Holding back the Dark: Confronting Depression after 30 years | Street Jazz

Holding back the Dark: Confronting Depression after 30 years

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Save for one week which seemed to last forever in the 1980s, I have never felt that death might be the answer to any depression I have ever felt. The truth is, I have long denied to myself that I have had any sort of problem dealing with the Dark, blaming my moods, my indecision, or other manifestations of my depression on particular situations, and reaching for a drink, or an available lover, or whatever else may have helped my passage through my Dark Times.

I have gone to therapy, but honestly? If I hadn’t yet acknowledged my depression, and how it could cripple me at times, what the hell was the point of going? I suspect that my therapist and I ended up talking in circles.

There have been ways I have successfully fought off the Dark over the years:

Writing - whether it be for a newspaper, my novel, my blog, a comedy skit or anything at all which requires some creativity on my part. .
My show - like the actress Barbara Harris once said about acting, it works a “peculiar magic” upon me once I embark on each and every new show, from the planning stages through the editing process, it occupies the mind, and all troubles are forgotten.

Listening to music.

Reading.

Going for a drive with my wife.

The companionship of good friends.

Well, that’s quite a list, the person who doesn’t suffer from depression might say. What the hell have you got to worry about? Well, screw you.

Unaccountably, depression has gotten steadily worse over the past three years or so, and it has manifested itself in ways that are personally humiliating to me.

Though I check Facebook every other day or so, there are whole months when I only check my email once a week, and even then, merely glancing over email that I “mean to get back to” but somehow can’t find the time or interest in doing so.

I often don’t check the answering machine unless it is full, and even then, “forget” to return calls.

Both the play and the book I have been working on, while not reaching dead-ends, have almost become too much like work for me, something I never imagined in a million years would happen.

Long ago, when I would feel the Dark intruding on my personal space, I pushed back as best I could. Though not an alcoholic, I did drink to excess on occasion.

And there were periods of promiscuity, though which, except for a couple of ill-advised liaisons, I feel absolutely no guilt over. If you feel the need to judge, go purse your lips and look down on somebody who has the tolerance for that kind sort of crap.

Looking back, while I may have enjoyed myself (or convinced myself I was having more fun than I said I was), I don’t think those attempts really did more than hold the Dark at bay.

But in the past week I have begun a new form of medication, which I am hoping might even things out for me, so that I can function as I once did.

And I have been thinking this weekend about therapy - of some sort - again. I think I have a lot that I have been holding inside, spiritual Fifth Columnists whose only purpose is to gave aid and comfort to the Dark.

I think it may finally be time to confront these demons, and let them have their ill-deserved rest, at long last.

******

Quote of the Day

I am no mere thinker, no mere creature of dreams and imagination. I stamp and post my letters; I buy new bootlaces and put them in my boots. And when I set out to get my hair cut, it is with the iron face of those men of empire and unconquerable will, those Caesars and Napoleons, whose footsteps shake the earth. - Logan Pearsall Smith

rsdrake@cox.net

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