On Depression, Balance, and Finding Humanity

Up until this past Friday, I had been nearly incapacitated by this unexplainable depression. I guess unexplainable isn’t quite the right term, because I understood what it was stemming from, I just couldn’t stop it. While I enjoy being a news-junkie most of the time, there comes a point in my obsession with world news where I just can’t handle all of the absurdity anymore. At some point, reading about the overwhelmingly irrational, murderous, inhumane, selfish, egotistical, genocidal, power-hungry megalomaniacs of the world (the politicians, the bankers, the world leaders, the corporate executives, the warlords, the religious fanatics) will get to you. And it got to me.

The well-adjusted person would just say, “well I will stop reading the news for a bit,” and I tried doing just that. The only problem is that not reading about what was going on made me feel even worse, because I felt as if I were cheating the victims of these crimes against humanity. I felt that not understanding the things that were happening and not getting angry and upset about them made me just another person that didn’t give a shit. It was like taking the pain of the world onto myself was but the smallest contribution I could make.

It got to the point, however, where I could hardly stand to do anything at all. I felt myself dragging, slowing down, and the only thing I could do to get rid of the feeling of being totally helpless and empty was to sleep. I cried often. Sometimes after reading or watching some horrible new story; sometimes just because. I began to really think that I may never gain myself back.

I did (yay), but it was in the most random and unexpected of ways. The re-gaining of my person-hood happened in increments. It was just moments, really—walking outside to sun and a perfect breeze that smelled of soil and growing things, playing “Keep off the Lava” with my little nieces on the swing-set out back, just like my sisters and I used to do, hearing my cat make a cooing noise when I walk in to a room, supportive texts from my boyfriend when he knew I needed them most—and slowly I came back…almost.

Then, on a whim while driving home from work, I pulled into the local Farmers Market. I had no idea why really but I felt compelled to walk around. It didn’t take me long to remember why I love the Farmers Market so much. The smell of dust and fresh vegetables, the floors covered in dirt brought in on the shoes of farmers, the Pennsylvania Dutch accents, the vendors selling records and Grateful Dead shirts, put me in a place of almost absolute peace. I thought of how much I hated going to the grocery store and how zombie-like I felt walking through the sterilized aisles of processed foods, moving as quickly as possible and avoiding any type of contact with my fellow shoppers. At the market, though, I took my time, meandering through the hallways without any particular destination in mind. I felt like a person. I felt right. I remembered what it was like to like other people, to smile at strangers, to feel happy and no longer alone.

I don’t know why it took these strange occurrences, but, at least for the time being, I feel in a good state of mind. I remember that there are horrible things happening all over the world that are carried out by human beings, but I also remember that there are some good things going on, too. Things like two dollar shoofly pie from a local baker, and fresh garden vegetables growing for spring, and people that I care about that are there to keep me grounded. I guess, sometimes, we all need a little reminder of what makes life good amidst all of the things that can strip us of our own humanity and make us lose our sense of self.

2 thoughts on “On Depression, Balance, and Finding Humanity

  1. I feel ya, girl.I struggled with intense depression from the time that I cam back from Ireland in 2009, to fall of 2010…when I was living at home. My depression wasn't just from news, it came from what I was seeing everyday in regards to our complete take-over of land. Then harrowing thoughts took root. I started seeing people like a virus, killing everything. Above and underground. It was suffocating. And the things you describe that allowed you to regain your self, they resurrected me as well. Before, I thought: All this…for what? But now, I'm able to see all these really great things that renew and inspire.I'm glad the Farmer's Market is able to do that for you. The city is able to do it for me. ❤

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