Saturday, November 24, 2007

Waiting For the Train

There are two things in life to which I borderline loathing: gray areas (not knowing where I stand in life) and the in between process from depression to extreme happiness. I call it the “eh” stage. Some would call it the mediocre or content stage of your life. In the process of being caught in that gray area, it’s almost as if there’s no feeling at all. You can either take it or leave it. It’s just “eh”. Whatever. Things could be worse, but things could be much better. I’ve always fluctuated from being severely depressed, then rose up to that middle stage only to climb the stairs of extreme happiness. Doc says I don’t have bi-polar disorder, that I’m normal and that these stages are perfectly fine. I disagree, but I’m not sure if I prefer it this way. I don’t think being bi-polar or manic-depressive is a bad thing. Let me explain…

In a depressive state-of-mind, I become analytical, more spiritual, extremely creative to where I write a helluva’ lot more and create new and different songs on my guitar. I delve into my artistic and music side and usually do my best work when I’m in my most depressive state. I feel like my IQ goes up a notch and I become this eccentric, cynical, artistic wacko with a touch of sarcasm. Sadly, the sarcasm never leaves me on either stage. That’s something that others will have to deal with.

In the mediocre stage, I become numb. I’m not creative, nor is my thinking process running properly. I literally don’t give a rat’s ass about anything. I’m just ‘there’. I merely exist; hoping something better will come along. I’m just here for the ride and there is nothing on this earth for me. It sounds depressing, but it’s worse. I know that the in between stage should be better than depression—but it’s not! It drains me of all my creative juices and takes away my spirituality to where I nearly have forgotten about it. I hate this stage more than the others.

In the ‘happy stage’, terrific things are preoccupying my mind, where as I don’t think about anything negative. I can do anything! Everything’s possible! Everything is ‘joy joy joy’, and nothing seems to affect me. I almost become numb to things that should affect me, yet I have these blinders up to where I don’t see the train coming my way. I’m standing right on the tracks, dancing out of pure bliss and being “happy”, when I’m not seeing the bigger picture, or the reality of things. This means, that at any given moment, that train can hit me faster than I thought. This usually leaves me crashing down into my deepest depressive state-of-mind, bypassing the mediocre stage.

What was I happy about?

Here’s an interesting twist that I’ve come across lately: I’ve found a stage where both depression and happiness reside. They live together peacefully…or erratically. With my new circumstances, I’m very excited about my new home- my new life. I’m thrilled to be making such a huge change for myself. I feel there is something better out there for me- instead of just feeling as though ‘I just exist’. It’s a healthy move for me, both metaphorically and in the physical sense. I’m happy, because I know this is the best thing for me.

The sadness comes in, because I have to leave the old life behind. Old being my former life here, again, both metaphorically and in the physical sense. There are people, places and things that will be left behind. I can always come back to visit, but it will never be the same again. I am no longer a resident. I also speak in terms of being in people’s lives. Believe me, my parents will always be in my lif--they can’t get rid of me that quick--or vise/versa. I’m speaking of those who knew me and who were with me throughout somewhat years on a personal level, which I must leave behind. There are some people who cannot mix well together- like oil and water. No matter how hard you try to mesh them together, they will always fall apart. It’s unhealthy for the two to be in one another’s lives, leaving both to separate and go their own ways.

I guess, in a sense, it’s like being a born again. You have to leave your old former life to become a new Christian. Things, thoughts, desires, sins and past behaviors have to be left behind. (Not to say they can’t resurface in the future.) The old life crumbles and a new life begins. It’s the struggle to combine the pure joy and happiness to the depressing ending of the old life; a touch of the “bittersweet” with a heaping spoonful of knowledge that this is the right direction.

Do you find you do your best work while being in a depressive state-of-mind?

27 comments:

Caroline said...

What an interesting post. I can go from being very depressed to very happy within one day. I have always thought I was bipolar as well, but have been told that I am not. It's nice to know that someone out there kind of knows what it's like to be me.

I also find that when I am really depressed I am more creative. It's almost as if someone turns on a light and I am able to see more clearly. I know most would think I am crazy for being that way, but that's just me. When I am in that depressive state of mind I seem to have more focus and able to get more done. When I am really happy I can't seem to collect my thoughts and I often times feel overwhelmed.

Like I said..it sounds crazy, but that's just me.

Art said...

I think everyone has these ups and downs. I feel like I do best at work and life in general when I'm in an "up" state of mind.

~Deb said...

It is strange. Both extremes make us either more creative or just do things more effectively. Like I said, I don't think it's a bad thing, I just think it's God's tool to make us try different things in life in a creative way. Some doctors, (like mine), will not diagnose people with bi-polar or manic-depressive (both the same to me), if you appear "put together" and well spoken. Then again, some are more educated than others. They're only human. :)

Sometimes Saintly Nick said...

Since I’ve suffered from clinical depression most of my life, I have had to not let it get me down. The only ways I know of doing that is to (1) focus on now; (2) focus beyond myself; and (3) laugh as often as I can.

~Deb said...

The only thing dangerous about being manic-depressive or bi-polar is the dilemma of taking one’s own life. So, with that, it has to be approached and taken carefully, of course, depending on the person going through it. I try to look at it as an opportunity to do something different. Thanks, Nick!

Matt-Man said...

I dont neccesarily need to be depressed to do my best work, but when things are going relatively great in my life I do get lazy about writing and creating. I guess I do need a certain edge in my life going on to be at my best. Cheers Deb!!

Miranda said...

Just stopping in to let you know I didn't just dissappear, I have a new link, we're trying something new:

http://susanmirandajourney.blogspot.com/

Swing on by.

Have a good weekend!

Enemy of the Republic said...

Unfortunately I find that my best creative writing comes from sadness and grief; my best academic writing comes when I am in the okay stage--even keel. When I am sad, I cannot do scholarship. I can read but I can't write in that fashion. But some of my best poetry and stories come from the sadness. Depression is a whole different thing to me, because when I slip into depression, getting out of bed may be all I am capable of that day.

~Deb said...

I guess everybody has their certain moods that enable them to be more creative than other times. I find that with the ‘extreme moods’, most people do their best creative work. I guess it’s whatever “edge” you’re at that makes it worthwhile writing, painting, playing music or whatever it is you love to do creatively.

I just wonder how many people can do their best work when there's nothing significant going on in their lives---no drama or no hightened happiness.

?

CHEWY said...

Deb,
I do my best work when I am happy. I try not to work when depressed. I don't want bring others down with my sadness. When I'm depressed I keep my self occupied by cleaning paint brushes & palettes, purchasing new supplies, stretching paper. The boring stuff, that involves no thinking.

I noticed you came to my blog at an old blog entry. I post almost everyday. I am closing in at 7,000 hits now. Happy-Happy! Pleae visit again. New painting just posted.

Jay Cam said...

i find i do my best work when i am happy!

thewishfulwriter said...

Hey Deb -

Starting a new life in a new place is, as you say, liberating and extremely courageous.

Moving on (and away) from things and people in your life that aren't necessarily healthy is something too few people actually do.

As for the highs and lows, I wish I could say I found my creative juice when I'm really down. Mostly I want to burrow in my bed and numb my mind with TV.

I hope you had a wonderful holiday and here's to the new you! :)

gale said...

i absolutely hate the mediocre stage too. i'm not sure that i create my best works in a depressive state of mind, but i am a lot more pensive and analytical when i'm sad. yes, happiness can really be blinding sometimes. this is a wonderful read and hooray on the ones to come. AND thank you for your wonderful participation on my blog :)

Scarlet said...

I feel I do my best when I'm joyful, but I hear what you're saying. Going through the fire takes us to another level, a creative place that the in between and total bliss know nothing about.

Ricardo said...

