Andrew Solomon Ted Talk: “Depression, the secret we share” (October 2013)
I’d like to share a wonderful video a ran across recently on tumblr. In light of recent events, I find that Solomon’s talk discusses the realities of depression in a clear, compassionate manner. In particular, I like Solomon’s discussion on alternative treatments.
“The opposite of depression is not happiness, but vitality, and it was vitality that seemed to seep away from me in that moment.” In a talk equal parts eloquent and devastating, writer Andrew Solomon takes you to the darkest corners of his mind during the years he battled depression. That led him to an eye-opening journey across the world to interview others with depression — only to discover that, to his surprise, the more he talked, the more people wanted to tell their own stories. (Filmed at TEDxMet.)
“Someone spoke to me last night, told me the truth. Just a few words, but I recognized it. I knew I should make myself get up, write it down, but it was late, and I was exhausted from working all day in the garden, moving rocks.” ~ Dorianne Laux, from “Dust”
Friday, earl afternoon. Sunny, hot, and humid, low 90’s. Hoping for thunderstorms later.
Well, Corey is scheduled to arrive in Brooklyn today, but I haven’t heard from him in a few days, so I’m not sure if they are still on schedule. I’ve had so much nervous energy that I’ve been cleaning myself into a frenzy. Of course, the result is that by evening, I am walking like the crooked man in the limerick. Don’t know why that popped into my head, but it seems very appropriate.
Yesterday, my goal was to clean my desk, which, because of the lack of computer, tends to become the repository of all things tossable: magazines, mail, clothes, whatever. I went through all of the paperwork, made myself a nice big pile of things needing to be done (can’t wait, truly), and wiped everything off.
Then I decided that I still needed to do more, so I tackled the fridge. I pulled out the two vegetable drawers, and scrubbed inside and attempted to clean all of the bunk that tends to settle beneath these drawers. Somehow, not really sure how, a mass of what appeared to be caramel was pooled in the bottom. When I couldn’t melt it with chemicals, I finally had to take a spatula and try to scrape it out. I got most of it, but there was one spot that refused to budge.
All of this deep cleaning takes me back to my OCD cleaning days, which makes me realize that I’m back there. This is both a good and bad thing. It’s nice to have a very clean house, but I pay for it with such pain I cannot even describe.
“There is never a later, but for most of my life I have believed in later.” ~ Donald Hall
Last week when Brett and Em and I were out running around, I stopped in Sally’s Beauty supply to purchase yet another nail hardener. The woman at the register assured me that the one that I bought was a good one as they (the employees) had all been given samples, and she said that it worked on her. Right . . .
Anyway, after purchasing this nail hardener, I have spent the last week doing the kinds of things that absolutely destroy one’s nails. It wouldn’t have been so bad if I had remembered to wear the gloves that Corey bought me for just such occasions, but I always forget, which means that when I cleaned the double ovens, I didn’t wear gloves.
The nail hardener may work, but I won’t be able to find out until my nails come back. Granted this is not terribly important in the huge scheme of things, but it’s kind of lame to have a nail polish addiction and not have enough nails to polish. I’ve never had naturally long nails like my friend Sarah, but I really don’t want to go back to acrylic nails. I’m over that phase. It costs money that I would rather spend elsewhere, and besides, I’m not working any more.
Oh yeah, that.
“In a dream everything is pregnant with a dreadful and unfinished meaning, nothing is indifferent, everything reaches us more deeply, more intimately than the most heated passion of the day. This is the lesson: an artist cannot be restricted to day, he has to reach the night life of humanity and seek its myths and symbols.” ~Witold Gombrowicz, excerpt from Diary
This past week has been filled with strange and wonderful dreams. A few nights ago I dreamed that I was on this journey, and somehow, I ended up in Middle Earth, but it wasn’t anything like Tolkien’s Middle Earth. I was with a group of people, and I think we were on a tour. We went into this room, and it had been retrofitted to look like the 1950’s: the same kind of yellow Formica everywhere. There was a coffee percolator that I was particularly enamored with, but after I poured myself some coffee, it disappeared. We were told that we couldn’t eat the food and that we had to go back to our own world. I didn’t want to leave and begged to stay.
Last night—and this one is really weird—I was driving down a main road in our neighborhood, and a man dressed in a Spider Man costume was lying in the road. I swerved to avoid him, and then I stopped the car. I was driving my old Isuzu, Izzie. I ran to the man just as another car stopped. I asked them to call 911, and I got a blanket out of the car to cover him even though it was hot. He was alive, but very shaken. Someone had hit him and left, and I kept asking him if he was on a bicycle.
