Monday, August 18, 2008

Building Strength

Thanks to all those who expressed their concern about my emotional health. I'm slowly gaining strength and getting back to full speed. Periodically I have these bouts of depression and the most terrifying facet to them is that I hardly ever know when they will arrive, nor how long they will last. Plath talked about the descent of the Bell Jar as a metaphor for the onset of depression, and it's an apt description. I would add that depression feels like walking around in a weighted suit, which makes walking, functioning, and doing an added challenge. In a depressive state, life is a marathon race run uphill and it takes four times the effort just to get the minimum done.

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I saw Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind again over the weekend. One of my favorite movies, it explores the duality inherent in human contact, particularly as pertains to intimate relationships with close friends or lovers. As social creatures, we crave interaction with other people, and the movie explores the idea that even those trying times of turmoil are found in equal quantity and proportion to the good--the good of sharing space with another person. As the film itself concludes, the passage of time heals us; we remember the positive moments alone in the end, as our grieving turns to acceptance.

In our increasingly twenty-first century desire to make the world anew and micromanage every detail of our lives, I have no doubt, if such a thing existed, many of us would resort to a treatment that effectively wiped away the pain of a breakup or friendship that ended badly. However, doing so would be a grave disservice not just to us but to the rest of the world. We cannot appreciate the best experiences without the knowledge of the inevitable rough patches. That we have somehow led ourselves to believe that the latest invention, in whatever form it comprises, could circumvent the process of socialization in all of its awful, wonderful shades of gray stunts our growth and development as whole people, or at least people who seek a strong sense of grounding.

2 comments:

Liberality said...

"We cannot appreciate the best experiences without the knowledge of the inevitable rough patches."

So true, dude, so very true.

P. E. Nolan said...

You can learn a lot about the connection between human beings during those rough patches. In this 21st Century life where everyone seems to think a cell phone and a page on MyFace mean you're experiencing real human connections, reaching across the chasms that divide us takes the kind of courage we often only find once we've been through the proverbial dark night.

And once you've been depressed enough times, you kind of figure out when it's coming and how long it will last. It's a drag, but you get used to it. Hell - with a little practice you get to where you're able to head it off at the pass.