Well Deb you must have a long lost soulmate in me because I can identify with the creative/depressed thing myself. I can't write anything beyond a typical blog entry unless I'm depressed and angry. When I acted, I could not get up there unless I was pissed and feeling like I had a chip on my shoulder. Right now I'm in a huge state of mediocrity. My creative intellect is in the basement. will this change? Maybe. If your faith helps you get past this or opens new doors then by all means, use it. Finding and embracing my own faith was a real life altering experience that changed me a great deal and strengthened what was already there. Wouldn't trade it for the world.

Well I'd trade my experience in the mikvah (a ritual bath kind of like a baptism but not really since there no original sin in my neck of the woods) since the water wasn't heated and I almost froze, but other than that, it's been worth it.

Good luck Deb and I hope you had a great thanksgiving!

Jeff B said...

I tend to find the humor in most situations, god or bad. Perhaps that's just my coping mechanism.

I dont know that my creativity swings much regardless of the mood I'm in, but I do suppose it's easier to laugh at myself and others when things are going well.

Dr. Deb said...

For me, medioctiry and ambivalence are treacherous experiences!

QUASAR9 said...

Alas Deb, most of life is a dance between the highs & the lows, a flutter between moments of sadness and moments of joy ...
sadly koy is easy to dampen
whereas sadness and/pr depression are sometimes hard to come out of

but most of the time we are really just rolling along or flatlining in that mediocre state - looking for the next high, or set to fall into the next low

Of course sometimes one is so busy one has no time to evaluate whether one is feeling happy or sad - ignorance is bliss, as they say.

DaBich said...

I'm happiest and more productive when I'm plain busy. My mood can be changed from down to up just by being busy. Don't get me wrong, I NEED some slow/down time just for me. I'm not really a down person by nature, and I'm fortunate in that I don't suffer from Bi-Polar swings. Maybe there is some of Quasar's "ignorance is bliss" in it for me, but I'm not so sure, as I have several friends who suffer the bi-polar thing and I find myself helping them out from time to time.
My motto? One day at a time.
Hope your holiday was a good one. Did you eat too much?

TK Kerouac said...

I believe we are all bipolar to some degree, being about moods and depression. Most will go to their grave without a proper diagnosis.
And some of the best creative work will come out of depression, be it from writing,music,comedic talent,art,....from pain comes beauty.

T said...

Another interesting post. You really get the mind thinking. I usually do my best work when I am in an "up" mode and also under pressure. That seems to kick me into gear. I don't know when you cross the line between the ups and downs of life and being bi-polar, but I have a close friend who is a very successful screenwriter and director who also does his most creative work in his depressed state and off his "meds". All I can say from watching him is that you need to be very strong if you want to try and manage the moving between various states yourself. My friend has not always been able to do that.

kathi said...

Sometimes, yup. My mom use to say I was in one of my 'funks', and that is when I'd do most of my writing...that's still true. But, I tend to take my pictures when I'm happy. Different moods, different venues.

CP said...

There are a lot worse aspects to manic depression than the appeal of taking ones own life. There is a lot of self inflicted pain involved, whether it is done physically or mentally. The highs are extreme, the lows are endless and the "eh" stage is rare...at least in my case. My medications keep me at "eh", which kills me creatively but keeps me alive emotionally and physically.

The label sticks hard. I wouldn't be so anxious to wear it.

CP.

GW Mush said...

Hi Deb!


I was just thinking and I realized that you think a lot.

You are who you are and that's who you are. If you arent who you are, you would be someone else, and that isnt who you are.

You areeeeeeee Deb,
Deb you areeeeeeee.

This is my mixed message for today... GW Mush

Blu Jewel said...

Hey Deb! This was a very enlightening post for me to read as I deal with someone who goes through a myriad of mood swings. I've yet to title any of them as any one type, but depression and the varying forms thereof always makes me wonder how they're stemmed. As in, what's the root cause for it; abuse, suppression, or what have you.

You've given me a little more to look at. Thanks

Nancy said...

I am most creative when I'm depressed, too. When I'm happy and content, my desire to express myself or create subsides a little bit.

drowning pisces said...

About the only time I write poetry is when I'm depressed. So... I guess, yes. I think maybe it is because we are already in that open and raw state where everything is at its best/worst. It's so tangible and available. Great post.