Saturday, July 10, 2010

Excerpt on Depression; Dark Sonnet XXIX

I have little to say, I know few read my blog anymore, it's not important.  I'm journaling separately as I felt I had little to say about my disease anymore.  I'm struggling at eight "Kilorats" now and can only say it is beyond any suffering I know.  Here's an excerpt, unedited, from today's journaling:

My soul has been eclipsed by a monster too big to describe, a hairy ape of melancholy that squats on my head like a bag of turds and turns all my thoughts to sewage. What do I say to this monster? Why do you make me weep so? Why do you turn all my thoughts to shit? I don’t know. I’ve never known. No matter how many times I go through depression, it never seems to get any better. I have a dim faith that it will, based on the past, because it is cyclical, but my dim faith is much overridden by my current symptoms. I feel I am a symptom, or a collection of symptoms, more than I am a person. Let me list them: negative obsessive thinking that has me living in poverty or on the street; self-castigation for being a nothing and having achieved nothing; weeping spells, especially in the morning when I wake and later in the afternoon around 5 PM, not to mention a late morning attack if I get up early; an inability to know what to do next with myself. Indecision about everything; paralysis of motion; a sadness so deep no surgeon could extirpate it; a fear of everything, of opening my e-mail, of any human contact; a strong desire to leave this pain and leave this world, though my inner moral compass and my loved ones prevent me; a questioning of God, frequent prayers for healing, for help, to no avail; giant horse pills of fish oil I gag on in the morning, I couldn’t swallow them today; the foreboding of the end at all times; a lack of faith in anything, in the sun rising, in my next breath; a feeling of falsity, that I am a fraud, that I never accomplished anything, that without external structure I do not have enough ego strength to function; fear of human contact, fear of being loved. And so forth and so on ad nauseaum. The weeping spells overcome me like seizures; while in Safeway yesterday I nearly had one but forestalled it through concentrating on my breathing. I fantasize about joining a monastery or somewhere where an external discipline might give me structure and hope. When I put this down on paper it seems so extremely trivial, like someone need merely say, “Wake up and smell the roses, stupid.”

Dark Sonnet XXIX

I fear disintegration into glass,
Into a million cubes orbiting free,
Reflecting only scenery as they pass,
Without a central hub, without a me.
The ego is a very slippery boss.
Few know the limits of his grand purview.
I know the limits; he is what I’ve lost;
All whirls in a pestilential stew.
A piece of me there, another here.
Who will collect the fragments in the pot?
Another year, another half a year
Where what I thought I was is what I’m not.
Dear brother, if your self escapes your skull,
Pray you do not disintegrate to null.

8 Kilorats,

Craig Erick Chaffin


  1. Sorry to hear you're suffering so badly. My depression lifted last April and I live in fear of it returning. I can relate to what you have written, about your indecision and obsession with negative thoughts. Hellish.

    You have such a gift of self expression. I envy it. Hope you find relief as time passes. Look after yourself.

  2. Richard, I'm ecstatic your depression lifted in April, and I pray with all my heart it never returns. Sadly, this six-month edition is stuck near the bottom. But we must hold on to hope, howevere diaphonous.

    Thanks for commenting,


  3. Anonymous7:22 AM PDT

    You accomplish this: you haven't let the demon shoo you out of the world, out of life. Resilience is a problem for depressives, but resistance to depression's ideational turds is a skill that digs in. Even if it doesn't work, you can make the gesture of telling self-negating, self-depreciating thoughts to piss off.
    You accomplish this: you're a public voice for those of us who have similar lists of symptoms and complaints and need a proxy voice until we find our own and can relieve the pain just by naming it. And you do it so well!
    I've finally given up on sorting and selling all the inherited and hoarded stuff in my late mother's house. I set out to work full of determination, and that house just drains the life out of me. Breaking up her parents' house, kept as a shrine for 30 years, and as choked and crumbling as her domicile, I let a museum piece go for $300 because I didn't know what I had. Trying to avoid the same mistake on house #2 has shown me that there's a bigger mistake than money at issue. Some places, some situations--you just don't belong in them. Period. Some places, your mind takes you willy-nilly, and you can't just call in an auctioneer and wait for a check. But you can wait out on the porch for your right mind to show up again and give you a lift back to a good place. And when you get there, everyone and everything will be waiting for you.
    Sylvia F.

