Mood: Pissed Off
Listening to: NEVER to KISS again...
Reading: The Internet
Watching: Life pass me by...
Playing: The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks
Eating: Cheese Sandwich
Lately talk of mental illness has been in the news again - depression and suicide in particular.
Lately, everyone on any even vaguely "newsworthy" site (including Cracked, a site for comedy and random nightmare fuel) have been acting as pundits...
Comments boxes... NEVER go to the comments boxes anywhere on the Internet. They're schmuck-bait, but I'm such a schmuck. I've been in one of my "uplift" cycles recently, so I've been strong enough to read the things and have even become a bit of a rage-addict. The farts of assholes light my creative fires, it seems, when I'm in these states. Hooray for that side of the bipolar coin. Of course, imagining myself in my mind's landscape as a tail-wagging, panting, knife-wielding murder-happy little puppy who wants to make magical portals to people's locations appear in the Internet probably isn't a good thing. That's when Vash the Stampede enters my brain and tells me to stop it.
By the time I read some stupid comments by Gene Simmons today on Yahoo, I was in a place of "Meh." "Meh, idiot, moving on." Not that I didn't imagine slicing up that legendarily long tongue of his into sushi and force-feeding him the remains down his throat for a moment.
Violent imagery makes me happy because I know I'm not actually going to do it. Though, as I said on one (friendly) board full of intelligent and good people I go to, people who say stupid things are better in a state of "May God deal with you because you don't want me to."
Anyway, some light needs to be brought into the dark pit of ignorance that is what the world thinks of about depression, suicidal drives and related illnesses. Keep in mind that I'm not a therapist. I am a sufferer.
I have bipolar disorder. This is why I don't immediately get depressed over depressing news, I'm just as likely to get angry and to entertain myself with mental imagery that belongs in Elfen Lied or Attack on Titan. It depends upon which switch in my brain is flipped that day. Oh, and IT IS A BRAIN CONDITION, AND YES, THE BRAIN IS AN ORGAN JUST LIKE YOUR PANCREAS. (Here's where I get a bit of Weird Al stuck in my head)... My condition, as well as Clinical Depression, are classified BY SCIENCE as being conditions of the brain that have to do with chemical imbalances, and, more often than not, genetics, or a combination of genetics and triggers from life experiences.
Oh, and there's no cure... from what I've heard, bipolar, at least, is a lifelong condition. I think it is this way with other kinds of depression. Perhaps I'll ask my therapist the next time I see her as part of my "Internet ignorance elimination project." It's kind of like having a chronic pain condition or diabetes. It's something that is, with the best treatment, a thing to be managed, but nothing you can take a magic pill or pull yourself up by your bootstraps and "get over."
If I don't hang myself by the boostraps, I'll hang YOU by them.
I actually expect to get late-onset diabetes someday, due to my family's genetics. (Maybe I can stave it off with enough exercise and good food, but, probably not even then, it's so rooted in the blood). Unlike the bipolar genetic legacy, I don't expect to see people making stupid comments about it or telling me to go ahead and kill myself over it, because diabetes has won a firm place in our culture as "a physical and therefore real thing."
Which brings me to another aspect: The brain is an ill-understood organ, so problems with it's function are mistaken for problems of the mind. They are linked so as to be indistinguishable to most of us. However, sometimes, depression does have a "respected as real" physical cause. I knew someone once, online, who spoke of how she was in chronic depression and just about ready to kill herself before being taken to the hospital for an unrelated thing. It turned out she had some kind of rare condition that was causing her internal bleeding. Once that was corrected, she felt better, the depression lifted. Physical cause - loss of blood. Some people with diabetes get very loopy when their blood sugar wonks out. - Again, an easily traceable physical aspect.
Even if you persist in seeing depression as a "choosing to be sad" in the manner of addiction... let me tell you, addiction's not that easy, either. I'm a teetoler, myself. This is because I've witnessed the affects of addiction in my family. My father went through rehab and got sober when I was around nine years old and has kept on a clean path ever since. However, he will be the the first to tell you that he's not "cured." He's "a recovering alcoholic" because that *is* the clinical term. There is always that specter looming around in the brain.
