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.