Monday, August 21, 2006

Sadness

I've been reading a little this evening. . . Could someone tell me why there's so much depression floating around? I don't know, it seems like every time I turn around there's someone crying about nothing, or crying about everything, or crying because they can't remember when they last cried. Not me though, I just get teary at good songs, perfect moments with my kids, memories of you-know-who from you-know-when, and sometimes, chocolate. You heard me. At least I know why I'm teary, right?

Seriously. What is the matter with us? We're most of us thirty/forty-somethings, revelling in the confessed and visible bliss of parenting, some of us doing it solo, some not. Most of us wouldn't really change the actual circumstances of our lives for anything: we each love our spouse, kids, dog, etc. Sometimes one of us decides those people/pets are the problem and proceeds to change that--my mom refers to this as the "I hate myself so I'm leaving you" syndrome. Is that it? Are we all engaged in some level of self-hatred? Or has pop-culture seeped into even the most carefully guarded brains and nipped at our roots 'til we can't be satisfied with the beauty before us?

My vote (for at least one facet of the problem) is that we're living in a rapidly degrading environment (think zero entropy, look up the laws of thermodynamics--yes, I homeschool my kids, yes, we just talked about this last week, thank you M.), and as such, the available nutrients are seriously diminished. So you eat well. It's now more difficult than ever to get what you need out of a reasonable number of calories. Say you need CoQ10 (or one of the other supplements mentioned in the article)--got any grass fed bison in your back yard? No? Why not? Don't you know how important it is to ingest lots of CoQ10 to avoid heart problems? Did you know that CoQ10 can actually repair heart valves to the point that conventional prescriptions can be discarded and surgery be avoided? See my point? Don't feel bad if you don't, it's late, things are muddy in my brain...

Point being, we're suffering the effects of our surroundings. So if we are at such a disadvantage nutritionally, why wouldn't it show up in our brain chemistry? I take fish oil (and calcium--both known for their effect on brain chemistry), among other supplements. My kids do too. I notice a difference in my skin, my son's asthma and focus when we're all taking it regularly. Perhaps the collective ennui of my generation is based nutritionally, who knows. There are other reasons that spring to mind, but it's late, and I believe there was a certain TV show made just to address this. What was it? Oh yeah--Thirtysomething.

I believe, if you haven't seen it, the entire story could be summed up with, "I love my spouse and kids and pets, but... isn't there supposed to be something more?"

My opinion? No. There isn't. You make your great moments where you are or you don't have them at all. I don't believe the grass is greener on the other side of the fence no matter what you're trying to escape (obviously abuse and addiction are exempted). Erma Bombeck got it right: the grass is greener over the septic tank. Guess why.

Another oft-quoted apt saying: Wherever you go, there you are. My first thought in regard to this is that we (at large) would do well to take up meditation. The practice of sitting quietly with one's own self, waiting for the still, small voice is a discipline most of us shun. Someone is always needing something from the mamas of the world (certain papas too) and we are very, very good at placing ourselves and therefore, time spent seeking the face of God, dead last.

I find myself wondering how much of this malaise could be circumvented by consistently keeping a gratitude journal. I also find myself wondering how long it will take our silly society to get far enough over itself to admit that people who take antidepressants are not automatically marginalized as citizens. The facts certainly say otherwise: the bravery lies in admitting there's a problem and then doing something about it. That "something" varies from person to person, but one does not get points for suffering doggedly, perpetually, when help is within reach.

Well. Now I'm just rambling randomly. Alliteration alert! (Bad, bad pun. Smacking fingers...)

Please take this as you find it--the meandering thoughts of one tired mama who has had enough completely needless crap in the last thirteen months to suffice for a lifetime. If you are suffering (sobbing, even), please don't. Go see your doctor. Ask for thyroid and iron checks, a cholesterol panel. Speak honestly about what you really feel and think, then take his or her advice and follow through. Unless you've found a dolt--but you're smart, you'll know what you need to do and if you don't know, ask the people who love you most. They'd give anything to have you be okay and they will help you get where you need to go. Take meds if you need to, baths if you like 'em, walk or bike or kick soccer balls 'til you're sore. Exercise often corrects brain chemistry magnificently. Find people who need hugging and hug them. Extending empathy and compassion often enlarges even badly broken hearts. Do keep a gratitude journal, do write down all sorts of thoughts. Vent on paper and to friends. But do not mistake your internal, nameless pain for a personal failing.

Be well. Be at peace. Do not accept the mantel of stigma that has too long accompanied pervasive sadness in life. Again, be well. Be at peace. (And if you need further encouragement, read up on the neurobiology of depression. Would you tell a diabetic to go eat some doughnuts? No? Okay then.)

Breeeeeeathe. There you go.

1 comment:

Scarlett from TWTM said...

Lovely. Thank you.