July, 2007

My friend Edna wrote "... I want to reach out and ask for help, but I don't know what to ask for. The reassurances that I'm loved here are a comfort, but I am simply not capable of sustaining any sort of "normal" mood. Mostly there's just the bleakness..."

That's it in a nutshell. You've perfectly described what it feels like to be depressed. I've also heard it called "anger without the enthusiasm"-- but it's the same thing. That abiding sense that there's no sun on the horizon-- not one that provides warmth, in any case, just plenty of weak light, glare and uncomfortable heat. The world seems to be merely an endless, vague and dull landscape through which you're wearily dragging your ass, day after day. It's punctuated now and then by... oooh!  what just might be an interesting rock...! But no; it's just another lump of dirt. I've been trudging that wasteland far longer than I care to think about, and have yet to find any real shade, or even a small outcropping where I can rest my ass for long without it crumbling beneath the weight of the emotional baggage I carry.

For me, the hardest part is asking for help, too. The notion that I've already burdened everyone I know with my problems is often hard to get past. "Nobody wants to hear it any more; I'm like a broken record. People can only absorb and tolerate so much of someone else's pain... and WHY AREN'T I BETTER BY NOW? Why don't I just CHEER THE HELL UP?"

So you tamp it down, choke it back, and pretend it's not an issue. You slap on a complacent grin and grind your goddam molars into a fine, white powder from clenching your teeth to try and stay focused on just... moving along in some weirdly choreographed little lock-step that gives you some semblance of normalcy.

It occurs to me that most of the people to whom I find myself drawn, and most of the people with whom I have managed to forge any sort of emotional alliances that have lasted more than an hour or so are... all... well, fucked up in some way. That's an obscure, technical term, meaning: "Possessed of unusual personality traits created as a result of stress and/or emotional overload-- and the varying abilities to deal successfully with same, resulting in really weird senses of humor and/or strangely tuned, yet sadly faulty coping mechanisms."  Uh... yeah. That's about right.

What would it be like if the world had nothing but  smiley, happy, well-adjusted, self-assured, stress-free, completely balanced people cruising around in the luxury cars they bought with the money they all made at their absolute dream jobs...? Ghastly. Frightening. Like being trapped in a nonstop Doublemint commercial.

I, for one, would be tempted to just lie down in traffic, because I'd have NOBODY to relate to or to talk to. You're my friend, Edna-- warts and all. I need all the friends I can get-- even the roughly finished ones, the odd lots, the factory seconds-- because I'm a peculiar, abrasive, oddly constructed and deeply flawed human being who doesn't exist in a vacuum and needs other damaged souls with whom I can commune.

Stick around, honey...

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