The gardener plants an evergreen
Whilst trampling on a flower.
I chase the wind of a prism ship
To taste the sweet and sour.
The pattern juggler lifts his hand;
The orchestra begin.
As slowly turns the grinding wheel
In the court of the crimson king.
“The Court Of The Crimson King [excerpt]”; King Crimson (1969)
I don’t normally save responses I make on other blogs, other than the “My Comments” section in the WordPress dashboard I rarely track them at all. But something I’ve been doing for awhile is after writing a long response I’ll copy what I’ve written before I post it… so if it gets buggered somewhere as the page is reloading I’ve still got a copy.
Yesterday I made a response on a blog I’ve fallen across a few times over the past year… I’ve never commented on it before, or even really wanted to comment on it before. But they were asking a question about something I had just spoken to my doctor about and my brain was still a little raw.
So I’m dropping it here because it… well, it sums up pretty neatly what I’ve been going through over the past few months as my recovery shifts away from the manic depression and into the clinical depressions. Their question was “Where do you go when you’re lonely?” And this was my answer* (I added paragraph breaks)… feel free to leave your own.
I’m actually trying to find… or trying to start finding a place where I’m not lonely. Eighteen years of untreated manic depression left me, in the end, pretty freaking alone. But now that the bipolar is under some control it’s the clinical depressions causing the alienation and loneliness. It’s a weird thing… it’s something I’m just starting to work out myself, but the manic depression actually feels or seems in retrospect as though it was much easier in comparison to deal with. Maybe it has to do with the bipolar depressions being fake, something forced on us by random chemical hotshots. But the clinical ones… those are the real ones. They have Reasons and Causes we can point to… and once that bipolar shit is carefully taken care of all those clinical depressions just rise like a slow moving tsunami — it’s not a wave, it’s you walking on the beach and realizing your chin is wet. It’s like when an animal is badly hurt they’ll hide under something until you reach under and drag them out and fix them.
That’s where I feel like I’ve been for the past eight months, under the porch licking the wounds. So, between the manic depression making me too toxic to be around, and now the clinical depressions keeping me under a porch (figuratively) the loneliness has been fairly extreme. What contact I’ve managed to keep is through my blog which, ironically, I started as a way to overcome my manic depression… it’s not really that ironic. But what I started doing to survive the bipolar is now the thing helping me to confront my clinical depressions by keeping me in touch with something somewhat vaguely human.
Sometimes, when I get feedback worth reading and considering, I actually feel a connection… I actually feel as though Other People have been where I have been and made it through to the other side and it really feels… it feels. It creates a feeling. It stops me, for a little while, from feeling what I had been feeling to that point. There are certain things you’re supposed to feel as you work through the clinical and major depressions which you don’t feel as you work through the manic depressions. Because the MD’s have no real cause there’s no recovery period, except the exhaustion from days of unending depression or mania. There’s nothing rational in the recovery. There’s no growth and no understanding. There are no lines you can follow where this caused this and then this and then this and these are the reasons for my depression.
But a clinical depression is all about threads… I can’t commit to the woman I love because my mother was overbearing because she was abused by my father and he was assaulted by his grandfather so these are the reasons for why I’m sitting here alone watching Gladiator and crying when Russell Crowe rides into his village to find his child dead.
The place I don’t feel alone, for the past eleven months, is sitting in this chair and staring into this screen and reading what notes and letters people… people I consider friends, leave on my blog. But there’s only so much they can write, and there’s only so much human / kind of human contact I can take before I have to take a break. A lot of the time GTA: San Andreas is a pretty decent substitute for loneliness.
*After I posted the comment I realized they had their moderation feature on, so I have no idea if they’ll ever post it as it was a little off-topic. It was definitely unlike any of the responses they had already received. If they ever take it out of moderation I’ll provide a link.
I started blogging to provide a distraction from the dreadful knowledge that my lover had incurable cancer. when he died 8 weeks ago I though I would never resume blogging.
but, like you, I find it’s a place where I am less lonely. where I feel some solace in “the company of strangers”
I hope the other blog appreciates this comment of yours as much as I did
great post, gabriel.
i think many will relate.
but you have a fantastic gift in communicating it so well.
originally, i was gonna call my blog ‘go away — no wait, come back!’
not really, but it makes me laugh at me, and where i sometimes tend to go while trying to get through stuff.
silly me … i always thought clinical depression was easier to bear because you could work on it and had a chance to come out “healed” on the other side. pretty naive, huh?
Even with the friends I’ve made online, I think I will always carry my loneliness inside me. Part of me wonders if I’m just too damn attached to it. It’s hard and full of echoes, but it’s mine. It’s the one thing no one else can touch, ruin or harm.
