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depression memories

There were times, in the not too distant past, when I would enter a depression almost willingly, and reach out to friends and lovers from that black hole. I think that I judged a person's affection for me by how they responded. What they said didn't ever - as I recall - actually help me out of the depression. I think I wanted them to be what they were not, or else I wanted them to know how much I wanted someone else, someone I had not yet met.

Desire is the source of depression. A wanting that we perceive is not being fulfilled, whether obviously or not.

I think, too, I wanted to engage others. But I wanted to have the baddest depression. Mine was the worst, therefore you must pay attention to me. You must love me.

I am sensing, remembering, how it was then without really reproducing it here. I bring it up because I realize now that I no longer do this. I remember wondering how to get to the insides of a person if that person is not sharing the familiar black hole. I learned that "normal" persons relate to others without having to resort to sharing common bad feelings. For a long time I did not know what I had to share except this part of me, because it was so big. Without it, who would I be?

I can remember writing emails furiously, unloading it all, then waiting anxiously for a response. A sense of being heard, of someone else being there. I don't need this any more. I can't remember the last time I waited like that for the "love" I hoped to find in the words. I couldn't imagine not living like this, not clinging to the hopes and waiting.

Before there was email there were letters. When I visited Michigan, my home, as a student, I wrote to my friend Bob. Bob was a close friend and fellow musician, and part of our little "gang". We did everything together. I was the group therapist. Bob came to me with his tales of Richard, his lover. I heard him, I tried to put things in their right places. At that time, I didn't know how far off I could go in analyzing someone. I may have done a wonderful job in some cases, but I think I was greedy. I still am. I listen to people because I want to understand them, to "figure them out". No, I am not so clinical that I will gleefully tabulate and press people into boxes. I know better than that. But I do feel my interest is not for them but for me. So I listened to Bob and I felt gratified that he felt I was one he could turn to.

I was what they called a "fruit fly". There are other names, too, for women who hang around gay men. My friend Barb was one too. And both of us were stuck on Bob! Never mind that we knew he was gay, that we knew what "gay" meant. We wanted him. I don't think either of us really wanted him sexually, so now it starts to make some sense. I wanted Bob to care about me more than about Barb. It was okay that he cared about Richard sexually. That didn't mean the same thing.

So when I was in Michigan I wrote to Bob. And I waited for his letters back. I think I used up whole days thinking about the next day's mail.

Later, when I was hooked on email instead, I would wake up in the middle of the night. There could be new mail. There was one guy, Robert, who lived in Santa Maria, not that far, 35 miles. We met by some common thread online but never met in person. We wrote crazily to each other. He was maybe a dozen years younger than I and had a girlfriend, yet I still imagined otherwise. In fact, no, I think I liked men who really were not accessible. At one time he suggested that we start a new newsgroup just for our conversations, said maybe we'd get famous. I think we both felt our words were gold, our relationship to each other fascinating.

I listened to Robert, too, to his tales of teaching little league, his woes with his girlfriend. Mostly, though, we talked about his Amigas! I think he had six of them. He explained why they are better than both PCs and MACs and I was happy to believe him (I still think he was likely correct in this). He had a web site at a time when my only access to the web was through lynx. Not enough RAM, not enough anything, on my computer at that time. His site was called "The Site that changes its name everyday". And it did. He went through many different lives there. I remember his reviews of old television shows. Don't recall what the site was called at the time. Finally his site landed in Wired magazine as one of their "hot" recommendations. I think he may have killed it by the time it was in print, however.

I had a so-called "lover" who thought he understood me. He thought that I needed to feel bad. He arranged it so that I would, time and time again. It took me way too long to get loose of that situation. When I wrote to him recently, interested in writing about his life (he runs a bondage site and produces bondage videos, has an interesting past), he suggested that we might get together again. When I said no, not interested in that, just want to write, I never heard from him again.

So today I was realizing how I no longer cling to anyone in that way, thank heaven. I still cling to hopes about other things, like people finally listening to my audio stuff and telling me what they think. I still seem to need some kind of response to things I do. Just not to my depressions. It is progress.


( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 26th, 2004 04:09 pm (UTC)
Quite a history. Depression had the opposite effect for me. I hated to be around people or people to be near me. Black was the only colour. Anyone who didn't see that was inferior. But then the roots of depression are nourished by hatred of self or others so anger and anti-social feelings make sense.As for clinging to hopes, isn't that ordinary?
I agree about your need for responses.

X Go easy ~ if you can. ...xx
Jun. 26th, 2004 05:23 pm (UTC)
You'll notice I said I wrote to others. I too nursed my depressions alone and tended to prefer it that way. My "reaching out", I think, was pathological. Not really healthy at all. I was drowning in self-obsession.

I'm not depressed right now. Weird thing is that it is often difficult for me to re-create that feeling, get back into it accurately, when I am no longer there. I think that that, too, is a reason I am inclined to write about it. I don't want to lose it! Funny, when you think of it.

You too take care. Let's try not to lose hope politically. I am so upset, discouraged, horrified, by what our governments are doing and what we as citizens are letting them do. I am wondering if we will ever have a decent citizen in high office again, given the lust for power displayed by the present administrations, people who stop at absolutely nothing. At times it makes me nearly physically sick and I have to try not to think about it.

