What podcast, blog, news site, Twitter feed, Facebook journal, radio show is of most benefit to you? How much do you gain from the feeling of community that comes from hearing of others’ struggles as opposed to the tools offered by self-health sites run by trained counselors and psychiatrists? Are you a member of a mental-health org? Why?
“Depression advances along a million unique tracks shrouded behind a gallery of distortions,” opens ‘After Depression,’ my new book about mental illness and the burgeoning world of magnet-based brain therapies.
“It sails to mind from an unfamiliar distance, picking apart confidence and undermining relationships as it weaves its way through one’s mental and emotional body, calcifying there as a sort of malign superstructure. With time the victim comes to define their essential self by this colonizing force, this veritable subtraction of the self. And that is, perhaps, the greatest tragedy of this global epidemic.”
I’m happy to say that since publishing yesterday, ‘After Depression’ is already generating positive reviews. Many of you that know Depression Time have tracked my progress over the last couple of years. You’ve pushed me to dig deeper into recovery. Challenged me in my understanding of the behavior of my brain and body. You’ve encouraged me in more ways than you know and made this publication possible.
Did you ever?
To beat back the Great Bleakness that is clinical depression takes a lot of falling sick. For the depressive, there is often no choice about sinking into despair—darkness so overpowering that it would shock the uninitiated. For us, it can be a daily occurrence. But to fall sick mindfully, to observe our experience of depression—that skulking trickster, part physical malady and part creative storyteller—allows us to learn its language. And in that is power.
Here’s a chicken-and-egg for you: Which came first, the lazy prefrontal cortex signaling classical signs of depression or the low-energy body that must be dragged about from room to room without a seeming will to even exist? If you’re anything like me, you’ve spent many an hour kicking the tires of this brain tickler.
For many years I assumed I was one of those unfortunates born with a vitamin Prozac deficiency. It was a conclusion backed up by, if not originating with, the lab coats who I ran to for answers. But what if my mood is actually based in my body? (As if the brain weren’t of the body, but that’s for another day.) What if my brain merely interprets an illness originating in the gut, for instance, as depression and is making up stories to back up its conclusion?
What if my food is making me “crazy”?
“The problem with researching the origins of stuff is all that space. Between ‘what was’ and the wishing of now: a sulking tunnel clear back to the trees (without a light switch in sight) and unexpected damp. It’s all those sightless years drenched in abandoned and almost-remembered moments. They pile against us like coral arms blooming in the air, bolstering our few, but dearly cherished and surely misremembered, certitudes. They pin us like butterflies on the spears of our gratitude.”
– Barney & Friends, “The Treasure of Rainbow Beard,” original air date April 14, 1992