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

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Dark Sonnet XXVII


My secrets cannot wail in the dark
Forever--something ghostly must arise
And share the insight of the human spark
Meant to invalidate our weak disguise.
Being human isn't for a coward.
It takes guts to brave another day.
Forward, time is always moving forward
Like some train impervious to delay.
The tracks that narrow behind we would forget
And yet they ran directly through our heart
When we were passing there; now each regret
Can slow our passage through the present part.
The future waits, a track that can't be known
Although we steer the engine as our own.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Dark Sonnet XXVI

These sonnets are no great shakes but they are honest.  I write them for my sanity.  With revision some turn out to be keepers.  But if confession is good for the soul, these are good for me.  One note on the poem: the "lizard brain" is my term for the primitive brain, the prosencephalon and mesencephalon, the amygdala and the pyramidal system, those parts of the brain that are responsible for the fight or flight syndrome as well as persistent unbearable moods over which the higher brain, the cerebral cortex, appears to exhibit little control.


The demon dog that nips my innocent heels
Has jaws more terrible than any lion.
He savages the lizard brain that feels
Helpless to ascend a distant Zion.
O holy city!  Descended from the stars
With giant gems as doors for habitation.
Imperishable city!  Boulevards
Whose leaves are for the healing of the nations.
But here I sit, encased in flesh and bone,
A man bereft of faith, in love with death,
So desperately, yes desperately alone
I'd trade my soul to breathe a dying breath.
Depression is a killer; spare my heart
For New Jerusalem, for a new start.

6 Kilorats,


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