Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Le Chien Noir - ii

Well, it's time to clean house, perhaps a bit late in the year, but it's not going to get any earlier.

I've been writing this blog for very nearly eighteen months, and during that time there has not been a topic, an interest, an approach, a style, a voice, a field of inquiry, or a minor genre that I have not tired of quickly. I've done parodies; I've written humorous verse; I've attempted personal essays; I've taken stabs at musical, literary, movie, and (curse the word) social criticism; I've written literary fragments of strange little fictions; I've drawn caricatures and cartoons; put together collages; gotten by on impromptu witticisms; sketched out various eclectic areas of knowledge, and of ignorance; written comic strips; commented snidely on trivial events of the day; worked at original art; and in recent months assembled primitive animations and videos.

All began in a burst of arbitrary, random energy that quickly dissipated. All ultimately bored. When techniques were new and fresh, and I still had discoveries to make, I persevered. When they settled into their neural pathways and became habits, they were mere techniques -- no more interesting than a game of solitaire, or a fairly simple crossword puzzle.

In the end, I barely wrote at all -- and writing was what I had set out to do. I lost interest in what I had to say. I wearied of the way I said it. I wondered if any of it were worth saying at all. I became mute. The blank page became an insurmountable obstacle. My output dribbled to a few posts a month, half of them videos of only marginal interest, the other half bland and uninspired.

These things are noticeable, of course. My once solidly double-digit readership (at best) declined to something approaching zero. And I found I didn't wish to have readers. Yet I couldn't quite bring myself to consign my blog to the flames. Before I had started it, I did precisely nothing. After I had started it, there were vast periods of the great nothing, inevitably. But there was also something. Which accumulated. Whether there was any overarching unity in the randomly scrawled bits is not for me to say. Somehow I think not. But there was something: Here, I do this, for better or for worse.

Now I'm beginning to write again. I don't much feel like it, but I am being enclosed by various other boredoms and bewilderments and misunderstandings and darknesses elsewhere. I've begun to feel I may as well talk about those; in truth, I have no other topic.

My topic, of course, is chronic unipolar depression, atypical variety. This means that, apart from early periods of self-medication, and brief later periods of medication by neuropsychiatrists, I have had nearly all of the standard symptoms of major depression. (In the few instances where I have not had them, I have been able to substitute something similar -- or worse.) If one disallows a period of a few years during which I had an unequivocally positive response to medication (all too rare), I have been depressed for nearly forty-five years. (Yes, I can pinpoint the onset, at age eleven, nearly to the day. Why did it happen, and so suddenly? I've come up with dozens of explanations -- all perfectly consistent with facts, all speculative and unfalsifiable.)

So I shall be writing about that now. I may not have much to say, but depression can be quite voluble when allowed to be. I do not do this as therapy, because I do not believe that writing is therapeutic, not in any verifiable medical sense, nor, for me, even in an intuitive, introspective sense. Writing about depression (as in talking about it) is in my experience quite as likely to worsen it as alleviate it, indeed more the former than the latter. Although I tend to be honest to a fault -- to many faults -- about my pain and endless failings, I have not found that honesty is often the best policy. We can't bear too much truth, and I less than most; but I also lack the means of defending against truth. (How I envy those, even among melancholics, who can shrug off the unpleasant. I see it. I always see it.)

I'll write, in brief, because I've painted myself into another corner. That's all right; sometimes, for years on end, there is no corner left.

I hope not to be glum. I hope to be interesting -- possibly even entertaining. I hope not to be needlessly... depressing. I even hope to be amusing. (Laughter and tears are, contrary to popular mythology, not far separated.) But I will write mostly about this...this thing.

I'm hoping to write once every day or two -- even if only a single sentence. But we shall see. All of a depressive's efforts tend to drift away into meaningless dark. This may be no different; indeed, I see no reason that it should be. But one must do something. Mustn't one?

Note: I'm opening these pages for comments, and we'll see how it works out. I'm not feeling terribly sociable these days, if not seeing anyone at all is any indication. My friend
Searchie has chosen inaccessibility and anonymity in her sad and devastating and wonderful blog. I have no career, nor any future beyond a few moments at a time -- a day or two at most, if I have an a medical appointment or other intrusive demand on my empty time. But I also have nothing to lose.

Have at me, then, readers. If any.
UPDATE Wednesday, 12:45 p.m. -- I've decided against allowing comments on this topic, at least for the time being.