thoughts on depression

from phil rockstroh, oct. 2017:

‘Depression can be a compensatory response to the inherently manic nature of capitalist dominance of every aspect of life in late modernity.

The affliction knocks you on your ass and keeps you there until the psyche can find a better means of using the agency of libido, which, under the extant corporate/consumer/surveillance state panopticon, has been usurped. Under the system’s economic despotism and attendant anomie and alienation, one’s longings, more often than not, do not lead to the connecting eros of a life-enhancing vocation or deepening interpersonal encounters but only as a vehicle that hijacks one’s life into the service of a soul-crushing system, wholly designed to exploit every moment of this fleeting life for the benefit of an overclass of parasites, a klavern of vampires and ghouls.

Depression is the soul’s way of saying, to paraphrase the Vietnam-era antiwar chant, “Hell no, I won’t go.”

Alienation is an apt response to negotiating a soulless landscape. Where is the eros in Big Box/stripmall encounters? The ad hoc architecture of consumer culture, which manages to be both utilitarian and garish, renders the heart dry as dust and grinds the

mind to spittle. The psyche is in constant communion with its outer surroundings. Thus, what comes to pass if what is extant is a nadascape of vapid commercialisation, designed to deliver the shallow sensations concomitant to consumerism but lacking a connecting eros to both numinous inner realities and binding human encounters? A mortification occurs. Some individuals are driven to lash out in anger, even in acts of mass murder. The rage remains inchoate, and thus is displayed in acts of road rage, in domestic abuse, in online trolling, in nebulous hatred of outsiders and minorities and the foreign other.

The propagandists of empire are privy to the fact. Hence, so many are convinced, so easily, that North Korea and Iran are threats to the homeland; that Russiagate is a thing; that the US military and the nation’s so-called intelligence agencies are a force for good and act as agents of protection against a hostile world.

But with some, their soul isn’t buying it. Depression pulls one deep into oneself; therefore, manic compensation and displacement is not possible.

They have opted out of the collective madness.

Depression’s descent into the self becomes the option to surface level tropes of distraction. Compulsions fall away like Autumn leaves, the sap of life is seemingly frozen, the winds of the world howl through the barren branches of one’s inner wilderness — to wit, an accurate apprehension of the sound of propaganda and its affront to mind and soul.’

not all depression is a socio-political response, of course.  mine is also a likely transitory personal response to a seemingly intractable end of communications with our daughter, as well as too many mind-numbing communications from our soon-to-former daughter-in-law.

but this and a coordinated effort to foment lies against julian assange, get him kicked out, or kidnapped from,  the ecuadorian and shipped to either DeeCee or Gitmo, as well:

20 responses to “thoughts on depression

  1. For the questionably best in terms of protecting my own personal health, my response to the overwhelming (at times) onslaught of “bad news,” on so many fronts, and that which is described in the OP, is inevitably, don’t let the bastards get me down.

    40 years ago, gems from the likes of U Utah Phillips admonishing us pups to “own the tools of our own production,” to resist the capitalist machine were not fully understood at the time but have served to protect my sanity in an otherwise insane race over the cliff threatening survival of our so called “higher,” intellectual species.

    No news on my departed child’s cause of death, over a half year out, along with locally pressing the grass-roots to take all six state-wide races here and begin to beat back the gerrymander in WI, has kept me focused, alive and kicking. Filing open record request on local corrupt and self-serving politicians, three last week and a response just in. Preparing to remove some of the offenders in the April elections. Dogging several state legislators on their lame duck attempts to thwart the powers of the newly elected replacements to Scott Walker and his cohorts in crime.

    Sincerest apologies for not engaging more here, ms wd. Peace and resolve.
    Doing what we can do. Reinforcing, honoring the memory of the precious gift I was so fortunate to have been given and to that lesson which remains not to be forgotten. And intentionally evoking a few tears helps too.

    Thinking of you and yours in between everything, thanks for this post.