And that's like what the depression aspect of my condition is for me. Some people with depression personify it. They make it into a character that they can talk to or argue with. (I've seen it.) With me? I don't do that so much because my depression is a snarling, drooling beast. It looks kind of like a cross between a rat and a wolf with branching horns (because I have actually wanted to draw the thing). It hangs around me always. Some days it's two steps behind me. On really good days, four steps. However, it is always there, waiting for a random opening. When it strikes, I have to fight it with a sword edged in Hope, set in a hilt of thoughts for the people I Love, and, more often than not, oiled up and shined with Spite. The beast is beaten back and never slain. I worry that it might win someday. Other days, I feel I've defeated a dungeon boss in the Legend of Zelda. It's still there, though. Watching. Waiting.
One of my chiefest reasons for remaining in the world? Assholes who say I should leave it because they think people like me are too "emo" or something don't DESERVE my absence.
The "appeal to worse problems" fallacy always makes me want to take a shit in someone's Cheerios. "My mother survived the Holocaust and didn't once want to kill herself!" "There are children in Iraq who suffer more than any American does, so don't tell me about your abusive childhood!" Blah, blah, blah. First of all, these people lack imagination. It seems they cannot imagine their survivor mother (their image of her) having an inward private war whereby she may have had to struggle with wanting death at some point. They forget about all the people in a terrible situation who *didn't* survive because they lost hope. (Maybe they didn't kill *themselves* because someone else was happy to do it for them, or it was just a matter of not eating what little food they had...) They assume ASS-ume that no one in war zones in places far away in the world today do the suicide option or struggle with depression because, well, that kind of news doesn't get out. War is the sexy news. A million is a statistic. The news media doesn't have time to focus on single lives if those lives belong to un-charismatic foreign people, so we only get whatever canned narrative they choose or are able to give us.
Also, a kid in Iraq is not me. Or you. Unless you are a kid reading this from Iraq. I have the right to be emotional over my personal circumstances and to feel the brunt of my skull-encased organ's chemical imbalances. Just because "Hey buddy, there are kid's starvin' in Japan so Eat It!" doesn't mean that I, as an adult have to eat nothing but Brussels Sprouts and must feel guilty over enjoying an occasional ice cream sandwich, I don't think that whatever pain I suffered in my childhood via my bullies and some issues in my family life that somehow got buried in my brain and turned into a beast or the things that I feel the full brunt of now and cannot help are something I should feel guilty about and should "just stop" because, because somewhere in the world, people you don't know are starving or because, because there is no crying in baseball. As if one was capable of just stopping it.
Let me ask you: How much distress did you feel over the loss of your last pet vs. hearing about some stranger getting shot on the news? I mean, how much *personal* pain did you feel? Did you feel like did not have the right to weep over your dog or your cat because somewhere in the world, someone you didn't even know existed lost their son that day? When was the last time you stubbed your toe? Did you "stop feeling the pain" and "stop cursing the Almighty" because something in the back of your mind told you "Someone's getting beheaded by an extremist right now?"
EVERYONE has the right to their own problems. And to feel. Honestly.
And frankly, when I feel the depression-beast on my throat, I am feeling the world-problems, too. It strikes me most often when I think too much about the fundamental injustice and meaninglessness of the world. (I do like to think the world has a meaning, but at this point, I cannot say what).
I am actually beginning to think that those of use us who suffer "illnesses" related to the emotions might actually be more AWAKE than those people who are offended by anyone showing too much heart. We see the world for what it really is, and when we feel powerless to change it, leaving it starts looking like a deceptively good option. I think it is why these things are highly correlated to creativity. We see things that only we pick up on and we have this need to convey them in some way to wake the world up.
And the world really needs to wake the fuck up to the fact that we're all human, and we're all Life and we'r'e all in this together.
Don't give into the beasts or the farts of festering assholes. The world needs us more than it realizes.