“Problems cannot be solved at the same level of awareness that created them.” – Albert Einstein

I think I am an anti-blogger. 

 Most bloggers seem to need a hefty dose of angst in order to be productive.  When life gets happy, the posts slow, become shorter, and sometimes stop coming completely.   I am the opposite.  I am a joyful writer.  When I am happy, the words bubble up and flow out irrepressibly.  I like to write about wonder.  I like to write about beauty.  I like the iridescent rainbow moments before the bubble bursts.

Thankfully, I don’t get depressed often.

Considering the variety of abnormal psychological profiles in my immediate family, I escaped relatively unscathed.  While I have a reputation for a temper to match my haircolor, I also tend to release anger quickly, and my temperament has remained remarkably stable for most of my life.  I like life, and, with a brief three-year exception in my early twenties, it has liked me.

That three year exception was a dark, dark, place.  It is the only time I actually used anti-depressants (which failed miserably).  I don’t know whether or not to be grateful or chagrined, but in the end, the black mood had an identifiable cause;  after my third therapy session, my psychologist, in a moment of remarkable, and rather un-therapist-like candor, closed the door, looked at me piercingly and declared that there was nothing wrong with me that jettisoning that piece of psychotic baggage I called a boyfriend would not fix.  It took me another two years to figure out for myself that he was absolutely correct.  I dumped the boyfriend, left town, and never looked back.  The weight lifted immediately, and the sun came up the next day like it had been on sabbatical for the duration.

Even in the immediate aftermath of Katrina, while I was certainly grieving, I didn’t have the same hopeless feeling of the years I spent in the dark.  It was a period more of frustration and anger than depression.  I got up every day knowing what I had to do, even if it was driving me slowly insane with repetition.  I knew I was going to make it out of limbo, it was just the maddening waiting that preyed on my patience.  It was hair-tearing and gnashing of teeth, but it didn’t have the feeling of long slow death that I associate with depression.

I am standing on the edge of that abyss again, toeing the smoky edge.  And I have been reaching down into my soul for the light and it has eluded my grasping fingers, swirling like motes of shimmering dust in the light of an afternoon window, always just out of my reach.  Life has this way of pulling the rug out from under you, right at the time you think you have made it across the expanse.  It isn’t the disorientation of the chaos that gets you.  There’ s a strange kind of calm in crisis, when the need to simply react trumps the desire to fall apart.  You put out your hands to protect you, and you fall where life takes you.

It’s not the chaos of emergency itself, but the lingering aftermath that seeps the light out of you.  Not the disorientation, but the reorientation.  It’s the slow drudgery of cleaning the bloodstains from the walls and the carpets and assessing how the carnage has changed your life forever, and then looking up to find that you are now standing in room of a hundred doors all of them shadowed and sinister, and squinting through the dark to pick that one that will lead you back out.

Into the sun.

January 17th, 2008 at 11:55 am
4 Responses to “Looking for the light”
  1. 1
    OS Says:

    Thank you for this. You amaze me with your ability to paint the most eloquently perfect painting with the fewest, well chosen brush strokes.

    And what ever I might do . . . I would.

  2. 2
    Stephan Says:

    I went through a similar period in my late twenties. My mother, ever the practical country advice decided she was tired of it and informed me that I was the only person that could make me happy and it was time to reach down and pull myself up by the bootstraps because she certainly wasn’t going to do it. Think of it as a mental reset button. Put the garbage behind you and reload the OS, then you have a nice clean desktop with only a few doors to choose from.

    I know, easier said than done.

  3. 3
    Kat Says:

    Without the dark, the light doesn’t appear to be so bright.

    I can look back now and see that I’m just a short time removed from a depression I was unwilling to admit. I will treasure the recovery (because yes, that’s what it is when you heal some of those wounds) the rest of my life.

    I don’t know the circumstances you are under; our paths have crossed far less frequently than I like lately. But if there is anything I can do, any light that I may share or shine, please let me know.

  4. 4
    jodi Says:

    I’m not sure what to say, but I know I need to say something.

    Incredibley powerful post.