    • hola amigo, nice to see you, and thanks for sharing some of your antidotes. i’m a bit envious that you can hit the streets, etc. in your ‘don’t let the bastards get ya down’ pushback. i., e., put your anger to good use’, don’t turn it inward to depression. grief: yeah, tears bring endorphins, haven’t even managed to cry over the senseless ‘loss’ of our daughter (thus our 3 grandchirren, arrrgh), to say the truth. pain’s too deep for that, but i can and do cry for others’ pain, go figure. mr. wd and i reckon one day not having her will become almost normal, more’s the pity in a way.

      mr. wd told me that his version of firefox had this link to an apparent life retrospective of baba rum raisin (now 82, iirc), so yeah, i’ll read it again: still the same message, apparently: Be.Here.Now. i guess i don’t care if humanity lives or dies, save for the fact that none of this had to be this way. not endless war, capitalism, climate chaos, potential nuclear armageddon, amerikan/nato imperial hegemony (now being challenged in spades), and the list goes on. philosophical? yeppers.

      but hell, i can make it halfway out the driveway (now on two crutches, ponies, i calls ’em) and lately it’s been too cold to want to even go out there. so i did the next best thing i could think of: cleaned out my closet, bagged up clothes, coats and whatnot for mr. wd to take to the thrift store on saturday. big woop, eh? ;-)

      but wait, wot? ya mean phil doesn’t believe folks like john trudell are kickin’ as in the afterlife ?!? but srsly, i do love that song.

      no word no cause of death? no,no, no…that just ain’t right, no matter how understaffed the office claims to be. we’ll still be sending good thoughts and sweetgrass smoke to you and s., and thanks for stopping by. come again when you’ve a mind to.

  2. as part of my “recovery,” I read a book at times about ACTivating!!!!!! your life!!! it’s not nearly as bad as i’m making it sound but on depression, one brief paragraph is given to comment on the correlation of poverty & depression. since correlation is not causation, we are justified in speeding past that subject to get on w/the true task of rearranging our inner psychic molecules and developing strategies for teaching ourselves to accept our feelings while accepting that our feelings are not reality. certainly the idea of ending poverty betrays a concerning level of psychotic detachment from reality. that it might be “therapeutic” for the poor to end their own poverty by something other than psychobabble, like, oh, I don’t know, class struggle, such talk is psychiatrically suspect.

    as capitalism accelerates, i.e., as it accelerates its destruction of the planet, capitalism will also accelerate its production of spectacles in an effort to compensate for the loss of the material world. more face time in pixelated images, the only freedom being managed experiences providing consumer “choices”, like Amazon Prime or Hulu on Demand, handheld. bigger, louder, more faster and furiousier. no psychic space will be allowed to contemplate “ou cultivons notre jardin?” each of us, alone, will think of a garden. alone. on our phones.

    “Mozart’s not gonna cure him,” Midge says to Scotty’s shrink after he’s hospitalized in “Vertigo.” bullshit. after helping unleash the destructive energy of the stars upon the earth, Einstein took up studying the harmony of the spheres.

    • i appreciate your deconstruction of ‘the book’ speeding by poverty and depression, and you’re right that that spectacles are all many have to allay their emptiness. wish i could think of the song, but yesterday when i opened my microsoft email butterfly, there were some words to a (secular) christmas song, and without the…the rest of the opening lyrics were replaced with… ‘go shopping’. but filling the unacknowledged empty holes within must take more and more what-ever-ness to fill. from gadgets to enemies to political spectacles: oh, proggie dem likes OCS. beto (genuflecting already before aipac) and tulsi can save us! they’ll redistribute the wealth, you betcha! stop war, fix climate chaos, whoopee! we’re not gonna die!

      jayzus, i just read the list of ferguson insurrectionists who’ve died recently, i might just have to write it up. one yesterday, a feisty arabic live-streamer i adore, and oddly had hit his twit account the other day looking for news.

      i thank you for the mozarts, and how funny the ram dass is ‘the unified theory of’..’ and of course einstein was spent a hella long time searching for his own ‘unified theory of everything’, didn’t he call it? now i don’t know your ‘vertigo’ reference, thus not the scene, but oh, my, this is pure poetry, j: “each of us, alone, will think of a garden. alone. on our phones.”

  3. i’m closing down for the night; tonight’s lullaby is:

    hope it helps heal us all.

  4. Good subject for this time of year, wendye. And mighty good comments here as well. There is a natural slowing down going on, and that makes folk vulnerable, but to me the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune are much more meaningful than the notsosubtle propaganda using the club of Christmas shopping, carols on the radio before it is even December. The latter just gets my dander up, so it’s the opposite of depression.

