The Struggle 3/30/22

Depression with Richard Bleil

Just about a week ago, I went through a very good period.  I felt good, I was productive and even managed to accomplish a few things.  Having read the Tao te Ching, and having seen periods like this many times before, I knew what was coming.  But my God, is it bad.

Depression comes in waves, not unlike a tsunami.  Good days are followed by bad.  On good days, I manage to take care of things that I’ve been meaning to handle for quite some time but never have the motivation to complete.  I did a lot of spring cleaning on my good day, but it was so good that I thought that maybe, just maybe it would last. 

It didn’t.

The downslide hit hard a couple of days ago, starting with yet another nightmare.  The dream centered around missing the proverbial train, as I’ve done time and time again throughout my life.  It was filled with people insulting me, which was a new twist.  The demons that are in my head keeping me from sleep so frequently managed to burrow into my dreams and continue their assault on my consciousness from there.  I woke up very upset, and extremely depressed. 

The dream is trivial to interpret.  Sometimes it’s easy to see that moment that it’s just too late.  Like when I was in my car crash, I watched her approaching in my rear-view mirror.  There came a moment that I just realized that it was too late.  She didn’t see me, and the crash became a foregone conclusion.  You just know that it’s too late.

I married when I was into my forties, and it was forced at that.  I knew it wasn’t right, but I was so desperate because of my desire to be married that, well, the first woman willing to say yes won the vow, and pretty much all of my possessions.  But before that, I reached an age where I knew it was just too late.  I was meant to be single my entire life, and when I forced it, well, let’s just say it wasn’t good.  The train had left, and I elected to jump onto the third rail in desperation.

Today I’m forcing myself to keep up with my blog posts.  I’ve felt like crying all day long for no apparent reason.  It’s dark and cold outside, as if I were looking at my life in a mirror.  I cannot tell you what’s next; I’m just trying to maintain some degree of normalcy.  I have ideas for food but need to get to the grocery store if I can find the motivation to get up and out.  I have to pick up my mail, but I face the same problem. 

I had a thermodynamics professor say that you have to get out and do things, go to concerts, go to events, see people.  If you are too dedicated to the sciences, as many scientists are, then you’re not really living.  You’re just a lonely man in a lab.  Today, I don’t even have a lab.  I’m just a lonely man in a run-down house. 

My friend has asked me a couple of times how my day has been.  I can’t answer.  She is having such a great day, but I know she knows.  It doesn’t take long for my friends to realize that when I’m not doing well, I will change the subject when they ask how I am.  I don’t want to lie to them, but neither do I want to bring them down or make them worry.  I do have several hobbies that can take me out of the house, which is good.  I can go and slaughter a paper target or two at my gun club.  I actually haven’t gone in quite a while, so maybe it’s time.  And now I’m trying shooting of a different type with my new camera.  I have a photography textbook with assignments, tips and tricks to make me a better photographer.  The current assignment is to shoot indoors and at work.  Maybe they’ll let me take some pictures at the gun club if I promise not to publish them and leave their clients out of it, or maybe I’ll go to a mall and take pictures there.  The problem, however, is the same one that’s keeping me from running errands like shopping.  When you’re depressed, it’s very hard to find the energy to actually get up and get moving.

Don’t worry, though.  It’s temporary.  That’s the beauty of the Tao.  Yes, when I was up, I expected the low, so it wasn’t much of a surprise.  Oh, maybe the source, and depth of despair was unexpected, but it’s ultimately just another low in my life.  But life being what it is, I’ll be up again.  I know that.  The struggle is just waiting.

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