The big swing

People have always referred to depression as a pendulum or a roller coaster but I never liked those analogies. The reason I don’t like them is because it implies no effort where I’ve found the effort to pull out of depression pretty significant. I look at depression this way: We’re all standing on a sheet of ice over a deep, deep lake. everything that happens during the day (maybe even just thoughts) have two options in that they can either add to or subtract from the amount of weight you’re being subjected to. If you picture that bus that turned left on a red light across three lanes of traffic when I was on my way to work this morning is now sort of orbiting me now. Everything is like that to me. Things that bother me more orbit closer and more quickly, then slower as it goes out and bothers me less. But it also goes up, way above my head. Once the weight of all that gets to be too much, the ice cracks and you fall through (not pretty, I assure you). The thickness of the ice seems to be dictated by how patient you are. A few years ago I made a sincere effort to be more peaceful – sort of , as a person in general. It went really well. The ice under my feet seemed solid and strong. The things orbiting me just tended to drift further and further out eventually flying off. Nothing orbited very close at all. Those times are behind me now, my ice is thin and constantly moaning under the strain of things that bother me more than they should. Rejection, disappointment, frustration, self-doubt, jealousy, fear, uncertainty….so many thing swirling around blurring by very close, right in front of my face. It can be paralyzing because you know if you reach out, it’s like putting your fingers in a fan.

For some people this is where religion helps them out – that must be nice. But for me there are a range of things that will help me out. The first thing, is music. I love music and there really is something healing about it. I suspect the sheer will of music is the only thing keeping me from crashing through the ice some days. Sex is good too – very life affirming, though sometimes that can be harder to find than a homophobic Republican that doesn’t troll for penis. Exercise is excellent, and I go through fits where I’ll exercise, but I never can stick to it. And part of the reason exercise isn’t so necessary is because of working on the house, which is great for stress relief. Unless you have to do it all by yourself and end up sitting on a floor joist crying like a little girl. But that’s more rare than you would think and usually, just working my ass off is very helpful. The problem lately is that its been too hot to work. Also, because I’ve been doing sub-flooring and it’s extremely frustrating to try and do that alone. Just getting the 4′ by 8′ by 1″ boards on to the saw horses is a struggle that involves little more than me throwing the board in the general direction and hoping the saw horses don’t collapse. But probably the most interesting thing is that when I know the ice is going to break; when its cracking beneath my feet, that’s when things suck the most. And at that point I’m most likely to just go have a few too many drinks. It’s sort of like having that smoke when you’re tied to the post with the blindfold on. It’s the worst thing I can do at that point but virtually impossible to avoid.

I guess the thing is, at least to me, is all the waiting. Waiting for the traffic lights to be fixed, for the streets to be fixed, for crime to subside, etc. Basically for recovery to happen as if it were the big bang….that’s what I’m really waiting for…the big bang where all those post storm, ‘come on back’ promises will be fulfilled. Better? Stronger? I haven’t seen that at all. I have seen the opposite though. If you spend enough time waiting for anything that doesn’t seem to be coming it starts to feel an awful lot like rejection. Even if you know it’s not rejection, wait long enough, even with encouraging words, and it will feel like rejection. I’m sure of it. And rejection is a heavy one to have around be it from a person, group, city, state, or nation makes no difference. It moves fast around you and screams at you the whole time. It’s the kind of scream you feel on the back of your neck and makes your eyes feel wet. Rejection is probably the thing I’m least capable of dealing with as a person. And that’s just regular ol’ me, and doesn’t take into account Post K me….lol. My ice is so thin because I have no patience with damn near anything anymore. I’m furious in a Zack de la Rocha way. Things just seem to get in on me. I read a lot into nothing. I imagine connections that aren’t really there. I over react constantly.