    And on the seasonal front, my attitude to winter has been for some time that it ends on the solstice. So, less than a month to go, guys. Hang in there; we’re gonna make it!

    Last night Something Large was snuffling around my garden. Once I figured out it was snuffle and not scrape I relaxed. Couldn’t see any damage this morning, just a couple of shallow depressions where I’d planted out japanese sweet potatoes that didn’t do so well. Whatever It Was is welcome to those.

    • no, my mention of the shopping carols didn’t depress me, it’s the two things i’d mentioned in the OP that are…do.

      i’d compared notes w/ mr. wd last night to ask if he’d been doing some of the EFT acupressure/cross-brain exercises we often use for fear, depression, etc. both of us had two days ago… but it seems neither of us felt worthy of rising out of our depressions, given the rocks thrown at us (mainly me) by our daughter, and almost-ex DiL, at least pretending to be a proxy for our son.

      snuffling’s better than scraping: i love that. it’s rutting season here, so the very large bucks are back, always a treat. one giant new one whose rack configuration is as wide as i’ve ever seen came the other day, but he hasn’t been back. but no, for me it’s not winter, though i’d thought of it as a contributing force. no flowers, only unfallen brown leaves on the trees…and dryer than we’ve ever seen it. so…maybe a bit.

      we’d wondered if we might put up the polyester christmas tree soon; more fairy lights might help. always we have green chiles alternating with: angels, hibiscus flowers, pineapples, and…more green chiles. if it warms up later, mr. wd’ll take me out for a walk. wunderground says it might either snow or rain tonight, and the wind’s pickin’ up.

      hugs back to you, ww.

  5. VeryBigHug, nonquixote. VeryBigHugs, all.

  6. i’d forgotten to note that the painting at the top of the post was created by a prisoner in gitmo. the center or constitutional rights had sent a portfolio out to all subscribers to their newsletter. i don’t recall where i’d parked the portfolio, nor if the prisoner is still inside, but many of them understandably paint…the sea outside their barred windows.

    closing lullaby? i’d been thinking of t.s. eliot’s ‘wasteland’, so perhaps i’ll split the difference w/ iris dement:

  7. Mater fututor non carborundum, comrade.

    • ha; daughter and daughter-in-law aren’t really mofos, but i do appreciate your concern; thank you.

      i did have a wave of rage against the latter today, maybe things are looking up? on a more comical note, i did read the ram dass retrospective, and while there were fond memories, it seems even rum raisin’s gone commercial. ‘get your be here now t-shirts and caps!’, lol.

      but we got a bit o’ snow, the 5 x 5 wide rack king of the hill buck game back, got the beams cleaned yesterday, and we’ll put up our tree soon. and we did laugh when mr. wd got out the white angel for the top, forgetting that last year mr. wd had plugged it into the lights…and it had short-circuited…Zzzztttt, and she caught on fire a li’l bit.

      luckily we do appreciate irony; and boy, howdy, is all this horror w/ the kids in that category after parenting them for over three decades. we’d assumed we’d made it out of the past long dark nights of the soul when we packed up our instruments, weren’t even able to listen to music, much less play any. and laughter was for other people.

  8. if you are not depressed sometimes, it’s cuz you aren’t paying attention
    “In my Nov. 16 column, I reported on potential radiation risks posed by California’s Woolsey wildfire having burned over parts or all of the Santa Susana Field Laboratory—south of Simi Valley, Calif., 30 miles outside Los Angeles—site of at least four partial or total nuclear reactor meltdowns.
    The field laboratory operated 10 experimental reactors and conducted rocket engine tests. In his 2014 book Atomic Accidents, researcher James Mahaffey writes, “The cores in four experimental reactors on site … melted.” Reactor core melts always result in the release of large amounts of radioactive gases and particles. Clean up of the deeply contaminated site has not been conducted in spite of a 2010 agreement.” etc. you can read the very depressing rest.
    and capitalism does this crap everywhere it goes. w/o exception. fortunately, b/c of plummeting US lifespans, we won’t have to put up w/this crap much longer, so it’s not all bad news.

