I don’t want to SAIL with this Ship of Fools!
Oh no no no no NO!
Heya folks. Guess what, I am getting chatty again. You knew it couldn’t last! But I might throw some links in here too. Fair warning.
Overall, I have felt fairly good recently. All that venting last week must have done me some good, because I feel less crappy than usual. More upbeat. More willing to look at the world instead of just hiding under the covers and waiting for it all to go away.
Still spending too much time in bed, though, and that bothers me.
I have been really struggling with this feeling of time as a burden lately. I think feeling better energetically just makes the problem of how clogged up inside I am all the worse, which might be why a fellow like me develops the deep but unconscious (mostly) tendency to live very gently and very quietly, practically sleepwalking silently through life for fear of waking the demon inside.
Or, to be more honest, for fear of the pain that comes from trying to access one’s energies through the big thick clog in the pipes that depression represents. It hurts so much to try to shift that thing that you just stop trying and eventually it just plain crushes you under its weight, and you learn to live a flat life, with your face in the dirt all the time.
Live that way long enough and it becomes the New Normal, a phrase that is much on my mind lately. It is a phrase with no inherent connotation. The New Normal might be better than The Old Normal, or it might be worse. Either is possible.
But I realize I have always thought of it negatively before, for some reason. Probably just the inherent pessimism that comes with depression.
But really, for someone like me, it can just as easily be a keystone phrase of hope, because inherent in the idea of a New Normalcy is the possibility of change that leads to a new better stability.
Thus, change becomes a way to a New Normal, just as safe and stable as this one, but happier and more fulfilled. Thus, change can be viewed not, as depression would tell you, as a sacrifice of all safety and stability for a random chance that things might get better, but will probably get much worse.
Instead, change can be seen as an unpleasant but temporary sacrificing of stability and predictability in order to achieve a better level of comfort and security.
Thus, you don’t have to climb the whole mountain all at once. You just have to make it to the next base camp. And you can spend as long as you like at each camp gathering your strength for the next climb.
(See? Metaphors. I have so many of them!)
That rethinking allows you to break the cognitive pattern of viewing everything as an all or nothing break for freedom (which totally programs you for failure) and instead allows for seeing things as being made up of whatever size stages you can handle, with no loss if you have to rest for a bit.
That said, I am not claiming that this represents some magical mental mantra that you can just internalize and be free. I am all too keenly aware that the cognitive breakthrough simply cannot happen until the emotional work has been done.
And that is a lesson a lot of us depressed intellectuals need to learn and embrace. We waste years of our lives trying to find a way to solve our emotional problems via intellectual means simply because we are not comfortable with emotions and prefer to intellectualize everything.
But there is no intellectual shortcut around your emotional being. It can seem like there might be, especially if you are delusional enough to confuse the joy of revelation for true emotional growth.
Sure, a brand new intellectual understanding of something can make you feel a lot better for a while. But that is merely chemical, a shot in the pleasure center like one might get from cocaine or an orgasm.
And don’t get me wrong, that is fantastic. Pleasure is very important to life. But it is not a cute for the disease, it merely masks the symptoms for a while, like any form of self-medication.
This one just fools you into thinking it is more important than it is because revelation stimulates your pre-frontal cortex, which is the part of your brain that decides if something is “real” or not, and which plays a role in assigning importance to experiences.
So sure, a philosophical or otherwise intellectual revelation feels great, and gives you a great feeling of insight. Finally, everything makes sense and you understand so much more now! It’s all so clear!
But do not mistake the relief of intellectual tension for the relief of your much more serious emotional burden. At best, it just clears up some room in your skull and makes things a little less crowded in there for a little while.
And sure, that’s very nice. But it is not curing your disease, it is only alleviating the symptoms for a little while. There is only one cure for depression, in my opinion.
Feeling things. Things you really do not want to feel. Things from your past, things you buried deep a long time ago and never thought you would have to deal with again.
Well, guess what. There is no statute of limitations on emotion. They do not just disappear if you ignore them long enough. And the more you suppress them, the greater the weight of them you are dragging around with you all the time.
And when they get heavy enough to practically immobilize you… that is called depression, and it means it is time to stop fucking around and do all that emotional homework you have let pile up.
Only when you face the fire and feel the feelings you need to feel can you ever be free.
But first, you have to be ready to stop being depressed.
And you are…. right?