“I keep remembering—I keep remembering. My heart has no pity on me.” ~ Henri Barbusse, from The Inferno (L’Enfer), trans. Edward J. O’Brien
Sunday morning. Partly cloudy and mild, 66 degrees.
I am forcing myself to sit here and make an honest attempt at a post. I make no promises. It’s not that I don’t have anything to say, more that I am in the midst of one of those times in which linear thought is hard. It is much easier to focus on the fact that the furniture should be polished, or perhaps that I should clean the light fixtures—inanity over creativity.
But I will eschew the temptation to wander into mindlessness.
Perhaps it is better if I approach this as a random thoughts post and see where takes me. So . . .
- Corey’s ship is due in port this evening. They had to reroute to go around a storm. He is supposed to be in port for five days.
- He is coming home to sad news: His grandfather died last night.
- I never really had a grandfather. My mother’s father was in a nursing home, and I only met my dad’s father that one time when we were in the Philippines. The only thing I remember about him was that he was a short man who did not smile.
- During times like these, I miss my father, miss how much he loved his grandchildren. He would have adored Olivia.
- I’m not sure if I’m going to be able to finish this as I am filled with longing and grief.
“We are dancing in the hollow of nothingness. We are one flesh, but separated like stars.” ~ Henry Miller, from Tropic of Capricorn
- I’ve never read Tropic of Capricorn. I don’t know why. I knew someone once who had met Henry Miller at a party. I was so naive at the time that I thought he was talking about Arthur Miller.
- When I think about how much I thought I knew then that I didn’t actually know, I cringe a little inside.
- It’s too bad that we cannot go through our whole lives with the surety of knowing everything that pervades our youth. The years strip us of this blissful ignorance and replace it with the weight of knowledge.
- I was so self-assured in my 20′s, so completely certain that I knew more than the next person. I feared nothing and no one. What happened to that person?
- I remember after I had been in my new job at the medical school for a bit and had made friends, I asked one of them why she had been so cold to me in the beginning. She replied that I scared the crap out of her. I was completely taken aback.
- It took the death of Caitlin to humble me, to make me realize that everything that I had thought I knew and believed simply wasn’t true.
“… this is the wreath of love, this bed of thorns
is where I dream of you stealing my rest,
haunting these sunken ribs cargoed with grief.
I sought the peak of prudence, but I found
the hemlock-brimming valley of your heart,
and my own thirst for bitter truth and art.” ~ Federico García Lorca, from “Wounds of Love (Stigmata of Love)”
- I stepped outside a few mornings ago and realized that the air was beginning to smell like fall, the aroma that resembles mountain water and dead leaves, a commingling of smells like no other.
- I have an ongoing battle with autumn: It has always, always been my favorite season, and it has always, always been the time of year in which I find myself helplessly, hopelessly depressed.
- By last night I knew that I was already in the midst of a major depressive episode; as I lay immersed in the hottest water possible in my new tub, I had a sudden sense of being completely overwhelmed.
- When this happens, anything and everything can set me off: a song, a smell, a sound.
- I applaud those of you who never feel this way, and I am completely astonished that not everyone feels this way.
- My skin feels foreign, too small for my body, too taut for my emotions.
- And I just want to be far away, preferably in the mountains, where there is enough air, where the walls do not contain me.
“Skin, though it takes pains to remember caresses, is marked by the road that pain takes.” ~ Rosmarie Waldrop, from Driven to Abstraction
- My antidepressant does help, some, but nothing can help completely. I think that many people think that antidepressants are cure-alls; they are not.
- I resisted going on medication because I thought that I would not be able to feel, because I liked my extreme highs and lows. Let me back up a bit—the first antidepressant I tried (and I tried many) completely numbed me. Who wants to feel nothing? Certainly not I.
- I view my medication as a large band-aid—it protects me from harm, but there is still a wound under it that takes time to heal.
- It’s strange really, how I have come to know the precise second an episode has arrived, as if it has rung a bell or announced itself somewhere in the recesses of my brain. I suppose after all of these years it makes sense that I would be so attuned.
- But back to my initial resistance: having felt the extremes for all of my adolescence, I battled attempts to fix me in my 20′s. I suppose that is a natural response, not to want to be dependent upon something, to want to be able to fix things without the benefit of drugs. It’s a battle that I still fight, actually, looking at the pills in my hand for my various ailments, wondering what would happen if I just stopped.
- But I don’t. Age has allowed me, at least, the wisdom to recognize that I will probably take pills until the day I die.
“A brief parenthesis in chaos.” ~ Thomas Lovell Beddoes, from “Insignificance of the World”
- I remember sitting in my first psychology course in high school, the very moment I was able to put a name to what was happening to me, when the teacher began to describe manic depression (as it was called then), the extreme highs and lows, the split second changes between the two.
- I told no one.
- I really don’t know why I’m rehashing this; it’s not as if I haven’t mulled over this again and again and again.
- But then, I don’t really know why I do a lot of things, at least, not when I feel like this.
- Nothing seems to make sense, and everything is hard.
- Everything is hard.
- Everything is hard.
- If only chocolate really were a cure.
- Thanks for tuning in.
More later. Peace.
Music by Noah Gundersen & The Forest Rangers, “He got away”
Although things vanish, are what mark our vanishing,
we still hold on to them–ballast against the updraft
of oblivion–as I hold on to this umbrella in a world of rain,
of heavy wet greens and grays dissolving into a new
atmosphere, a sort of underwater dulled electric glow
off everything, the air itself drowning in it, breath
thickening, growing mold. Yesterday I felt the smell
of grass greeting me as across a great distance, trying
to tell me some good thing in an underglaze of memory,
some forgotten summer trying to speak its piece. It is
the way of things and it never stops, never calls a halt–
this knocking and dismantling, this uprooting, cutting out
and digging down, so tall oaks and honey locusts are
laid low and drop to earth like felled cattle, shaking
the ground we’ve taken a stand on as if it were a steady
establishment, a rock of ages to outface ruin itself, not
the provisional slippery dissolving dissolute thing it is–
which we have against all the evidence set our hearts on.
~ Eamon Grennan
- Quote for Today: Henry Miller (synkroniciti.com)
- best thing Henry Miller ever wrote (busblog.tonypierce.com)