Poem: Misremembering ‘Rainbow Beard’

barney y friends, take one

“The problem with researching the origins of stuff is all that space. Between ‘what was’ and the wishing of now: a sulking tunnel clear back to the trees (without a light switch in sight) and unexpected damp. It’s all those sightless years drenched in abandoned and almost-remembered moments. They pile against us like coral arms blooming in the air, bolstering our few, but dearly cherished and surely misremembered, certitudes. They pin us like butterflies on the spears of our gratitude.”

– Barney & Friends, “The Treasure of Rainbow Beard,” original air date April 14, 1992

Rumination Games: Unmasking Depression’s Engine

mr pipo

Of the millions upon millions of moments that make up a life, there are inevitably high and low spots. Sadly, since the brain has evolved to make sure the most damaging moments stick fastest (probably in the hopes of giving us an edge in survival), it is the painful moments we remember best.

What our foraging ancestors couldn’t have known was how poorly this little trick would serve us beyond the fight/flight arena as socially driven competition became the stuff of the new natural selection. In fact, depression often begins with the mind’s rummaging about in memories of such disappointments and then obsessing over the resulting tired, worn-out ideas of the self. Continue reading

Across The Universe: A Dialogue About Entropy, Obsolescence, & All That

early universe

An email arrives from across the world describing a place I’ve been.

It says:

I don’t have anywhere I have to be. The skies are curling cold and light diminishing. Boxes of empty carbs vanish (again?) while the pulse of the situational comedy races. (Too fast, each laugh. Too fast, one to the next.) A window unit blasts lukewarm air as the cold seeps in through the walls. Into the couch with its chilled cushions, slumping against implacable cats, I am immobile. Something to do, my body requests. A reason, the mind moans. And I can’t find either today. I know the shoulds. Would that I would. Continue reading

Feeling Depression And Doing Love Anyway

Screen shot 2014-01-20 at 10.34.36 AM

Converse for a cause? Love in the streets, courtesy of Sonny Annesley via Wikicommons.

Beyond the contorted histrionics frequently heralding mutilations and suicide attempts (or at least painfully colorful yogas of deep and violent death longing, limbs askewing)…

Below and beyond the despondency captured in long, dead faces marking off time in hours and weeks and months like a sentence served on the road to liberation by neglect (whereas happy lives are measured in moments, we’re told)…

Past all those shocking images that make such good illustrations as to what a major mental disorder is like (I’ve scratched the bottom of that barrel), there is the fundamental reality of ground-floor depression, the low-grade fever of mental illness, the true life-stealer. Continue reading

Responding To Voices That Won’t Be Silenced

crying child

When I published my story about receiving magnetic therapy for my depression in the Austin Chronicle (and, in slightly modified form, in the Fort Worth Weekly), I held back. Mainly for the sake of keeping matters within those assigned 4,000 words.

Unnecessary paragraphs attempting to tell my story from the beginning were clipped before I filed the story. Intimate personal details weren’t germane to a story about an evolving new form of depression treatment. The treatment was the subject, not me.

Omitted was:

“My first panic attack struck when I was 15. It hit with the suddenness and weight of an ocean dropping on top of me. … I wandered the house until I found my mom at the back door. Grunts and gestures inspired her to place me on her lap like an infant and rock and sing.” Continue reading