Saturday, April 14, 2007

Despair contagion


[audio-post]

There seems to be a contagion of despair... so many people are depressed these days, hurting, self-destructive. So much going on, so much pain swirling around me...


You don't always have to be the one who is strong
, says B, from the midst of divorce and financial woes.
You can call any time day or night, says R, who is in despair herself, over her husband's alcoholic binging.
Tell me what is wrong, says MR, who is periodically depressed about being 30, financially well-off, and miles away from being the husband and father he wants to be.
The Dutchman offers me a kiss and a cuddle, but, well, he's in Holland.

I miss CD, still. I miss CW, though I'll see him next weekend, hopefully.

Last night, I cried. I rarely cry. In fact, I hate crying. But I was feeling overwhelmed, and I needed a release, and sexercise, and talking, and writing, they just didn't give me the relief I needed.

You will survive, said MR after I told him a bit of what was weighing me down. You always do.
I don't want to survive, I told him through my tears, I want to thrive. And what is more, I want those I love to thrive, too. Silly me.


Why is it that most people's solution to despair is seeking numbness? Television, drugs, alcohol, suicide? Why don't people see that stepping outside their heads and getting in touch with nature, with what is real, with the moment, is a far better solution, a far better vacation from despair, than those other options.

When I mentioned the contagion of despair, my dutchman said that it was the downside of today's society.

Since I don't watch TV, rarely read the newspaper, or listen to the radio, or see movies, or advertisements, I'm rather out of touch with society. And I think that is a good thing. There is something insidious going on. Why is it that people living in First World countries are in such despair? We are so far away from the real desperation of survival-mode--sitting in our warm, dry homes, watching our TVs, or listening to music cruising down the road in our comfy cars--and yet so many have a cloud of despair following them. I am half-convinced its a synthesis of the media and advertising. I mean, think about it... Those who expose themselves to the media are inundated with all sorts of negative messages in the form of image and sound. And their conscious minds may disregard those messages, but most of that stuff speaks to the subconscious -- especially advertising. So you watch the news, which is full of depressing stuff, and you see an advertisement for something guaranteed to lighten your spirits--for a price. Or you watch a disturbing movie with lots of violence and then can't sleep. Well, it just so happens that you can talk to your doctor about sleep-drug X, which studies show will help you get a full night's sleep, says so on the advertisement. And on and on. Images of violence, desolation, destruction. Sounds and words about the same, repeated, repeated. An endless loop, day after day, year after year, of the same negative crap fed into our brains. Its sick, its twisted. Its insidious. Its killing people. Or so I think, sitting here from my vantage point outside the media box, watching all those people addicted to Reality TV and buying, buying, compulsively consuming, acquiring... why? Trying to fend off that pervasiave feeling of dissatisfaction with something, anything, that might even temporarily alleviate it.

Or maybe I'm just being cynical. Maybe the despair is psychologically contagious and I'm getting it too. Who knows? All I know is I've shed enough tears for a while. Time to go do something that make me feel good and doesn't cost me a cent.

I'm going for a walk.

I am going to look at the primroses and tulips and flowering bushes, listen to the birdsong, and watch the water flow, and get my equilibrium back. The day is still young--there is still potential for it to be a good day.

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