Aug 6, 2007
I've been depressed, so I have a guest blogger in the house this evening to talk it through with a philosophical and DRUNK edge. Comic Blogger, eric, say hello.
eric: Hi. Having been laid off, depression has come to mean many things to me. Namely...
Nothing new to read with some sloppy poops.
BoL: Oh, we're jumping right in? Cool. Comparisons. I equate depression to a series of horse rides for an unhappy child. No one wants it, but, at this age, everyone thinks it's good for us. Character building.
eric: They only think that because we've purported to be "writers". Its like when you're 8 and you tell a relative you're into ThunderCats, then you're 17 and then that same relative is sending you a Hot Topic lunchbox and asking what you put in it these days. But at THIS age all I can say is that I've filled that tin with missed opportunities and unmet promises. What's in yours?
BoL: I've filled that tin with taco jokes and rejection letters. Or, more correctly, my laundry list of failure. Essentially, I think depression stems less from a series of failures than the quandary of expectation. Passive-aggressively, this has been a blog dedicated to a mind obsessed with depression. I know the way it feels. It spoons me at night. My G.I. Joe lunchbox periodically fills with the occasional lover or submissive agenda, but in general, I don't even think about it anymore until I sit down to write. It's when the understanding of depression seems to leak out, right? The art forms? So, when the expectation and the actuality meet, it's like an excuse to settle in. I mean, do you think the expectation to be a depressed artist leaks into our persona?
eric: Absogoddamnlutely. Getting laid off from a job that I had screamed to my hometown heavens was validation of my hair-brained idea to uproot and move to New York, where I knew no one and had no way to live, was a blow that I could take in terms of personal success, but the nightmare of telling that hometown that I had failed and had to go back 2(!) years in my progress makes me nauseous. When I moved to New York, my family and friends told me I was crazy, but they were proud. Finally proud. When I found a job, they were prouder. When I got a better job, they were even prouder. When I tell them that I have been stricken by all of the things they had warned me about (poverty, high rent, heartless citizens, untouchable competition), it makes me think, at least a little bit, that they may be right. That I might be a fucking lunatic. A loser, and a waste. Like all the others in New York that bitch about "how hard it is to live in the city." Even in the talking about it, I hate the idea. Is this whining? Is it warranted? Is it ever?
BoL: Of course it isn't. Noone loves hearing the hard stories. I saw a young Puerto Rican girl the other day with a shirt on that said "I Heart Dorks." I pointed and laughed, because it was such bullshit. No one likes a sad story or an unsuccessful man. They want an extension. I swear, half the time I am in talking, people want something dramatic to flow over them-- like I am a shower nozzle cleansing them of having their own lives. Family, friends? All they want is the validating story. They want the successes and the unrealistic goals-- the wild side of the American Dream. They want Frank Cowperwood. They want your work easily readable and for you to be well paid. Otherwise, you're a reason to lose the hope of ever escaping their own mundane cocoon. There is no better list of depressing ideas than the one you could make of those you left behind. Giving hope to those watching is like like giving change to a train bum. The outcome is predetermined and horrifically depressing in and of itself.
eric: While I don't buy into predetermination (which may be an excuse to believe in my ethereal success), I believe that talking of the feelings of those around you will lead to distress. Thus, lets move into the initial point of describing the moments that really bring out our melancholy in the mundane details. Such as:
Doing the dishes that no one else has the time to do.
BoL: Or going back to a job you thought you had stepped up from (NOTE: both Eric and BoL are going back to work at the bookstore they quit a while ago). Seeing the face of failure, as I tried to explain before, has nothing to do with depression. That's dread. Depression is more like playing the globe game. "Destinations," where you spin a globe and realize you will never live in Greenland or see the South of France. Really it's settling for depression that is the most depressing.
eric: I would like to think that I'm not settling for depression so much as living with it. Although, that's one of the things that makes me most depressed: The idea that I seem like a "depressed" guy. We all have the friend that is so down on the world that nothing can ever bring them out, even for a second. That is settling for depression. Living with depression, for me, is becoming paranoid and a bit pessimistic, but never giving up. And it terrifies me to think that my friends would think of me as one who has given up. And I'm scared of home invasion.
BoL: But that's what I am saying. Living with it is a form of accepting. It's not as if I am saying that we're sitting in a basement and smoking obsessively... oh wait. You are. No, wait. OK, it's not like we're sitting around listening to Stones records pining about loss. We're anxious and worried. We're waiting and pensive. We believe good things will happen, but know the score. Depression isn't sadness. It's a list of ideals or a matter of fact. That is depression. It's fact.
eric: It's not fact. Myth: busted. But you are right in the fact that depression stems from a personal list of ideals that are not met. While I'm proud of my ability to get out and work for the betterment (sic) of myself, it is hard to separate that from the feelings of others. On a completely optimistic note, I feel as though that same care for others is quickly becoming a unique trait in the world. A trait that I feel is something to be proud of. In an environment where people moan about the debtors screwing them and the landlords taking their deposits, an ability to be self aware is something beautiful and rare. Maybe depression is living with that feeling.
BoL: Oh, that is good. A fine point. Living with a higher knowledge of one's surroundings-- listening to the people around you ("your people," if you will) debate their jobs or their horrific circumstances-- is more depressing than any sad story or picture of victimhood either of us could paint. Perhaps depression deals less with struggle or a concrete ideal than it does with a shifting face, or a rationalization of hardship and what it means? Your thoughts?
eric: I think that is a good part of it. The shifting ideal of happiness that is more told to us by others than some intrinsic feeling that we are supposed to have. This is to say that our depression is shaped by the guessed upon standards and assertions of those around us. If it were up to us our roads to success, based on hard work and good intentions, would lead us to be kings of New York City. However, the dirty gum of reality gets stuck in our ambitious hair and reminds us that we will never look good enough for the movies from which we learned about New York. And we end up surrounded by the classic enemies of wealth and privilege and art school, who all make us seem like try-hards. Hmmmmm......
BoL: To expound, the idea of depression is inviting to the artist-- the starving artist that we all know and hate. The surrounding buildings, jobs, people-- everything is inviting this sense of defeat, but, like I said before defeat isn't depression. In fact, I'd argue that depression has become a form of expression more than an actual emotional response now. It's a-motional. It's a step backwards for people now. It's not a progression for hard-working folks who haven't done as well as they should. Instead, it's a coping mechanism. Bullshit, says I.
eric: Well said Mr. L. Depression may just be a condition wherein we focus on our hardship while realizing it to be an obstacle. We dwell on the badness until we figure a way around it-- in dwelling that it's possible to lose the plot. If, though, you are strong enough for the fire, you will come out like leather; harder and more valuable. It doesn't make [the experience] less important, but I would like to think that we are able to deal with [depression]. Drinking helps. In the short term.
BoL: We're certainly drinking. And it's helping. In general, depression is curable. Drunks, fools and fuckers are incurably sad. We're just down, y'know? Depression isn't cool or fun, but it's manageable. We'll manage. Hopefulness, unfortunately, comes with the territory of depression. That's what makes it depression-- the hope that recognition and a rise from the general phalanx will come. Such is life, friend.
eric: Such is life indeed, friend. Depression, in the end, exists and sucks. Yet here we are, and despite our travails we continue. As you once said, "Climb or die". We win anyway, if only because we are still here and we have no intention of stopping. Goonies never say die.
[edited for drunk content, and grammar mistakes on both ends]