas to closed spaces no matter how sick I am.

Yet eager to be compliant, or rather desperate not to displease, I packed up and got in the car. I drove home, and after bringing the van into the garage, I told Kathleen that I was going back to the beach. This made her angry. "Why didn't you tell me at the beach? I could have sat in the car and read the paper. We're married, you know. We're supposed to communicate. And it's a waste of gas!"

And here I thought (is it depressive thinking?) that by getting her and Kenyon home quickly I could avoid any conflict and return to the beach as well.

I've told patients' friends and families that it's OK to get angry with depressed people. It's what they expect anyway. I advise Kathleen to treat me as she normally would when I'm sick. The last thing a depressed person wants is to be singled out for special handling, which is more painful than blending in and passing for human.

People who have survived severe depressions are tough. We're not made of glassware. The mentally ill are some of the toughest people you'll ever meet. Do you have any idea what it is to come out of a psychosis? Have you ever had to step back into this world from an alternate world that seemed more real than this one and have to adapt all over again?

Obviously I'm worse today, say 5 Kilorats. I don't want to go lower but I have no control over the disease. I write to distract myself. If it distracts you as well, it has served some purpose.

It's terrible in the midst of depression to have the certainty it will come again, that "soul mutilator" of which Jane Kenyon speaks below.

When you step on a piece of concrete with a hollow space beneath and hear the clunk and shiver, I am the echo below.

Here's something really worth reading, a poem by Jane Kenyon, "Having It Out with Melancholy."



  1. Anonymous7:45 PM PST

    I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


  2. Anonymous4:11 AM PST

    hello chaffin

    i can understand how difficult it is to be coping up with depression.I have two brothers and my mother who suffer from schizhophrenia.Its been nearly 8 years since my brothers fell ill.Since then i feel very depressed too.I am not on any medication since i try and cheer myself up but as time hoes on its becoming more and more difficult.

  3. How old are you? Your story makes me sad. Schizophrenia is a terrible disease as it makes people emotionally unavailable, enough to depress a family member. God be with you.

  4. You are right when you say depressed people are boring. But depression can come and go. You have your good days and bad days.

  5. Fantastic goods from you, man. I've understand your stuff previous to and you're just too magnificent.combating depression


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