Monday, June 17, 2013
The Stephen Fry Thing
If you want me to tell you, with utter contempt, to fuck off then don't throw any complicated insult at me. Just wait until my depression is biting and patronisingly suggest I just "pull myself together".
Putting aside any ancient debate about the mind-body duality, I sense that the seat my my Self, the essence of who I am lies in my brain. It resides in the physical structures, the incalculable connections of matter and electricity, bathed in a complexity of barely-grasped chemicals. And yet....out of this physical mess arises that most potent of things – "me", and all that the Self creates. The sublime to the profane, the highest creativity to the basest depravity. It is a miracle.
And we all have struggles within ourselves. In many ways, each of us lives in perpetual conflict. There are private wants and public demands, moral uncertainties and intellectual clashes. What we may glibly refer to as "the Self" may be more akin to a maelstrom than an oasis of serenity that moves through the world. This is what it means to be human.
Sometimes these conflicts can cause us pain, make us sad. We resolve the issue, bury it, or walk away from it. Such sadness is but an outgrowth of the individual struggling through a complicated and sometimes difficult world.
And this is a far cry from depression. This is not a "war of the Self", it is almost a war against the Self. For the essence of who we are, that delicate substrate of chemicals from which Self emerges becomes tainted, out of balance. This is depression, the illness.
And I sense its approach. I have always pictured it as some type of many tentacled Leviathan, a Beast that slumbers deep in my brain and I feel the foretelling when it awakes and opens its malevolent eye. It is an intangible cloud that appears on the horizon of my consciousness. And sometimes it bites. Hard. The Leviathan injects darkness across every fold of my cerebellum, bathing the whole of my vista with a sense of despair that makes my very bones ache, every cell in my body pleading for release from an unsourced pain.
This is depression. It is an illness.