Monday, July 13, 2009


I'm trying to pull my way out of a patch of depression this morning. The triggers aren't clear, or at least not proportional to what I'm feeling, so I have to suspect hormones, but the result is that even typing these sentences seems a heroic effort. And an effort that part of me resents, the part that didn't see any reason to move from bed this morning. Past experience has taught me that the bio-chemical heaviness, the clenched muscles, the inability to form decisions, all begin to dissipate if I can only put myself through the motions, however mechanically. Past experience also reminds me of how much something inside wants to resist this therapy. Freud's whole theory about thanatos never makes more sense to me than when I'm behind this veil. Thankfully, that doesn't happen often.

While a sense of responsibility I have carried since childhood (as the oldest of twelve, I helped more than you might expect, even from five or six) probably contributes to my jousts with depression, it also is surely something that coaxes or pushes me away from it. This post, for example, limited though it will be, arises from some foolish unwillingness to leave my readers with nothing on a Monday morning. Even as my judging editor self deems the results weak and my arms and hands struggle with lassitude to type and my brain trips over word choices, I know, however, that this is one tiny step back to the world of the living.

I'm going to ignore the temptation to apologize for posting this -- I know how understanding my readers are about humanity's condition. And I'm going to offer you not only my assurance that I will be feeling better soon, but I will also leave you with this photo that made me smile when it came up on my random screen-saver the other day. It's a photo I took last summer in Lisbon of two old fellows enjoying the shade up near the Castle. As they gather strength in the shadow, so will I try to do, and I wish the same for all of you.


  1. I'm not going to comment on this feeling of heaviness because I have no wisdom to impart in that area unfortunately.
    However, your photograph reminds me of being in Punto da Lima in Northern Portugal. An old man approached us in the main square and we started a conversation in French. He offered to take us to the top of a nearby hill in his battered old car to show us the view of the town from above. I have to admit that we hesitated a little but got in and enjoyed the short trip and his company.
    I'm not quite sure what the point of my anecdote is - perhaps just that happy and memorable moments sometimes arise in unlikely contexts. I hope you shake the heaviness off soon.

  2. Wish I had words of helium to lift that heaviness right off you.

    But it sounds as though you have a good sense of how to best take care of yourself, so do what you need to do, and give yourself a break if necessary. We'll be here when you get back. ;-)

  3. I know that pull towards thanatos and I am so sorry you do too. I know that for me if I let myself really feel it then it usually goes away and if it doesn't I write, see Igor or up my dosage.

    I am so sorry that you are struggling. However, I am deeply appreciative of your honesty, openness and sharing so much of yourself with us.

    I wish you strength gathering in your time in the shadows.

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  5. kiss kiss kiss :) It suck's sometimes doesn't it

  6. Wishing you a steady and rapid cloud-drift through the shadows, into soft and peaceful light. OMG- that sounds like I'm wishing you the white light and harps- not! Just a growing sense of ease.

  7. You're brave, Frances! And you ask a lot of yourself. maybe something in you is demanding some down time. Whatever the cause, let me join the other souls out there in letting you know I'm thinking of you and wishing you well--xo from Lisa

  8. I hope your heaviness lifts soon - take very good care of yourself, and know that we are all thinking of you.

  9. Thanks to all of you for understanding and for your comfort. Really, although it's been a tough day or two, I'm feeling better this evening, having managed to get out for a walk this afternoon, and I think that tomorrow I'll be almost all the way back.
    Lesley, thanks for sharing that charming anecdote. Those moments have a curative power, don't they, even at a distance.

  10. So glad that your spirits had lifted by the end of the day - there's nothing worse that waking to that old familiar feeling of heaviness that so often arrives from nowhere. Or seemingly nowhere. Your lovely Parisian post suggests that today was better . . .

  11. I think we all get these bouts of melancholy, I agree that they arrive by stealth and whilst the temptation is to over analyse, I find they invariably leave as mysteriously as they arrive.
    I did like the photograph I can’t think of anything more restful than sitting down watching the world go by.

  12. 60/16: Yes, thanks, I'm feeling almost back to normal today. What no longer surprises me about that heaviness is how clearly and inexorably bio-chemical it is -- for me, I suppose because I'm lucky I only get reasonably low "doses," that's both disheartening -- seems impossible to fight off or deny -- and also reassuring, in a way. At least, based on my experience, I know the pattern and know that if I wait it out, it does eventually leave.
    Alison: Exactly -- I find that much of the analysis I do during these periods is so coloured by the neuro-chemical or hormonal mix as to be rather untrustworthy -- comic, even, at times.

  13. Mater,
    I am reading this as this is my one way to get through the "trough". I call it stare at the wall time and experience it after prolonged doing whether for fun or for work. Hmmm haven't your engines been running a bit fast lately.
    I too search for ways to beat it. The very thing that will banish it such as exercise to finishing a task is the very thing I resist.
    Fortunately, it takes a short time in the grand scheme to right the equilibrium and off we go.
    Best wishes...

  14. Indeed, there is no need to apologize. We embrace you and your blog entirely. Feel better soon. I hope the warm sun shines on you.

  15. Anonymous: Thank goodness for the big picture, although sometimes when we're stuck in the trough it's tough to visualize it! Thanks for the good wishes -- I'm feeling much better now. Funny though, while I recognize at one level that I've been "running my engines" fast lately, on another level I discount what I've been doing because it's been family/personal rather than productive/career-oriented -- because it "doesn't count" that way, I don't make enough allowance for needing some recovery time.
    Gina: Thanks so much for taking the time to pass along these thoughts when you're in the middle of your own stuff - I really appreciate it!


I'd love to hear your response to my post. Agree, disagree, even go off on a tangent, I love to know you're out there, readers. Let's chat, shall we? I apologize, though, for the temporary necessity of the Word Verification -- spam comments have been tiresomely numerous lately, and I'm hoping to break that pattern.

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