I know I’m not the only one. I can see the same things in my neighbors and friends. I see their struggles and wish I could help, even try to help. but in the end, it’s all I can do to hold myself together. I end up doing more harm than good. And of course, then I feel bad about that. This constant fight against depression that I suspect a lot of people are having is starting to get old. It’s exhausting. No matter how much I sleep, when I can sleep, I still feel exhausted. I feel like I should constantly apologize to everyone I run into and until this weekend, I wasn’t sure why I felt that way. A friend of mine came in that’s known me for years and years. She noticed, and even mentioned, that I seem very different. That’s when I realized I should apologize for the fact that when people see me, they’re seeing this swirling mass of shit trying to keep it’s footing on a piece of ice that’s clearly going to give any minute. They can’t even see me. Maybe I’m not even in there anymore.

note: I started not to post this because it turned out too melodramatic and self pitying, which isn’t how I meant it at all. But decided to post it because that’s what happens when you try and talk about this kind of stuff and maybe that’s why it isn’t talked about much. Maybe others will be able to relate to what I’ve said here or maybe I’ve completely lost my mind – the first thing would be good and the second thing would be good to know.

25 Comments so far

  1. Anonymous (unregistered) on September 7th, 2007 @ 11:10 am

    Thank you for posting this. It may be melodramatic and self-pitying, but it’s just what I’m thinking and feeling. Even down to throwing the 4×8 plywood (1″? That’s some seriously strong floor!) onto the horse and hoping for the best. My particular beef is doing wiring (10/2 is of the devil) alone with one ladder.

    I’ll also have to remember that. I too have the smallest things getting me “Zach-de-la-Rocha” pissed. I’ve given up reading the comments on national Katrina news stories. The strain of keeping it together whilst being “homeless” and never knowing where we’ll live next month is extraordinarily draining. And don’t worry about not getting sex. I’m married (newlywed, even) and we can barely stand to touch each other we’re so fucked in the head and exhausted. I was on antidepressants pre-K, and she’s on them now. I seriously doubt I’d still be alive if I wasn’t on them.

    For whatever reason we’re still here, and it’d be a real pisser to give up now. I can’t say this hasn’t changed me because I know it has. I just don’t know if it’s for the best, the worst, or somewhere in between.


  2. EK (unregistered) on September 7th, 2007 @ 12:01 pm

    Thanks for posting this. Seriously. It’s beautifully written and I think a lot of people know how this feels, this particular situation so many of us here are in, the way things affect us in Post-K New Orleans. I myself have never seen it written about so eloquently. Well done. And you ain’t alone.


  3. TBK (unregistered) on September 7th, 2007 @ 12:38 pm

    Baby… you’re preaching to the choir so to speak.
    No words of wisdom, not a single one. Just know that you are not alone on that thin thin ice.
    I’ve been tossed plenty of ropes, grabbed a few, ignored a few, grabbed the last one and I’m holding tight. ( I hope).

    I’d offer to buy you a beer, but I won’t. lol.

    Love ya babe

    TBK


  4. Terry W. (unregistered) on September 7th, 2007 @ 12:46 pm

    I have been there as well and things didn’t turn around for me until I reached that very dark place in my soul. I walked over to the mirror and took a very long & overdue look.
    Instead of waiting for your city/government, music & woman to give you the happiness you seek..start today looking within yourself.
    Sounds easy? No sir, it isn’t. But I promise you waiting around for others to make you happy may never happen. Take the first step & stop waiting & blaming – I know all about this subject.


  5. Jack Ware (unregistered) on September 7th, 2007 @ 1:14 pm

    Terry, I don’t think I suggested at all that I’m waiting for others to make me happy. I did list some coping mechanisms that tend to help me get by. I also don’t believe I blamed anyone. I think you misunderstood what I was saying.

    Besides, I don’t know what kind of mirrors you have there in Chicago, but we don’t seem to have any magic mirrors here in New Orleans. lol…I’m just playin’.

    You’re right about one thing though…I think the phrase you were looking for is “Life’s tough: buy a helmet”. Believe me, I tell myself that all the time and sometimes it actually helps.

    Thinking about it though, and more to the point, I don’t know that anyone is really looking for a fix. I think some of us have resigned ourselves to the fact that the best we can do is try and get by just a little longer. It isn’t about winning, it’s about being able to play one more day. Maybe the fact that I think that suggests something even more disturbing. I dunno.

