Tuesday, January 23, 2007

What Mandy Moore and I Have in Common

Don't laugh. She told Jane magazine about her struggles with depression, saying "I'm a very positive person, and I've always been glass-half full. So it was like someone flipped a switch in me. I wanted to figure out why." Sounds like me. Since age 12, I was like a manic-depressive stuck on manic, and I wondered when the ol' switch would hit. Happened somewhere between 9/11 and Bush's second term, and it seemed like a permanent shift of tectonic plates.

I'm doing OK, trying to find little things to be joyful about each day, but the way in which depressive states of mind can overwhelm you really limits the ability to toggle that switch. Carrie Newcomer described this state of mind very well in her song "Below the Waves" from the CD Regulars and Refugees, about a woman whose depressive states feel like treading water without breaking the surface:

An unwelcome guest in your home,
That comes to stay and never wants to go.
Not so much a shadow but a visitation,
A haunting foreign movie with no translation.

There's buzzing white noise in my head,
Then sometimes so silent I'm almost dead.
One true thing I hold to dear and fast
is the voice that whispers "Darlin' this too shall pass."
Even when I'm dying for air.

This is a picture not complaint
And making full sentences has never been my strength.
Some call this thing the soul of sadness
Self-indulgence or a brilliant madness.
All I know is I'm dying for air.

Good luck, Mandy. I'll just use my mental state to watch Bush's State of the Union and try to turn it into a constructive option.


Lee said...

Loring - I can relate to the depression - it happened to me the same way as I watched the nation be gripped by fear and supplication to strong-man politics that eerily echoed Germany's mid-30's zeitgeist. The weird thing was trying to tell everyone how the neocons were using a fictitious enemy and phony patriotism to justify the suppression of civil discourse and civil rights and the rise of corporate power only to be met with blank stares. It felt like one of those horrible dreams you had when you were a kid when there was a monster at the door and nothing you could do would stop it.

After swimming around in that cesspool for 3 or 4 years, I finally decided that even if all the dire crap I saw was true, being that depressed was a reasonable reaction but not a helpful one and have been working on crawling out ever since.

I've decided that the fascists cannot govern my happiness and that I'm a much better agent of change when I'm doing things out of joy and interest. Balancing my work and political activities by making time to enjoy friends, family and a few old hobbies has helped greatly, along with a little counseling.

I'm hoping you find your own healing process that unearths some joy to latch onto ad helps you regain your wonderful manic self.

Keep struggling, keep laughing,


John G said...

I've battled depression too but I've been doing very nicely lately as I've been more involved (mainly online) with other diabetics, there really can be a lovely kinship in some kinds of hardships.

If you take step back and look at the music you listen to it's all depressing but what are you going to do about that? Anything decent with words is going to be depressing and you can't listen to noise/experimental all the time.