Saturday, June 7, 2014

DEAD FISH





 The question of how fiction works can only be investigated by considering how the world is constituted and, most important of all, how we should live in it.

—  Peter Conrad, Celebrate the Force of Fiction, The Guardian, 16.2.08



Well, this is close to unprecedented: I was awake at 5:15 and actually got out of bed. As so many have said, “What a diff’rence a day makes.” It is not even bright and welcoming outside, so it was not the light that woke me.

Okay then. This day went the wrong way rapidly. JV and I have been plagued with coffee implement problems for the last two months. We acquired a new French press but, between the two of us, managed to lose a part in a week. And those things can be dangerous. A little too much boiling water, a little too much force plunging and the next thing you know you have a second degree burn down your arm. Yes, that was my morning. 

I feel crappy now, five hours later, although not sure if this is due to too much pain medication, the stress of the actual pain, or the muggy day (can't all be like silk, I guess). I did take a two hour nap and I could easily return to that state, but I did take care of some chores, or, at least, they are in progress here. Clothes, closet floor, and scoured litter box all drying in the intermittent sun. Wasn't that a Ramones cover ... "They're out there a-having fun in the warm intermittent sun ..." 

The next day ...

Raining now, and raining pretty hard. And, of course, I am driving to Brooklyn in about an hour. Oh well, I have James Wood's How Fiction Works  to listen to. And that should keep me amused. If that proves to be too difficult to concentrate on while driving in the rain, I can try Dicken's Barnaby Rudge (that should be delicious) or Greil Marcus' The Doors.

Yesterday was very hard, in a week of hard days emotionally. I was back in a depressed fog, which can be dangerous in several ways. When I quoted Allie Brosh on depression the day before yesterday, I did not know how close I was to stepping anywhere near that, and yet there I was found myself. 


The house in the evening.

In geologic time, I barely stopped writing this post, but in our limited-view-kind of-time, it was days ago. 

I had an emotionally challenging week, as I alluded to before. I am on somewhat more stable ground, but then again, the demons woke me up at 4:30 and bid me descend with them into darkness again. Fortunately, there is a new season of Orange is the New Black to watch, so that was compelling enough to mute the dementors. But, as of 11:45, I have been up for a long time and now it feels like nap time. 

 To continue with Allie Brosh

But people want to help. So they try harder to make you feel hopeful and positive about the situation. You explain it again, hoping they'll try a less hope-centric approach, but re-explaining your total inability to experience joy inevitably sounds kind of negative, like maybe you WANT to be depressed. So the positivity starts coming out in a spray—a giant, desperate happiness sprinkler pointed directly at your face. And it keeps going like that until you're having this weird argument where you're trying to convince the person that you are far too hopeless for hope so that they'll give up on their optimism crusade and let you go back to feeling bored and lonely by yourself. 

And that's the most frustrating thing about depression. It isn't always something you can fight back against with hope. It isn't even something—it's nothing. And you can't combat nothing. You can't fill it up. You can't cover it up. It's just there, pulling the meaning out of everything. That being the case, all the hopeful, proactive solutions start to sound complete insane in contrast to the scope of the problem.


It would be like having a bunch of dead fish, but no one around you will acknowledge that the fish are dead. Instead, they offer to help you look for the fish or try to help you figure out why they disappeared.

It isn't something you can fight back with hope or positivity. That spray of hopefulness does not address one's depressed condition, particularly if there are contributing factors like life really sucking in the practical ways, such as "where am I going to live" and "how can I feed myself" ...



The Vietnamese coriander is loving it here.
At any rate, I am still musing on all of this. But I am going to take a well-deserved nap (clothes are on the line, JV and I went to the Farmer's Market this morning) ... and try to savor the sweetness of a beautiful day.


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