Friday, May 07, 2010

Following the Light

It's been over two weeks since I checked in.  I have, unfortunately, been underwater in the icy caves of depression.  Depression is cold; waves of emotion are eventually wrung out into catatonic numbness, congealing into ice.  The bell jar.  Trying to touch the world through asbestos gloves.

It's an old groove, this soul-killing suspension of belief.  Most of us have endured a time of extreme negative emotion, it is appointed to the race.  But think of the worst you've ever felt, then extend it for two years.  Constantly, or nearly so.   This drove me to unsuccessful ECT in 2008. 

In clinical depression the feedback loop of extreme negative feeling goes on automatic, a skipping record.  The question of counteracting this is how to interrupt the repetition, how to reconnect the needle to the groove of life ongoing with interest attached.

I am undergoing a washout.  I am going off my psychiatric medications under supervision in the hope that either my brain will right itself or, by having a respite, recalibrate itself and become responsive to medications that formerly worked.  The body always has the capacity to develop tolerance to medications.  This is not confined to narcotics or sedatives, you can see it with blood pressure medications, too.  And of all organs, which is most adaptive?  The answer is obvious, why psychopharmacology remains a primitive art.

I'd like to re-post the one sonnet in my "Dark Sonnets" series that has an element of hope in it:


My mind is dark. The darkness will not cease,
As if an endless night ate every sun.
The echoes in my skull form a reprise
Of guilt and shame for everything I’ve done
Or left undone, that catechism phrase.
There is no publicist prepared to spin
Kinder assessments of benighted days.
Sin means falling short and I am sin.
Yet somewhere in the vacuum of my thought
I sense some inextinguishable light
So very small and certain, like a dot
That moves around and can’t be fixed outright.
I like to think this angel is my being
And not the Sturm und Drang that you are seeing.

In reviewing my previous recovery from this condition (recorded on these pages in April and May of 2008), I noticed one behavioral advantage that obtained: pretending to be Craig.  I deem this important.  Not just passing for me but pretending to be me.  Act like yourself and you may become yourself, as in the fable of the toy soldier who became human by wishing.   

I want to follow the light.  I believe in the goodness of God expressed through man.  Many have communicated their love and concern to me, and I am thankful for all I can receive, even if receiving is presently difficult. 

I believe there is a light so great that the shadow of our suffering cannot ultimately stand.

5 Kilorats,
Craig Erick


  1. Craig,
    Keep reaching for that light at the end of the tunnel! Wish there was some way we could help. We plan to stop by for a visit, on our way home from Mexico, if you are up to it. We should be there sometime during the last week in May.
    Much love,
    Mark & Vicki

  2. I've said this before about you, how I'm always amazed at how well you can write even when you're feeling as lousy as you do. When I'm depressed I don't want to do anything, least of all write something.

    Hope the washout proves productive for you. Be good to yourself.

  3. Richard, worse was when I had to practice medicine in such a condition, Visine always ready in my pocket to hide the evidence of the next crying jag.

  4. Mark, we'd love to see you, my friends always reinforce my sanity, if all my good friends lived in walking distance I might never be truly sick again. The key is pretending to be me, and those who know me put me in a position where I can pretend, where I beging to remember what it feels like to be me. So we look forward to your visit, with or without your boat--I'm not clear about the end game on your voyage.


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