Time to go out and get some kind of fluffy book to read...
Jun. 26th, 2004 06:55 pm (UTC)
Ahh Judith
"Let's try not to lose hope politically. I am so upset, discouraged, horrified, by what our governments are doing and what we as citizens are letting them do."

How I share that feeling. The ideals of the sixties give way to a mature society riven by desire,caught up in living to consune and consuming to achieve the illusion of life. I was never fully sold on 'Love and Peace man' nor the lies of feminism. Our leaders have sold us ever more divisive 'movements' 'creeds' and agendas that we haven't seen that what they were doing is allowing us enough self indulgence and distraction to notice that we were becoming enemies of each other and enslaved to mindless consumerism and the illusion of 'rights'. In the last decade Yeats has become ever more pertinent and quotable.

The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

Have you ever seen such passionate intensity as in Blair? Bush, I think is just stupid and greedy and paranoid, a typical ex drunk evangelical. I honestly think there is an almost daemonic symetry in Blair being elected in time to become his dupe.

But maybe the new generation will do better. My 'younger' friends show greater savvy and promise than I ever did. But what a mess we are handing them.

On depression, I had two acute attacks which were severe for about four days and then evaporated. But my general health may have had some bearing on it. I am plagued by a host of symptoms not necessarily serious but exhausting and medical care here is not good.

In other ways I have never felt so close to Janet nor she to me. We seem to have an organic relationship, never static, never falling into boredom or stasis - but it has taken a long time to get there. How hard to see the obvious! That our differences are our strength.

I must say that Iwasn't sure whether you were depressed now or reflecting. I would say don't reflect too much. I find life easier since I abandonded self analysis ~ but we all do what we can or must. I am not criticising.

Although a 'used journal' this feels like a whole new beginning in writing in LJ. The obsession has gone. (and, hopefully so has 'Anonymous' hardly anonymous at all, a pity she felt unable to sign her name ~ when the doctor is sick who shal s/he turn to?

I'm tired. I would love to read and write on. I enjoy our edgy relationship. I appreciate its sincerity. Keep in touch. And yes, in the end, we must reclaim hope - and action.

Kim ~ (((Hugg)))
Jun. 26th, 2004 04:17 pm (UTC)
Enjoyable post!
Very insightful! I must admit to enjoying reading others depressions as it helps me see mine a little more clearly. When I write on paper I tend to write in circles that offer no insight whatsoever. Having someone say, "I'm so sorry!" is nice, but I bet that wasn't all you got when you reached out. Remember two heads are better than one? Well, I believe other give us what we won't permit from ourselves. Validation of our feelings. Maybe you called that love, but just as you enjoyed listening to your friends problems, they get something out of what you present. You may not necessarily need that anymore, but still others miss out on your self talk that you give now that you know how.

I love Live Journal as opposed to my own paper journal as I often get more insight in the visiting of other's journals and what responses it draws from me. I may not be the best counselor nor journalist but just maybe I become a better person for getting to know other persons inner dialogue.
Jun. 26th, 2004 05:15 pm (UTC)
Re: Enjoyable post!
Thank you! I still have mixed feelings about this journal. I sometimes hold back on what I want to say because I anticipate what others might say in response. Other times, like today, I just felt like getting these thoughts down.

I used to write letters, long ones, to anyone who would give me an address, and I would dump on them all of my thoughts, all that I could express. They rarely replied, or if they did they tried to find solutions for me. I wasn't looking for solutions and I also wasn't looking for "I'm sorry you feel badly". After a while I thought it would be better not to use these poor victims, hapless, who did not ask me to write to them, certainly not in this way. I honestly cannot remember any of them saying "please write more".

So for me livejournal is a way to express my feelings without making anyone at all feel obligated to respond. Yet if they want to, they can. That's what I like.

Sometimes people do say things that hit just right, that maybe do make me a better person, too. There have been a few others here who were remarkably insightful, who saw me differently and gave me things to think about. That was a bonus.

As for what people usually said when I wrote to them - usually it was something like "sorry you're feeling down". Every now and then it was more aggressive and "commanding" - they'd give me orders. Depending on the person I would enjoy that or not. I think when I did enjoy it it was because I wanted someone to lift the weight from me.

That reminds me. When my daughter was ten we went to a child psychologist because she was really going through hell and bringing my other daughter and me along with her. This psychologist was "directive". I was so amazed that there was this type out there, the type that told us what to do. And it felt wonderful for a while. Ultimately it didn't answer the problem but I remember the feeling that I was no longer alone in this.

I didn't really expect anyone to respond to this ruminative post! But I'm glad you did.
Jun. 27th, 2004 12:36 pm (UTC)
You seem comfortable with how you cope with your depression now and able to deal with it constructively. I think that is healthy.

If I could listen to your audio stuff I would.
Jun. 27th, 2004 01:54 pm (UTC)
Yes, I think I handle depression well now. I know what to do. It's nice when, every now and then, I realize that I have changed. In a good way.

The audio - I wish somebody would listen! But until then, I have to trust my own judgment. This, too, comes with practice, particularly practice in listening to myself. I used to hate the sound of my voice but now I don't.

I am thinking of reading something else after I finish the Hundred Dresses (I am going to record chapter six today and there are only seven chapters). When I listen to Selected Shorts on public radio, I wish I could sound that way. Those are experienced, seasoned actors, though. They're terrific. It does make me want to read something adult, see how I do with that.

Too many projects. But I would be greatly disturbed if I didn't have any!
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )


Judith Lautner
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