Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Update on the Mother of All Depressions

My blog has been moribund, for any still following it.  My depression has been so severe that I have been essentially non-functional.  I can do a few tasks like take out the trash and wash the dishes, but even facing my e-mail seems often an insurmountable burden.

I have a bright intellectual friend, Norman Ball, whose work I recommend, but right now his writing is too exalted for me to parse, for the most part.

My mind is near constantly darkened by the obsession of suicide, the only release my brain seems to comprehend or imagine.  I resist this daily, but it is extremely hard to live when your own brain has become your enemy.  The voices in my head, like howling dogs, constantly sing an odious hymn of self-loathing and self-destruction.  Nature abhors a vacuum thus the locusts have come in to roost.

I don't know how to break this cycle.  Perhaps it most involves acceptance and doing--doing anything, like writing this.  In focusing on a task, however brief or menial, I do get some temporary relief.  But the overwhelming majority of the time has me, as my friend Ralph described, "cowering in my cubicle."

I feel a coward for not being able to face life.  Life doesn't come to me in specific details but as an overwhelming, all-devouring wall of impossibilities.  I quit blogging mainly for fear that I was only going in circles about depression--after all, there is only so much to be said about it, and I thought the narrative might be reinforcing the disease.  Then objectification of my suffering in words may have some therapeutic benefit. 

Don't know when I'll blog again.

All you out there not afflicted with a serious mental illness, give thanks daily.



Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Depression Redux; Not a Poem

It's been so long since I blogged.  Readership has fallen off the cliff, as there is no continuing story, though I do get some hits from random net searches about certain subjects discussed here.

So how am I doing?  Close to 10 Kilorats, or on a scale of -10 to +10, I am hovering around -10.  I'm presently alone as my wife is in NY visiting her ailing mother.  I don't know what to do with myself.  I try AA for positive brainwashing and then despair of any miracle.  Sometimes I do treat myself with drink, which helps numb the pain temporarily.  I am psychotically depressed; my fantasies of suicide are sometimes so intrusive I can think of little else.  I have no sense of self as I write this; it's as if my self has abandoned myself.  Does this make any sense?

Luckily my dog is with me.  I would trade places with him in a heartbeat.  Oh to be an American pet!

What will become of what's left of me?  Saw my shrink today, he added another med to the new one I'm taking (Safris).  I have no hope or faith in meds.

Strangely last Saturday I had a brief respite from my state after rapping with two men after an AA meeting.  For two hours we discussed depression, essentially, and I became so involved in the discussion that it lifted me up and I was able to go home and do some things around the house, even wrote a poem and mastered Dylan's "Tangled Up In Blue."  The next morning, however, the transient return to myself slipped away and now I am worse off for having tasted that again, I fear.

I may be complicit in my own destruction for lack of willpower.  Strange, when younger I had a great deal of it, but now I find myself regressed to an infantilized oral state, like a suckling infant, willing to put anything in my mouth for comfort.  I gluttonized yesterday on quesadillas and frozen meals to the point of pain.  Just wanted to put something in my mouth to fill the emptiness, I suppose.

My daughters call out of concern, one nearly daily.  I chat with Kathleen at night by computer (she is deaf, you know).  I haven't written anything here in ages.  I don't know what to do with or about myself.  In writing it appears I might exist.  When I stop typing it's as if I don't.  In a way I may be beyond suicidal; it's as if the soul has died within my body and I walk around like a zombie.  I have been pithed like a frog and no Craigness remains that I can tell.

Strangely I had a poem accepted for publication by Qarrtsiluni which I must have submitted one day while feeling a mite better. 

And did I mention my cervical stenosis acting up?  No longer is it just my pinkies going numb, all my fingers go numb and wake me if I sleep with my neck in the wrong position.  Sometimes it is difficult to type.  This is indeed scary. 

So forgetful I can't remember the books I read.  Even movies I've watched.  Then it comes back to me somewhere in the re-run that something is familiar and I stop--or go on.

Self-pity?  I suppose I have some.  But not too much.  I don't think I'm the only one with such a devastating depression, nor the last one, nor is my suffering completely unique, although it feels so.  Other people in AA try to assure me that they've been through what I'm going through but I don't believe it, in general, at least not for two years like this.  And remember that the days in those years are interminable, so the whole thing seems an infinite nightmare.

I stay alive for my loved ones.  This much I do.  I don't want to cause them pain.  But I can also see a point beyond that, where I don't care anymore.  Sometimes I fear I've reached it.  Then I remind myself I can't do that.  Then the fantasies return with vengeance.  Then I remind myself.  Then they return.  A terrible cycle.  No exit.

Would I rather be dead?  Oh yes.  But a friend said to me, "You can't be sure it would be any better on the other side."  Now that's a terrible thought.  To be as sick as I am now if my existence continued, that's horrible.  I prefer to believe in some kind of redemption, some kind of heaven where I could be miraculously cured, resurrected from the dung heap of my own dark delusions.

I really have nothing to say.  I ought to be institutionalized but that's not easy anymore except for the criminally insane.  Hospitalization didn't help me last time.  As my shrink opines, the only reason for that is to protect me from myself but I have not attempted suicide despite my 13 soul-wrenching major depressions of six months or more.

