Tuesday, January 26, 2010


I know that in the real world, fighting physical battles only perpetuates the cycle of violence. It never occurred to me that the same holds true with one's interior world.

So, in this spirit, I'm calling a truce with my battle with depression and pain. The more I fight, the more tired I become. The more tired I become, the more pain I'm in. An endless cycle indeed.

We are taught that we must fight. We must rid ourselves of pain. There must be something that will alleviate it - we must find that thing, that key, that drug, that diet regimen, whatever it may be. If not, we're complacent.

Today my GP told me, with tears in her eyes, that I'm more depressed than I realize. She asked me to seek more help. She said that my pronouncements that I'm coping were inaccurate. She could see right through them. She brought up my chart on the computer screen and asked me to look at it and ask myself if this was a picture of a person who was doing fine. I know I'm in poor shape, but what I saw was disturbing.

I've said I'm all over the map, but seeing it in black and white was a shock. Seeing a doctor visibly upset with frustration when I'm such a "good patient", an intelligent person, and someone who doesn't expect others to fix me, well, it was eye-opening. Tears streamed down my face. I tried not to feel ashamed.

The lady doth protest too much that she is not depressed. Maybe my depression doesn't present itself in the "normal fashion." Yes, I'm able to enjoy myself. But, I'm also half out of my mind on some days and have suicidal thoughts. Just so you are not scared by my saying this, I want to be clear: I will not act on these thoughts. They pass like clouds. On some days the clouds hang around for a while, and on others, they pass quickly. I wait.

I had some books waiting for me at the library, one called "Living Beyond Your Pain - Using acceptance and commitment therapy to ease chronic pain." I had forgotten I'd ordered it. I've read a few pages and already I feel a lessening of the tension in my body. The book states that it is not another strategy for reducing pain. It's premise that seeking pain reduction is a trap - the harder we fight, the more we suffer.

I'm slowing waking up to what I already know. Why am I telling you this? Because I know that others suffer, too. I plan on overcoming my suffering. My pain? It's never gone away, so why should expect it ever will? I have still not learned to live with it well. I hope that by sharing my journey with you, with brutal honesty, that I can help one person. If that is all, that is enough.

I've laid down every weapon in my arsenal today. I give in. I give up. I surrender. I'm waving the white flag. See it? Okay, body, I'm listening to what you're trying to tell me. It's time we had some peace talks.

Painting note: Cy Twombly "Leda and the Swan" 1963
The myth has nothing to do with why I posted this. Cy Twombly's work speaks to me deeply, in ways I can't explain. I have often wondered what his intent is, but I don't want to know.

No comments: