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Sadness, depression, grief and … something worse


Its beautiful in Newcastle right now. Twenty one degrees celsius under that royal blue sky you only see on cloudless winter days.
One of the blue tongues that live in my yard

One of our resident blue-tongued lizards has come out of hibernation to bask on a polystyrene box in our garden. Later I’ll see if she wants a piece of banana before she goes back to bed (of course she does).

The pelicans have stopped huddling against the icy rain of recent weeks and are sailing along Throsby inlet with the grace and dignity unique to the largest of water birds. While I was foraging wild herbs for my two pet rabbits a flock of black cockatoos went over, shrieking defiance and freedom to the earthbound mortals below.

Its one of those days I’m glad a particular spermatozoon won the race to my mother’s ovum.

So I’m going to take this opportunity to write about gloom, misery and despair.

Hey, you knew I was a sicko before you clicked on my blog, right?

Are you sad?
How many of your friends, neighbours and family members are in abject misery?
Do you think you can really understand the sadness of others?
How sad can a human being possibly be?

We all know how it feels being down in the dumps. We might call it depression – the drug companies sure want us to – but really we know it’s not. Depression is more than just being sad.

When you’re depressed your energy drains away. Nothing is enjoyable, nothing worth doing. The future turns bleak and meaningless. You can’t be bothered preparing meals or cleaning yourself. Sometimes you can’t even get out of bed even though you can’t sleep. Or maybe you sleep for most of the day to avoid your waking nightmare. You know that you’re useless, undeserving of help or sympathy. You don’t want to turn to your friends because you might infect them with your misery. They probably don’t really care about you anyway. Why would they?

You’ll try anything to distract yourself from the contents of your head. Alcohol, drugs, daytime TV, trashy novels, computer games, pornography, junk food, self harm. You try to smother your feelings with anger and self-hatred – especially if you’re a man.

You’ll think about suicide and maybe you’ll try, but probably not. It’s all too much trouble and you’ll just mess it up. You deserve your misery anyway.

No, depression isn’t very pleasant. But it’s not the worst thing.

Grief is worse than depression. Grief gives you all the charming little presents of depression and then some.

There is the loss of course, that terrible emptiness in your heart where a loved one has been ripped away. The guilt because you couldn’t save her and it should have been you. The things you should have said but didn’t. The things you shouldn’t have done but did.

The constant reminders.

The song on the radio she loved so much. The anecdote you would have shared, the joke you’ll never tell her. The vacant chair at the dinner table. The cold, empty place in the bed. The trinket in the shop window you would have bought for her if … if …

Sometimes the shock is so much you just freeze and go numb. It can’t be true, she can’t be gone, she’ll walk through the door any minute and everything will be alright again. Then all the pain and memories come rushing back.

Nothing could be worse than grief, could it?

Yes it could. There is something even worse than grief.

I could call it existential despair, but those words don’t even begin to say it. If there was a word for it, surely it would catch in my throat and choke me to death.

The utter blackness. The abyss. The thing that is worse because there is no reason for you to feel it.

That’s when suicide becomes your only friend. Not because you will do it, but because you are lying on the floor, knees to your chest, arms around your legs, rocking side to side thinking “I can always kill myself, I can always kill myself, I can always kill myself”. Because that’s the ONLY thing left to hang on to. It’s all that can get you from one instant of eternal agony to the next.

That’s how I know there is no benevolent, omnipotent creator.

If there was an Almighty out there who loves us he would NEVER allow his children to go through that. No matter how sinful he has judged them to be.

But I don’t get that any more. Even my bouts of depression are just a shadow of what they once were. Little more than augmented sadness.

I’m cured.

But there’s other people who aren’t.

The girl next door with the smile like a sunrise and a heart big enough to embrace everyone she meets. She gets it. She gets it bad.

We’re not very close, but nonetheless I would do almost anything to spare her that pain beyond pain.

Three days nailed to a cross? I’d consent to being roasted to death over hot coals for a year if I knew she would never have to go back to that place ever again.

Hmm. Maybe that’s a bit melodramatic. Sounds painful.
How about a week eating soggy weetbix and sleeping in a bed full of toast crumbs?

But there are millions like her.

I don’t know why I was cured but I do know how.
I just can’t explain it.
And I don’t know if it could work for anyone else.

I’m going to keep trying to find a way to pass what I have learned on to other people who suffer like I once did.
It’s the real reason I write this blog.

Yeah the blog is a brain dump, just like it says on the ‘About’ page.

But its more than that.
It’s a workbench, a lab table, where I’m trying to build the tools I need to find a way to pass the incredible gift my madness gave me on to others who might be helped by it.
I don’t think I can possibly succeed. Only a Prophet, Messiah or Bodhisattva could do something like that and if such things exist I sure ain’t one.

I’m just another fucked up guy, albeit not as fucked up as I was.

But I have to keep trying.
What else can I do?

If you have a god, please pray for me.
Pray for us all.

From → hurts, the dying

  1. finally some thing with less medical terms in it , are you studying biology. and wow I have to write about depression. well I like misery and grief and depression and sad and all the other words we use to call it. I mean thats the ultimate end isn’t it plus those are the real emotions. you dont any one to feel all the weight of them unlike happiness and blah blah .

    I am on all sorts of psychiatrist prescribed pills, some of them i think are called anti depressants and anti psychotics, but they dont affect me any way :p as my mom says, i have made my psychiatrist insane instead of becoming sane my self. any how you write good, words which are real and not some dreamy abstract shit. Love your blog 😀


    • That’s the best compliment I’ve ever got on the blog :).

      I’m not studying anything now – not formally anyway – but I’ve studied microbiology and psychology in the past.

      I’ve got some pretty strong opinions about antidepressants and antipsychotics – especially giving them to young people (anyone under 25 basically), but really the bottom line is what works for you.

      If they’re not doing anything there’s probably not much point taking them, but if you aren’t getting side-effects that’s a bonus at least.

      If you decide to come off them, be careful and try to get good advice and support from friends and family. Withdrawals can be horrendous and that’s why a lot of people think they help more than they do. When you stop taking them you can go crazy for a while, so then you think you needed them all along. Its usually best to come off them one at a time and taper rather than go cold turkey.

      Keep sending psychiatrists insane :).
      At least then they’ll know something about their job.


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