It’s also quiet. And I so very much like quiet.
nursemyra-I’m so very sorry.
Keeping in mind this is something I’ve just started thinking about, I think I’m saying the Clinical Depressions are more difficult to get over because it takes effort to get through them… the depressions thrown at me by the manic depression are exhausting and dangerous, but ultimately their cause is the same thing which makes them go away, a random flood of chemicals and hormones. There’s nothing I can do or could do to make them go away, because they had no external cause… I wasn’t getting depressed because of a death or a change or a Something.
But the Clinical Depressions have definite causes. They have endings — just like every individual depression caused by manic depression has an ending — but the endings for the CD’s take actual work and effort and action. Mostly because You have to accept shit happened for Reasons and were Caused by Things out of your control. Or in your control. Or because of things You did. Which means following all sorts of threads as there are very rarely single causes to tragedies, and as those tragedies occur they mark many other threads of our lives so that those threads must also be fixed.
Nurse Myra, for example, has gone through months of depression caused by an actual and very tragic series of events and is working hard to move past the depression. On the other hand I spent days, weeks or months at a time depressed because of bipolar depression, but ‘all I did’ was suffer through them. They went away mostly on their own. Eventually, to get them under control, ‘all I had to do’ was accept I couldn’t defeat manic depression by myself and start taking some pills… I’m being a little facetious here, but it’s what I do when I’m working though an idea.
All of that said, of the two I think I’d rather have the Clinical Depressions… not the causes, of course, but natural depressions can eventually be overcome. The bipolar depressions will keep coming until you get properly treated… which can mean decades of self-loathing, isolation and meaningless and empty debates as to their causes and cures.
I know for me that when I have a depressive cycle I can handle that a hell of a lot better than when I rapid cycle. It doesn’t seem anywhere near as nuts. There’s nothing quite like obsession about something and going through all the motions of a strong manic cycle and then crashing all because it doesn’t go right and going from extreme euphoria to having suicidal ideations…
I would take clinical depression any day of the week. At least with that I know what the hell to expect day in and day out and I know that some days for me will be better than others.
I know what you mean though about trying to reach out though… it seems that over the past couple of months I’ve been slowly reaching out trying to get more people to chat with through blogs and comments and it has just propagated itself like a virus. Part of it could be because I’m staying on a hypomanic phase. I haven’t spent that much time with my new therapy team to make that assessment yet.
Right now I am hosting 6 regular blogs, 2 photo blogs, posting on 3 communities, hosting a forum, on and on… You get the gist. It’s all very obsessive for me right now, but at least I don’t feel like I am coming down for a crash anytime soon thankfully.
I feel what you all are saying and i think that poem is very deep. I just dont see how you can sit at home making yourself feel worste then it already is. I think i have depression mania but im not sure i need to find out.
I feel a surreal connection to all of you. Apparently, this is the place that we go when we are lonely.
I am not alone in life but I am very lonely. Does this make sense to you all? Of course, it does.
It makes a lot of sense TPB… is there someplace you can go, or something you can do which brings you out of it or is it something you just have to wait out?
Shawna, the last thing I think any of us are doing is sitting at home making ourselves worse. Most, or all, of the people reading this blog — and the dude writing it — are recovering from manic depression, or searching for a treatment. No one wants to be so depressed they have to stay away from the people they care about. If you think you might have manic depression, or are severely depressed, you should find a doctor and tell them about it… even your family doctor. If you are feeling suicidal or like you want to harm yourself, you need to tell your teachers and/or principal right away. It’s perfectly natural and nothing to be ashamed about.
The poem is actually a small part of a song by a group called King Crimson, if you’ve got a computer around I highly recommend downloading it…
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Well, I’m new here. Thank you for having me. I have bipolar disorder (28 years untreated-not recovered yet, duh). Right now I feel as lonely as ever. I’m 41, just had a baby girl (she’ll be 1 on the 21st of June). Been depressed since she was born. Nothing towards her fortunately. But have been mostly extremely depressed after a difficult labor. I’ve been thinking about my life, choices I’ve made and didn’t make. At this moment I totally hate poetry-lol- go figure. Anyway, I agree with what Gabriel says, because up until I found you, I was just sitting at home making myself feel worse. Then I decided to do some research online and here I am. I’m at that point where I feel there’s no way out. Although I enjoy being with my baby and don’t want to miss out on anything, I know I’m not fully feeling it all because of all the unresolved issues that brought me to where I am now. It’s exausting. And you know what’s the paradox in all this? You can say that the main trigger to this long period of depression and the so needed force behind my decision to get better are one and the same. My own beautiful daughter and the drastic life changes her unplanned arrival dictates upon me. Thank you for this blog. Not feeling as lonely anymore.