I read somewhere recently that being depressed is like your contact lenses constantly being dry and a bit dirty. I can’t remember where I read this, and a cursory Google search just leads me to weird shit like ‘suicide after LASIK’ and ‘dry eyes can cause anxiety and depression’. So, sorry whoever made that very apt analogy. Your cleverness goes uncredited.
“Willa Cather tells us, ‘There is only one big thing – desire. And before it, when it is big, all is little.’ We can honour desire as a life force, but still see how it causes suffering when it takes over our life. Our natural hunger for food can become an ungovernable craving for food – ice cream, sweets, potato chips – comfort food or food to numb our feelings. Our longing for sex and affection can become an anguished dependency on another human being to define and please us. Our need for shelter and clothing can turn into insatiable greed, compelling us to possess three houses and closets full of unworn shoes. Our fundamental longing to belong and feel loved becomes an insistent craving for substitutes.
If we have been acutely frustrated or deprived, our fixated desire becomes desperate and unquenchable. We are possessed by craving, and our entire life is hijacked by the force of this energy. We feel like a wanting self in all situations, with all people, throughout the day. If we are taken over by craving, no matter who or what is before us, all we can see is how it might satisfy our needs. This kind of thirst contracts our body and mind into a profound trance.”
– Tara Brach, Radical Acceptance, p 139
Kind of a long quote from the wonderful Tara Brach, but it resonated with me, and after all friends, this is my blog, I get to decide how long the quotes are. So much power.
I have these intense bouts of “desperate and unquenchable desire.” I have a big craving for life. I take on a million extra responsibilities, make a multitude of plans, and feel that I can actually fit 30 hours of activity into a 24 hour day. I commit to gyms and committees and conferences and parties. Sometimes I construct a ‘back pocket plan’ to ‘try to be Prime Minister sometime’. I think I can bend life to be exactly how I think it should be.
I start a blog, and decide I have to create new posts every day, as well as study for my exams, as well as teach, as well as having a social life and eating healthy food and using my yoga pass and oh yeah I’m supposed to be meditating and I need to maintain a positive attitude and there are also meetings I’m supposed to be going to and I have no groceries so I’m eating Christmas chocolates for dinner and my apartment floor is completely concealed by old papers and diaries like a legit crazy person and I have all these saved links I haven’t read yet and programs I need to watch and I decide I can make it all be through sheer force of will, but then I end up examining my eye twitching in the mirror at 2am and spiraling: am I looking old, will I fail my exams, how did my life get to be like this, what is wrong with me that nothing ever works out, am I a moron for writing all this personal stuff on the Internet, why do I make bad decisions and how do I know what good decisions are and how can I just push through this part, all of these things, without losing it.
Then in the next moment I am losing it and I’m letting people down and everything’s toxic and I crash.
Then I can’t do any of it. I look around at people doing normal people things like getting out of bed and getting dressed and I don’t understand. I can’t comprehend how I functioned as a person a week ago, getting on the bus, running errands, working.
Now, the weary waiting for it to get better, catching tiny glimpses here and there. My most recent glimpse came in the form of laughing really hard at that amazing 2012 Herman Cain ad (with thanks to D for bringing it back into my life).
So, if you can’t get out of bed this morning, I get it.
If you feel pathetic and useless because you can’t do your job, I get it.
If you’re frustrated and full of guilt and shame and then frustrated by the fact that you’re frustrated and full of guilt and shame, I get it.
While I’m not so great at channeling the care my own way, I am sending a big old virtual hug (or virtual fist bump for those non-huggers out there) and a ton of love to anyone else dealing with this garbagey garbage right now. I also offer this (mild crankiness being another glimpse of life on the other side): It had better fucking get better.