Sunday, January 13, 2013

Some Words on Depression

I just had the greatest first week of school ever. All my classes were so interesting. I took notes and was excited to the do the reading; I talked with people in my class and made comments. Today I was sitting in bed and remembered that I needed to refill a prescription, so I grabbed my phone and refilled it right after remembering that I needed to. Yesterday, I thought I should prep my lesson for tomorrow, so I did, and today I printed out all the crap I need to hand out to my adorable new students tomorrow.

All of this is in stark contrast to the way I felt about things last semester. The first week was hard, and the semester only got harder. Everything was terrible; I didn't have the energy to do anything. I stopped going to class halfway through the semester, and if I did make it to class, I missed at least the first half, except for the one class I had with my boyfriend, since he picked me up and drove me to campus so that we would be mostly on time.

I had also broken my foot, so getting to and from campus (and to and from everywhere) was a little tricky. But I didn't realize until this week of school started how terrible things actually were last semester. They were a huge, gigantic bummer, and it sucked.

The main contrast is that I feel like I have energy today--energy to do my homework (some of it, anyway) and to refill my prescriptions. You don't realize how draining it is not to have that energy until you regain it and wonder how you ever survived without it.

This isn't to say that everything about last semester was awful; I made a lot of friends in my new program, which was fun. I started out dreading teaching but came to like it and changed from hating my students to thinking they were cute. I read some interesting books and saw some good movies and did a lot of hanging out with my friends and boyfriend and had some good times.

And it isn't to say that now everything is magically better. My classes are better, I actually know how to teach now, and I'm actually interested in the subject matter I'm studying this time around, but just because today has been a good day doesn't mean that every day from here on out will be. I dread the next time all this perky energy leaves me and I slouch around the house and up to campus feeling empty and useless and the only energy I can gather is to wish I were dead.

But days like today give me the confidence that not every day has to be like those days. That some semester, or days, or hours, or minutes, can be better than others. This is always a good time to refer back to The Return of the King and poor sad Frodo Baggins, who I way over-identify with. Last time I watched that movie, I sobbed and sobbed and sobbed, not just because Frodo was getting more and more depressed and more and more suicidal but because he always had someone who cared about him--whether it was Galadriel outside of Shelob's Lair or Aragorn and company at the end or, and most especially, Sam, who followed him around even when rejected and ultimately says that while he can't carry his friend's burden, he can physically (emotionally, mentally) carry his friend. Maybe it's overwrought and dramatic and I know it's just a fantasy tale, but it is so incredibly emotionally resonant with me because I spend so much time feeling like Frodo and I just need to be reminded that everyone around me has been a Sam to me at different points in my life. No one can be a Sam all the time; that would be emotionally exhausting, and even Sam can't save Frodo in the end. But I think we can all take on the role for someone else when we have the energy and love to do so. If you don't have a Sam, I'm so desperately sorry; I hope that you will find one later in your life, and keep believing that you will. And I hope that silly us on our silly, heartfelt blog can be of some help, Sam- or otherwise.

Anyway, this has been a long and silly ramble, and all of my energy might leave again when I go to my parents' house for dinner tonight, though I'm trying to be optimistic. Regardless, I'm glad I had this week and this weekend to float out of the sludge and grime of depression, even if I just sink right back down again. Good luck to everyone struggling with this same thing; I very much sympathize and empathize with you, including those of you who I know and love very personally and those of you who I've never met. I'm not always on my best behavior, but I hope that sometimes I can help people around me like they've helped. Cheers and love to all of you on this cold and sunny day, and please stay warm and remember that there are people around you who love and care about you, online or off. Loves.


Little Fishy Thing
Jenny Browne

When I learned of you I tattooed
a morning glory
round my belly button

and played Bach's 6th Cello Suite
every day, left
headphone to womb so you'd know

the sound of the world waiting.

I snorkeled the coast of Carmen, hovering
my little fishy thing, among sea-
suck green and leaning
over webbed purple lungs, six ton
brains, such fluttering. We are

breathing below every surface
a glare, salt a skin
floating belly, butt, bloody hole
you call home.

Eyes on the side of a head turn
inward, turn
nicked black seeds half inch below earth winding
into a cord between sky
and it's time.

When I learned I licked
salt from behind your father's knees. Can you see
the ocean floor inside our one body, two
webbed hearts attached to stone,
half life to make, half
second to break?

Of you I swam
where every voice its own echo. Keep keep
turning to feel

anything. Everything

now a window in the tropics propped
open by a spider web turning
from dance in the dark of wish
to tongue in the deep

mouth of when.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Lovely, lovely. Your Frodo Baggins--Samwise Gamgee thoughts sum up a lot of my feelings on depression. I may or may not have wept when I read that paragraph. During junior high and high school, I think this is actually the metaphor (?) I would comfort myself with when dealing with the fact that I had depression and I also had friends who were intensely depressed. I can remember being 14 and staying up all night trying to help my best friend off the metaphorical (often literal) ledge and honestly, as melodramatic or silly as it might sound, what got me through it was what you mentioned. Telling yourself that you sometimes have to take on a Samwise Gamgee-esque role and buoy others up, to find the strength you have within you and lend that to someone else, and sometimes you are Frodo Baggins and you are shouldered with a weight you can't carry on your own, and thus need to let others in to help you out.
    I guess I don't...know where I'm going with this, except to say that I appreciated this post a lot! And I have felt this way too! It gives me as I am now, and me at age 15 scraping at the bottom of the barrel to get by, comfort knowing I am not alone.