I’m reading a nice article from the N.Y. Review, free from the internet, “Redefining Depression as Mere Sadness.” It’s making sense, but as I once heard and still believe you cannot transform a camel into a racehorse by committee, redefining a thing does not change the thing.
I also heard once that depression was just the not doing of something that you knew in your heart needed to be done. When I heard that one it made great sense to me. I was in my early thirties, incomplete education, doing dead end jobs for like no money, boy was I sure that something needed to be done. And it wasn’t, and that was depressing. Not much of a surprise there.
Certain things freeze the mind, and it all starts to look like depression. Another such situation would be when something has happened and you really, really wish that it hadn’t. In a limited sense this would be like the time I cut the tip off of my left middle finger. I wish I had a picture of my face, standing there looking at the bloody, flat new tip, nail hanging grotesquely out into space, frantically trying to unwind the last ten seconds and have the precious thing back. Impossible, of course, time is like that, once past, it’s gone like a piece of trash that floated by in the river five minutes ago.
This phenomenon, in a broader sense, could be the maudlin preoccupation with lost youth. That’s just as gone. Like the beautiful girl in the Irish folk tale, “aye, yee had me once, but yee’ll not have me again.” Some people are overcome with grief over the accelerating pace of their own decrepitude. This kind of thing is worse: if something needs to be done, you can go and do it; something that is lost is gone forever.
Lots of people struggle against reality, resist the dictates of fate, refuse to dance with the one they brung. But sorry Charlie, in this game we all get dealt some cards and that’s all she wrote, no redeals, no do-overs. If you don’t like your cards, all you can do is try to bluff.
Anger at things that cannot be changed is another emotion that brings on so called depression. Things like Republicans. Or things that would be hard to change, like Rush Limbo. Release, as somebody tells me on a regular basis.
All of this intelligence is available to the conscious mind quite easily; the real trick is internalizing the firm belief. That interface is where the real problem lies. Our egos are quite rational, but our ids make non-negotiable demands, reasonable or otherwise, and refuse to accept bad news.