Note: Heal Yourself, Change the World

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I’ve learned a lot in my healing walk this past year and a half, but I realize also that–since writing up the depression device trial a year ago–I’ve shared very little of it. I’m comfortable being dogmatic about the planet and our place on it, apparently, but shy about posting about matters of the heart that are so critical to being good planetary tenants.

I write /against/ failed social, economic, and political forces picking apart our biosphere but rarely write /for/ basic inter- and intra-personal practices required for building and sustaining a healthy society supportive of the needs of all of earth’s families. It’s easier to decry a problem than craft a solution. But there’s another reason for my reticence. It’s rooted in my own history, my personal pain, and this resulting general distrust of people and resistance of intimacy. It’s not a unique story or experience.

But here’s where I step out and start to correct that pattern.  Continue reading

‘Today Show’ Takes On sTMS

today showThis project was supposed to be done by now. Depression Time was intended to chronicle my final assault on my illness, either built up into book form or abandoned completely after a successful recovery. A last dance. A final goddamned go-round.

This was definitely not supposed to be become just another mile marker on my (seemingly now interminable) journey into obsolescence. And yet here I am: still sick, still struggling to get good health care, and thrashing about desperately for a job and career, for this thing called “wellness.”

In fact, I’ve been so sucked into my admittedly marginalized social corner that I had forgotten all about the DT blog. Then Wordpress rang, alerting me to a surge in traffic on the site. Obviously some news outlet somewhere was writing about synchronized transcranial magnetic stimulation, I thought as the treatment I received in a double-blind clinical trial more than a year ago is known. Continue reading

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

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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