Archive for the ‘Despair’ Category

“It sure is quiet, Sarge.”

“Yeah, TOO quiet. I don’t like it.”

Suddenly, the air around them fills with the sounds of gunfire, mortars, hand grenades, and cries of “BANZAI! BANZAI!” as another night begins on Guadalcanal, Iwo Jima, or any one of a dozen islands that dot the Pacific Ocean.

That’s Just How it Feels Some Days

My doctor adjusted my medications last month. It’s a delicate dance we share a few times every two or three years. Sometimes we’ll increase one dosage and reduce another; sometimes we’ll add something new until everything is in balance once again.

But once everything is moving along swimmingly, once things start to hum and purr, that’s when I begin to worry.

That’s when the dark side of my mind whispers, “It sure is quiet, Sarge.”

When I’m doing well, I almost forget that this blog exists. That’s why I haven’t posted in a long time. But when the shadows start to roll in, I know it’s time to start writing again.

Not that I haven’t been writing: this isn’t my only blog, nor is it my only writing project. But more than any other writing project, this is my therapy.

Not therapy in the sense of “Oh, woe is me! Pity me and give me your sympathy! Come join my pity party!” Nope, I’m just not that kind of girl. Instead, I write to clear my head, and a little voice whispering in my ear is saying, “You just might be helping someone else. Maybe one of your readers is facing similar problems, and reading about how you’re meeting yours encourages them to face their own issues.”

I decided many years ago that if I can reach just one person, if I can convince a single soul to keep going, not stopping, and not giving up hope, then I would consider that my own life hasn’t been wasted.

Thanks for reading.

And I Still Don’t Know

Sometimes my darkest moments give me my greatest ideas. But because the Dementors have taken hold of my spirit, I can’t act on those ideas right away.

So I do the next best thing: I write myself a note with the basic theme of the idea. Later, when the sun returns and dissipates the fog of depression, I can review my notes and decide if any of them are worth exploring further.

This is One of Those Ideas

I’m 68 years old; in 5 months I’ll be 69. It will be time once more for me to write a big fat 0 (zero) after my age. The eternal Footman will be one step closer to holding my coat.

What have I got to show for my life? For what will I be remembered by future generations of my family?

Will I be remembered at all?

Will they remember that I was a loving parent who adored her children and grandchildren? That the loss of a beloved pet some 35 years ago even today haunts me?

Or will they curse my name for the accursed genetic heritage with which I have bequeathed — nay, cursed — them?

For that’s the one constant in my bloodline: chronic depression.

And Yet…

My daughters and my grandsons are my legacy, and my inspiration. I am Transgender, and so is my grandson. It is for them that I continue to live, continue to believe that without them I would have long since yielded to The Big Sleep.

Because there are statistics that tell me that children of suicides are far more likely to kill themselves.

And I will not do that to my girls.

“Thus conscience does make cowards of us all.” Hamlet, Act III, Scene i.

If you’ve never felt the cold winds of Depression (with a capital D) blow over you, then you can’t understand that “[y]ou don’t have one problem or problems you are sad about, there is only sadness.” (Source)

And I’m also comforted by something I read on the internet years ago:

So nanny, nanny, boo-boo! I am Officially Exempt™ from having to grow up. And to celebrate, I might just go out and order a Happy Meal!

And here’s why: https://bit.ly/2S9lXwW

Donald Trump, in his eternal ass-licking of the fascist Evangelical Christian movement, seeks to deny my existence. Not content with stripping minorities of their civil rights, he is now attempting to define me out of existence.

What next? Is he going to round us up and put us in ghettoes, as the Nazis did in the 1930s and ‘40s? Or maybe the same detention facilities concentration camps he’s using to house immigrant children?

People have been saying for years that “it can’t happen here.” But it is happening here, and has been, ever since the Great Pumpkin (aka Trumplethinskin) and his cronies stole the election with the help of Russia.

Trump wasn’t elected: he was Putin office.

Who’s next? Atheists? Gays and lesbians? Minority races? And even “minority races” is a joke, since collectively they outnumber the so-called White majority.

I’m so angry right now that I have to save this as a draft and walk away until I can think more clearly.


