Thursday, July 23, 2015

Depression: The Blame Game

A lot of people don’t understand Depression. They say, “Look at your life, what do you have to be depressed about?” Depression doesn’t work like that. Depression is universal, democratic: it hits all stations in life, in good times and in bad, for specific reasons or none at all. It does not even need a reason to exist, it just does, sometimes for long and crippling periods. Not everyone gets depressed, but most of us do and some of us find Depression is a battlefield. On that field are many. You are not as alone as you might feel. It’s bad when the thing that matters most to do in the day is matching tiles in a Mahjong solitaire game on line. It’s bad when you start thinking to yourself, who’s gonna miss me when I’m gone? Writing a blog becomes a chore, let alone something longer or more intense. I laugh, I joke, I hide in plain sight (not very well, it seems). I could blame all sorts of circumstances, and some may contribute to timing. My grandson Chase turns one year old in two weeks and I can’t afford to travel to California to be there. My car is threatening suicide and I can’t afford to replace it. Death, my friend whom I never want to meet and of whom I am literally terrified, came knocking on my door last February, chuckling softly and whispering, barely audible, “Just visiting.” Donald Trump is popular. I have a loving family, a beautiful, intelligent and supportive wife, and I live in some of the most beautiful country in the world, yet I feel isolated and alone. I think I would feel that way in the middle of San Francisco right now. I have four children, all grown and two with families of their own, and still I worry. I haven’t sold a book in months, much less finished a new one, and I have more projects than I have time. Yet I don’t feel much like writing. A lot of people have it much worse than I do – I am overall very fortunate – but that’s irrelevant; it only means I feel guilty about being so blessed and yet depressed. But the Big D is its own self-contained and self-fulfilling Montser… and the closet door is open. Just saying it out loud, plus a good night’s sleep, helps. But the sadness is there. It cannot be ignored.

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