Burning bright, in the forests of the night…

photo-on-8-15-14-at-12-23-pm

I couldn’t get a focused enough picture of the light bulb, but the filament is still there, which means this baby still burns… Cool, yes?

#ItsInHisKiss by Vickie LesterIn the 1920s, when this light bulb would have been in use, there was no such thing as autopilot. But I, personally, have put the posts on auto these last few weeks as The Kid has been home from University and I was tuckered out from the whole book thing—just wanted to listen to people talk around me, read, cook, swim… In other words, I was on holiday.

Now the young man is flying back to Europe and…

I will catch up on comments and be tuned-in to Beguiling Hollywood very soon.

In the meantime, I noticed people hurriedly taking their phones off the table and stowing them in pockets or purses when I would join them; which was an odd experience because I never really thought my friends read the blog.

And this is touchy but I’m going to go there—I put up a post about depression and didn’t have the comments available because I felt unqualified to respond if someone was in crisis, and I’m still unqualified to respond to that kind of crisis, but I can listen, we all can listen, so today the comments are open… I know what depression is. Members of my family have suffered from it. Someone I grew up with (who became a very high powered attorney) killed herself with a pistol shot to the head.

As I said before, depression is a fog that descends and obscures the facts of your life, it’s a trickster that convinces you you’re unloved, unworthy, a void with no future. When all events and relationships point to the contrary; depression shames you and forces you into isolation. Depression doesn’t like to be contradicted. Depression tells you not to burden others with your feelings—or the even more devastating numbness, the total lack of feeling—that can engulf you. Whatever it takes, talk back, because there is something that will clear the fog. You will be unashamed that you fought the isolation and emerged alive.

If you see someone lost in the fog, ask them if the disconnect has become too much to stand. (This is key, because depression makes people retreat, dulls their thoughts, can make them difficult to deal with. Know that this is a symptom of despair, it’s not directed outward, it’s directed within.) If you know someone who you suspect is severely depressed, ask them if they’re thinking of killing themselves. It’s a direct question. You will get a direct answer. Based on that answer you might drive a friend to the hospital, you might have a long quiet conversation, you might just exchange a few emails and know everything’s okay…or not okay…but bearable.

What prompted this revisiting of depression? The friends who I thought didn’t read the blog. Some of them contacted me privately and we talked about their struggles—three friends, three different experiences, and three wonderful people who I thank for telling me what they’ve been through…

burning bright…

640px-The_Tyger_BM_a_1794

5 comments

  1. That poem was one of my dad’s favorites; and I was his favorite. He suffered from depression, but mostly only after my mother passed, and then my sister.

    There is help for folks who feel that life is just too much.

  2. You didn’t have the comments on for your previous post on depression but you very sensibly had a contact line for those needing help or needing to talk. That was important. 🙂

  3. Heather in Arles

    I was very grateful for your previous post as I am for this one as well. It is a hard subject to discuss well – it can be all too easy to sound patronizing or stoical on one end, syrupy or out of touch on the other. As someone who has suffered from the disease for all of my adult life, I really appreciate that you are just there and open about it. Present and willing. Yes, that directness can be a mighty helpful thing. It shows that you aren’t afraid which is wonderful. Thanks for being you. 🙂

  4. George Kaplan

    Beautiful words and beautiful sentiments, Vickie. You are, as ever, possessed of a rare empathy and perspicacity; it is no surprise to me that people have opened to you, as the understanding that you have gained through your experiences and your innate sympathy give you a quality of true perception and trustworthiness. The dark of depression, the conviction of one’s own worthlessness in many things is very powerful; a turbulent flood of self-loathing and bleakness that it can be extremely difficult to resist, so powerful eventually for some that they cannot help but go under (no matter what help may be available: *it is the nature of depressive illness that asking for help can seem to be impossible*) yet the knowledge that there are those – like You – who comprehend and sympathize is a True Gift of Light Against The Dark. (Capital letters? Why not?!) Thank You for such a gorgeous post and for Blake’s The Tyger – a favorite – as well.

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