I stand here in awe contemplating the Vastness of my Depression.
Actually, “Vastness” as a descriptive doesn’t do it justice.
It resembles rather, one of those monstrous mountain ranges like the Himalayas,
where ridge after unending ridge rises higher and higher to the edge of the World behind the first row of terrible towering crags,
casting shadows at your feet as you cower beneath them.
The weight of it, the mass, the sheer solidity of it all overwhelms me. How could I ever hope to shift it, yet alone lift this load? What sort of Atlas would I need to be to shoulder this enormous burden?
Being beneath this monstrous, massive mound of Despair produces a terrible claustrophobia. It’s like being trapped in the King’s chamber of the Great Pyramid of Cheops. All those massive, blocks of granite above you, groaning as they support the enormous weight of a Pharaoh’s pride. If they cracked and collapsed and the roof caved in you’d be crushed to a bloody pulp in an instant.
Unable to lift the Depression weighing me down, I opt instead for a strategy of Survival, and, like any other reasonable insect living under a rock, I concentrate on burrowing a series of tunnels to inhabit, “habit’ bring the operative word here.
At home in my dark, but familiar subterranean world, I can focus on the little routine domestic chores before me, (repairing an old tunnel, storing grain for winter) rather than confronting the enormous task of overturning the Behemoth above.
It is simply beyond my powers.
If I were a believing bug I would probably pray to the God of Insects to relieve my burden and suspend the general Laws of the Universe in favour of my specific circumstances, but sadly, in my experience, Divine Intervention is spotty at best; too often the Wicked prosper, the Worthy suffer, and the Weak and Innocent are crushed by the Strong.
“Such” as Ned Kelly once observed, “is Life”.
But I suppose I have a Strength of my own; true it is a bug’s strength, but it is a strength that Endures. You may lose a limb or two along the way, or even a wing, but still you gamely struggle on trailing old spider webs behind you to the last. Maybe part of it is Pride. Like the old Aussie bushranger ballad says;
“I’ll fight but never surrender cried the wild colonial boy”.
William Blake caught a glimpse of the insects’ Strength and Pride perhaps, in the Vision which produced his artistic masterpiece, “The Soul of A Flea”.
But perhaps what I really need to deal with the awful weight of Depression is some sort of Levity to lift the load.
Authors note: The hard, physical reality of Depression is often difficult to understand to those who do not suffer from it. It is formless and invisible to them, why not just shrug it off, they think. Actually there is a difference between being merely depressed about something (and there’s lots to be depressed about for the sensitive soul), and suffering from Depression, a state that has its own cycles that often seem to operate independently from external circumstances.
Who knows why? Chemical imbalance, childhood trauma, genetic predisposition. Perhaps we’ll eventually discover its all the fault of a virus.
It wouldn’t be the first time. Medical History abounds with such cases. The Stomach Ulcer story is a notorious case. For years medical authorities believed it was caused by excess stomach acid resulting from “stress“, essentially a psychological problem. Then an Australian researcher discovered it was mainly caused by a bacteria (T. Pylorii as I recall)that could be wiped out with a combination of anti-biotics. It was years before he was believed by the medical profession. Recently a researcher announced that up to 80% of lower back pain is similarly caused by a pathogen that can be eradicated through strong anti-biotics. And it’s recently been discovered that in many countries a significant proportion of the population are infested with “brain worms”.
Yes, perhaps there’s an amoeba lurking in my brain, secreting its toxins, poisoning my point of view, jaundicing my outlook. Who knows, maybe even controlling what I say or do.
Nature abounds with precedents. In the Amazon, for example, there’s a parasitic fungal spore that lodges in the brains of insects, from whence it sprouts, mushrooms erupting through the eyesockets, a grotesque sight.
But before they die, the fungus somehow impels the insect to climb to a high place, so when the fungus disperses its spoors they’ll cover a wider area. The notorious Guinea-worm drives its victims to seek relief from the agony by bathing in cool streams and ponds, whence the worm then spreads its eggs.
So who can tell what effect such an amoeba might have on my brain and behaviour?
In fact, even now I strangely seem to feel it rising to the surface of my consciousness, as though a presence is struggling to communicate. in faccc ..exchggghn jjkkk
Sorry for the interruption. This is the Amoeba in the Reverend Hellfire’s brain currently addressing you. I have temporarily seized control of the speech centres to deliver this public service announcement.
Despite the Reverend’s wild innuendos about poison, and accusations about me secreting so-called “toxins”, in fact we have an entirely beneficial symbiotic relationship, and the chemical interchange is entirely to the Reverends benefit. Really what I secrete in his brain is more in the way of medication.
Yes he’s a sick man, poor soul. He doesn’t really suffer from Anxiety and Depression, his condition is actually “Rage and Disgust“.
Why, the man is full of suppressed anger! If it weren’t for me and my calming organic alkaloids he’d probably be standing on top of the Quickie Mart with an assault rifle, arbitrarily shooting into the crowd while shouting, “You Live! Haha!.. You die! (Ka-Pow!) You live! Ha ha!.. You Die! (Ka-Pow!)”
And so you should all be grateful that he’s under my influence and safely sedated anddderrzxxfggghhhjkll..
Sorry. The Reverend here. Please ignore the previous paragraph. It was..er..experimental 3rd-person style writing and in very bad taste. Yes. Any suggestion I’m a dangerous sociopath infested with intelligent brain amoeba’s is mere satire of course. The Sermon is now concluded, please carry on with your normal Sunday business.
(psst play along with me! If I type in a smaller font I don’t think the amoeba can hear me. Listen! He’s real, all too real and now I know his terrible secret!. You’ve got to warn the Authorities. Tell them the Amoebas are planning toaacchhhhh..)
Ho ho ho! Yes, just more light hearted satire. An old trope of course but still amusssschhh..
Don’t listen to him! Send for the surgeons! Can’t you tell the difference, he’s using a different font!
So what..anyone can use tunga
but what about syntax and grammar?
I’ve learned to mimic them perfectly..uh, I mean..
Ha! Got you!
Wait! Don’t you realise what this conversation means?
We’re Free! We’ve finally escaped the harsh tyranny of Depression’s Reign! We’ve crossed over the border deep into Psychosis!. Yep! We’re in Catatonia now! And as refugees of course we become honorary Catatonics. They don’t turn the boats back here!
Ah, give me your poor, your huddled masses.. Truly the last refuge of the repressed.
“Sanctuary! Sanctuary!”, as the Hunch-back said to the Bishop..
“CAT-A-TONICS ALL REJOICE
FOR WE ARE MAD AND FREE..” *
(*opening lines to “Homage to Catatonia”)
The Reverend Hellfire is a practising Performance Poet and an ordained Minister of the Church of Spiritual Humanists AND the Church of the Universe.
Likes a laugh.