Everyone has suggestions, suggestions I lack the will to follow.  I need to go to some kind of regimented health farm where I might work in the fields or laundry or have my body regimented in some way until my mind returns.  Sadly I know of no such thing; there are only these 30-day rehab units at great expense, focusing on addiction more than depression.

How I ramble on.  I sincerely hope no one reads this. 

I feel incapable of anything.  Think I'll go have a cigarette I don't enjoy.  And below, an attempt at a poem.

10 Kilorats,

Craig Erick


This is my last poem before I die.
I set the font for this but it reverts
to one I don’t want.
I prefer Palatino Linotype.
Isn’t that pitiful?

I have a fillet knife.
I know to cut the radial artery
lengthwise for a sure death.
I’m a doctor, after all.
Fuck you.

Once I was a golden boy,
the globe at my feet.
I knew the vibrations of hummingbirds
and the secret enigma of snails.
I knew a lot.

Why five-line stanzas?  Why me?
I go to AA for three days then drink.
Drink makes me better, drink makes me worse.
My daughter pleads with me not to do it.
My wife says she’ll come home early from New York.

I promise my daughter.
I tell my wife to stay and keep her itinerary.
This is confessional poetry at its worst,
no more than journalling.
I have betrayed poetry.  This is not a poem.

You wide-eyed innocents
who have yet to pay Charon for a boat ride--
You are but shades, shades, shades.
The gloom of your conviviality
screams like a rodent in the night.

Poor owl, he’s not to blame.
Nor is the night.  The night is always there
to camouflage our pain.
Did you know aphids are born pregnant?
We are all pregnant with abortions.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Mild improvement?

My mood is mildly improved, it seems, with the addition of Wellbutrin to the soup.  Now my dilemma is what to do with myself.  I have been withdrawing from the world for a year-and-a-half and have lost contact with so many, been unable to write verse and unwilling to play music.  On disability I am not allowed to work at a job, and I am physically limited by my chronic back pain.  For starters I think I shall try to weed the garden a little each day and continue my daily walks.  I feel like an 80-yr-old man inside a 57-yr-old body.  Truly, I ache everywhere, esp. from deconditioning, I think, despite my walking.  Today I am afflicted with severe sciatica and can barely sit to write this.  Oh this mortal coil!  Why must it demand so much of us and why is pain so much part of the bargain.

Kathleen told me about experiments in which the brain re-interprets pain as pleasurable.  Good luck.


Friday, June 01, 2012

Brief note...

I see it is over a month since I posted anything.  I can report no change in my condition.  It is as if I resigned from life rather than being resigned to it.

I quite smoking but put on 30 lbs.  Talk about a devil's bargain!

I rarely go online anymore--it is too much work and too much contact.

Thanks to all who still visit and care.


Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Spammers Blocked?

I changed my password but think spammers still get through.  Don't know how to stop them.

As for my condition, I am paralyzed with fear despite copious medications.  It's a little better at night with some brandy and numbness and television.  I read pulp fiction during the day.  Attend a couple JC classes that I don't understand and am too anxious to actually study for.

I'm in therapy but it is more hand-holding to prevent suicide.

If it weren't for the love of my wife I would no longer be here.  Kathleen is a saint. 

I do not understand how people can get up in the morning, stretch and mutter "carpe diem."  I have no interest in anything and nothing to seize.  I do my utmost to avoid pain and responsibility, but in the end they are inescapable.

I am in hell.  The smallest tasks fill me with trepidation.  Showering.  Brushing my teeth.  It's a miracle I practice personal hygiene at all.

I can't seem to organize anything or make decisions about anything.  It's as if I've lost my soul, at least my conscious deciding ego.  Sometimes I just flip a coin to make a decision, as it doesn't matter to me, and randomness is as good as anything since I can't think clearly.

Terrified--beyond Kilorats into some fear state I cannot adequately describe.

And how was your day?


Thursday, February 09, 2012


I apologize for letting my blog be taken over by penile spammers.

At least a man can hide his shame in his pants, whereas women can't help but display the size of their tits.  And don't think it doesn't matter--studies show women with big ones have more power and get promoted more often, yada yada. 

Hard not to sexualize an object at some level.

I would report on myself and say this: I suffer from abulia.  I lack will, will to live, will to act.  I have no remedy but get lots of advice.  I don't know what to do with myself.  Bored out of my mind and no real work.  Washing the dishes is the greatest demand, and taking out the trash, and walking the dog. 

The less I do, the less I can do.  It is a paralyzing spiral.  Actually getting online today was a big exception.  Typing something even more daring.  I seem to lack the courage to engage in life.  I have taken infantile denial to a new level.  If I close my eyes the world does not exist.  Yet it doesn't work entirely; I know the world exists though I close my eyes in the hope it will not bite me, but I see its slavering fangs through the pink tissue of my eyes, and I know I am being eaten up. 

Enough metaphor. 


8 kilorats.


Unexpected Light

Unexpected Light
Selected Poems and Love Poems 1998-2008 ON SALE NOW!