    Thanks for the suggestions though.


  6. raspootin (unregistered) on September 7th, 2007 @ 5:22 pm

    My Dad’s favorite phrase for anything unpleasant is:

    “That would be like looking up a dead horse’s ass.”

    Life can be that way sometimes, but in the end I do think things change or we make things change and move forward out of the situation or along with the flow of said change. Not saying the change is always for the best, but at least it is not stagnant.

    I think I must be trying to be philosophical here, Pardon Moi :)


  7. kapaali (unregistered) on September 8th, 2007 @ 1:49 am

    I can relate all too well. Today I actually muttered the words “I hate this city” to myself, and I was mortified to hear those words coming out of my mouth. Before Katrina, I would sit on my stoop in the mornings and smile because I lived in New Orleans and that was such a great and wonderful thing for me. Now I cry way too much, at the drop of a hat, because this city is becoming too much for me to bear.


  8. E.J. (unregistered) on September 8th, 2007 @ 6:24 pm

    Thanks


  9. liprap (unregistered) on September 8th, 2007 @ 8:00 pm

    I too thank you. There is a great invisible weight on everyone here, whether they acknowledge it or not. You have put it into words. I wish more people here could, as it might help.


  10. Robert Sutton (unregistered) on September 9th, 2007 @ 11:57 am

    ….so many thing swirling around blurring by very close, right in front of my face.

    I thought pointing out a grammar error might help. But perhaps that’s how you intended it, grouping all the little terds into one great unified Shit.


  11. jack Ware (unregistered) on September 9th, 2007 @ 4:22 pm

    Thanks Robert, I’ll fix it when I give a shit.

    For those who may not know, Robert’s my spiritual guide for all things unnecessary and tedious.

    HA! :D


  12. Robert Sutton (unregistered) on September 9th, 2007 @ 10:03 pm

    “Spiritual Guide”

    I knew it would come to this. I didn’t even have to order my Rev. Certificate


  13. mi (unregistered) on September 10th, 2007 @ 12:58 pm

    Hey I know where you are (in your head) I like the way you express your self being unemployed and past 50 years old ., has to be the most terriable event besides being a single mother many moons ago at least it was in the hippy days when people looked after others and was’nt what you wore or the auto you drove.( not to drone on) back to
    I also have dyslexia, postraumatic syndrone,on top o drepression. I like the way you put it as on ice with weight on top and seeing A visual of that weight being lifted by thought. I have tried all the positive reforcement books and they are hard to apply. lets hope the economy breaks and thing can shift so people and Governments care about our wealfare here in the USA. unemployed in the Heart of Texas. George Bush country


  14. mi (unregistered) on September 10th, 2007 @ 12:58 pm

    Hey I know where you are (in your head) I like the way you express your self being unemployed and past 50 years old ., has to be the most terriable event besides being a single mother many moons ago at least it was in the hippy days when people looked after others and was’nt what you wore or the auto you drove.( not to drone on) back to
    I also have dyslexia, postraumatic syndrone,on top o drepression. I like the way you put it as on ice with weight on top and seeing A visual of that weight being lifted by thought. I have tried all the positive reforcement books and they are hard to apply. lets hope the economy breaks and thing can shift so people and Governments care about our wealfare here in the USA. unemployed in the Heart of Texas. George Bush country


  15. mi (unregistered) on September 10th, 2007 @ 12:58 pm

    Hey I know where you are (in your head) I like the way you express your self being unemployed and past 50 years old ., has to be the most terriable event besides being a single mother many moons ago at least it was in the hippy days when people looked after others and was’nt what you wore or the auto you drove.( not to drone on) back to
    I also have dyslexia, postraumatic syndrone,on top o drepression. I like the way you put it as on ice with weight on top and seeing A visual of that weight being lifted by thought. I have tried all the positive reforcement books and they are hard to apply. lets hope the economy breaks and thing can shift so people and Governments care about our wealfare here in the USA. unemployed in the Heart of Texas. George Bush country


