11.07.2006

If you're reading this...you're alive

I've been catching up a bit on my backlogged blog reading, and have discovered a disturbing trend: Lots of us seem to be sick or suffering financial/career setbacks, witnessing a loved one's illness, or otherwise getting trounced on by the fickle Fates.

I don't normally share much in the way of the Personal; I try to blog about books, literature and the writing life. But, given the general malaise out there and given how everyone rallied around me at my low point last week, I wanted to share something that might encourage others.

Old LK here has suffered from severe depression for many, many years. After lots of hard work (and expensive therapy, which is probably one reason I can't afford a house), I am managing it. (Though I do have my troughs, especially in the fall.) So, though I don't have much experience in much else, I do believe I can impart some lessons I've learned from dealing with the Big D: 1) whatever awfulness is happening will pass 2) whatever awfulness is happening, we're alive, and that beats the alternative. And, without getting too kooky-spooky here, I believe one of our jobs on earth is to find meaning in suffering. Even when it seems especially meaningless. Maybe especially then.

Anyway, let's all put our collective vibes to thank the Universe for being able to see the sun rise today and look forward to starting with a clean slate tomorrow. That's my first and last saccharine sermon. Amen.

Now, if you're an American: Go vote!

13 comments:

bloglily said...

LK, you're a wonder. I love reading your posts. I'll be voting at the fire station in our neighborhood (the one that's by Nabalom)-- a great place to vote, in my opinion.

Jessica said...

LK, I'm always amazed at the resiliency of the human spirit. I have been pushed down, kicked in the stomach and spat on by life, and yet, I'm still here, mostly happy even when I'm not getting paid by my employer!
It's refreshing to have a personal entry every now and then...it reminds the reader that we're all human, we all hurt sometimes.
Your support and encouragement are such a beautiful gift. Thanks for sharing a little bit of yourself with all of us!

litlove said...

Thank you for sharing, LK. I like the concept of tomorrow a lot. Whatever today was like, you can always shut the door on it. And the fact that everything changes, all the time, is also a positive thought to hang onto. And hanging out with the lovely, wise people of the blogworld is always cheering to me.

Brandon said...

I tend to shy away from personal stuff as well. If I do write something personal or biographical, I make sure to connect it to books somehow.

I suffer from depression too. But it's not the regular "I got the blues" sort; mine's crippling, but it seems to only come around for about one week per month, like clockwork. (I'm really cyclical. A psychiatrist once told me that's classic bipolar, but I'm no expert.) But during that week, I literally can't do anything. Can't write, can't work, can't read, can't eat. The worst part of it, for me, is the self-pity I feel when I get like that. Sure, I can't help it--it's a chemical imbalance--but that doesn't make it any easier to deal with.

There seems to be this stigma about depression, that depressed people are morose and incapable of humor. Which isn't always true. I've never cut myself and I can laugh at a joke, even when I'm not exactly feeling 100% sunny.

I've become really good at hiding it; even my mom didn't know what was going on until she got a phone call about a year ago that I was in the hospital. I'm also good at coming up with excuses for not being on Lexapro, like I should be. If there's one thing I'm good at, it's making excuses, no matter how flimsy they may be.

However, I'm oddly at peace with all my flaws. And I think that once you're somewhat comfortable with being imperfect, you find it easier to overlook others for their imperfections and just accept them for who they are.

LK said...

Bloglily, what a great place to vote! I love that fire station. And I love the pumpkin muffins at Nabalom. Hmmmm....

Jessica, I like to read "survivor" books for just that reason -- the human spirit and will to survive is simply a marvel.

Litlove, you always have the right thing to say! Which reminds me: Need to get caught up with your blog entries!

Brandon, I've had the SAME thing. Every fall, like clockwork. In my 20s, I was truly disabled from Halloween to the end of March, but now have gotten it down to a few months of low energy. Basically, I realize I will be at half my usual energy and just have to compensate for that -- and try not to be depressed about it like I used to be. All sorts of doctors and such have given their opinions, but if you ask me, nobody really knows what they're talking about. Maybe people like you and me are simply very attuned to Mother Nature -- maybe we're supposed to be more contemplative and reflective and "hibernating" during the fall/winter months. I feel like I'm not adjusting to electricity going all the time and the constant "go" of modern life...my mind and body require downtime.

Dorothy W. said...

Amen! Thanks for the encouragement LK.

Stefanie said...

Thanks for the reminder and the encouragement LK.

charlotte said...

You know, I agree that we should be grateful that the sun will rise tomorrow. I always feel at my best in the morning, when the day is ripe with promise. Thanks for imparting your wisdom and experiences.

iliana said...

Great post LK. Thank you for sharing.

LK said...

Oh, and Brandon, even though mine is annual (more or less) and yours is more regular, what I wanted to express (and did not upon rereading) is that basically, I think that we might be suffering from having different "clocks" than most people, or, maybe a better way of putting it, we require other ways to cope with the drains of our respective environments. Like maybe regular exercise and healthy breakfasts just aren't enough. And that's okay.

AC said...

Thank you for sharing. Really. The D's are really making the rounds....

Kirsten said...

LK - great post. I suffer from panic attacks - after a miserable 2 years of trying to deal with them on my own, a serious meltdown and a very concerned husband forced me to go to the doctor. The amount of energy it took to pretend to the outside world that everything was "fine" was exhausting. Friends and family members (except my husband because he has to live with me :) were oblivious to my issues - that's how good I got at hiding it. I remember friends being shocked when I finally told them I felt like I was losing my mind. I was always the reserved one that seemed to have it all together, no one could believe that I spent night after night pacing the hallways of my house trying to convince myself that I was not having a heart attack. Depression/anxiety and everything that goes along with it is such a taboo subject and I don't understand why - I seem to know more people that have battled it at some point than not. To put a positive spin on things, I think those of us that have dealt with depression or something similar appreciate the good days that much more! Hope this fall hasn't been too tough for you!!

LK said...

Kirsten, sorry to hear about your suffering...I can related exactly to what you've described.

Sometimes I think people who don't suffer from these things just don't get it. I know when I'm feeling "normal," it's hard to understand how I could feel otherwise.