Depression and Fire

Depression burns.  Have you ever looked at somebody was who was zoning out?  Seen a friend or relative completely out of touch?  Been around someone who just wasn’t quite “there,” quite “with it,” or quite lucid?  Ever feel like you’re dealing with somebody in the twilight of his day, and you’ve seen this for a week, maybe two, maybe longer?

Maybe that someone has been you.  Have you sat alone in a darkened room, your face all angles and facets, rigid lines replacing the dimples where your smile should go?

Image

Depression stuns.  It burns.  It rattles the mind.  It takes the very thing that makes you you and turns it into a feral swamp.  Depression makes you empty, dry, fatigued, angry, and nervous.  Your thoughts are scattered around your brain like seeds on rocky earth.  You have no focus, no energy, and no reliable or rational thoughts.  Strangely enough, you’re probably not sad.  But you do hurt.

It hurts bad, doesn’t it?

Depression and its in-bred cousin, anxiety, take their toll on you physically, causing joint pain, muscle aches, frightening chest tightness, dull headaches, throbbing behind the eyes, sleep loss, and makes your ears feel like they’re stopped up.

The author William Styron said depression was the worst possible name for this disorder.  Paraphrasing him, “You’re not depressed, you’re mad.”

Depression is a madness

The novel I wrote back in 1999 addresses these issues through the protagonist, Dylan Delaney, and his would-be lover, Zelda Wilcox. I drew upon personal experience to help flesh out Dylan’s character so my readers might gain greater insight into the day-to-day agony of this disease.  While the novel is no longer available in print, I have published it for the Kindle.  And it is available here –> Fire Always Burns Uphill <– for only 99 cents.

If you’re curious about the plot, it’s an adventure and a love story

with sex

and quite a bit of humor, set against the backdrop of a mountain canyon.  I’ve also had curious reactions to the two main characters; men seem to prefer Zelda, while women seem to hate her.  I’d be curious to hear your reaction.

But more importantly, the novel is my attempt to socialize the anguish of depression, anxiety, ADHD, and panic attacks.  If I’m able to convince just one person that these illnesses are not character flaws, then the novel has been a success.  Millions of people suffer; none of them is not worthless, lazy, cowardly, faithless, or weird.

The stigma of mental illness haunts all of us, and the results can tear family and friends apart.  A word of advice before I let you go today:

  • First, if you know someone suffering, get medical attention.
  • Second, do not ever tell him or her to “snap out of it” or “chill out.”  Doing so is the moral equivalent of offering a diabetic a milkshake.

Thanks for listening.  Back to science fiction, fantasy and humor next time, I promise.

Until then, peace be with you.

Keith

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4 thoughts on “Depression and Fire

    1. No doubt about it. Humor and horror, strangely enough, will both help episodes of depression. And so will free writing, at least for me. It doesn’t have to be humor, although I do enjoy that form of writing more than any other. Thank you for reading, an I’m sorry to hear you’ve had to deal with this yourself.

    1. Writers are compelled to look for knowledge/information regardless of where its source. One or two generations ago you would’ve probably spent hours on end in libraries.

      Having said that, I don’t think writers can be successful unless they also get out and see the world. The best job I ever had was a dirty, grimy summer spent organizing auto parts for a car dealership.

      Navigating the two, time on the Internet and the real world, can be a challenge at first, but it’s well worth achieving that balance. IMHO.

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