  16. mi (unregistered) on September 10th, 2007 @ 12:58 pm

    Hey I know where you are (in your head) I like the way you express your self being unemployed and past 50 years old ., has to be the most terriable event besides being a single mother many moons ago at least it was in the hippy days when people looked after others and was’nt what you wore or the auto you drove.( not to drone on) back to
    I also have dyslexia, postraumatic syndrone,on top o drepression. I like the way you put it as on ice with weight on top and seeing A visual of that weight being lifted by thought. I have tried all the positive reforcement books and they are hard to apply. lets hope the economy breaks and thing can shift so people and Governments care about our wealfare here in the USA. unemployed in the Heart of Texas. George Bush country


  17. mi (unregistered) on September 10th, 2007 @ 1:10 pm

    hey we all are in this depression thing with out hope. I have been unemployed for 2 years and with our government not responding to the USA and the people of this country. And I was in dallas when Kitrina Hit but it is a ripple down effect!They ( Government) are more involved with posessions to make than to make economy strong, ( buy!Buy! things)It is like George bush giving everone a tax break but then at the end of the year you claim it, and by the way alot of people like my self did not get the credit. Pretty soon we will be making shoes for 3 world countrys. I could ramble on about depression but it is a large whole pills and booze or sex won’t heal. But I was most impressed with you point of view how you handle it. Thanks, Mi


  18. termite (unregistered) on September 10th, 2007 @ 1:51 pm

    i was going to write somthing meaningful for a change; when i looked down at the bottom right of the screen and noticed something i hadn’t before on this metro page..

    “SO LONG AND THANKS FOR ALL THE FISH”.

    lmao.. i have no idea what it means or who put it there..(was that you craig??) but i spit my diet coke all over the screen and i’m still giggling at the absurdity of it all.

    gez, i’m easy.
    i’m feeling better already.


  19. Jack Ware (unregistered) on September 10th, 2007 @ 2:38 pm

    That’s on all the Metroblog Sites, Termite. It’s part of the design. I’ve never asked why its there. It lives in the generated html code and is being called from here http://assets.metblogs.com/img/bgbottom.gif

    Wikipedia offers some insight here but of course our geekier readers would have instantly recognized it. From the link:

    “The book begins with Arthur Dent, hitch-hiking randomly through the galaxy, arriving at (as the book’s blurb describes it) “the last place in the Universe in which he would expect to find anything at all, but which 3,976,000,000 people will find oddly familiar” – namely Earth, which was demolished at the beginning of the first book in the series.”

    Pretty cool, hu.


  20. termite (unregistered) on September 10th, 2007 @ 3:16 pm

    uh hu.

    :p


  21. Jack Ware (unregistered) on September 10th, 2007 @ 3:28 pm

    Guess I kinda took some of the fun out of it hu. Sorry.


  22. Ella Kliger (unregistered) on September 12th, 2007 @ 10:05 am

    Thank you for the rawness of the post. These are the kinds of things that could help open up this disaster to the people who don’t live here and don’t get it.
    I have been volunteering on the Mississippi Gulf Coast for almost a year. People back home in Boston don’t understand why I’m still here, why everything isn’t back to normal yet. Come to think of it, some people in northern Mississippi and Baton Rouge don’t get it.
    Hopefully, your blog can help to personalize this disaster in a way that the one day of coverage on 8/29 didn’t. THank you for sharing. Touched my heart.

    Best,
    Ella
    http://www.reelrelief.com


  23. Jules (unregistered) on September 12th, 2007 @ 7:49 pm

    I feel yer pain man, I really do. I sometimes wonder whether New Orleans has such a strong hold on me because of the way the city plays into the pathologies I suffer from. It’s kind of a chicken-and-egg question.


  24. barbawit (unregistered) on September 13th, 2007 @ 8:17 am

    Most of us here have been going through it, you have expressed it quote well. Sometimes to survive we have to put blinders on to make it through the day.


  25. barbawit (unregistered) on September 13th, 2007 @ 8:17 am

    Most of us here have been going through it, you have expressed it quote well. Sometimes to survive we have to put blinders on to make it through the day.



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