Monday, June 16, 2008

Hope and despair

Hope and Despair
Today, and for the past several days, I've been struggling with depression. I hate to admit to it, because depression is something with which I have struggled off and on for many years. To openly admit that, once again, I'm fighting it, is to accept the reality that I haven't made much (if any) progress.

Many people I know have first hand knowledge of depression: its symptoms, its causes, the way it affects all aspects of one's life. When one is depressed, even moments of levity and happiness are pervaded by gloom and hopelessness. It is as if a heavy anchor is chained to one's soul, weighing it down, preventing it from soaring.

The causes for depression are many. There are the external, tangible causes like sorrowful events or the failures and defeats that one experiences in life. Everyone knows about those. But clinical depression is also caused by a chemical imbalance in one's brain: insufficient production of serotonin and norepinephrine.

I've also heard depression defined as being "anger that one does not believe one has a right to feel."

This definition has the ring of truth to me. I know that I have been angry for many long years now. I'm angry at the state of the world; in particular, with the short-sightedness and ignorance that led to the Iraq war and the current food and fuel crises. I'm angry and resentful toward authority in general, and in particular toward people who imagine they have authority over me. I'm angry at myself.

One friend of mine recently commented that he, too, was experiencing depression. He said that he was angry and that he felt helpless to address the issues that made him angry and that that helplessness led to his depression. That made sense, too.

I'm also anxious about the future. When I imagine life in the not-too-distant future I'm filled with dread. Gasoline shortages, sky-rocketing food prices, unemployment, war; all of these specters loom large in my mind.

Hope, I'm afraid, is a rare commodity, especially in the face of the ignorance and apathy of so many people.

I know this is a downer of a post. I'm writing it off the top of my head and from the heart...from my sad, burdened heart. But be assured, dear reader, whoever you are, that, although at this moment I'm having trouble finding hope, despair is never an option. It's my duty to keep searching for hope...even as the house burns down around all of us.



Anonymous said...

Are you sure you're not confusing depression with guilt?

Ridwan said...

Dade I wish you strength brother. You are not alone in feeling the despair of now.

And it has been a long time in coming. So much of what we believed in and worked towards seems so fragile.

I can relate to what eclectic dilettante is saying. I think a lot of folks everywhere can.

This is the downside of globalization. This is the outcome of the fears of a connected world.

We are not exempt as food prices skyrocket and jobs move so fast that many are caught trying to find stable in markets that can't promise stability let alone health care.

I find some comfort in the realization that all of life is a mere construction.

Life can, therefore, be reconstructed. This is not the end but the beginning of going beyond what is/was not working.

I know it won't be easy. And it won't just come easily.

But there is need for a deeper conviction to overturn the structures that are not working.

Primary among those is the nation-state as it stands now.

We need to live in a world that is not carved into zones of life, death, and privilege.

I harbour no illusions. We are far from walking away from the dysfunctions of state, nation, and nationalism.

But if we are to reconstruct a more viable reality there will be a need to discard that which defines our very predicament now.

Peace brother Dade.

Dan Binmore said...

Interesting Dade, you have a different depression than mine. Mine has no anger, mine just has misery and no hope. The anchor is there, though.
As for the way things are going, if they get twice as bad, they might be as bad as the seventies...

Shus li said...

Ugh, I hate depression. I'm sorry you're going through it.

"This too shall pass...."


Eclectic Dilettante said...

(edited for TMI)

I know what you mean. There's so much really ugly crap going on that it's hard to take. The more I look into global affairs, the more heneious stuff I find. Main stream media doesn't cover the smallest fraction of it.

I too am afraid to death my money will become worthless. I too am afraid that heating costs this coming winter will force me to live in a balmy 55 (down from 65)and light my home with a candelabra. I too am afraid of subsisting on Spam and little else.

Maybe it's time to find some inexpensive, guilt free amusement and forget about world affairs. If only for a little while.