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Posts Tagged ‘depression’

With my posts here, I attempt to include (or find) at least a smidgen of hope or goodness, even when the topic is difficult or life gets me under its boot. Lately, this has been a challenge. (OK, it’s been a challenge for at least a couple of years, but this year has presented me with exceptional challenges.)

At times, the best I can do is show you my distress, thinking that (if nothing else) readers may empathize and see that they’re not alone in their own near-despair.

This doesn’t always work. Not for me, and undoubtedly not for you.

In such times, I need outside help to encourage me to keep treading water. For this help, I keep a small list of “inspirers”—so much more than an “influencer,” whose goal is merely to be seen and sell stuff, an “inspirer” is someone who rejuvenates my desire to keep breathing, just by being who they are.

I limit my list* to about three names and I pull them from realms such as education, art, science, and (surprisingly) even politics. To make it on the list, the sole requirement is that, by the person’s actions and attitudes, I find myself feeling grateful to be alive at the same time as they.

Think about that for a second. Who, in your experience, makes you glad you’re alive to experience their presence, even if you have no real connection? Who—famous or not—makes you feel good about being alive? Who, when you’re faced with the tragedies and brutalities and existential crises that we all face these days, can make you stop, reflect, and perhaps say, “Yeah, life sucks, but at least we’ve got them.” Pick three names from all the teachers, relations, friends, public figures, celebrities, activists, and others you know or know of; who makes you glad that you’re alive?

Admittedly, I don’t look too deeply into who these “inspirers” are on a personal level. We’re all humans and, thus, flawed in myriad ways. If you look for perfection you will be disappointed. And so, the list changes over time, as people rise and recede from public view, and as their activities move from the inspirational to the merely admirable.

But having these names, keeping them near to mind, has helped me through darker days, so if this rings any bells for you, give it a shot. Or, if you already have a few names you keep close by for this purpose, please share who they are and why, as there are many people worthy of this title, and we can’t know of them all.

k

*For the record, my current list of three “inspirers” is:

  • Sir David Attenborough
    • The man’s love of the intricacies of the natural world is unbelievably infectious, like “sense-of-wonder measles,” and I catch it each time I see one of his productions.
  • Lady Gaga
    • I don’t listen to her music (generally) but every time I see her—in interview or speaking at some event—her ineffable kindness and love for others fills me with joy and gratitude.
  • Jon Batiste
    • This gentle man exudes an incredible vibe of peace and love and acceptance and honesty; he’s hard to resist, and I choose not to make the attempt.

–k

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I am made mute,
the words struck from my mouth
by the unfathomable.

The world’s gyre spins,
casting lucid reason
into the dizzy vortex.

We cannot see,
having doused the light
for what it might reveal.

Fear is our all,
leading from temperate sense
to blistering fireworks.

Answers are lost,
along with their questions
as knowledge becomes foe.

Bereft, I reel,
accompanied by emptied thoughts
about the stolen same.

Tears are useless,
for I am wept out
and the world is a sponge.

I long for sleep,
for dreams untroubled by dark terrors,
a retreat from what I cannot control.

But wishes fail,
and the tragedy of this circus
continues unceasing.

So I hold tight,
cherishing bits of trust
and blink at each morning’s sun.

k

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My father was a distinctly midcentury man.

He was a man of tract homes and manual transmissions, cigarettes and pipe tobacco, straw hats and huaraches, sand dunes and surf fishing, Frank Sinatra and Mel Tormé, pancakes with his kids on Saturday morning and roasted meats with his dad at the table on Sunday nights.  He was a dry martini/red wine with ice kind of guy: uncomplicated, elemental, rustic, reserved.

And yet, in his final decade, I found him nearly indecipherable. (more…)

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Dragons AheadNails clicking on the hardwoods, he pads toward my dawn-chilled room. I see his greyed muzzle poke around the open doorway, black nose wriggling. His old limbs are stiff, but he’s always been like that; he was never young. Churchill’s Black Dog was never a pup, never a young whelp filled with enthusiasm and love of life. He’s always been a grizzled, aged hound, waiting out his final days in lassitude and despair.

He snuffles.

Tottering in, he looks for a sunny spot but finds none in my shadowed den. Thick through the middle, callouses on his joints, his coat is dull with dust and dander and his droopy eyes are rheumy and silvered with cataracts.  He stumps over to the corner, turns two inelegant circles ’round his tail, and clumps down in a heap.

He sighs. (more…)

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The Red Knight, Parry’s nemesis in The Fisher King

I got very angry yesterday, after hearing the news of Robin Williams’ death, but I wasn’t angry with him. I was angry with two other people.

The first person I was angry with was an acquaintance who berated Williams for his suicide, calling him selfish and weak. Thankfully, many came to Williams’ defense, chastising this person for both his insensitivity and his ignorance.

The other person I was angry with was myself, because there was a time when I would have said something similar. (more…)

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