What is depression? It’s a feeling and feelings are hard to put into words because everyone who experiences it, would most likely describe it differently. For me its hopelessness. A feeling that there is nothing that can be done, or no use to doing anything because the outcome wouldn’t matter.
I relate to a scene in a movie called “About Schmidt” where the character played by Jack Nicolson is writing a letter to his daughter at the end of the movie. In it he writes “I am weak and I am a failure. There is just no getting around it. Relatively soon, I will die. Maybe in 20 years, maybe tomorrow, it doesn’t matter. Once I am dead and everyone who knew me dies too, it will be as though I never existed. What difference has my life made to anyone. None that I can think of. None at all.”
Oh, how I feel what he writes. You see I myself am a failure as well. My logical side of the brain tells myself that my fate can change, but my depression clouds that and hope fades away.
In my case failure is easy to see. I suffer from a condition called Bi-polar type 1. And I have been through a series of episodes where I have acted outright crazy, to the point I left my well paying job, loving wife, good life, and flew all the way across the country, pawned everything I owned and lived drinking out of bars. In my normal life I don’t even care to drink. I’m an Interesting case for a psychiatrist to say the least.
This is not the first time I have done this. I have done this my whole life. I have burnt almost every bridge there is to burn. Every time (and I mean every time) I have built stability or something good I would inevitably destroy it with a very strict scorched earth policy. To the point where there are no more jobs, everyone I know distrust me, and I have nothing to show that I myself have accomplished in 33 years. I do have a wife and family who has stuck by me, but just by their existence they are reminders of the hurt and pain I have caused.
I have now started a very strong regiment of medication. And I am told that is my only “hope” that I can live a normal live. I can tell the medications work. I don’t have the extreme swings of emotions like I did before. In a since I see life more clearly now. You see people with bi-polar type 1 can have an enormous amount of confidence. It usually leads to trouble because you think that your better than and more right than most people, but I won’t lie. It also helps you in life. It’s no secret that people with high confidence succeed more in life. I no longer have that same confidence. And now I am wondering if my life is just what it is now, there will be nothing of anymore significance that what I have tried to do in my past.
There is a scene in a movie call “Boyhood” where the mother is looking back at what she has done in her life and finally she just says “I thought there would be more”. What powerful words. I have always fantasized about greatness, and maybe I am not meant for greatness. That is not self-pity, it is realization. I know if you are a Christian you would say being a child of god is greatness and I believe that in that since, but no matter how much of a Christian spin you want to put on it I still want to matter in the time on this earth and I still want to do something of great significance.
I feel like I have destroyed the time that is given to me. I hate it. I know that I only have a certain amount of time on this earth and to be brutally honest I am not happy about how I have situated myself in my time.
Then I am reminded of my favorite Tolkien quote, that is also in the movie “Lord of the Rings” Gandalf is talking to Frodo who is unhappy with his current situation, and he says I wish this didn’t happen to me, to which Gandalf says “So do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us. There are other forces in this world besides the will of evil.”
This is sobering reminder that it does not matter if you like your situation or not, it’s all you got, and you better make the most of it.
I am also reminded of another favorite quote from the movie Rocky Balboa. “Let me tell you something you already know. The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. It’s a very mean and nasty place and I don’t care how tough you are it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain’t about how hard ya hit. It’s about how hard you can get it and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done!” “
When your down especially with depression, you need someone that will help pick you back up and get you moving again. This is hard, really hard. Because depression lies to you. It tells you that you are the only one and no one understands what you are going through. But here is something I have learned, if you don’t give up and you look honestly look for help, you will find it. It is true that people you find may not know exactly what you are going through, but that does not matter. What matters is that they are willing to help pick you up, not let you give up, and help keep you moving. If you are looking for others to share what you are going through you would be shocked about how many people can share a similar story. I found this to be true when my sickness became public. I found there are a lot of broken people just like me.
There is a song by “The Listener” called Wooden Heart. The last verse says…
My throat it still tastes like house fire and salt water
I wear this tide like loose skin, rock me to sea
If we hold on tight, we’ll hold each other together
And not just be some fools rushing to die in our sleep
All these machines will rust I promise, but we’ll still be electric
Shocking each other back to life
Your hand in mine, my fingers in your veins connected
Our bones grown together in time
Our hands entwined, your fingers in my veins braided
Our spines grown stronger inside
Because are church is made out of shipwrecks
From every hull these rocks have claimed
But we pick ourselves up, and try and grow better through the change
So come on and let’s wash each other with tears of joy and tears of grief
And fold our lives like crashing waves and run up on this beach
Come on and sew us together, were just tattered rags stained forever
We only have what we remember
He also says “We are all born of broken people on our most honest days of living”. How true.
I urge you, if you need help seek it. I promise if you look hard enough and don’t give up, you can find it.