April 3, 2010

Hold on to Your Friends

I love this song by Morrissey. Because there just might come a time when you need some friends.

My English teacher during my senior year of high school told us that if we could count on one hand the number of true friends we had, then we were truly blessed. Even back then I knew she was right.

It's also true that times of extreme hardship in life make it very clear who one's friends are. As I've begun to face this depression I'm in, I've gotten some wonderful messages of hope and love from people in my life.

When I was writing my dissertation, I was hit with depression, and it's the most humbling thing I've ever experienced. People who haven't been through depression have no goddamn clue how paralyzing it is. People use the word "crippling" to talk about depression, and I found that to be exactly the right word. We always think that if people are just strong enough, they should be able to push through anything, and as a result, we get disgusted with ourselves for not being able to move through the depression. But that's bullshit. When you're *crippled*, when your legs are broken, it doesn't matter how strong they are. Being strong has fuck-all to do with getting through depression. We don't get through by being strong. We get through by healing, by not being crippled anymore, and that's not something we can hurry.

One of the worst things about depression, and god knows there are plenty of bad things about it, is how it feeds on itself. Because we're disappointed in ourselves for still being depressed, we feel worse, so we prolong the depression. So don't let yourself be disappointed. You are crippled, and there's nothing you can do until you have healed. Don't feel bad about that. You can't hurry healing.


I know you are in the middle of something unbelievably murky and painful right now. What you need to remember (mentally only if it can't get through emotionally) is that this stuff is not you. It's around you, it's affecting you, it's making you feel like less than the person you want to be, less than the person you are. But it is not you.

You are made up of so many wonderful things. The bright happy shiny sparkly rainbow-pooping unicorn things that make people laugh and helps you connect with strangers in an instant. That's who you are. I know it. Even if you can't quite see the end of the tunnel yet, it's there. I'm here for you until you are on the other side and while you're still in the tunnel. I'll keep pointing the light until you get annoyed and smack me with your lantern (my, aren't you well-outfitted in this little metaphor). You are still you.


If I've had any major (or not so major) epiphanies in the last couple of years, it's been finally understanding that lows are a normal and necessary part of the journey. For the longest time, I kept waiting for things to be right, to be better, and to stay that way. And I always felt terribly disappointed each time I encountered a bump in the road. I felt like it was a setback. But in reality, the bumps are inevitable, and they sometimes suck; but they are temporary. There are highs mixed in with the lows - sometimes as rewards for our hard work and efforts, and other times as fortunate windfalls. We've got to soak up all the strength and energy from those highs to endure the inevitable lows, which are also sometimes of our own doing, but sometimes just circumstantial. And when things suck so bad that we can't tell which is which, we're blessed to have people around to comfort us and tell us it'll be okay. It will, Fwend.

I love my friends. And I'd be lost without them.

Thanks for the continued messages of love and support as well as all the thoughts and virtual hugs. Lots of love to you all, because really, love's the only engine of survival.


phairhead said...

sometimes i think i'm a big fucking loser because i don't have scads of friends but upon reading yr post i think i should consider myself lucky

Myra said...

And we'd be lost without you.

Angie Eats Peace said...

What a great song.
I am glad you are getting so much well-deserved support.