Archives for posts with tag: mental illness

Although the sharp edges of my previous postings no doubt serve to convince the faithful that I am deeply unhappy and angry at ‘god’, that is not actually the case. I’m not angry at any of the thousands of deities man has postulated–I just have a wounded mind. 

Depression is both discrete from grief and not reliant on having a rational source. If I may be forgiven for flippancy, I would say that depression and anxiety are the Tillandsia of the emotional spectrum–they root in little or nothing and remain obstinately hale with only the very slightest support from real-world events.

As Andrew Solomon mentions in his excellent commentary on the subject, (found here) depression is not unhappiness but rather the absence of vitality. A crushing enervation and bone-deep chill which siphons the zest and enjoyment from those who suffer it; known by the sufferer to be nonsensical, irrational, and baseless but inescapable nevertheless. I’ve been dealing with it for a long time, and the best strategy I’ve been able to find thus far is to recognize that it’s in some part external and focus exclusively on self-care. The obvious disadvantage to this strategy is that it tends to rapidly corrode one’s work or school performance, and there’s nothing quite as delightful as depression spiced up with guilt and anxiety.

My trouble tends to be that I want to analyze and solve problems, and depression is a bottomless pit of problems that cannot be rectified. The only winning solution can be found in Wargames. The only winning strategy is not to play. It sounds like giving up, you might say, and in some ways it is, but if one’s brain is constantly keening in agony and screaming that nobody cares, nobody loves you, nobody ever will, and you don’t deserve to live… It might be a good thing to avoid trying to sort all that out right at that moment and have a sandwich because you know you haven’t eaten yet and you really ought to.

All I’m saying is that god isn’t going to make you that sandwich.

 

 

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the next time you see one of us walking down the street, take a moment to look past the posture and the haircut. if you could see inner worlds, you would avert your eyes from the terror, horror, and pain that suffocates us with each breath; surrounded by the ghosts of bloody, haggard comrades who march with us. none of us ever said it, but each of us pledged the same solemn oath: I will never forget you.

think before you speak–we already know that it isn’t OK, and it probably never will be. nothing can replace the missed birthdays and lost loves, and we’ll never forget holidays tinged green and tan and brown and black, and the forlorn slices of dry turkey in cheap cardboard trays. disposable–just like us. we might be monsters to you, but the blood in us is red just like yours. if we never speak of the things we’ve done, it isn’t because we don’t care, it’s because there is no way you could possibly understand where we’ve been and what we have seen.

we are wracked by the shadows of war. gripped by the inescapable and terrible intimacy of minds trained to trust nothing and no one but the men and women who also wear the uniform, cursed with hands that will forever reach out in the lonely and insomnia-riddled hours of the night not for the touch of a lover but for the slick, cold solidity of a rifle.

if you dared look within us you might admire the spartan austerity of souls which have been hammered flat to ensure a good field of fire–survival is everything and leaves room for little else. we are demanding for reasons that kept us alive, our comrades safe, and all of us working until the job was done. we were never perfect but we tried like hell at it, exacting and draconian and ferociously loyal.

you think of us as brainwashed, and perhaps we are, but I wonder if you have the strength to stare into oblivion and feed yourself, mind, body, and soul into cauterizing flames and burn away your weakness. we knew service was pain and blood and death, but we kept putting one foot in front of the other until there was nothing left but cigarettes, booze, and nightmares.

we tore ourselves apart, and not a one of us will ever be whole again.

you’re welcome.