Much Later

The news keeps getting worse. With the Rethuglican party firmly in control of the Senate, it’s probably going to sanction these new policies. And since they’ve managed to stack the deck in their favor on the Supreme Court, any legal challenges to these unconstitutional policies will also be denied, even the the Constitution plainly states in Article 14:

All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

I’m pretty sure that denying people their civil rights by executive dictatorial decree does not constitute “due process,” but I could be wrong. After all, I’m no lawyer: my parents preferred that I pursue an honest career instead.

But it Ain’t Over ‘til it’s Over

As a wise man once said. Perhaps this latest indignity will wake up the sleeping masses and fire them with sufficient zeal to overturn this dictatorship.

But I doubt it. Most likely they’ll just go back to Netflix & Chill.

This is going to piss off a lot of readers, but I don’t care. The people it will piss off are the ones who have already pissed me off by their uneducated, ignorant claim in the first place.

The first thing I’m going to say that will piss them off is this:

If you have never been plagued by depression, or never watched a loved one crippled by this disease, kindly shut the fuck up.

I can’t state this enough. You have no business pontificating on a subject about which you know nothing. And by making your statement, all I hear is, “I don’t know what I’m talking about, but I’m going to give you my opinion anyway, because I know more about it than you do.”

I hate to burst your bubble, but here’s an uncomfortable truth: People with depression don’t want to die!

People with depression don’t want to die!

Here’s the thing: on both occasions I tried suicide, it wasn’t because I wanted to die; I simply wanted the pain to stop. I was in a place where I could no longer think rationally. After all, do you really think that if I could see any other solution I wouldn’t have chosen it instead?

And that, dear friends and critics, is the difference between my depression and your “sanity:” the inability to think clearly and rationally. Did I really want to die? Did I consider how my death would affect my family? My friends?

Of course I didn’t: I was so overwhelmed by my depression and its pain and agony that I was incapable of any thought at all, much less rational thought.

Was I a coward? Or was I in a state where suicide was my only rational choice?

Do you see the contradiction here? That I was in such pain that I was incapable of clear, rational thought that to me, suicide seemed to be the only rational solution.

Unless you’ve been there, you won’t understand. And being there, you don’t see any other solution. Which is why depression can so often be a fatal disease.

So before you call suicide “Cowardly,” or “The easy way out,” or any other stupid thing, stop and think: what would you do if you saw no other way out of a soul-deadening, horrifying life of agony, with no hope of improvement?

One more thing: there’s a reason J. K. Rowling modeled the Dementors on her own depression.


‘“But I don’t want to go among mad people,” Alice remarked. “Oh, you can’t help that,” said the Cat: “we’re all mad here. I’m mad. You’re mad.”’—Lewis Carroll, “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland”

One of the greatest coping skills I learned after yet another failed suicide attempt (have you ever had a tube inserted in your nose and snaked down to your stomach as part of a gastric lavage?) was something I realized when my therapist told me: “Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem.”

The realization—or rather, the skill—was so simple I was amazed that I hadn’t thought of it before was this: when things get so dark that I start to consider simply ending it all, I put on my headphones, fire up iTunes on my laptop, and put George Harrison on a loop. All Things Must Pass is my mantra. I listen to it over and over again until finally, I believe it.

The other realization changed my entire outlook on life in general and my lifelong chronic depression. This time it was something I read:

The question we should be asking is not “What’s wrong with you?” Rather, we should be asking “What happened to you?”

That changed my perspective from “What did I do to deserve this?” to “What caused this to happen to me?” And even then, it took a much longer time to drop the “to me” and stop looking at myself as a victim.

I am not a “victim of depression;” I am a survivor. I now approach this struggle in much the same way practitioners of Aikido approach their opponents: find your enemy’s strength—in this case, his energy—and turn it against him.

I’ve spent years discovering my enemy’s strengths. Knowing them, I have learned how to turn them against what Churchill called his “black dog,” and what Rowling put a face to with the Dementors.

The result? Between those two realizations, new medications, and therapy, it’s been over 3 years since my last suicide attempt, and 2 years since I’ve had even so much as a thought of harming myself.

We may be, as the Cheshire Cat claims, “all mad here.” But that’s no reason we can’t fight back. That’s no reason we can’t be mental health ninjas.


Do you suffer from depression? Do you have thoughts of self-harm? Of suicide? You can call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1–800–273–8255. Even though I’m on the mend, I still keep the number on speed dial.