Monday, August 11, 2008

Evidence of the Power of the Human Mind

Billions of years of evolution so I could lie in bed this morning and think:

I wonder if George Clooney is worried about aging? Do you think he's a happy person, overall, or has his fame brought a weight of expectation and anxiety that he can never live up to?

Hm, he's a man, though. A white man. Life can't be that hard for him.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Hey guys, I'm back from the dark side. Missed ya!

So, not dead! Which is great.

Did have a crushing low there, post vacation.

As it turns out, I am someone who definitely benefits from the meds that have stabilized me for the last five years. There are mixed blessings, to be sure, as the Effexor (or, as I now know it is charmingly nicknamed, Side Effexor, hardy har) had some horrendous side effects. It is good to be free of it and of them.

But the subsequent gaping abyss that opened in my mind in its absence was not a welcome visitor.

There's lots of talk about various forms of depression and their presence and subsequent impact on our culture. There's lots of skepticism aimed at the pharmaceutical industry and the way it markets and profits from this endemic disease. There's the pedantic lecturing that goes on to friends and family of the afflicted -- a shaking of the finger and a reminder that they are not going to be able to "just snap out of it" on their own.

All of this confuses the issue and takes into the public realm of debate something which is, in its most basic form, a deeply personal experience. Andrew Solomon, in his book on the subject, says that depression "can be described only in metaphor and allegory." And I could talk to you about being trapped in a lightless pit, about the iron vice on my head, about the small hands clutching and pulling me into the murk. I could even recount the moments standing by the tub with the hairdryer in my hand and having fleeting thoughts about just how simple it all could be. . . but it would be not only pointless, but, at this point, cliche.

So I will say a few things, express some gratitude, bullet style:

- having gone through this personal hell in the past, I was able to recognize it for what it was this time.
- I have great friends and family upon whom I was able to lean.
- there are some great drugs out there, hallelujah.

In conclusion, I am feeling much better. And, soon, I will be able to write more of the frivolous bullshit for which you come.

Like how I'm in Chicago right now. And how I went to see Radiohead and some kids handed me a joint and there were massive fireworks above Soldier Field and the night was warm and we were surrounded by the skyline and it was a gorgeous moment.

And I remembered that life, my friends, is very, very good.