  4. Thanks for your comment, Sylvia. I should mention one advantage I have: a loving and devoted wife. We are in love after over a decade and without her I don't know what comfort I would find in this world. I wish this for everyone but know I am particularly blessed. In any case we must try to hold on to the light no matter how dark our lying eyes proclaim it is.

  5. Thank you for sharing your story with such poignancy. I wish I could do the same, but lack the gift of words you so strongly posses, not to mention energy.
    My personal experience with depression runs long and deep. My Grandmother and great aunt died in the psychiatric ward at our local hospital. Both in their 30's and diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Their brother hung himself. I grew up with a bipolar Mother who is in my care and getting ready to have ECT for the first time at age 80. I am 42 and have internalized so many of my own demons from growing up with such mental illness and neglect because of it, that It wreaked havoc on my body. I almost died from pulmonary and kidney failure due to lupus, and was in coma for several weeks. For some reason I fought to come back. But now after 5 years on dialysis, a husband who left me because he "no longer wanted a sick wife", kidney transplant and now again taking care of a mother who couldn't take care of me for most of my childhood. There is a bottle of ambien in the cabinet that I fantasize about taking, but do not want to pass that baton of depression onto my nephews and niece the way it was passed onto me.
    Thank you for sharing.

  6. Buddie Blue,

    My heart goes out to you. Thankfully I have had two weeks (two weeks!) of progress out of depression and I'm feeling more myself--more like I have a self again. I know how autoimmune diseases can be brought on by inner demons. I am, among other things, a family practitioner.

    That you have endured this long is a testament to your courage. Lupus flares and subsides, much like bipolar illness. An interesting congruity, though one is externalized.

    I pray you find peace and also forgiveness for your mother. The best comment I've heard on bipolar illness is, "Oh, bad luck, mate." That's as simple as it gets. Bad genes, bad examples, bad luck. Lucky you've turned out as adaptable as you are.

    How cruel for a husband to leave a "sick wife!" Maybe there wasn't enough love in that marriage to sustain the relationship. Maybe you're better off without him, and might have the luxury of wrestling your demons to a fall as a result.

    In this you may need medication, but I also hear a need for therapy--any kind of therapy that deals with grief and loss. I hope you find someone competent to help you work out your grief.



  7. I am so unbelievably in awe with your candid attitude towards the truth! I am in such a state on a regular basis myself, and it is so refreshing to read of someone else who isn't afraid to say what is what. I am new to blogging, but am an old soul when it comes to emotional or dark peotry...I hope to post some soon, and would love it if you took a gander at them. When I read your words, it takes me to a place thats so familiar, and yet we are strangers. Thank you for showing me that there need not be fear in expressing ones inner most emotions, but to embrace the talent of emotional writing and leave it for the world to desipher.

  8. Jade,

    Thanks. The real meat of my dealing with depression is in the backlog of this blog, from April of 2006 to May of 2008, during which I was near continually depressed. I feel like I said all I had to say on the subject then, though the topic may be inexhaustible. I wrote thousands of words on the subject here, enough for others to relate to. If you pop "depression" into the search engine for this blog, you will find more posts than you likely care to read. And in all fairness I should post an update since I have been emerging from my latest six-month depression for three weeks now; yet I feel if I commit myself to a public declaration of restored health and then relapse, that I will have boasted in vain, hence my caution to announce my improvement.

    I blogged from 2006 to 2008 mostly for therapy, but found that my blog attracted many sufferers from around the globe. It is the courage to endure that I preach; as for the illness itself, I only know that I need patience to let the medicines work and to demand they be changed if not working.

    For me this is almost entirely a chemical disease. When not depressed I am happy and active and ambitious. It is the uncertain nature of the disease that inhibits my plans for the future, however--how can I commit myself to a long-term plan when I don't know how the disease will behave? Still, we must gird our loins and set out for the land we wish to inhabit someday--even if our course is necessarily crooked.


    Craig Erick


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