Then a few night ago—and this one is very, very weird—I dreamt that I was in a dark bar, and there was this man of whom I knew I needed to be wary. I knew this man, except he didn’t look like anyone I knew. I knew that he was a sexual deviant. Then I was fleeing from him, and I ended up going through these rooms, and behind the doors I could hear people having sex, and I came around a corner, and he was there just smiling at me. I told him that I was going to call the police, but he didn’t seem to care. I walked over to the bar manager, but it turned out she was a, em, Madam, and she told me that I knew what I needed to do and that I never should have come into that bar.
“There are days that haven’t arrived yet, that are being made like bread . . .” ~ Pablo Neruda, from “We Are Waiting,” (trans. William O’Daly)
I’ve been buying a few plants here and there, nothing like the massive plantings I used to do every spring. Although, I would probably have better luck with so many plants now with all of the shade in the front yard. Yesterday, I bought two more from Wal-Mart, and I have to say that the pickings were very slim. Their garden section looked like there had been a collective wilt in response to the oppressively hot, humid air. The ones I brought home I soaked and left over night. I’ll move them into pots today.
I had thought about going to the chair yoga class this afternoon. Still haven’t made up my mind. I have this incredible desire to do sit-ups, which makes no sense at all. I used to have one of those rolled bars that helped to take the stress of the back when doing sit-ups. I’m not sure if Corey threw it out or if it’s somewhere in the mass of things in the garage, but I sure would love to have it now.
I’m not really sure where this desire to work out is coming from, but I really should go with it while I can, don’t you think? Well, can may not be the best word, but perhaps want? I mean, I want to work out, but I don’t know if I can, or maybe I can work out if I want it enough, or perhaps, I won’t workout if I can’t, but I will if I can . . .
“Water: no matter how much, there is still not enough. Come rain, come thunder, come deluged dams washed away, Our thirst is unquenchable. A cloud in the water’s a siren. We become two shades, deliquescent, drowning in song.” ~ Marin Sorescu, from “Fountains in the Sea”
So I just spent about 20 minutes looking for an ab roller online. Seems I can pick one up via Wal-Mart and have it delivered to the store without having to pay shipping. My love/hate affair with Wal-Mart continues . . .
Speaking of online ordering, I ordered the replacement hose for the pool. Perhaps (maybe, please maybe) it will arrive today, and eldest son can get the pool working. I mean, on days like today and yesterday, slipping into the pool would be heavenly, and it would also help to keep the dogs occupied, another bonus.
You know, I was thinking about that comment I received on an old post, how outlandish it was. I’ve decided to try to keep politics out of my blog as much as possible this election season. I know that I won’t always be able to do so because sometimes it’s impossible to ignore all of the stupidity, but during the last presidential election I allowed myself to get so worked up over the rampant racism. I’m not going to sit here and try to tell you that such things do not still bother me, because of course, they do. Rather, I’m going to try to remove myself as much as possible from the fray. My blood pressure will thank me.
At least that’s my position for now. Talk to me when it gets closer to November.
More later. Peace.
Music by Benjamin Francis Leftwich, “Box of Stones”
*All images are by Lithuanian painter and composer Mikalojus Konstantinas Ciurlionis, whose works were considered to be representative of the fin de siècle (end of the century, end of an era) epoch. Fin de siècle is a French term that usually refers to the end of the 19th century in Europe.
The wind blows
through the doors of my heart.
It scatters my sheet music
that climbs like waves from the piano, free of the keys.
Now the notes stripped, black butterflies,
flattened against the screens.
The wind through my heart
blows all my candles out.
In my heart and its rooms is dark and windy.
From the mantle smashes birds’ nests, teacups
full of stars as the wind winds round,
a mist of sorts that rises and bends and blows
or is blown through the rooms of my heart
that shatters the windows,
rakes the bedsheets as though someone
had just made love. And my dresses
they are lifted like brides come to rest
on the bedstead, crucifixes,
dresses tangled in trees in the rooms
of my heart. To save them
I’ve thrown flowers to fields,
so that someone would pick them up
and know where they came from.
Come the bees now clinging to flowered curtains.
Off with the clothesline pinning anything, my mother’s trousseau.
It is not for me to say what is this wind
or how it came to blow through the rooms of my heart.
Wing after wing, through the rooms of the dead
the wind does not blow. Nor the basement, no wheezing,
no wind choking the cobwebs in our hair.
It is cool here, quiet, a quilt spread on soil.
But we will never lie down again.