    • variations: if you’re not cynical, outraged it means you’re not paying attention.

      still, hadn’t the geiger counters not beeped high radiation levels after the understandable initial flip city fears of residents? well, i’m not gonna say he’s wrong, given his bona fides, but w/ a quick scan…does that sick and scary history mean he’s right…now?

      the pg&e line failures stories were horrific enough.

      yeah, the plummeting life expectancy data even i’d read (suicides, opioids?). some site (the guardian?) compared it to 1990 soviet russia, of course.

      ah, thanks, j of 9. sorry for being a crank. i need a spirit/mind transplant; maybe one will come in my dreams?

      can titi and tula help me out? fuck me, i hope so. ; )

      • yes, and if fukushima is all that, shouldn’t health records around various parts of the world be showing it by now? things like rates of thyroid cancer?

        • well, they are and do show up in cancer rates, birth defects, sterility, etc. but i really wasn’t mocking the author, just asking if i’d read too fast to understand that yes, there was a hella lot of radiocative iodine in the air.

          wsws had reported on it, but iirc the author said that this, that, and the other agency found only background levels of radioactivity were present. now maybe the author was mocking it all as lies, but i don’t remember it that way.

          now i doubt that anyone has done any study of people who grew up around the hanford campus nuclear waste site that’s still leaking, will never be stopped from leaking due to the cost over-runs of billions upon billions of bucks, but a fella here grew up there and has two kinds of cancer. downstream form the huuuuuge uranium tailings pile 30 miles east of here, anecdotal evidence says: hoo, boy: cancers galore.

          and japan doesn’t want anyone to do similar studies, and iirc daiichi’s online again, but don’t quote me. my go-to peeps on the subject in general have always been helen caldicot and arne sorenson gunderson (sp?) on twitter.

          but jayzus, what the DU used in the shock-and-awe bombing of iraq did. oy.
          The Children of Fallujah: The Nightmares Never End”, april 29, 2012, wd

          now one tweet from h. caldicot on hansford, one from arnie’s fairewinds org on twitter:

          • don’t they have an iPhone app for those DU babies yet? (sorry, awful for an awful subject. but I hope to never forget that NYT article recommending a phone app for US peep’s ever dwindling sperm count…)

            yeah, I was being a bit sarcastic. the Japanese gov’t doesn’t have some serious gag laws about Fukushima b/c everything is simply sushi & tempura there now, do they? and, not that you’d know it from the NYT, Murkan lifespans are plummeting. maybe it’s that commie fluoridation after all?

            they’ll do some EPA-approved “mitigation” or something, dump a layer of topsoil on whatever mess and before you know it, just like in True Detective season 2, they’ll be building mass transit lines on that “mitigation.” for the problem only exists when the problem becomes too big to hide.

            • sorry, j, ‘NOT FUNNY’, as owen meany would say. especially in comparison to the ‘waiting to see…woolsey fire contamination’ stuff you’d brought. that’s all i have to say.

  9. “By far the most terrible feature in the malady was the dejection which ensued when any one felt himself sickening, for the despair into which they instantly fell took away their power of resistance, and left them a much easier prey to the disorder; besides which, there was the awful spectacle of men dying like sheep, through having caught the infection in nursing each other. This caused the greatest mortality…Yet it was with those who had recovered from the disease that the sick and the dying found most compassion. These knew what it was from experience, and had now no fear for themselves…and I too had the disease…”Thucydides 2.41.4ff.

    part of my educational system is to have students read about The Black Death. and Ebola. and thermonuclear catastrophe. and sexually transmitted diseases. life in prison. catalogs of potentially earth-destroying events, asteroids & such. children with polio. siege of Leningrad, followed up by the siege of Stalingrad. death by volcano, famous famines, etc. child therapists everywhere love me!

    • do you get kickbacks from shrinks? but seriously, are you just teasing, or is that part of your tutoring? and if so, why on earth? you’ve said before that the kids’ parents can or do monitor your classes….

      • hey, just preparing them for the future us parents are leaving for them.

        i’m exaggerating of course. but I don’t invent people’s, incl children’s, fascination w/the catastrophic, macabre, etc. and I can see an upside to the apocalyptic. i’m sure if, say, the US economy just tanks completely, i’ll hear much less bitching about how the schizophrenics & drug addicts & crippled and the vets & ex-cons are not getting jobs getting trampled by, I mean greeting people on black Friday at Wal Mart’s. you know, when nobody can find a job, when even Amazon is turning slaves away…

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